By: Krystle Crossman
Think back to when you were in kindergarten. Do you remember hours of rigorous reading and math exercises? Probably not. You probably remember going to school for half of the day and playing with your friends. You may remember the play houses, the jungle gyms, and most importantly, nap time. Unfortunately for kindergarteners these days the fun is gone. Most kindergartens now teach reading, writing, and math. They do workbooks all day long. Some kids even come home with homework! They are being pushed to learn earlier and earlier. Pushing them to read this early tends to lead them to a point where they hate reading.
There are many kindergarten teachers out there who would love to go back to the way things were when children could play and be imaginative with their time in kindergarten. Unfortunately the schools require them to teach certain things and if they don’t they will lose their jobs. The University of Virginia showed that thanks to all of these new guidelines kindergarten is no longer kindergarten. Now they should be calling it first grade. Between the years of 1998 and 2006 the time spent in the classroom learning how to read went up from 5.5 hours per week to 7 hours per week. While this may not seem like a lot, it is a 25% increase. In 1998 teachers were polled for the study and 31% of them said that they thought children should learn to read in kindergarten. By 2006 that number had shot up to 65%.
Here are some of the problems with pushing children to read too early:
1. Loss of self-worth: Children may see that they are behind other students and feel like they are not good enough.
2. Lack of joy: When you force a child into something too early it take the fun out of it for them.
3. Problems: Children that are told that they have a problem when they can’t read early on will lead them to believe that they actually have a problem. Down the road this could actually lead to a real problem.
4. No interest: When children are forced to concentrate more on the sounds and structures of the words all meaning to the story is lost.