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Let toddlers play, not learn

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Children are being prepared for the knowledge economy at much too young age. That has the opposite effect, says  Sieneke Goorhuis-Brouwer , professor by special appointment of Speech and Language Disorders at the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG).
let toddlers play
Special primary schools are fuller than ever, but no one wonders if that might also have something to do with our education system

“Many children become overstimulated or develop a fundamental insecurity. More and more healthy children are being registered with us with alleged developmental problems,” says Goorhuis-Brouwer.

Educational programs that were initially only intended for children with developmental delays are now being carried out in childcare settings. “

But children should experience their toddler and preschool period to the fullest,” says Goorhuis-Brouwer. “We really don’t give a young baby kale and sausage. In education we do, in a metaphorical sense. And then we are surprised that the child develops intestinal disorders, also in a metaphorical sense.”

Goorhuis-Brouwer’ notes that the number of children with behavioral problems is increasing rapidly. The schools for special primary education are fuller than ever, but nobody wonders whether that might also have something to do with our education system, according to the professor. “You can’t treat toddlers as if they were real students. Neurologically, they are not yet ready for that.”

A child who is offered information too early that he or she cannot yet process runs a high risk of all kinds of (behavioural) problems, such as fear of failure. Goorhuis-Brouwer:

I regularly have children at the office who think they are stupid. They are not allowed to play in class, but have to do tasks to make up for their arrears. It is thought that this helps children to progress in later school performance, but that is absolutely not the case.”

According to Goorhuis-Brouwer, it is more important that a child develops emotional stability at a very early age instead of learning to read. Teachers should take that into account. “Many teachers barely know how to deal with young children. Methods are now all too often used as a cookbook; take child a, let it do b and then you get c. But young children choose how they process information.”

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