U.K. preschool keeps all the curriculum green


While we sometimes laugh at the idea of "curriculum" in preschool, it seems to be common in the U.S. and U.K. now for parents to expect their kids to learn at preschool, and not just about sharing and shapes. My four-year-old has already learned to write his name, recognize letters, and other basics at his six-hours-a-week preschool. At prices that generally average about $10 per hour in my city, I think parents expect more "school," less "pre-" these days.

But on the fringe of traditional education is the "unschooling" or "free school" movement, which has loose connections to the homeschool community, Waldorf, and other traditions that downplay the role of worksheets, tests and memorization in schools, instead choosing to let kids make their own way. And another, complementary (and far more mainstream) movement seeks to greatly increase the amount of time kids get to play outside, called the "Green Hour" or the cure for "Nature Deficit Disorder."