Teaching Young Children the 3Rs Could be Damaging: Psychologist



Teaching young children the 3Rs may not be the only skills a teacher or parent should be imparting to their young students, but it is hardly damaging. A considerate, patient and skilled person can teach all kind of skills without causing the distress alarmist psychologists make us believe occurs:


Cambridge University lecturer David Whitebread said it was important for parents to play with their children, as these youngsters were more likely to enjoy solving problems, and better equipped to cope with failure.

Former primary school teacher Mr Whitebread also claimed the government was overly concerned with getting children to learn the 3Rs at an ever decreasing age, and said younger children were better off learning to cook alongside their parents.

Mr Whitebread, a developmental cognitive psychologist, said that although learning to read was an important skill, teaching reading, writing and arithmatic to toddlers was a waste of government money and the child’s time.

Mr Whitebread said that learning to read at to young an age could even be damaging for a child.

‘Instead the parent can share something they love, such as making cakes, or tinkering with engines, the key is partly sharing the enthusiasm but mainly the conversations you have with the child while doing it.’


Click on the link to read 7 Ways To Teach Kids Self-Awareness

Click on the link to read Kids Explain the Meaning of Happiness

Click on the link to read 5 Reasons Why It’s Healthy to Encourage Children to Play

Click on the link to read Allowing Children to Stand Out From the Pack

Click on the link to read Hilarious Examples of Kids Telling It As It Is


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4 Responses to “Teaching Young Children the 3Rs Could be Damaging: Psychologist”

  1. kedavis99 Says:

    I find it interesting that he claims it may be damaging but gives no reasons why or how, no examples of children damaged by this. Rather I think kids that come in to school with less knowledge of the 3Rs are more likely to be damaged as they will have more ground to make up. However it’s not insurmountable.

  2. John Tapscott Says:

    I think you miss the point. I spend many days in classrooms observing teachers in their daily work. Teachers are constrained to follow a state mandated curriculum which expects all children of a certain age to learn all things at the same time. What i see is a growing cohort of children getting left behind. They don’t get it. They don’t get it because what someone is attempting to teach them is beyond their current level of cognitive development. Leave it for a year or two and teach it again and you see the lights go on in their little faces. But so often, with a crowded curriculum, there is little time to revisit something or even consolidate it.

    I would be surprised if Mr Whitebread was referring to foundational educational experiences upon which teachers build. I would not attempt to teach my 3 year old grandson to read. Not yet. But he has a favourite book in which each page has depicted a collection of objects, large and small. He loves it when I ask him to point to the clock, or the egg, or the marble, or the “stop” sign. He will engage in this activity for up to an hour. He may not be learning to read but he is engaging in a foundational educational experience.

    It has almost got to the point where we say to children in Prep, “OK, no more baby stuff, have some differential calculus.” Ridiculous, isn’t it. Thankfully things are not that extreme yet.

    What needs to happen is that the curriculum needs to be more closely aligned to children’s levels of cognitive development. Otherwise we run the risk of doing to a child’s cognitive development what attempting to teach him to walk before he could stand up, would do to his physical development. Children are disengaging from the education process already at an earlier age.

    Without the necessary foundational experiences learning is going to be hampered. If you can liken learning to building a brick wall, laying one course upon another, you will see that if one brick is missing from the foundational course, there will be two bricks missing on the next course, and three on the next. Neglect of foundational experiences in favour of going for the “harder stuff” too soon will lead to more children being left behind.

    Noddy and Big Ears were building a house. Noddy had a great idea. He suggested they put the roof on first so that if it rains they wouldn’t get wet. My teacher read the story that contained this episode, when I was in my first year of school. My father, being a builder, I thought the story to be ridiculous. I now realise that Enid Blyton was saying something quite profound, whether intentional or not; something of which modern educators need to take notice.

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