Sandy@PunkyJane.com gives us the topic: 1) School time! What is your favorite memory from kindergarten or taking your kids to kindergarten?
I could come up with some glib answer about the one memory I have from Kindergarten: making butter from heavy cream in a little margarine tubs that we passed around the circle and each shook a little, but truthfully I don't remember much more than that.
So how about my memories of taking my kids to kindergarten? Um... well... the kids are unschooled, (I wrote about what that is here.), and even if they weren't, I came into the picture after Lia, our youngest, would have been first grade.
I am a substitute teacher though, and have spent many hours in Kindergarten classrooms, as an assistant and as the teacher. My feelings are ambivalent about it though. I love being with the little kids. I love playing with them. I love getting hugs from them. I love their creativity and enthusiasm for everything! But I do not like how they are treated in the name of Education.
One of my first experiences in a Kindergarten classroom was in an inclusion room, where several of the students were special education students, with autism or Down syndrome, and others were just average students. The children had made leprechauns for Parent Night, that had the arms & legs glued onto the body, but some weren't glued on in the appropriate location. But instead of leaving them as the children had made them, or working with the child while they were doing it to help them get it "right" (according to the teacher), we were pulling the arms & legs off and gluing them back on in the right places; so they'd all look nice in the hall when the parents came.
In other classrooms and schools, the teachers weren't so discrete about making the children do things RIGHT. They made a big huge deal about getting the kids to draw people that looked right, and getting things colored in the appropriate colors. I can understand if it's part of a lesson, knowing that pumpkins are orange and apples are red, but when they're just drawing in their daily journal? If you can say, oh how creative! What color are pickles really? And get a correct response, why make them do it over if they've decided pink was the color of the day?
And why on earth do they need to have homework!? Yes, several of the Kindergarten classrooms I am in have their students carrying a folder home with "work" they didn't complete, expecting it to come back the next day, punishing the child when it doesn't.
These are children. They should be following their own interests, learning by curiosity and play, not being forced to sit still and do worksheets and homework.
I know, I've gone off on a tirade, and will climb down off my soapbox now. I only hope more people will take a closer look at their children's *education* and question if there isn't a better way....