Sunday, August 10, 2008

The "learning gap" opportunity

I'm obsessed with today's AP article, U.S.-British "learning gap" a real education for mom. A reporter plans a move to London only to discover that her 5 year-old daughter is nowhere close to being "school ready."An e-mail from the school they hoped to send their daughter to "politely spelled out exactly what the kids in that school were expected to master: telling time; fractions — whole, half, quarter and thirds; counting in 5's up to 50; reading books and starting to write "news" independently."

Wow. Those British kids sure are smart. Now, the article goes on to explain that "It's not an open-and-shut case as to whether one country's approach is better than another. On a recent international reading test, U.S. fourth-graders and their peers from England had the same results. They weren't all that impressive. Students from the two countries posted lower average scores than students in Russia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Luxembourg, Hungary, Italy and Sweden, along with several Canadian provinces."

Still, does anybody besides me see a huge opportunity here for products and services aimed at the U.S. preschool market? For most kids in the United States, going to preschool is more about fun and games than focused academic learning. Reading, writing and telling time are not prerequisites for entering Kindergarten. And I'm not saying they should be-- but as a mom and a marketer I think, why not? Take a look at the success of LeapFrog and Baby Einstein and Bob Books and any number of other educational products directed to preschoolers. The market is still ripe.

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