I teach Growth and Development at our local university, and I am growing more concerned by the day at how we are hurting our earliest learners by forcing them to do things that many are not developmentally ready to handle. For instance, did you know that the eye muscles needed to fluently track print do not develop (particularly for boys) for many until around age 8? Yet, we insist that all children become fluent readers by age 6. And when they don't, teachers are required to inform their parents that something is "wrong." No! Nothing is wrong. Some children just need a bit longer to develop and it is normal. Forcing them to do what they are not yet ready to do instead creates negative attitudes towards books and school in general, and in my experience these attitudes rarely if ever change.
I am currently working with state personnel to fix this, however, so far, I'm having trouble getting the right people to the table.
If interested, I have a lot more to say on the subject. Hurrying our children out of childhood is helping no one.