Concentrating, overcoming difficulties, controlling one's impulses: even kindergarten children can learn all this.
Dawn Bradley has spent a lot of time with three, four and five year olds. That's why she's sure: the children aren't challenged enough if you just ask them yes/no questions or give them the simplest of instructions. During her five years as an educator at a preschool in Tennessee, she watched little ones puzzle math problems until they found the solution. How they asked smart questions about insect anatomy and the nearby Mississippi. And how they would politely apologize when they accidentally bumped into a playmate. Bradley observed that if you help children at an early age to train their concentration and reflect on their own actions in a playful way, they will benefit from this for years to come.
In many preschools, children listen to a teacher read to them; they practice letters or numbers. However, a growing body of research supports Bradley's view that good early intervention needs to do more. According to a number of educational experts, these two areas should be specifically supported. On the one hand the "executive functions". They encompass a whole range of skills: retaining an idea in one's head and recalling it a short time later, being able to control one's impulses, and the ability to flexibly direct one's attention. The second major area is language: vocabulary and pronunciation are part of it, but also being able to communicate eloquently with others.
If you practice such skills early on, you will not only find it easier to learn later in school, but also …