By Renée Smith | j&R Tutoring Academy of Indiana

In my last post I suggested that what we follow online controls what we know, what we do not know and most importantly, can shape our opinions. I would like to take that thought a step further.

Unless you are employed in education, you probably do not closely follow it. However, if you have children or plan to have them, I would like to recommend that you do. I have noted that the Common Core Standards, among other things, essentially removes local (parents, teachers, school boards) curricula control from the schools.

The other program currently being strongly pushed is required preschool for all four year olds. This is another idea that on its face seems like a no-brainer. We know that children entering kindergarten who have not attended a preschool lag (not stay) behind.

In an article I read recently the author commented that “we” needed to begin developing the cognitive learning of children earlier. His reasoning was the importance of not losing potential abilities so that we could successfully compete in the world.

People! Somehow we have managed to build the greatest nation in the world – ever – in a relatively short period of time! Until just a few years ago, we did not think we had to control a child’s education practically from birth in order to be successful! Secondly, local school officials do not live in a vacuum. They know we now live in a global economy.

I hate to keep repeating myself, but I must. Young children develop at vastly different rates. Children in the same family, with the same parents, develop at vastly different rates. Not all children follow the normal patterns. Normal patterns are averages. That means there are a lot of children who are, by definition not normal.

Childhood is one long education. I was watching my two year old grandson build a tower with Jenga® blocks. If you are not familiar with them, they are not square, but thin and rectangular. It is difficult to build with them. He had figured out that he needed to be careful when adding a block. He had not yet figured out that at a certain point the tower was not going to sustain itself.

One day he will figure out either how to build a higher tower, or he will move on to another activity. This is education. The first four years of life, especially, are a time for discovering, experiencing, learning, making mistakes, and experiencing successes. SO MUCH happens in those years!

Children will naturally gravitate to those areas that interest them and ignore those they do not. Pushing formal education – required formal education – down to younger and younger children, in my opinion, is not in their best interests!

Some children may be ready for pre-school at age four, some not. One of my children, the youngest, was ready at three, but he was the only one.

The rest of life is full of limitations and requirements. Let’s allow children to develop at their own rate!