Some people think that children should begin their formal education at an early age and should most of their time on school studies. Others believe that young children should spend most of their time playing. Compare these two views. Which view do you agree with? Why?
Sample TOEFL essay answer:
Childhood is one of the most important and memorable periods of our lives. We come into the world innocent and unaware and in just a few short years make great physical and mental progress. Although play is an important component of our young lives, in my view, there are significant benefits to be gained from beginning formal education at an early age. My view is based on intellectual and social reasons.
Intellectually, the period from birth to six years is the most significant for brain growth. A child who is surrounded by a rich multi-sensory environment develops infinitely more connection between brain cells, which are the basis of what we call intelligence. In this connection, the process of learning to read is of particular significance because it has such a strong positive influence on neural development. Although parents can provide this early intellectual stimulation, in most cases working parents find it difficult to do so. This strengthens the case for enrolling children in a formal education system, which can provide the necessary resources and trained personnel to bring out the best in the child.
Socially, being in a school environment teaches children both how to behave themselves and also how to get along with other children and adults. These lessons in human behaviour are as important as the formal subjects a child must study. By learning how to follow rules, take turns and be respectful a child becomes a part of the social nexus to which we all belong. The formal academic experience, in an objective context, away from the family structure, also satisfies the child s growing sense of independence. Most children often play school in any case, particularly if they have older siblings.
In conclusion, early education offers children a host of benefits at different levels. A child can always play after coming home; in the meantime, the school experience sets the child on a path to success and self-confidence in a competitive, demanding world.