This is a really nice story from a elementary school teacher reminding people of how off the notion of “age-suitable” material can be, through an anecdote of teaching second graders vocabulary words “beyond their ability”. Says she:
The names of four great classical artists rolled off the tongue of a boy who couldn’t keep his shoes tied. When you grow up, as I did, with kids who learn from cartoons to discuss the possibilities of cellular mutation before they can read … well, you just don’t accept that certain words are too hard for children to understand.
Classrooms obviously need an awareness of what students of each age can averagely handle, and material needs to be distributed among the grades, but it’s nice to see a teacher saying that there’s also a lot of arbitrariness to what we consider to fall at each grade level.