Thursday, December 15


Trinity's half-day pre-school at Woodlawn Elementary is going to all day, every day starting in mid-January. From my limited experience, it seems as if most kindergarten classes in this country are not even all day, every day, so this has come as a bit of a shock to my maternal system. Trinity, being the genius that she is, is of course, ready for the challenging academics before her. She loves school and has made good friendships (notes her report card: with both boys and girls - that's my girl). Just this morning, as she torturously had to wait until noon to leave for another school day, she asked, "Why can't I go to school when the sun comes up?" I'm not worried about her enjoying all day school.

So here's my really deep, logical argument: But she's only five years old! She will have to (get to) be in school all day, every day for the next twenty years. Do we need to rush this sentence? And maybe, just maybe, I'm a bit full of myself, but I tend to think that Trinity will be missing out on some great learning by not being at home with her mommy for most of the day. I can't stand the thought of Miss So-n-so getting to have more time to teach my child than I get to have right now. Who else will educate her on the fine art of creamed eggs? Can one teacher with twenty-some-odd little munchkins give her the feedback her works of art deserve?

I know I'll end up giving in and allow this system to swallow my little princess whole. This is my opportunity to protest. Tell me I'm right.


Lindsey said...

Um... well, this isn't exactly on topic, but I was looking at these photos recently and thought, "Wow, that could be Trinity in 20 years!" Especially the one in green.

Glenn said...

Somewhere along the way our society decided that it is better to have the tykes in the control of the system than under the beastly influence of parents. They decided parents really don't have a clue, and that "big brother" knows best. So, the result has been longer days, longer years, less play time just to be with other kids or off by themselves. [I read last week that recess and lunch break has almost been eliminated in many of our schools.] Keep them so busy that they will not have time to be kids. Pass them from diapers (the parents can do that, thank you!)to graduation, without any creative play time to just do what they want. Make sure there are plenty of activities such as little league, elementary school team sports, candy to sell, events to attend, on and on. Dont let them be engaged in meaningful labor until they are almost old enough to get married and have children themselves. Spit them out at the end of the assembly line and wonder why all of the creativity has gone overseas or why "our" kids don't have a clue about life. Oh yes, it must be the parents fault.

What do I think? I think Trinity will do just GREAT, as long as her parents (and grandparents) continue to love her and keep her pointed in the right direction. You think you are proud of her now? Just wait a couple of years until she is marching across the stage to get her Masters (or doctorate) Degree, and then uses those skills to help others.

sarah said...

I must admit it was a lot harder to send andrew, my second, than isaac to school. I think that perhaps later this year, when your belly is bigger, this may be a blessing.

I don't think that big brother wants our kids because parents aren't doing a good job. but being an educator I probably have a different view point. I think that people, parents and legislators, created these standards and tests that they grade every school on that many children aren't developmentally ready to handle. I mean I struggle with bubbling in my answers, how is an eight year old going to do?

Childhood is shrinking and shrinking.

kristi w said...

As my mom was an outstanding primary school teacher for a million years or so, I know my dad (aka glenn) was not giving any disrespect to educators (check out his newest post - it's a good one). This is an issue that goes much deeper into our society than the local pre-K teacher.

Sarah says, "Childhood is shrinking...", as she echoes some of dad's thoughts. That is my problem with this!! I want my kids to BE KIDS for a few days. Allan keeps reminding me that she does have fun at school, but it's just not the same. At home she can make-believe a creative story for forty-five minutes between a ballerina Christmas ornament and a stuffed snowman (they got married - it was really lovely). I want them to be FREE and encouraged to use their imaginations and creativity for just a little longer.

Cheryl said...

What an important matter of discussion AND action. Our situation here allows for TOTAL freedom of play with only about 2-3 hours of scheduled school all day. I am very thankful for that and see its blessings...but I have to admit...there are days...when Silas is into everything(he is currently covered in butter that he is happily eating from the butter dish), Isaac needs my constant attention to potty train and wear his patch and read...that having an outside teacher would be absolutely dreamy. I guess...what we are all saying is...BALANCE. Outside influences with a strong anchor at home and in the Lord. Thanks for this post...

rebecca marie said...

i am practically violently opposed to all day kindergarten, especially for kids who have been home with mom. kids can easily transition from daycare to all day kindergarten, or from part time preschool... but to go from home to all day kindergarten is a lot to ask from a 5 year old.

i'm not speaking for children with developmental delays, or significant learning disorders (not the too often and too easily slapped on ADD). they can absolutely benefit from all day kindergarten. if that is the edge that they need to be successful learners later then it is well worth it. a child who is held back in primary school has a fifty times greater chance of becoming a highschool drop out. i'd say all day kindergarten is a great little insurance policy.

but for a child like trinity? her mommy is home. wanting to love her and teach her. i don't think all day kindergarten has benefits that will outweigh that extra time at home.

now that's just sad. i just called time that is rightfully YOURS "extra time." that's how brainwashed by the system i have become already, and my son is only in grade three.

by the way? he's young for his class, had half day kindergarten, was in daycare up until i quit my job in june, and those benchmarks that i'm against with the whole of my being? he's right where he should be.

PapaPeters said...

Hmm well first note I speak out of ignorance no child yet despit constant effort(hah)
I think homeschool is the best case scenario with a mix of activities and such till highschool. Now I wasn't homeschooled and I loved school to death but who better to teach our children than us....

Then again it's been a while since I've done geometry and I never was very good about thoses dates in History. Hmmmm

Well The truth is I really think we have lost balance as cheryl put it. We want to teach our children about Life. We are concerned no one can do it better and we have that right. But what to do with that.. We home school and supposedly take children away from the social experience. We use school and their social experience ends up out weighin mom and dad's influence. Is there an in between? I'm not sure there is....

Aimee Jo said...

So, I teach 2 sessions of half-day kindergarten, and although I feel like the time allotted to me is not enough time to get my kids to end of the year benchmark, I DO allow time for play, social interaction, art projects, singing and lots and lots of read alouds (which some may consider "wasting time") And Why do I do this? Because not all children are getting these experiences at home. Some parents do not feel equipped or may have never been taught how to allow their children to have imaginations, play games with them, read to them, or even converse with them. Many people today use the good ol' television to raise their children.
IF children are raised in this kind of environment, then I think it serves them well to be at school all day, where they can play, learn, go on field trips and socialize; for those children who are blessed to be in homes where lots of learning is taking place and experiences are helping to build their background knowledge, then that child may be better off to stay at home for as long as possible, maybe skipping pre-school and waiting for kindergarten.
This is tough...and since I will be raising my children in Africa, and I will be home-schooling, I am going to be doing things a lot differently than I had planned. Both options have pros and cons--most importantly, we need to take the day-to-day opportunities to teach the kids in our lives and give them all of the experiences we can to make their lives richer!

Glenn said...

I just want to point out to Sarah that mine is not an anti education bias, since I was an educator for 21 years, in the classroom and in administration. My lament going back many years is that kids are not allowed to be kids long enough. Watch a kid at play and you will see creativity at its best. I'm talking 4 and 5 year olds. Allow them to have play time all the way through elementary school - at least so they won't become physical blobs, let alone mental replicas.

Allan White said...

This is a bigger subject than I can fit in this little comment box. Kristi and I have been having this debate privately, and the comments here are very illuminating.

Yes, childhood is continuing to shrink - but I would point out that the concept of childhood as a distinct, blissfully ignorant phase of life is fairly new. Until a few generations ago, children were thought of as just small adults. The fact that this debate exists at all, and with such passion, is a testament to our society's ongoing interest in children's welfare.

Not to say that trends are good, or that the current situation is good, though.

Kristi's passion on this issue surprised me a bit. I see how much T loves school, and is thriving there. It was a bit hard for me to accept that she was only to enter preschool, and not kindergarten. Her intellect continues to amaze me. Perhaps I just want her to succeed and get a "head start". I'm pretty competitive, though, and I hope I don't push our kids too hard.

Kristi's points are also valid. The time at home is precious - as someone who works every day, I'm not always there to see it and the growth that happens there. I told her that I could see both sides of the issue, and that if she felt strongly about it, I'd defer to her judgement.

I think she's ready for more than we expect - but more time away from home may not be what she needs.

She's also my first-born, so this debate is good for us as we add schoolchildren to our family!