Many American parents are concerned about preschools becoming too formalized – with teachers being too focused on kids’ academic performance rather than play. But academically-rich activities at a young age is not a bad thing, according to Bruce Fuller, professor of education at the University of California, Berkeley.
“Preschool educators then feel they gotta have kids ready to do well on tests and there’s been a good deal of research showing that in preschools that are just play-focused, a lot of kids spend time wandering around classrooms, a lot of youngsters are in dress-up corners for 40-50 minutes.”
Fuller says while children have a good time, they don’t learn as much as they should at a preschool age.
“Kids’ brains are like sponges. They can pick up pre-literacy skills, new vocabulary. They can pick up understanding of math concepts quickly. Our finding pushed the early education establishment to think how can we blend playful activity and move from childrens’ natural curiosity while at the same time challenging them in cognitive ways to boost their growth, when they are three or four years of age.”