What I do feel that the modern child lacks, when compared with the earlier generation, is concentration, and the sheer dogged grit to carry a long job through. Teaching through playing is right. It is, in fact, the only way to teach young children. But as they get older they find that any attainment needs application, and fun alone will not bring completion to a project. This is the danger-point. The older generation, resigned to hum-drum methods and a whacking here and there if there were any marked falling-off from hard work, got almost all their satisfaction from seeing the job completed and perhaps a word or two of approval as a tidbit. They were geared, as it were, to low returns for much effort.
The child today, used as he is to much praise and encouragement, finds it much more difficult to keep going as his task get progressively long. Helping children to face up to a certain amount of drudgery, cheerfully and energetically, is one of the biggest problems that teachers, in these days of ubiquitous entertainment, have to face in our schools; and the negative attitude, in so many homes, of 'How-much-money-can-I-get-for-how-little-work?' does nothing to help them in their daily battle.
Miss Read wrote this in 1957! (The year I was born.)