It’s against human nature to send two-year-olds to school

    Research output: Contribution to journalLetter/Comment/Debatepeer-review


    In order to make young children “school ready”, the English government is now encouraging parents to place their children in school nurseries shortly after their second birthday. But there is evidence to suggest that this policy might be poorly aligned to the developmental needs of such young children and that it contravenes their underlying human nature.

    In the broader history of humanity, state-funded schooling is a very recent public strategy and is only about two centuries old in England. It arose from the industrial revolution as a process to instill the population with basic literacy and numeracy skills. Until even more recently, there was never any suggestion that a school environment was the right place in which to nurture children under five years of age.

    So let’s take a step back and consider whether our human hunter-gatherer heritage has really attuned infants towards such an environment during this very early stage of their development. Human beings are, at base, linguistic primates, born with brains that are highly “plastic”, which subsequently undergo a huge amount of development in interaction with the environment and, most importantly, other people.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalThe Conversation
    Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2015


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