John Holt

How Children Learn

About one of the most revolutionary books in pedagogy and parenting alike:

“Schools try to teach children skills and knowledge that may benefit them at some unknown time in the future. But children are interested in the now, not the future. They want to do real things now. By doing what they want to do they also prepare themselves wonderfully for the future, but that is a side effect.  This, I think, is the main insight of the book; most of the other ideas are more or less corollaries.”

Children and Apologies

Children and Apologies

Children do not perceive mistakes the same way we do. They are oblivious to most social norms and cultural taboos. However, children have been found to have an understanding of right and wrong from as early as 19 months old. I believe they can empathize from a much earlier age (depending on the emotional nourishment they received as infants).

The article below discusses how parents sometimes force their children to say “I’m sorry”. It’s a double mistake: first of all, the child is humiliated and secondly, the child doesn’t even understand the reason why the apology is made, hence damaging his or her understanding of the concept of being sorry.

Kids Start School Too Early

Kids Start School Too Early

A Stanford University study has shown that children who postponed kindergarten for up to one year showed dramatically higher levels of self-control. The study uses data from Denmark, where children have access to good pre-kindergarten (starting as early as 12-18 months).

The results of this study make perfect sense to me. It’s a confirmation of something I long believed to be true. I think that whatever parents can do to delay the institutionalization of their child (enrollment into the current industrialized educational system) will greatly help any young mind. I believe more studies like this will show up in the coming years. The sooner the better.