August 30, 2017

The Trickle Down Effect

OLD FART ALERT!!
YOU'VE BEEN WARNED....PROCEED WITH CAUTION!

I know I'm totally going to sound like the man yelling from his front door..."YOU KIDS GET OFF MY LAWN!!"  However, what I'm going to share is true/real & unfortunate!

There has been a great deal of change over my 20+ years as an educator.  Some of it I've agreed with...and others not so much.  One of the BIGGEST changes has been in Kindergarten.  Lets face it...Kindergarten isn't Kindergarten anymore.  The requirements have been upped...the rigor has been increased...and the focus is completely different.  I'm going to say it...."WHEN I WAS A KID..." Kindergarten was about learning to get along with others, tying your shoes, telling time, learning the basics of language & mathematics. Play was important because teachers knew that's where you learned skills to be a good person.  Creating was encouraged because that built hand skills, reasoning skills, and imagination....all important to be a successful student.

Now what are we seeing...kids that need "social emotional learning" because they don't know how to get along with others, can't share, and have their feelings hurt if someone doesn't bow down to their every whim.  You know what would help...time playing together in the lower grades instead of pushing rigor down their throats!

It is also impacting their skills/learning.  Kindergarten teachers no longer are able to do all the cutting and gluing they use to do because of all the requirements they have to get through that aren't developmentally appropriate.  So I'm seeing kids with very weak hand skills that can't cut, can't hold a pencil, and squeeze out a whole bottle of glue for a little piece of paper.  Kindergarten (at least in our district) no longer teaches pattern!  It is smacking me in the face this year with my 1st graders.  A project I've done for some time that use to have 95% of the class being able to successfully complete it...now only has less than 10%.  The implications go far beyond art.

They say we can't do what we've always done because kids are different...families are different...schools are different.  This is true, but if we really looked at the needs of our students...we'd realize some of the "old ways" were actually right on target for the needs of our students TODAY!

OLD FART RANT OVER!


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