Lord have mercy on our poor and unfortunate souls…

“[C]omprehensive high-quality early childhood education from birth to kindergarten…” So rather than discussing kindergarten we should be implementing parent education. It is the prenatal care, health and diet of the mom, absence of smoking, alcohol, drug abuse, etc., that starts the embryo towards Harvard or wherever; and then once born, that baby needs to eat decent food and be cuddled, sung to, talked to, read to, etc. and be able to sleep in safety and avoid constant terror and stress so its little brain isn’t constantly bathed in cortisol.

Abraham Lincoln supposedly said, The strength of a nation is in the homes of its people. Now that the top 1% holds 90% of the wealth and the rest are facing foreclosure or using food stamps, how well-prepared are the kindergarteners of 2015-16 going to be?”

Leilani Karp

Los Angeles
June 13th, 2011 11:33 am
“Who’s ready for Kindergarten? Today’s “Room for Debate” discussion topic in the New York Times has highlighted some interesting challenges and ideologies surrounding the ever debated question of how old should a child be before entering Kindergarten. I was loving the debate amongst the comment gallery (always the most interesting part of any online news these days) and how varied and opinionated we are as Americans. I picked the comment above to share, it was a comment quite unlike the rest. It resonated with me and spoke of the experiences I see as someone in the world of Adult Eduation. I especially loved the reference to Abraham Lincoln. Something so simple and yet so overlooked.
As a non-mama reading this debate I was thankful to not have a child and not actually be facing such a decision today. For those Mamas and the Papas out there today’s educational race to the top seems to be overwhelming with endless amounts of conflicting information.
This NY Times debate was a great discussion. The theme I saw throughout all the debaters arguments was that exposure to learning before kindergarten seems to be the biggest factor in determining later success as a student. How you get that exposure, the haves and have nots, the styles of learning children experience etc. are the factors that differ from view point to view point.
My favorite debater’s argument was:

Let Them Tend Cows

Meredith F. SmallMeredith F. Small, anthropologist

Now maybe it’s because I have a background in Anthropology that makes me agree wholly with dear Meredith Small. Or maybe it’s that it just makes sense.

“Look outside Western culture and watch children, even very small children, as they gather firewood, weed gardens, haul water, tend livestock, care for younger children and run errands. And no one complains because they are mostly outside and usually with other children.

By doing these chores, they also master life skills, like caring for a baby or how to herd goats, and with that comes proficiency and responsibility.”

They are outside, with other children, learning responsibility and accountability. Huh? These are the skills that produce smart, useful members of society? Hmmmm. So what Ms. Small seems to be saying is that sheltering, indulging and keeping children indoors and away from real experiences might not produce the greatest of learners.

This leads me back to the comment I first quoted.

“So rather than discussing kindergarten we should be implementing parent education.”

That would seem to be a yeah. At least from my perspective.

On a whole, for the bulk of our nations citizens, life skills/coping skills seem to be missing. This up and coming/current generation of parents are without the experience needed for successful parenting, which in turn effects the learning of their children. And as a nation we are consumed with thinking that age or testing or more examinations and methodologies will produce better learners and smarter students. Sitting and learning from a test is going to produce better skills for college, which is then going to produce? A nation of people who know how to operate in a school? But what good is a nation of students when real world skills allude them? When they never experience life  for themselves how can we believe that they will  be caring, productive, sustainable members of the society? Experience is what leads to an all encompassing knowledge. That can’t be derived from seated indoor study.

Now I’m not saying throw the baby out with the bathwater. But I do believe, as a society, we need to rethink the what and the way that we are molding children and their education.

Are with me peeps? Are ya?

Okay, Soapbox done! And you still are with me? Bless your hearts for tolerating my little rants and interests. I think it’s what makes us friends! Perhaps, it’s even why you read this 😉 Next week we’ll talk about flowers and lemonade, swearsy!

~L

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