Children 'Forced to Learn before They Are Ready'

Daily Mail (London), November 10, 2005 | Go to article overview

Children 'Forced to Learn before They Are Ready'


Byline: SARAH HARRIS

THE new National Curriculum for toddlers was attacked as ' ridiculous' yesterday amid evidence that children may already be starting school too early.

Researchers have found that up to a third of five-year-olds may not be mentally or physically 'ready' for lessons.

Their conclusion follows a Government ruling that childminders and nurseries will be under a legal duty to teach the Early Years Foundations Stage 'from birth'.

Toddlers would be encouraged to gain a knowledge and understanding of the world and three- year- olds in childcare would learn basic maths, language and literacy.

However researchers at the Institute of Neuro-Physiological Psychology based in Chester have studied the balance, reflex and co-ordination skills of more than 700 children aged five to nine.

They discovered that almost half of the 339 children aged five to six did not have the skills expected of their age when they started school. A year later, they were still performing less well academically.

About a third of children aged eight to nine continued to experience some problems, according to the results published in the Child Care in Practice journal.

Lead researcher Sally Goddard Blythe said the Government's curriculum for toddlers 'seems ridiculous to me'.

She added: 'Paying attention to higher aspects of learning too early creates splinter skills that they can't adapt and link to other things.

'They learn something in isolation and when they try to apply to it different circumstances they can't do it. …

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