Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The rigor (?) of kindergarten!

Editor's Note: How would you like a job with the following in the description? Severity, strictness, demanding, difficult, extreme conditions, exhaustive. I suppose some enjoy such jobs, but many of us would not like to be forced into such work. Unfortunately, this is exactly what our schools expect of our children...starting in kindergarten!!!  Read on to learn more.
There was an article in our local paper explaining a change in the birthday cut-off date for entering Kindergarten. By 2014 California children will have to turn five by September 1 to enter Kindergarten that year. And beginning next Fall, a new state law will allow children to take two years of kindergarten classes.

The title of the article was: Learning at Pace of Leisure - New prekindergarten law to allow
Finger painting
Image via Wikipedia
children more time to pick up skills.

So far, fine. But here's what spoiled the story: "This is much better for making sure the kids who enter kindergarten are ready for the rigor of kindergarten," said Rose Dunn, director of instruction for the Las Virgenes Unified School District, adding that kindergarteners are expected to master more advanced skills than in years past.

The rigor of kindergarten???
Are your serious?

This reminds me of a clip of the comedian Sinbad talking about the ridiculousness of having to pass tests to get into kindergarten. It went something like this: If the kid can eat a cookie and take a nap, he passes!

What happened to "Learning at pace of leisure?" When are we going to stop this kind of forced education and allow kids to be who they are supposed to be developmentally? When are we going to stop causing stress and anxiety to young children and their families, for no good reason?

Four and five-year-olds are supposed to play, nap, laugh, explore their surroundings, tinker, finger paint, and experiment with musical instruments like drums and cymbals.

The thinking that is summarized in Ms. Dunn's statement above is precisely why we wrote, Midlife Crisis Begins in Kindergarten. The title is funny, but what is happening is tragic.

More and more, kids "are expected to master more advanced skills than in years past." And who made that rule?

Calling all parents and teachers...stop this madness, make your voice heard!

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1 comment:

  1. I think the language of the statement Rose Dunn offers regarding the "rigor" of kindergarten is a bit off. When I hear the word "rigor" I think of something like AP Calculus. But on the other hand, she might be talking about the structure that kindergarten requires.

    As a parent of a kindergarten student, I can tell you that there definitely is a fair amount of structure to the average kindergarten class. Based on the amount of stuff my son has brought home as well as what I've seen an heard, he has plenty of time for all of the exploring and fun that a kid that age is supposed to have, but they also do it within the structure of a day. There's nothing out of the ordinary or excessively complicated about it.

    Also, have you considered that perhaps the two-year rule has come about because "red shirting" students is more and more of a trend (especially among suburban parents/kids) and it's possible that if they enact this particular rule, the schools don't get funding cut off because they're not promoting enough kids from kindergarten each year ... which would actually work in favor of the kids (or at least the insistence of their parents)?