AcademicsAug 07, 2022
Eisa is 6.5 years old and in Kindergarten. He was in a play-based preschool and pre-K so his transition to KG was tough. He didn’t want to do homework or take tests. The kid who’d jump out of bed to go to school, started dreading it! What to do?!
Thanks to my education in early childhood development, I know that children are born to learn. They have a hunger for knowledge that we witness daily in their non-stop questions, their reflective thoughts and witty remarks. Yet, when it comes to school, we’re convinced that their refusal to “learn” is their stubbornness and laziness or/and general lack of desire to listen to us. I can promise you, it’s none of those things.
All the latest research and studies on children’s brains tell us that academics are not the best things to push on younger kids. Their brain literally collapses and shuts down when it’s unduly burdened with academics. The majority of learning still needs to happen through play. And play is not ‘just’ play. It’s the work of childhood, as they say. So what do we do? We stop pushing our kids to finish their homework when they say they’re done. We push their teachers instead, to take a step back and relax on the academics.
I spoke to Eisa’s teacher and she agreed to take a step back. No homework. No tests. I would sometimes mention it but he wasn’t ready and so I’d stop. At the end of the school year, he’s among the most advanced kids. His reading, writing and math are above average. Here he’s holding the books he ‘wrote and published’. Most other kids in his class had to have the teacher write the titles, he didn’t need help. When all the adults, stepped aside and let him do his thing, he did do it. Trust once again, won over fear.