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Another Look at what Young Children Should be Learning

by Lilian G. Katz
March/April 2008
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/another-look-at-what-young-children-should-be-learning/5018053/

Children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority. They show disrespect for elders, and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households.
Heraclitus (around 500 BC)

All teachers of all subjects at all levels have to address the question: What should be learned? Their answers to this question depend in part on the ages of the learners. Teachers' answers at the secondary school level are typically formulated in terms of the specific subjects they teach. Those teaching at the primary school level usually respond not only in terms of subjects, e.g., social studies, or science, etc., but also in terms of the basic skills involved in becoming proficient in reading, writing, and mathematics as well. But, how should preschool teachers answer this question?

The recent introduction of state standards for teaching and learning in the early years is one way of responding to that question.1 These standards tend to be strongly linked to what knowledge and skills are considered essential to be ready for school. Most of the standards are stated very broadly. For example "Communicate needs, ideas and thoughts"2 or "Explore quantity and number".3 Reaching agreement on such broad goals ...

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