What do you think matters the most, your young child’s progress on the alphabet or her ability to play well with others?  You might be in for a surprise, according to this fascinating article I found.

If you want your child to be college-bound, you might be inclined to push the numbers and letters (even pressing early reading).  While these skills are certainly important, the authors of this article make a case for social engagement as the number one priority.

Academic Focus Or Social Play Focus?

Schools today are bombarded with state and federal curriculum requirements.  Preschools like to tout their programs for helping “academic readiness.”  Makes me wonder what their school days would be like if we received fewer papers from school and heard more stories of cooperative learning.

I’m not saying that individual paperwork is a bad idea.  I just wonder what would happen if the cooperative play approach to school was more of the norm than the exception.  The article discussed how some college freshman come in with little understanding of how to learn in a cooperative environment.

They may have a lot of intellectual knowledge, but have trouble engaging with others in a meaningful way. It’s not enough to just be book smart in today’s world.  Kids need to learn how to be flexible and how to understand their social environment.  Those are vital skills from making the next most important transition – college to working world.

Readers, what’s your opinion on this?  How do you see play as an important learning experience for kids today?

Creative Commons License photo credit: Jizzon