Based on ample evidence from this country and the United States, it is clear that young children's learning thrives most on a curriculum based on activity and experience. To provide effectively for four-year-olds at a time when their development is moving at the speed of light, takes a rigorously planned curriculum.
Formality is not a requirement of rigour and if anything, making simple responses to questions out of a context which has any meaning for a child, is unlikely to promote intellectual growth. We do not necessarily need restricting formalised targets to provide a framework which gives a planned structure to young children's learning but also allows for their minds to thread through that framework unfettered.
Mike Morgan Information officer National Association of Educational Inspectors, Advisers and Consultants PO Box 266 Doncaster