Are Today's Pre-Scholars Smarter Than A Decade Ago?

I have three children, ages 16, 11, and 4. And the differences I see between my 4 year-old and my 16 year-old when she was 4 are scary. At his tender age, he has remarkable hand-eye coordination and already has computer skills. Plus he is speaking some Spanish thanks to Dora the Explorer and Diego.

When my daughter was that age, she was happy to play with a box. My son spends an hour a day playing spelling and reading games on the computer. The differences in the decade seem more than just a decade ago. When she entered school, the most she knew of computers was that mom had one and it was off limits to her.

They simply did not have the software for children back then that they do today. There were no typing tutors, reading programs, spelling helpers, math programs, or any of the other computer programs that are readily available to toddlers and pre-schoolers of today.

Oh sure back then and even when I was a child, Seasame Street had bi-lingual lessons in Spanish, but they did not repeat the word over and over for a week like the Dora and Diego shows do. I believe that it is this repetition that drives the words into the minds of the toddlers and helps them to learn the words quickly.

Television shows for young children today teach tolerance, sharing, colors, numbers, letter recognition, problem solving and other items that they normally do not receive until they are in school. Is this to help the child get ready for school or is this more of a hindrance in the child's academic career?

Are parents of today relying more on television to teach their children the fundamentals that they themselves should be taking time out of their lives to teach the child simply because it is easier to hit the remote control button? Or do they sit with the child and discuss what they have just seen on the television with their child?

And just what has happened to the imagination of the child with the cardboard box? Where has it gone? It is a catchall for toys. That is where it has gone. No longer is it a racecar, a space ship, a fort. Seems like today's toddler has lost the imagination factor and has developed more of a scientific brain. They are able to recognize different penguins and different animals. When my daughter was 4, tigers were kitties, my 4 year-old knows they are tigers and are from India.

When did this shift in pre-schoolers start? Was it after my 11 year-old began his school career? When did I miss this shift in education of pre-schoolers?

I guess that what ever the shift is, I support it, because any little jump ahead my youngest can get before he starts school, the easier of a time he will have in school. Maybe he will enjoy his academic career more. And maybe he will go all the way through college as well.

Published on July 20, 2006 in