In the next week or so, I want to think a little about academic achievement in early childhood; that is to say before the age of four or five. I have told readers before that my daughter was reading at fifteen months and was fluent by two years and three months. This is very early and many people, particularly education professionals, were horrified about what I was doing. It would cause the child to develop an aversion to literacy, I was not considering ‘reading readiness’, it was cruel to push a baby in this way and a hundred other objections. They were of course idiots and the reason that they adopted this foolish position was because they had created in their own minds a dichotomy between learning and play.
In fact of course, children learn through play and do so almost from the moment of birth. This is only natural; mammals in general play and this often the way in which the young of a species gain the vital skills that they will need as adults. In lions, for example, this can take the form of mock fights and pretend ambushes among the cubs. With humans, this same process can be guided to encourage the young human to acquire the literacy and mathematical ability which will be indispensable in later life.
I have not the time adequately to explore this thesis today, but hope to do so over the course of the next few days. I am frantically busy at the moment with revising a book. When I wrote a book on the 1970s earlier this year, it seemed a great idea to give it the sub-title; When flares were cool and Jim could fix it. This would hardly be what one wish to appear on the cover of any book following recent revelations and so the cover and some of the book will need to be changed before publication in the spring, which is exceedingly time-consuming.