You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.
Write about the following topic:
In some countries it is thought advisable that children begin formal education at four years old, while in others they do not have to start school until they are seven or eight.
How far do you agree with either of these views?
Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.
Write at least 250 words.
In some parts of the world, parents encourage their children to begin studying while they are still toddlers, using a variety of books and computer games which teach them to count or to learn their letters. The parents choose a first school for their four-year-old which focuses on academic ability in order that, by the time they enter the next school, the children are well ahead of their age group, with high marks in important subjects such as maths and language, or are equipped to take competitive entrance examinations for other schools if that is relevant.
In other countries, children are at home or playschool until they are around seven years old. They do not even begin to study reading until then, but they listen to and tell stories, they paint and draw, they make models and build tree houses, they swim and play ball games, they keep fish and grow plants in the playschool garden.
In my opinion, the question is not which method produces the most able students, because all over the world, the majority of those who reach university do so at around the same age, wherever they are educated. A brilliant scientist from one country may be working in a laboratory alongside an equally brilliant scientist from another country and the educational start of each career may have been in complete contrast. Therefore, it is clear that the two approaches can both produce able academics, all other things being equal. Nevertheless, it is probable that one method is preferable to the other.
It seems to me that spending early childhood struggling to acquire academic skills in a competitive atmosphere is not the best way to produce a balanced personality. Learning through play and developing social skills equips a child for adult life in essential ways that the competitive parents neglect. If the child has academic ability, this will manifest itself as the child develops and does not need to be forced at an early age.