Why Young Students Are Learning to "hate" School

Although a 2018 research brief has shown that young children learn best through structured play and that many do not have the attention span to sit at desks for long periods of time to do academic work, the past few years have brought new opportunities, centered around new curriculum and programs which are neglecting the very reason for embracing those learning opportunities: the students’ joy of learning. The Washington Post has run an article In a liberal Boston suburb, kindergarten teachers say their students are learning to ‘hate’ school using Brookline kindergarten teachers' open letter to the district as a case study for the general advancement of strict academic curriculum at the expanse of the more open ended art and play based classes. Here's an excerpt of the letter:

Here's an excerpt of the letter:

The past few years have brought new opportunities, centered around new curriculum and programs. However, in embracing these programs without meaningful teacher input, the district has neglected the very reason for embracing those learning opportunities: our students’ joy of learning. . . .

We see many of our Kindergartners struggle with anxiety about school because they know they are expected to read. A significant body of research exists showing the negative consequences to children’s emotional well-being when they are forced to read before their developing brains can make sense of it. Reading sooner does not always mean better. The push to get our Kindergartners to read earlier without consideration of their readiness is impacting their attitudes toward learning.

It is now common to hear their little voices announce to us, “I don’t know how to read.” “I hate reading.” “I hate school.” “I am not good at anything.” This is our greatest concern.

ART WITH ODETA workshop at FIAO is a great example of how to incorporate academic teaching via structured play and process art using Here Comes Ingo picture book.