Research in child development over decades as well as modern neuroscience clearly show that young children learn best when they are active. That means they get to put their hands on things, interact with other kids and adults, move a lot, create, play. But in the current school reform era, that’s not what is happening in too many classrooms. The emphasis is on “rigorous instruction,” and young children are forced to sit at their desks doing academic work — sometimes with little or no recess and/or sufficient physical education.
Carlsson-Paige is author of “Taking Back Childhood.” The mother of two artist sons, Matt Damon and Kyle Damon, she is also the recipient of numerous awards, including the Legacy Award from the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps for work over several decades on behalf of children and families, and the Deborah Meier award by the nonprofit National Center for Fair and Open Testing. She recently was a keynote speaker at a recent symposium of early childhood educators from the five Nordic countries (Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Iceland) and the United States.