So why do so many parents engage in brainwashing and hot-housing at a time when kids are, let's be frank about this, pretty bloody useless at just about everything? Let 'em be. And let 'em be kids. This is the argument of an article by by Judith Woods in today's Telegraph, refuting the efficacy of ultra-early years education. I tend to agree.
Play until five. Then learn 'em to read, write, count, and - crucially - learn, from ages 5 to 7. After that work them like fuck until 11. Then examine them, select and stream and specialise and bingo. The ones good at art will do that and the ones good at proper stuff will get jobs and pay for them.
If you try too hard you'll only end up with socially and politically aware little monsters, too scared of making important choices and incapable of holding down a real job, who will disappoint you in more ways than you can imagine. I expect this is exactly where Mr & Mrs Miliband went wrong.