#WorthRevisit: Kindergarten, Harvard and the Arts

As my youngest child graduates from 8th grade tomorrow, I was looking back in the archives for mentions of kindergarten. I thought about sharing some funny stories from TheKid’s kindergarten days–but then I caught sight of this, which brings to mind how grateful I am that TheKid has had more than his share of opportunities to participate in the arts right along with academics. From April 2014:

There’s outrage all over the Internet right now over the cancellation of a kindergarten student performance because it would take away instructional time needed for the kids to become “college- and career-ready.”

I’d like to join my voice to the disagreement with the school administration; I’m all about encouraging students to participate in the arts. But I take issue with what a lot of people are saying:

“KINDERGARTNERS ARE GETTING READY FOR COLLEGE?”

Well, yes. Yes, they are. That’s why the arts, and recess, and physical education are so important. College is not all about performance on the SAT or ACT. It’s about using your knowledge, skills, abilities and interests to learn even more.

I had a school principal tell me once that kindergarten students are not preparing for college. That was in response to my concern that my daughter and her classmates were not being taught at all for an entire month while the kindergarten teacher was caring for a terminally-ill parent and the school failed to provide substitute teachers. Instead, whatever grownup (or, in some cases, eighth-grade girl) was available for the next half-hour would babysit the kids. They watched movies and played all day for a month.

Because the principal would not take calls from kindergarten parents and the situation was never addressed, we removed our daughter from that school. Suddenly the principal had time for a meeting with me, in the form of an exit interview. She defended her decision not to provide the class with a substitute teacher by telling me, “It’s kindergarten. It’s not like we’re getting them ready for Harvard.”

Not surprisingly, that school only lasted two more years before closing due to lack of enrollment. Here’s what the school looked like the last time I saw it.

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Schools do need to find a good balance between instructional time, play time, physical activity and the arts–on every level of education. Emphasizing one of these at the expense of the others is disastrous for the students and does no service to society.

Yes; kindergarten students are preparing for college–maybe even Harvard. They do this by learning reading-readiness skills, counting and doing simple math, looking at the clouds in the sky, drawing pictures with sidewalk chalk on the playground, practicing music for a show, and perfecting their kickball skills. It’s all important, and good teachers and principals are needed to keep it all going and support that learning. Like the building blocks the kindergartners use to make towers and castles, the skills the children practice as five-year-olds lay the foundation of the work they’ll do later.

worth revisit

I’m linking up with Reconciled to You and Theology is a Verb for #WorthRevisit Wednesday, a place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link up with fellow bloggers!

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Small Success Thursday: Kindergarten, Lattes and More!

 

Small-Success-Thursday-400pxThursdays at CatholicMom.com begin with a look at the past week’s Small Successes!

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I’m done with my long-term sub job, and I’m at peace with that decision. “Drop-in” substituting is much more my speed, and based on requests I’ve already gotten this week, I’ll be busy enough. Yesterday I was in kindergarten, and I got lots of waves, hugs and yells across the cafeteria from my former foster-second-graders.

Tales from the kindergarten room:  I had to tell one child that Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” is not an appropriate song to sing at school. This brings back memories of my own kindergarten days, when my teacher kindly took me aside and informed me that I couldn’t sing “Pass It On” at (public) school.

And two kids cried during math. I can’t even figure out why one was crying, because he had the answers right on his paper.

magic school bus lost in snowOf course, the best part of the day in kindergarten is storytime. I let the class helper choose the story, and he picked a Magic School Bus book. WIN!

Then the kids decided they wanted to call me “Ms. Frizzle.” I guess it’s easier to pronounce than my real last name.

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I gave myself permission to get rid of all those original boxes from my Christmas ornaments. Recycling, here we come! I’ll wrap things well in bubble paper or tissue. Matching ornaments to boxes takes forever, and it’s the whole reason I avoid putting away Christmas ornaments. Last year I avoided it completely. I just put the giant tub of unwrapped ornaments in the basement and ignored them. This afternoon I’ll turn on some mindless TV and get this job done.

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0108151303I rewarded myself with a latte (Cinnamon Dolce!) after I managed not to lose my mind during a mother-daughter trip to ShopRite that involved lots of miscommunication, at least 3 items from the list not purchased, and plenty of opportunity (for both of us) to lose our tempers. Now I’m trying to figure out how to pronounce my new first name. (It’s usually the last name that people get wrong.) Look! I got an extra vowel–and an extra syllable. Do you think that final “e” is silent?

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I finished off a case of Grumpy Martyr Syndrome (to which I am susceptible more often than I’d like to admit) by praying an Express Novena on behalf of a friend of mine who’s battling cancer. It’s really easy:  9 Memorares in a row for your intention, then a bonus Memorare in thanksgiving. Try it! And in your kindness, pray one for my friend G!

Share your Small Successes at CatholicMom.com by joining the linkup in the bottom of today’s post. No blog? List yours in the comments box!