The Telegraph reports that in a world where children are now picking up GCSEs at primary school, parents are deploying ever more outlandish tactics to help their children get ahead of the curve. From computer lessons for two-year-olds, through to advanced mathematics for toddlers, so-called ‘tiger’ mums will try almost any preschool class which promises to transform progeny into protégé.
Oliver Holcroft and Rufus Gordon-Dean, ex-Army officers who between them spent 700 days battling the Taliban in Helmand Province, are at the forefront of one of London’s fastest growing trends.
Inspired by the Scandinavian approach to primary education, which places exercise and coordination above classroom, blackboard-led learning, the pair have carefully devised their programme alongside health and pediatric experts.
Their approach is supported by myriad studies, including recent research published by the University of Illinois, which found that healthy children have notably larger brains by the age of 10.
The secret to their success, they say, is simple – and yet notably absent from the services provided by many nurseries and primary schools across the country.
“When you look at the best education models around the world, you realise that our system is sorely lacking in didactic teaching – that is, teaching them basic, practical skills,” says Oliver, as the pair prepare for a class at St Francis of Assisi, a church in one of Notting Hill’s most upmarket neighbourhoods.
Tarka’s instructors are also far from conventional, in so far as they are nearly all men. It is a stark contrast to the outlook nationally, in which 98 percent of early years educators are female.
“We have male teachers at older age groups…but at nursery and primary level there is this stigma that seems to be deterring men from entering the profession.” says Rufus.
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