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Friday, August 13, 2010

Kindergarten at Home

My oldest nephew, Jonathan, will be embarking upon the great adventure of kindergarten this fall - with my sister Emily as his teacher, at home. Fittingly, after chatting with her on the phone this evening, I came across a relevant post, The importance of kindergarten teachers, on a blog I really enjoy reading.

Miranda writes,

"My take on it is this: Kindergarten is crucial because it's first the year we subject kids to the incredible stress of immersion in a peer-saturated, authority-driven environment, separation from home and family, academic rigors, achievement standards, and large-group learning. As a society we've decided that at age 4 or 5, children should leave loving homes during the majority of their waking hours and make their way in an institutional world separate from family and community. That crucial first year comes far too soon for the developmental capabilities of the vast majority of young children and is a poor educational fit for many."

If you haven't read Miranda's blog, you really should. Her posts always leave me contemplating childhood, education, people, and life. Another recent post, A good enough reason to homeschool?, said this:

"To me school isn't a default that a parent needs to come up with excuses to opt out of. Instead my default is home. I know my kids can thrive in an individualized learning environment staffed by people who know them inside and out and love them with all their hearts. I watched them thrive as little tykes. As they got close to "school age" I thought to myself "Kids should get an interesting, enjoyable, humane, meaningful and relevant education. Do mine need to go to school to get that?"

My answer was obviously no. Maybe yours is no too. I think that's good enough."

I think my nephew has an exciting school year ahead of him.


  1. I'd argue that the age is even younger than 4 or 5 - 2.5 or 3, really, in urban middle class areas at least. I remember how shocked I was when we lived in the Bay Area and all the little ones at that age were all being schlepped off to preschool for at least 3-4 hours a day. At playgroups the mothers spent a great deal of time complaining about all the behavior problems their children - screaming fits about not wanting to go, bitting and hitting when they were there, all sorts of stuff - had but it never seemed to dawn on them that perhaps there was a problem with the whole general premise.

    I also remember vividly a playground conversation with a father who was at the park with his 4 year old. He was commenting that before his older daughter started school, the two girls were best friends and loved to play together. But now that the older one had started school, she didn't want anything to do with her younger sister and her sister was sad, lonely, and acting out quite a bit too. He thought it was unfortunate, but just took it as one of those "well, what are you going to do?" situations. They were planning on sending the 4 year old to preschool soon hoping that would help her at least have something to do. The whole thing struck me as so pathetic and so sad.

    And I agree, I think your nephew has an exciting year ahead of him too. :-)

  2. Thank you, Sarah! I wish we lived closer, as I'd love to chat about this sometime :)