The Struggle for Little Ones

ht to That Mom

The Heartbreaking Point

My family's struggle to resist the winds of educational change.

“I think that’s what school is for. It’s for sitting and learning,” another mother told me with a confident nod, the powerful lobby of common sense on her side. But the “tyranny of common sense,” as education reformer Ken Robinson once called it, has a short memory. As little as 15 years ago, most kindergarten classrooms were play-based. Many educators and researchers still believe that is how young children learn best.

Ken Robinson gets it.  And back in the day, kindergarten classrooms were a fun start to school.  My mom wouldn't send my siblings and me to the newly fangled kindergarten in the 60's because as she said – We already knew how to read.  We played all day instead.  Seemed pretty productive in the long run.  

Now 5 year olds and younger are sitting at the table day in and day out.  This reaction below is not uncommon.

His name was written on it, he said. It was his very own seat, he said. But by the end of the second day of kindergarten, he had figured out just how much he was going to be sitting there.

When I picked Griffen up after school, he gave me a stiff hug and whispered “Let’s go” with alarming desperation. On the drive home, he began to cry, then sob, then scream. He wouldn’t speak all afternoon, but that evening he startled me with his clarity.

“It’s all listening. There’s no playing,” he said, his still-wet cheeks reflecting the lamplight.

We had this in our family until we got smart and pulled our kids away from the public school desk.  Walking in a straight line down the hallway, raising your hand in the hope you would be called on to share your thoughts, asking to go to the bathroom with the possibility of having to wait were all a life from the past.  Our natural parental instincts prevailed.

The Race to the Top is just another Education Reform like No Child Left Behind that collects data and kills learning.  


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