Why does higher standards always seem to mean harder rather than better? We seem to have decided, as a society, that if kids can do things at a younger age it is a sign of strong achievement.
I don't buy it.
Many people would be impressed if my first graders were adding two and three digit numbers. They would be wowed to see them measuring items with rulers and yardsticks. First graders identifying complicated fractions would make folks proud. But not me.
I want my first graders to truly understand two and three digit numbers before they add them. I want to know that they comprehend different ways to measure and the need to start at a certain point and end at a certain point. Understanding that fractions are equal parts of a whole is more important to me than being able to write two-sevenths properly.
I believe we do our students a disservice when we push them higher and higher without being sure they got the depth necessary. I'd love to see a study comparing young children who received the time and support to deeply understand concepts compared to students who were pushed to learn more and more and more. I'll put my money on those kids with the deep foundation.