From NPR’s Morning Edition, a new study: “Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have found that 4- and 5-year-olds are smarter than college students when it comes to figuring out how toys and gadgets work.”
However, “smarter” is probably the wrong term in this case, as the sentence prior to this one explains: “It turns out that young children may be more open-minded than adults when it comes to solving problems” and later in the piece that “children are better at solving problems when the solution is an unexpected one”.
But you really don’t need research to understand that young children are far more willing to experiment and play with new situations, like electronic devices, than older kids and especially adults.
So what could possibly happen in the years between Kindergarten and college to alter that approach to problem solving? I wonder…
Anyway, all of this reminds me of the work of Mitch Resnick, director of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab, who a decade or more ago was writing about how we need to spread the learning process followed naturally by 5 year olds into the rest of K12.
Instead of forcing the artificial processes of “formal” learning from upper grades down into early education.