I was very intrigued when my high school English teacher challenged me with developing a media project to help children learn and really appreciate Shakespeare. I thought about this a lot, not just because I love Shakespeare, but also because I look for ways to better educate children.
In my reading, I often find that people look at children in one of two ways: 1) They are sponges that passively take in every piece of information they are given, or 2) They are far too young to understand or even be exposed to more complex ideas. Both are true, but they are taken to extremes, as statements such as these often are. What I find is that children should be kept from some of the more damaging adult ideas, but they do have the capacity to understand much more complicated information than is traditionally thought.
I personally feel as though Shakespeare falls into this category. The language is undeniably complicated, but with a little added explanation, I think very young children can understand it. The key is to make it fun and understandable, so that every child can grow up with an appreciation for the greatest writer the world had seen.
What do you think? Can children understand more complicated ideas than we give them credit for? Or, should Shakespeare be saved for high school?