Young children can learn more than people used to think, says a New York Times story on cognitive neuroscience.
The teaching of basic academic skills, until now largely the realm of tradition and guesswork, is giving way to approaches based on cognitive science. In several cities, including Boston, Washington and Nashville, schools have been experimenting with new curriculums to improve math skills in preschoolers. In others, teachers have used techniques developed by brain scientists to help children overcome dyslexia.
And schools in about a dozen states have begun to use a program intended to accelerate the development of young students’ frontal lobes, improving self-control in class.
The story looks at the Building Blocks program for preschoolers.
In a Building Blocks classroom, numbers are in artwork, on computer games and in lessons, sharing equal time with letters. . . . children play creative counting games; but it also focuses on other number skills, including cardinality (how many objects are in a set) and one-to-one correspondence (matching groups of objects, like cups and saucers). Teachers can tailor the Building Block lesson to a student’s individual ability.
Children who learn math basics early do better than those who aren’t taught the basics.