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Think Out Loud

Learning In Preschool

Pete Springer/OPB

New research out of Oregon State University is challenging how strongly preschools should focus on reading, writing, and arithmetic. Instead of these academic skills, lead researcher Megan McClelland says self-control skills should be encouraged. The ability to think ahead, organize, and problem solve are what McClelland calls, “learning to learn” skills. She says they lay the foundation for how kids do in school and later life.

McClelland studied 425 kidsfrom the time they were in preschool all the way through their college years. The more persistant and attentive kids were 50 percent more likely to graduate with a bachelors degree.

This not only means preschools may be teaching the wrong content, but they might be teaching it in the wrong way. McClelland says rote, desk-based learning doesn’t help with self-control. Instead, McClelland suggests parents and teachers should focus on games that challenge kids to pay attention and respond to new rules.

What skills do you teach your children? What games do you play to help them learn?

childhood development osu psychology

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