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Free Play or Flashcards? New Study Nods to More Rigorous Preschools

The New York Times – Dana Goldstein

“As school reformers nationwide push to expand publicly funded prekindergarten and enact more stringent standards, more students are being exposed at ever younger ages to formal math and phonics lessons like this one. That has worried some education experts and frightened those parents who believe that children of that age should be playing with blocks, not sitting still as a teacher explains a shape’s geometric characteristics. But now a new national study suggests that preschools that do not mix enough fiber into their curriculum may be doing their young charges a disservice. The study found that by the end of kindergarten, children who had attended one year of “academic-oriented preschool” outperformed peers who had attended less academic-focused preschools by, on average, the equivalent of two and a half months of learning in literacy and math.”(more)

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