Should boys start school later than girls?
Dr. Leonard Sax, a medical doctor and research psychologist and author of the recent book "Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men," believes that the education system fails to account for the differences between boys and girls. Way back in the June 2001 issue of Psychology of Men & Masculinity, Dr. Sax proposed that the increasing emphasis on reading preparation played to girls' strengths and boys' weaknesses. After reviewing differences in neurological development and reading / writing skills, Dr. Sax concluded that a program emphasizing nonverbal skills and group activities would be more appropriate for boys at the kindergarten level. Because a 6 year-old boy's brain is similar developmentally to that of a 5 year-old girl, Dr. Sax also recommended that boys should begin an alternative program at age 5. Rather than pursuing a typical course of study, the focus of the alternative curriculum would be on the development of motor, sensory skills, and social skills rather than on reading and writing. They would then enter the traditional kindergarten program at the age of 6, when they are developmentary prepared to begin learning to read. Dr. Sax believes that this would have a positive impact on boys' self-esteem and motivation to learn.
What do you think? Should boys and girls pursue different curricula?
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