Review of The New First Grade: Too Much Too Soon?

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The article The New First Grade: Too Much Too Soon? by Peg Tyre discusses the recent evolution of the preschool years and how children are required to master reading and mathematic skills at increasingly younger ages. It also describes how lessons that were once taught in the first grade are now being instructed to children in kindergarten. In regard to this topic, I believe that society today has become so competitive that parents are placing more and more pressure on their children to be academic stars and lose sight of what is truly important: encouraging their child to be the best that he or she can be.

Article Summary

In kindergarten, there has been a significant decrease in the amount of playtime and an increase in time spent learning mathematics and reading. Activities previously common in kindergarten, such as story time and arts and crafts are being replaced with worksheets and reading groups. The number of tests administered to children in preschool has increased as well. Children are tested as often as every 10 days to track their progress.

Many parents are willing to spend an exorbitant amount of money on their young children’s education in the hope that they will become Ivy League candidates in the future. They enroll their children in after-school tutoring and implement a substantial amount of external schoolwork for their child. Parents are not just concerned that their child succeeds, they are determined that their child be “the best.” As such, parents are forcing their children to obtain learning skills at increasingly younger ages, believing that the younger children are when they learn a skill, the more successful they will be later in life. This notion is not only false, but it can result in...

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...parents that their child be the finest. However, I was surprised to learn about the concept of “red-shirting.” The fact that parents will go to such extraordinary lengths to ensure that their child is one step ahead of all the others is quite astonishing. There are a number of questions that remain on this topic that future research should address, such as: Are most schools like this, or is this an over-exaggeration? Is this limited to a certain region of the country? Is this issue seen in other countries as well or is it seen only in the United States? Hopefully, forthcoming research will confront these and other matters and assist us in reforming the current education system.

Works Cited

Bee, H. L., & Boyd, D. A. (2009). The developing child (12th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Tyre, P. (2006, Sep). The new first grade: Too much too soon? Newsweek, 148(11), 34-44.
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