Why the rush to early academic education is harming children and altering childhood

Featured on MegaZEN volume 5

Several months ago, nearly 65,000 students in New York City slung their backpacks on and paraded out into the world ready to start the 2016-2017 school year. At this moment, they’re knee deep in a rigorous curriculum that includes language arts, math, science, social studies, history, civics and government, economics, career development, the arts, and technology.1 They’re studying between six and seven hours each day, five days a week, to secure their places in the working world of the future. Oh, and they’re four-year-olds.

In 2014, New York City instituted full-day Universal Prekindergarten in a move that the media called “one of the nation’s most ambitious experiments in public school education reform.”2 The implementation of rigorous academic discipline much earlier in life is becoming a trend across the country. This trend arises from several unproven, but familiar theories, namely that it will help close the achievement gap for disadvantaged children, ensure American students keep pace with their classmates around the world, and raise lagging international achievement test scores. It has also been said that it will secure our children’s place in a competitive global job market. Really? At four?

In spite of these claims, a rising tide of education and healthcare experts are advising against exposing young children to regimented academic instruction. An overwhelming amount of research shows that doing so interrupts normal child development and changes the way children think, behave and perceive the world. The schoolification of early childhood, and all the rigors and responsibilities that come with it, are damaging to children because their minds and bodies are designed to learn and grow through unstructured creative play and exploration.

It turns out that the federal government finally had to admit that after forty-seven years and $200 billion, the low-income preschool program, Head Start, provided no lasting benefit to children, even when tested up to the third grade.3 In fact, the intrusion of academic education in early life has been shown to prevent children from performing as well as they normally would in grade school because by that time, they’re stressed out and no longer enjoy learning.

Why the rush to early academic education is harming children and altering childhood

Baby Burnout

The obsession with early academic education among influential child development experts and educrats in government has resulted in preschool programs that now include most of what used to be learned in kindergarten and much of first grade. The kindergarten of yore, in which children enjoyed finger painting, story time, milk and cookies, and social games is largely gone. When polled, 65% of kindergarten teachers felt strongly that children should be able to read before entering grade school.4 This aggressively academic approach to early childhood is tearing kids down and burning them out. Unfortunately, among many teachers and education administrators, the early education myth refuses to die.

Barely a year after New York City Mayor, Bill De Blasio, launched Universal Prekindergarten, parents were pleading with him to move to a half-day schedule because their four-year-olds were “exhausted” from the daily grind and heavy workloads.5 When De Blasio stood by his original plan and provided no other options, angry parents questioned the validity of the program by asserting that, “The mayor is not a developmental psychologist.”6

The internet is awash with stories from desperate parents describing how their once bright-eyed five-year-olds are coming home listless, irritable, disinterested or exhausted from a full day of drills, exercises, tests and memorization. Parents describe many heartbreaking instances of children bursting into tears or simply laying their heads down on the kitchen table because they just can’t keep up with the pressure of learning to read. They are subjected to repeated testing, and are asked to memorize vocabulary lists, write weekly essays and do homework nightly. And if that’s not enough, they are expected to perform at an aptitude level a full year or two higher than their actual age. Left with no other options, some parents have chosen to relocate to different school districts or states where academics aren’t introduced so aggressively at such an early age.7

According to the Education Commission of the States, compulsory education at the age of five beginning with kindergarten is mandated in fifteen states. In the remaining thirty-five states, kindergarten is offered at a full or half-day, or for a few hours, but is not mandatory. Of these states, twenty one require academic education beginning at age six, twelve at age seven, and two at age eight.8 Even so, there are those who believe in the early education myth so fervently that every few years there are regular movements to make kindergarten mandatory nationwide,9 push for full-day kindergarten,10 or lengthen the school year.

In 2013, New York City spent $18.6 million over three years to lengthen the school day by an incredible 2.5 hours for 2,000 students who were struggling in reading. This meant that many students were in class until 6pm every night.11 Needless to say, the pilot program didn’t foster a love for reading or learning. After a certain threshold is reached, everything will provide diminishing returns, even education. Somewhere along the way, someone decided that creative play for young children was just meaningless distraction from “real” education, when in fact, play is the process of education itself. When will the educrats realize that more hours in the school day, more months in the school year, a more difficult curriculum, and more money in the budget don’t make kids smarter?

In the UK, many children receive formal academic instruction in literacy and numeracy at age four, with mandatory schooling starting at age five. The reality of overwhelmed, stressed out children, barely past their toddler years, is an unfortunate but familiar problem there. In 2013, more than a hundred teachers, education writers, and academics wrote to then Secretary of State of Education, Michael Gove, to emphasize the developmental and psychological dangers of forcing the “tests and targets that dominate primary education” on children younger than six or seven in the name of “school readiness.” Sadly, a spokesperson from the Secretary’s office replied with a statement that demonstrates how entrenched educrats are in the idea that children who are introduced to academics sooner will get better results later:

“These people represent the powerful and badly misguided lobby who are responsible for the devaluation of exams and the culture of low expectations in state schools. We need a system that aims to prepare pupils to solve hard problems in calculus or be a poet or engineer – a system freed from the grip of those who bleat bogus pop-psychology about ‘self-image’, which is an excuse for not teaching poor children how to add up.”12

This attitude is precisely why any serious reform can’t happen from the top down, but must come from the bottom up, by a grassroots movement of concerned parents and educators.

“The intrusion of academic education in early life has been shown to prevent children from performing as well as they normally would in grade school because by that time, they’re stressed out and no longer enjoy learning.”

Common Core, Common Problem

Unless you homeschool or can afford to pay for a private school, it’s almost impossible for a young child in the U.S. to avoid the aggressive academic approach. That’s because beginning around 2009, the U.S. nationalized public school instruction by providing states with financial incentives to sign on to the Common Core curriculum, a unified system of instruction that runs from prekindergarten through high school, and promises to improve the college and career readiness of American students.

It used to be that individual states laid down subject requirements for school instruction, and it was largely left to local school boards to decide at what grade level those subjects would be introduced, the methods by which they would be taught, and what books and materials they would use. This structure not only provided parents with more choices based on curriculum and approach, but it gave teachers vastly more freedom to choose how they taught subjects in order to reach children who learn in different ways.

Now that forty-six states have accepted the government grants and signed on to Common Core, local school boards play virtually no role in choosing curriculum, or how math, science, language arts, history and social studies are taught. Only Texas, Nebraska, Alaska and Virginia turned down the federal grants and maintained local control of education in their states. Now, most of the nation teaches the same subjects in exactly the same way because educrats in a privately-funded think tank claimed American students were lagging behind their international peers and that education in the U.S. needed standardization. But in the end, the only result standardization can ever achieve is to make everything the same. Who decided all children were the same and that there was only one way to learn?

Naturally, Common Core has been surrounded by controversy since the day it was implemented. Parents and teachers, as well as education and child development experts around the country, regularly protest many aspects of the program, including the introduction of academic material and workloads that aren’t age-appropriate for younger children, and that ultimately set them up to fail. New York City’s Universal Prekindergarten is based on Common Core principles. This is a small sample of some of the academic and abstract skills four-year-olds are expected to demonstrate in just two of their subjects, language arts and math.13

  • Compare and contrast two stories relating to the same topic…student will make cultural connections to text and self
  • Differentiate letters from numerals
  • Participate in shared research and writing projects
  • Identify new meanings for familiar words and apply them accurately
  • Distinguish shades of meaning among verbs describing the same general action
  • Demonstrate emergent phonics, printing, capitalization, and understanding and use of common interrogative words and prepositions
  • Count to 20
  • Understand the relationship between numbers and quantities
  • Demonstrate an understanding of addition and subtraction
  • Identify measurable attributes like length, height and width
Why the rush to early academic education is harming children and altering childhood

To ensure they’re progressing according to state expectations, students are administered high stakes diagnostic and achievement tests from the first through tenth grades that generally last for more than six hours over the course of three days. Because student results are reflected in teacher evaluations, teachers are under a great deal of pressure to spend the majority of their time “teaching to the test,” with little to no opportunity to explore other topics.

The mounting pressure to perform on recurring standardized tests has caused great anxiety in students at all grade levels, and resulted in a nationwide parent-initiated protest movement that culminated in parents not allowing their children to be tested. In spring 2015, 155,000 students in New York refused to sit for the Common Core standardized state test in English Language Arts.14 A year later, elementary and middle schools on Long Island were experiencing refusal rates of between 60% and 70% of all students from the third through eighth grades. Parents started calling for a national opt-out day, and proposed a march on Washington D.C.15

Also of concern to parents and educators is the observation that Common Core doesn’t challenge children with increasingly complex age-appropriate material, but rather makes basic material unnecessarily more difficult. For example, instead of teaching the most common two or three-step algorithm to solve a math problem in the easiest and quickest way, Common Core requires children to use entirely different forms of counterintuitive calculations that often involve ten to fifteen or more additional steps to reach the same answer. Kids are stressing out because getting the right answer isn’t enough anymore. They must show their work, and get the right answer in the “right” way.16 One of the results of this approach are that bright children start to think they are not smart, and students who need extra help don’t even bother trying.

Adding to these frustrations are complaints from children and parents that Common Core frequently presents test questions and homework assignments with confusing or highly ambiguous directions. The internet is awash with thousands of articles and videos of parents with advanced degrees struggling to help their befuddled children with their Common Core homework, but not being able to make sense out of the convoluted instructions or objectives.17 Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, John King, Jr., has conceded that high-stakes testing and the way in which Common Core material is presented is designed so that 70% of students will fail! According to the public school advocacy group, the Network for Public Education (NPE), setting students up to do poorly not only undermines public schools, but creates a “false narrative” that the system is failing children.18

What Education Crisis?

We were sold the idea that standardizing education and the introduction of aggressive academic instruction at younger ages was necessary because American students were lagging behind the rest of the world, and that our existing educational system was failing. But is that really true? Christopher Tienken, Ed.D. is an assistant professor of Education Administration at Seton Hall University where he teaches curriculum and instructional analysis to doctoral candidates. Previously in his career, Dr. Tienken had been an elementary school teacher, school principal, and school district superintendent. In his analytical papers and in presentations he makes around the country, Dr. Tienken gives a compelling, evidence-based explanation as to why the so-called U.S. educational crisis prior to Common Core was a statistical fabrication.

“Somewhere along the way, someone decided that creative play for young children was just meaningless distraction from ‘real’ education, when in fact, play is the process of education itself.”

His research proves that American students were performing at or near the top in all required subjects in comparison with their international peers:19

  • No international academic test has ever been validated to represent the overall quality of schooling in any country.
  • The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) states that when one student scores above another, “…it cannot be inferred that school or particular parts of the education in the first country are more effective than those in the second.”
  • When comparing international schools with the same level of poverty, less than 10%, the U.S. outscores the world in all areas of the PISA. (Perhaps we have a poverty problem and not an education problem.)
  • Even without adjusting for poverty, U.S. 4th graders ranked 8th and 7th in math and science out of 53 countries, on the Trends in International Math and Science Studies (TIMSS) test. U.S. 8th graders placed 7th and 9th out of 53. American students scored higher than 85% of all countries in the study. (Hardly evidence of an educational crisis.)
  • The U.S. produces 289 IT and computer science degrees per one million people. In second place, India produces 104. China produces 270, but with a population of 1.5 billion.
  • Only 8 other countries produce more bachelor degrees than the U.S., and nearly all of them subsidize higher education. Of people between 25 and 64 with at least a bachelor’s degree in science or engineering, the U.S. is ranked 4th with 33%. In China, it’s 2%.20
  • Of the world’s 980 Nobel Prizes given for chemistry, economics, literature, medicine, peace, and physics, the U.S. has won 353. The U.K. is second with 125, followed by Germany with 105. China has won 9.21
  • As of 2015, the U.S. held 140,969 utility patents compared to the rest of the world at 157,438. China held 7,244.22
  • Global Competitiveness Index: U.S. is ranked 3rd behind Switzerland and Singapore. China is 28th.23
  • Global Entrepreneur Index: U.S. ranks 1st. China ranks 60th.24
  • Global Creativity Index: U.S, ranks 2nd behind Australia. China ranks 62nd.25
  • Global Innovation Index: U.S. ranks 4th behind Switzerland, Sweden and the U.K. China ranks 25th.26

Considering this small sampling of impressive achievements, it’s a mystery how anyone could have thought the U.S. educational system was inferior, or that its graduates were falling behind the rest of the world. It’s also important to know that all of the Americans who accomplished these great things were not educated under a standardized, one-size-fits-all, hyper-regimented curriculum that does not support a child’s individual creativity and innovative spirit. How can requiring our children to master a standardized curriculum prepare them to be the exemplary graphic designers, pastry chefs, engineers, teachers, airline pilots, doctors, architects, home health aides, lawyers, filmmakers and writers of tomorrow?

Why the rush to early academic education is harming children and altering childhood

Imagination Imperative

Creativity is crucial to the growth and progress of any society. Without creativity and innovation, we wouldn’t have any of the technological, medical, scientific or artistic advancements we enjoy today. According to the LEGO Foundation, which researches the importance of play in child education and development, CEOs regularly report that collaboration, imagination, innovation and exploration (all fundamental aspects of creative play) are lacking in the workforce today.27

All human achievement begins in the imagination, which is why former university professor, education expert and author, Ken Robinson, stated in his now world famous TED Talk, Do Schools Kill Creativity?28 that creativity is as important as literacy in education. According to Robinson, “If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” Prior to formal schooling, children are less afraid to make mistakes and are more willing to take chances. Once they enter the audit culture of school, where mistakes are stigmatized, their boundless imaginations and non-linear thought processes are discouraged and ultimately curtailed. By instilling the fear of being wrong and putting pressure on children to conform to a standard approach to learning, we end up educating the creativity right out of them. By limiting creative innovation, we are not only harming our children, but we are condemning ourselves to a limited future.

In his presentation, Robinson cites a powerful study published in Breakpoint and Beyond29 that tested 1,500 kindergarteners for divergent thinking, a nonlinear process that generates a multitude of creative approaches to solving problems. At age five, 98% of the children were determined to be at the genius level. By the time the same children were ten, 50% were still testing at the highest levels, but by age fifteen, virtually none were. It appears that perhaps geniuses aren’t actually a rarity, but that our system of education suppresses our natural capabilities.

Play in Primary Development

Forcing young children into a rigorous academic program is damaging, not just because of the emotional and physical stress they experience, but because it goes directly against their social and psychological development. A child’s brain develops at a very rapid pace when the child is learning holistically through visual, auditory, and kinesthetic inputs from experiences in his or her environment.

When the developing child is forced to use his or her brain in primarily analytic or abstract ways, his or her growth is compromised in other areas, particularly in the areas of problem-solving, social cooperation, emotional regulation and language development. Furthermore, many studies have shown that by the third or fourth grade, there is no difference in ability between children who learned to read at five and those who learned at seven. In fact, those who learned to read and were exposed to academics earlier had a poorer attitude toward school later.

As much as educrats would like us to believe that early schooling for young children is what’s best for them, an overwhelming amount of research going back to the 1920s, proves that the very opposite is true. In a report titled, The Importance of Play,30 Dr. David Whitehead of the University of Cambridge compiled a voluminous amount of research studies for the Toy Industries of Europe (TIE) showing why a later start to formal education (by age six or seven) and unstructured creative play for young children is fundamental to their cognitive development and emotional wellbeing.

The research reveals that pretend play supports the understanding of symbols, particularly as they relate to literacy, more than direct instruction does. Several longitudinal studies, including one from the British Department of Education, show that superior academic achievement, greater motivation and increased well-being are the results for children who had attended child-initiated, play-based preschools. Unstructured play, as opposed to work, gives children the freedom to focus on the means rather than the end, which is vital to developing problem-solving skills, higher order cognitive functions, and social-emotional skills.

“The schoolification of early childhood, and all the rigors and responsibilities that come with it, are damaging to children because their minds and bodies are designed to learn and grow through unstructured creative play and exploration.”

There is extensive evidence suggesting that there is a real relationship between the complexity and sophistication of pretend play, and the emotional wellbeing of the child. The lack of play is directly linked to increased indicators for the presence of stress and mental health problems. Rough and tumble play, artistic expression, role playing and engaging in games with rules, all have a crucial role in language development and the ability of the child to self-regulate cognitive and emotional processes. Taken together, language ability and self-regulation are powerful predictors of academic achievement and wellbeing. Children who engage in symbolic play can process information more quickly, and children who are left to their own devices often engage in “private speech,” which they use to self-guide and self-regulate. This “self-talk” has been shown to help children with challenges and problem-solving.

A study was performed in Germany in the 1970s, when the push was on to transform play-based kindergartens into early learning centers. Researchers followed fifty classes of children from kindergarten through the fourth grade. Half the classes were play-based, and half were academic. Children from the play-based programs excelled over their peers from the academic programs on all seventeen measures. Not only were they more advanced in reading and math, but they were better adjusted socially and emotionally. It was because of this study that Germany reversed its move toward early academics and made all kindergartens play-based.31

Intuition & Alternatives

Hopefully the U.S., like Germany, will in time understand that its move to rush children younger than seven into early academics is counterintuitive, and will instead make play-based early education a priority once again. Nearly one hundred years ago, Rudolf Steiner, a German scholar of philosophy, anticipated this trend toward early academics and in response created a style of education that preserves the innocence of childhood while working with the child’s psycho-social development process in order to stimulate learning and promote growth.

Known as the Waldorf Method, Steiner’s approach is based on a combination of educational and esoteric philosophies he collectively called anthroposophy. In the Waldorf School, the goal is to develop free but morally responsible individuals with a high degree of social competence and creative capability. In the early years, all learning is experienced through creative play, experimentation and storytelling, with lots of outdoor excursions to stay connected to nature. Students are encouraged to experience things first and then explain them in their own words and drawings instead of simply reading or being told about them.

This approach simultaneously engages the visual, auditory and kinesthetic ways in which children learn. There are no books in these early years, only the books that students create for themselves based on what they’ve learned. Every lesson becomes a tangible, hands-on experience. Children may learn about math, patterning and problem-solving by knitting socks, or learn fractions by cutting up food items. Sculpting, painting, weaving, pottery and other sorts of creative and physical activities are employed to make every lesson an engaging and dynamic experience in order to stimulate all areas of the child’s brain development.

Why the rush to early academic education is harming children and altering childhood

All children are encouraged to play some sort of simple musical instrument, engage in freeform dance, spend time learning organic gardening and farming, and play non-competitive games. As the child grows, the curriculum expands accordingly to include reading, English language arts, literature, history, math and science. Students learn two foreign languages, which are introduced via storytelling and songs in the early years. The length and order of classes change periodically to add additional variety to the school day.

Tests, homework, competition and letter grades do not come into play until approximately seventh grade in order to begin preparing students for college. Absolutely no computers are used in the classroom until the upper grades, as computers are viewed as an interference to spontaneous creativity. Multiple studies now show that just like the rush to early academic education, flooding classrooms with computers, doesn’t improve student performance.

After examining results from seventy countries, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development stated that technology in the classroom “provided no noticeable improvement” for students, particularly in reading, math and science, and had raised “too many false hopes.”32 Even the largest teacher’s union in the U.S., the National Education Association (NEA), said, “Don’t believe the hype,” when it comes to computers in the classroom engaging students, increasing motivation or helping them perform better.33

In an article published in The Huffington Post titled, “If we don’t let our children play, who will be the next Steve Jobs?”, the computer genius, who never advocated that children be exposed to hours of technology use, explains why free thinking and explorative outdoor play are essential for success.34 It’s not widely spoken about, but a large number of administrators at tech companies like Google, Yahoo, Apple, and others, send their children to the mostly tech-free Waldorf School in Silicon Valley!35

Letting Life Lead

Even though some children will be able to read at a young age and grasp some of the concepts, we’re not doing them any favors by short circuiting their childhood and psycho-social development by introducing too much too soon. How can we expect them to love learning when we haven’t given them the chance to learn how to learn through their own natural creative play?

The real educational crisis we face is our compulsion to mold children into the products we think society needs rather than guiding them into the fullness of who they already are. Only a truly self-actualized human being can find their perfect path in life and fulfill the need in the world that they were uniquely created to meet. We can solve this real education crisis by getting our politics, money, technology and preconceived notions out of the way, and letting creative play, instinct and nature be the teachers for our young children. As Rudolf Steiner advised, “Receive the children in reverence, educate them in love, and send them forth in freedom.”


[1] The New York State Education Department, New York State Prekindergarten Foundation for the Common Core, http://www.p12.nysed.gov/ciai/common_core_standards/pdfdocs/nyslsprek.pdf.

[2] Gonzales, Juan, (August 28, 2014), Full-day prekindergarten is set to launch in NYC, New York Daily News, http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/full-day-prekindergarten-set-launch-nyc-article-1.1920966.

[3] Coulson, Andrew, (December 21, 2012), U.S. Government: “Our Head Start Program Doesn’t Work”, The CATO Institute, http://www.cato.org/blog/us-government-our-head-start-program-doesnt-work.

[4] Bassok, D., Latham, S. & Rorem, A. (2016). Is Kindergarten the New First Grade. AERA Open, 1(4), 1-31, doiI: 10.1177/2332858415616358.

[5] Brody, Leslie and Saul, Michael Howard, (April 8, 2015), “De Blasio Defends Full-Day Pre-K”, The Wall Street Journal, http://www.wsj.com/articles/de-blasio-defends-full-day-pre-k-1428540399?utm_source=Master+Mailing+List&utm_campaign=78957ac5da-Rise_Shine_4_9_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_23e3b96952-78957ac5da-75536661.

[6] Brody, Leslie, (April 7, 2015), “As Full-Day Pre-K Takes Hold, Some Parents Plead for Half-Day Options”, The Wall Street Journal, http://www.wsj.com/articles/as-full-day-pre-k-takes-hold-in-nyc-some-parents-plead-for-half-day-options-1428439145.

[7] “The New First Grade: Too Much, Too Soon”, Newsweek, (September, 9, 2006), http://www.newsweek.com/new-first-grade-too-much-too-soon-109667.

[8] Education Commission of the States, 50-State Comparison: State Kindergarten Policies, http://www.ecs.org/kindergarten-policies/.

[9] Hill, Charlotte, Help Children Succeed: Make Kindergarten Mandatory in All 50 States, Change.org, https://www.change.org/p/help-children-succeed-make-kindergarten-mandatory-in-all-50-states.

[10] Lu, Adrienne, (January, 13, 2014), “Push for Full-Day Kindergarten Grows”, USAToday, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/01/13/stateline-full-day-kindergarten/4455283/.

[11] Durkin, Erin, (April 29, 2013), “NYC School Day to Go as Late as 6pm”, New York Daily News, http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-school-day-late-6-pm-article-1.1330698.

[12] Malik, Shiv, (September 12, 2013), “Early Schooling Damages Children’s Wellbeing, Experts Say”, The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/education/2013/sep/12/early-years-schooling-damaging-wellbeing#comment-26907455.

[13] The New York State Education Department, New York State Prekindergarten Foundation for the Common Core, http://www.p12.nysed.gov/ciai/common_core_standards/pdfdocs/nyslsprek.pdf.

[14] Ramaswamy, Swapna, (April 16, 2015), ” 155,000 New York Kids Boycott Standardized Tests”, USAToday, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/04/16/parents-opt-out-standardized-tests/25896607/.

[15] Singer, Alan, (April 7, 2016), “Thousand Refuse Common Core Testing, Calls for National Opt Out and Washington March”, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alan-singer/thousands-refuse-common-c_b_9631956.html.

[16] Arkansas Mother Obliterates Common Core in 4 Minutes, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZEGijN_8R0.

[17] Do the Math, Common Core Assignment Makes No Sense to Dad-Trouble with Schools, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bVBm1miqNY.

[18] Singer, Alan, (April 7, 2016), “Thousand Refuse Common Core Testing, Calls for National Opt Out and Washington March”, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alan-singer/thousands-refuse-common-c_b_9631956.html.

[19] Tienken, Chris, presented at Stop Common Core in New York: The Real Facts on Common Core Forum, September 21, 2013, http://stopccssinnys.com/Real_Facts_Forum.html.

[20] Center on International Education Benchmarking, Statistic of the Month: Engineering and science degree attainment by country, Percent of Population with Bachelor Degree 2010, http://www.ncee.org/2014/05/statistic-of-the-month-engineering-and-science-degree-attainment-by-country/.

[21] World Atlas, Nobel Prize Winners by Country, updated September 19, 2016, http://www.worldatlas.com/articles/top-30-countries-with-nobel-prize-winners.html.

[22] U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Patents by Country, State and Year-Utility Patents, (December 2015), https://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/ac/ido/oeip/taf/cst_utl.htm.

[23] World Economic Forum, Competitiveness Rankings, Global Competitive Index, http://reports.weforum.org/global-competitiveness-report-2015-2016/competitiveness-rankings/.

[24] Global Entrepreneurship and Development Institute, Global Entrepreneurship Index, https://thegedi.org/global-entrepreneurship-and-development-index/.

[25] Global Creativity Index 2015, Overall Rankings (Appendix 4), http://martinprosperity.org/content/the-global-creativity-index-2015/.

[26] World Intellectual Property Organization, Release of the Global Innovation Index 2016, http://www.wipo.int/econ_stat/en/economics/gii/.

[27] Interview: Mirjam Shoening, Global Head of Programs and Partnerships, LEGO Foundation, (October 6, 2015), CNN, “Are we hurting kids at school?”, http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/06/opinions/ochshorn-education-performance/index.html.

[28] Do Schools Kill Creativity?, http://sirkenrobinson.com/watch/.

[29] Land, George. Jamran, Beth. (1998). Breakpoint and beyond: mastering the future today. New York: Leadership 2000 Inc.

[30] Whitebread, David, The Importance of Play, (April 2012), http://www.importanceofplay.eu/IMG/pdf/dr_david_whitebread_-_the_importance_of_play.pdf.

[31] Darling-Hammond, Linda and J. Snyder. 1992. “Curriculum Studies and the Traditions of Inquiry: The Scientific Tradition.” Edited by Philip W. Jackson. Handbook of Research on Curriculum. MacMillan. pp. 41-78.

[32] Coughlin, Sean, (September 15, 2015), “Computer so not improve pupil results, says OCED”, BBC News, http://www.bbc.com/news/business-34174796.

[33] Walker, Tim, (January 8, 2015), “Technology in the Classroom: Don’t Believe the Hype”, neaToday, http://neatoday.org/2015/01/08/technology-classroom-dont-believe-hype/.

[34] Hammond, Darrell, (October 20, 2011), “If we don’t let our children play, who will be the next Steve Jobs?”, The Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/darell-hammond/if-we-dont-let-our-children_b_1017485.html.

[35] Richtel, Matt, (October 22, 2011), “A Silicon Valley School that Doesn’t Compute” The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/23/technology/at-waldorf-school-in-silicon-valley-technology-can-wait.html?_r=2&src=me&ref=general.