Rose blindspot

2nd January 2009 at 00:00

While the Rose review has been warmly welcomed by many primary school teachers because it presents good ideas, beware of its inconsistencies. Rose has a blindspot for early years. From noting that summer-born children entering the reception class are disadvantaged by their immaturity, he leaps to the contradiction of beginning school at four. He is still supporting the "audit culture", as shown in the statement, "because progress is goal related, the goals of learning must be explicit". But good practice in early years is to provide a rich and stimulating environment and follow the child's initiatives. To lead or direct the child puts an end to his own questing, learning process. This is well understood in many countries in Europe, which now delay the onset of formal education until seven, and make a point of avoiding all forms of cognitive work before this age. He extols "play", but his earlier statement suggests the concept of play as teacher-led, which psychologists claim is not play at all.

Finally, ICT endangers small children for the same reason: its imperviousness to their own inner process. Aric Sigman's book Remotely Controlled, citing 30 years of Harvard research revealing dangers of screen technology, explains that corruption of the dopamine response erodes concentration, encourages ADHD, and in the very young, presents the risk of autism.

Grethe Hooper Hansen, Retired teacher, Batheaston, Bath.

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