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TOEFL Sample Essay: Young Children and Formal Education

Essay topic

Some people believe that children should start their formal education at an early age and should spend most of their time studying. Others believe that young children should spend most of their time playing. Compare these two views. Which view do you agree with? Why?

Sample response

Childhood is undoubtedly one of the most memorable periods of our lives. We arrive here knowing nothing but make significant physical, mental and intellectual growth during the first few years of our lives. We learn to walk; we learn to speak. At least some of us learn to speak more one language during this period. In fact, during the first four or five years of our lives we learn a whole lot more than what we learn during the rest of our lives.

It is true that play should be an important part of childhood. However, I don’t believe that young children should spend their whole time playing. In fact, there are several benefits to be gained from beginning formal education at a very young age. My views are based on intellectual and social reasons.

Intellectually, the first five or six years of our life are the most significant for growth and development of our brain. A child who gets exposed to a rich multi-sensory environment during this period will be able to develop far more connections between the brain cells. These connections are the basis of what we call intelligence. Children who begin to read and write during this period tend to demonstrate higher intelligence than their peers who haven’t started learning yet. Both reading and writing have a strong positive influence on neural development.

Of course, parents can teach these skills on their own and children do not have to go to a school. However, many parents are too busy to devote enough time to teach their kids. This builds the case for enrolling young children in a school where they will have access to the necessary resources.

In addition, children develop social skills when they start attending a school. They learn to behave themselves. They also learn to get along with other children and adults. Social skills are as important as academic learning because they play a significant role in making us socially acceptable. Besides teaching languages and arithmetic, schools teach students to follow rules, take turns and be respectful. These are important skills that we all need to pick up to become a part of the social nexus that we all belong. The formal academic environment at a school also encourages the child to be independent.

In conclusion, early education is beneficial in many ways. Children who start attending school at a young age are far more likely to be successful than those who start late. A child can play after coming home. And while they are at school, the formal academic environment there will set them on the path to success in a competitive and demanding environment.