Learning to read and write are important.
Children in England arguably have to start too soon. And the culture of testing makes things worse.
But is there another way? What if we – as parents and teachers – approached learning in a spirit of non-attachment, like a Buddhist monk?
Just like eating well, taking exercise or learning the piano, good habits compound. They get results over time.
Instead of saying we’ll test all children on their spelling at 6, for example, with all the distorting effects that that would have on teaching, what if we simply committed to doing 10 minutes of focused phonics work every day and created a regular slot for practising handwriting? Do it every day. No pressure. Keep it fun. See where you get to.
When a teacher feels pressure to get results, she spends a disproportionate amount of time trying to achieve them. Some of the fun, the really valuable stuff, has to make way.
This is not an argument for lowering standards. Simply that by trusting teachers (and ourselves) to do a good job without constant testing, we free up so much time for richer experiences.
Is there anything you are trying to teach your child that could benefit from a similar approach?
Try not to focus on the results. Less pressure = more fun = deeper learning.
Little and often.
Slow and steady wins the race.