In the United States children begin school at five, they are on a core curriculum, mass standardized testing, measuring not the student, but the minimum a student must know to graduate. Stress is abundant and learning is based on what you can remember for examinations. Children become less exploratory and flexible and not as good at actually applying what they have learned to everyday issues or problems.
Instead of envisioning a country of Nobel Laureates, Rhode Scholars or winning a Pulitzer, we should envision a country where each child has an opportunity to contribute to the betterment of our society. Contributions come in all manners, we but only have to help them find the best way to make their contribution. Instead in the U.S., we set extreme standards, which has yet to children find out who they want to be when they grow up. We need to stop investing in a curriculum based on an average student, but invest in the student themselves. Our future will be better for it.
Harvard Professor, Howard Gardiner suggests that we should emulate the schools of Finland which has a history of producing top scholars. Children don’t begin school until they are seven before that age many go to daycare and learn through play, songs, games and conversation. What an incredible way to learn.
You may ask, but how are children in Finland assessed? They are assessed every day through direct observation; check-ins and quizzes by the highest quality personalized learning device, their most valued resource, teachers.