Daily Archives: May 4, 2009

Kindergarten Crisis Part 3

little tyrannosaurus rex

Jean Piaget famously referred to “the American question,” which arose when he lectured in this country: how, his audiences wanted to know, could a child’s development be sped up? The better question may be: Why are we so hellbent on doing so?” - Peggy Orenstein, New York Times

Let’s take “the American question” to the next level. Piaget died in 1980. Can you imagine what he, one of the premiere developmental psychologists of the 20th century, would think about what is going on today? If parents, administrators. and educators were pushing the developmental envelope 30 years ago, when play still ruled the candy-colored classrooms and rough and tumble backyards of America, what would Piaget say today? I think it is safe to assume he wouldn’t have a lot of nice things to say about the breakneck pace of childhood today — of the quest for stats and status over true learning and healthy development.

In a great article recently published in the New York Times Magazine, Kindergarten Cram, writer Peggy Orenstein unintentionally joins TGSG community’s discussion on the state of Kindergarten in today’s society. (Um, it must also be said that she and I are obviously cut from the same cloth and should go have lunch together as soon as possible.) She interviewed Ed Miller, one of the co-authors of  The Alliance for Childhood report we have been discussing here.

I encourage you to read the article. Orenstein brings some fresh questions to the surface, and models an active parent’s role in the process of school selection. I was particularly intrigued by her fear of the use of the term “economy” to legitimize a topic, and what could happen as a result.

How far is America willing to go for this crazy race for success it is trying to win, regardless of the fact that in our zeal we are not only losing big-time, but raising a generation of unhappy, unhealthy kids? I continue to invite you all to join me in the quest to restore childhood, and save ourselves in the process. Think about what that could mean to you — whether you are a parent, an educator, a daycare worker, or simply a caring adult. I don’t care what hat you wear. All are welcome here.

See ya outside! – The Grass Stain Guru

Creative Commons License photo credit: woodleywonderworks

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