Way back in 1989, Raymond and Dorothy Moore published “Better Late than Early: A New Approach to Your Child’s Education.” In the book they presented thorough research supporting the rather old-fashioned idea that young children thrive best in a home environment, and do NOT gain from academics in preschool and kindergarten.
“Better Late than Early” has become a catch phrase for the decision to de-emphasis early academics. Many helpful books have explored the same premise from slightly different angles, including “Miseducation: Preschoolers at Risk”, “Einstein Never Used Flashcards: How Our Children Really Learn–and Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less” and “Your Child’s Growing Mind” .
I was raised in an academic household and, in school, I was often defined by my “ahead-of-the-game” status since I graduated two years early. It doesn’t come naturally for me to assume this “Better Late than Early” idea, but I have to say that all of the research – ALL OF IT – supports the concept.
In our lives, adopting a “Better Late than Early” mentality supported our decision to take our oldest out of a local preschool program in favor of keeping her home. It challenges me to resist the desire to practice writing and phonics with my 4-year-old. It encourages me to consider “mundane” time together cooking, coloring, painting, cleaning or playing outside as valuable, enriching experiences far more developmentally appropriate than any LeapFrog learning toy.
If you are like most parents, marketers have already sold you the various teach-your-baby now, get your child on the fast-track to success type products. Don’t feel bad. Sadly, the researches and child development experts just don’t have the same marketing clout as big business. I do challenge you to pick up one of the books I’ve mentioned above or simply click over to this very informative article Teaching our children to write, read & spell to get a birds eye view of the risks of early academics vs. the benefits and ease of waiting.