Kudos to the ScaryMommy blog for scaring up this truly bloodchilling memo from a pre-k. While cheerily (or perhaps dutifully) noting “Autumn is officially here and so is our second month of school,” it then launches into the real meat of the matter: Your kids stink and it’s all your fault.
“We made it through a really tough first month with tears, attitudes, unwillingness, not listening, not obeying the rules and especially, too much talking and not enough sitting in seats when asked to. We work on this every day at school, but we need help from home, too. We realize kids don’t want to sit and would rather talk and play when they want to; but that’s not how school works.
Um…not even preschool? No, not even preschool. You see:
Preschool is preparation to go on to “big” school and these things are important there, too. We simply can’t say that our kids don’t like coloring and sitting still because Kindergarten and first grade have a lot of coloring. Please, work five or ten minutes each day with your child on this and you’ll see improvement. We have seen improvement with several kids already. We realize it’s a fast paced world and parents work, but the adults in the house have to be in charge and help the kids to understand this. Please, talk to your child about the importance of sharing, not fighting, keeping their hands to themselves, and learning to get along with each other. Remind them that once we pick up the toys that we don’t get them back out again, because we are done playing and going on to learning fun things.”
Because if your kid learns nothing else this year, at least they should get it through their thick pre-k skulls: LEARNING and PLAYING are diametrically opposed. The sooner your kids die a little each day, the better off they’ll be.
I’m guessing that that pre-k hasn’t read this study, discussed in Peter Gray’s Psychology Today blog:
…in the 1970s, the German government sponsored a large-scale comparison in which the graduates of 50 play-based kindergartens were compared, over time, with the graduates of 50 academic direct-instruction-based kindergartens. Despite the initial academic gains of direct instruction, by grade four the children from the direct-instruction kindergartens performed significantly worse than those from the play-based kindergartens on every measure that was used. In particular, they were less advanced in reading and mathematics and less well adjusted socially and emotionally. At the time of the study, Germany was gradually making a switch from traditional play-based kindergartens to academic ones. At least partly as a result of the study, Germany reversed that trend; they went back to play-based kindergartens. Apparently, German educational authorities, at least at that time, unlike American authorities today, actually paid attention to educational research and used it to inform educational practice.
Gray goes on to talk about an even longer study, tracking students from pre-k through their 20s. The ones with less free play were less likely to be married and more likely to have committed a crime.
So if your pre-schoolers are learning to live under prison-like conditions, that just might come in handy. – L