Play is pivotal
Education isn’t only about learning how to read and write or how to add and subtract. The most effective learning happens when children are simply being children. This may sound obvious, but there’s a growing trend (especially in developed countries, like the US, for example), for parents to enrol their kids into so-called “academic pre-schools”. The reasoning behind this is that a prestigious pre-school will eventually lead to acceptance into a top university.
However, according to the book Academic Instruction in Early Childhood: Challenge or Pressure, research shows that this is a precarious path to take, as academic pre-schoolers are generally anxious and have low self-esteem. Instead, early education should include a lot of play, which encourages imagination, taking turns, socialisation, and self-control (TIME).