Sitting Still in Pre-K


All niffsahrfz
animals play. It is how they learn. Young gazelles chase each other in what looks like a game of tag, even though by doing so, they are putting themselves at real risk: First, they are using up calories that they will have to replenish. Second, they are running around where predators can see them. Why would Mother Nature program them to do such a dangerous activity? Why is the need for play an INSTINCT?

Because it must be even MORE valuable to the continuation of the species than simply staying “safe.” What gazelles — and ants, and bats, and kids — learn through play is crucial to their survival and well-being.

And yet. And yet. Play keeps disappearing from kids’ lives. This can be traced to the twin fears stalking parents today: 1 – That their children will be kidnapped the second they go outside. And 2 – That they will not get into Harvard.

We talk about the first fear a lot here. (And it’s new corollary: that the kids will be scooped up by the cops.) But today’s post is about the second fear: The need, reinforced by school policies, to “prove” that kids are learning lots, and learning fast. And since you can’t really test whether a kid is learning creativity, problem-solving, or self-control, what’s tested for instead are academic achievements. But these are the ones that most kids could get a few years later, without this “lag” hurting them at all. Remember: Kids in Finland start school at 7 . yet they end up among the most literate in the world. So you don’t have to shove letters into a kid at a desk at age 4.

Explaining this eloquently is Nancy Carlsson-Paige, described by the Washington Post as “an early childhood development expert who has been at the forefront of the debate on how best to educate — and not educate — the youngest students.” She also seems to be the mom of Matt Damon. She gave this speech upon receiving the Deborah Meier award from the National Center for Fair and Open Testing.

…We have decades of research in child development and neuroscience that tell us that young children learn actively — they have to move, use their senses, get their hands on things, interact with other kids and teachers, create, invent. But in this twisted time, young children starting public pre-K at the age of 4 are expected to learn through “rigorous instruction.”

And never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that we would have to defend children’s right to play.

Play is the primary engine of human growth; it’s universal – as much as walking and talking. Play is the way children build ideas and how they make sense of their experience and feel safe. Just look at all the math concepts at work in the intricate buildings of kindergartners. Or watch a 4-year-old put on a cape and pretend to be a superhero after witnessing some scary event.

But play is disappearing from classrooms. Even though we know play is learning for young kids, we are seeing it shoved aside to make room for academic instruction and “rigor.”

I could not have foreseen in my wildest dreams that we would have to fight for classrooms for young kids that are developmentally appropriate. Instead of active, hands-on learning, children now sit in chairs for far too much time getting drilled on letters and numbers. Stress levels are up among young kids. Parents and teachers tell me: children worry that they don’t know the right answers; they have nightmares, they pull out their eyelashes, they cry because they don’t want to go to school. Some people call this child abuse and I can’t disagree.

Read the rest here, including the part where she describes how this deep insistence on measurable learning is hurting the poorest kids the most. Kids need free time to develop interests, curiosity, compassion… You get the idea. Free-Range Kids believes in more free time for kids. Period. – L  


Look! I learned how not to play!

Look! I learned how not to play!




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33 Responses to Sitting Still in Pre-K

  1. Doug December 8, 2015 at 11:07 am #

    There was a big story on NPR here in Indianapolis about a “maker-space” being created for school children, because it turns out that when children work on fun “projects” instead of sit in a classroom, they actually learn more.

    Well, duh. In other shocking news, the sun rose this morning.

  2. Heather December 8, 2015 at 11:24 am #

    Glad you bring this up Lenore. We need to take a good, hard look at who is pushing for education “reform” & who profits. Spoiler alert: bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Eva Moscowitz, etc. We can thank Common Core for depriving even our youngest children of play in order to make teachers “accountable”, while making the aforementioned along with hedge funders, charter operators, & testing companies richer. It’s time parents & students rise up & demand that education return to a system designed for learning, not for competing. We need to hold politicians & “reformers” accountable for what they’ve done to education.

  3. Gina December 8, 2015 at 11:33 am #

    Disgusting. As a parent, preschool teacher and nanny for over 30 years…I can’t even….

  4. Paul Bearer December 8, 2015 at 11:57 am #

    I taught in a preschool for 3 years after college, not once did a parent approach me to discuss how their child was maturing socially. I did, however, get lots of question about what level of math their 3-year-old would be learning, or whether their 5-year-old will have memorized the scientific method by the end of our program.

    The mother of one little girl, who was painfully shy, expressed some concern when another little girl drew her a friendly picture and placed it in her cubby. “Don’t you think that’s weird?” the mother said, as if she had no recollection of what it was like to have friends.

    I appreciate everything that you stand for, Lenore, but things are getting worse. At this rate, the socially-inept majority will be too afraid of children preying on children to allow basic interaction.

  5. Rae Pica December 8, 2015 at 12:34 pm #

    Thanks so much for this post, Lenore! You know this is my passion. The craziness can’t be allowed to continue!

  6. fred schueler December 8, 2015 at 12:41 pm #

    here’s a pre-school-related report about a free-range 3-yearold from a free-range grandmother in Kemptville, Ontario, to her mother (the great grandmother): Today Sam and I had fun in Kemptville while his mother went to the gym in Ottawa and did some shopping. First we walked (Sam on his scooter) to his playgroup for the morning. Then we walked (scooted) to the library where I did some work on my laptop and Sam played math games on the computers in the children’s section. Then we shopped for our lunch at the grocery store downtown and ate it outside at a picnic table – and scooted home and made tea a half an hour before his mother came home.

    Sam’s scooter, as he noticed today, has four wheels! The front ones are about a centimetre apart and they steer when he tips the front post to one side or the other. His balance when he whizzes along on it is superb, and back when he’d misjudge a slope of the road edge along Mill Street and take a tumble (or fall in any other way) he’d roll rather than fall (last winter there was a while when he’d lie down and roll down any little slope he encountered when we were out). Also when you’re out with him and he’s whizzing on the scooter, if there’s a car approaching from either direction on the street, he stops, gets off the scooter, goes to the edge of the road, and makes sure that the supervisory adult has also left the roadway. Yesterday he was also on my case when I was walking in the middle of the street rather than on one side of the pavement.

    I am a very indulgent Grandma – I let him do dangerous things, like walking on his own along the edge of the stone wall of the creek in town, and when we’re going on a sidewalk, scooting way ahead of me right to the next corner. Sometimes I see people looking around for whose little boy this loose one might be, he’s so young to be moving so fast! He never crosses a street until I catch up with him and we both look both ways before crossing. And I carry his scooter in parking lots. Every time we cross a parking lot I talk to him about how dangerous Kemptville parking lots are and why.

    Sam recognizes all his numbers and letters, and can do simple addition like 2+2 and 2+3. He’s so bored at playgroup when they do letters and numbers recognition as a group, because it’s old hat for him. Some group songs he likes, especially the ones with gestures, which he does very expressively. Others he has decided he has had enough of, like the sleeping bunny chant. They all have to lie still like sleeping bunnies and then hop up awake. Today he put on a sour face for that one and went and hid his head in the pile of cushions. I think he would like for them to get over the sleeping bunnies and move on. But there are some things they do every day without fail.

    Sam likes variety and new challenges, and tends to vary the way he does things, rather than enjoying habits and rituals. He has many stuffed toys but tends not to cuddle with them or carry them about. He has only one favorite toy and that is a black and white jointed robot with great big feet that he has named Tito. He doesn’t know any Tito, in person or in story or movie – he likes to make up entirely new names for things, and this one he’s really stuck with.

    He also remembers a new word from one hearing with definition, and we’ll hear him use it in a sentence hours or days later. On Sunday we took him the long way home from Meeting, and stopped to check out a marsh. He stood on the corrugated culvert pipe to swish grandpa GrubGrub’s big frog net in the water, and said “I seem to be standing on a culvert pipe.” He hadn’t heard the term “culvert” since the summer. Really he talks like a five-year-old and he’s a lot of fun to converse with.

    These days he’s fiercely independent about anything he knows he is able to do – and also rather competitive and territorial. He didn’t want his mother to sit on the toilet this morning because he wanted to use it. He requires a lot of talking-to, as he still has three-year-old reasoning.

    He learns everything you tell him though, so it’s worth it. But you have to explain it from where he’s at in his stage of reasoning, and sometimes that’s an interesting challenge. He changes so fast!

    It’s so good for him to have to share toys and be considerate to other children at the playgroup. He goes at least two mornings a week. It’s run by a county government agency at the “Early Years Centre” free of charge on every weekday morning, walking distance from their house.

    When I take him I have to lay aside who I am and forget everything else that is important to me, and just relax and tolerate the situation, watching Sam and the other children and their parents and grandparents. Sometimes Sam calls me to participate in his play, but otherwise he’s rather a loner. Although he’s polite to other children, he doesn’t seek out them out to play with. This will take time. He only went occasionally to playgroup when they lived out of town.

  7. Auntie Ann December 8, 2015 at 12:45 pm #

    Timely article from yesterday’s The Atlantic ( ):

    >> From a 3-year-old suspended for too many toileting mishaps to a 4-year-old booted out of school for kicking off his shoes and crying, toddlers are racking up punishments that leave many parents and child experts bewildered.

    >> […] But for some more astounding than these discipline statistics were the thousands of the nation’s youngest learners—nearly 8,000 preschoolers—suspended from school in the same year, often for relatively minor disruptions and misbehaviors. For researchers and educators immersed in this work, why preschoolers are put out of school and the entrenched racial disparity seems most closely tied to reasons such as teacher bias and children living in poverty whose hitting, biting, and pinching is frequently labeled misconduct rather than developmental delays.<<


    Not so astounding, really, because the kids should be out playing anyway; and studies of the Head Start program show that preschool offers little long-term educational benefit.

    So, here we are, suspending toddlers from a school they shouldn't be in anyway; letting them know right from the start that they don't fit in well with school; and tagging them in the eyes of the educational system as "problem" kids. We first create the problem, then we punish the kids for it.

  8. Momof8 December 8, 2015 at 1:25 pm #

    My now straight-A high school freshman son didn’t know a single letter of the alphabet when he started kindergarten. He was too busy playing. Also, the teachers in our schools who win awards are often least liked by the students. Their numbers must look good, I guess.

  9. James Pollock December 8, 2015 at 1:37 pm #

    I started my daughter in school, early, because she was ready. Well, almost ready. Giving up her afternoon nap was stressful at first.
    Sitting still, quietly, was not one of her things. Her Kindergarten teachers had adapted to it (she was aware of the lessons and able to meet goals, but you’d go in and it would be “storytime”, with 24 kids sitting neatly on the “storytime rug”, listening intently, and my daughter, doing something else.) I talked about it with her first-grade teacher before she started first-grade, and he adapted and she thrived. Then, in second grade, she hit a disciplinarian, who thought she could out-stubborn my daughter. That did not end well.)

    So, by the time she was a junior in high school (already the youngest child in her class, in some cases by over a year), we switched her from the high-school to a college program, and the school district covered her first two years of college.

    Bragging? Maybe a little. But the point is that “sit still and keep quiet” fits some people’s natural disposition, and doesn’t fit some people’s natural disposition, and has nothing to do with academic achievement or capability for same.

  10. Another Katie December 8, 2015 at 1:52 pm #

    Our 5 year old went to a wonderful daycare with a play-based preschool curriculum. Her pre-K teacher, who has been teaching 4 year olds for 27 years, told us upfront that given the state of public education in the US today this would be our kids’ last year of learning primarily through play and she wanted to make the most of it. They did do brief periods of “seat work” and had to start raising hands to be called on because the pre-K teacher didn’t want the much more constrained classroom environment of kindergarten to be a total shock.

    We have friends whose kids were in daycares with pre-K programs that included mandatory, nightly homework, where the kids sat at desks and where there was no play outside of “recess”. For FOUR YEAR OLDS. Given that, we’re relieved that our toddler goes to the same daycare where we know she has at least a few more years of learning the way that young children learn best – through play and experiential learning.

    Our daughter attends a public elementary school where the principal made snide comments about anti-Common Core parents at the kindergarten orientation. She’s several grade levels ahead in reading and at least one grade ahead in math, and her teacher goes out of her way to differentiate instruction as much as possible to keep her engaged. What we don’t love is how the school and district administrators’ focus appears to be single-mindedly focused on test scores. There’s homework plus required reading every weeknight – even in kindergarten. Our daughter loves science and social studies, but those are basically afterthoughts at her school because the curriculum is so single-mindedly focused on reading and writing. I don’t think the students get enough math instruction, and what they do get is “literacy-based”. They have kindergarteners learning how to fill out bubble sheets because they start phasing in formal testing in first grade, to prepare for Common Core testing starting in third grade. The gifted & talented program has been gutted district-wide and gifted students are not allowed to skip grades because they need those high achievers to pull up average scores.

    There are no good alternatives. We both work full time so homeschooling isn’t an option (nor do we want to homeschool). The parochial schools are all following Common Core-based curricula now, right down to the standardized testing focus, and we can’t afford the nonsectarian day schools.

  11. K2 December 8, 2015 at 2:14 pm #

    My kindergartner arrives at the bus stop at 7:30 AM and doesn’t get picked up until after 4 PM. The school emphasizes academics and yes; he is learning to read. An ESL student that just comes into the country from Mexico in January of kindergarten would have trouble catching up though and I think that is unfair to them as well as taking play away from the kids who are already here.

  12. Jessica December 8, 2015 at 2:16 pm #

    Even though kindergarten in my state is only half-day, and even though our nearby school is one of the top-rated in the state, this is a big part of why I’m opting to homeschool. When I heard that even the kindergartners get assigned homework, and this school is a big advocate for common core with all the required tests, I couldn’t bring myself to enroll my oldest son. I’m happy to say I’ve always been more concerned with how my son treats other people and plays with other kids, because he’s going to be interacting with people his entire life. The rest of the stuff can be learned as he wants or needs and definitely only when he’s ready.

    As an aside, I remember my favorite school years being fifth and sixth grade. It was a combined class with one teacher, Mr. Lawrence, who was amazing. Homework was minimal – a puzzle (crossword, wordsearch, etc) that I don’t think was graded, and we never got them on the weekends or over breaks. All of our math was done in class, we learned BASIC programming on old TRS-80s, he read aloud to us every day, and we still had down time every day where we could choose to play computer games, or read, or whatever. We also generally had an extra recess at least once a week where we would get out and play kickball, even in the winter. That’s the kind of teaching we should be seeing in our classes.

  13. Yocheved December 8, 2015 at 2:22 pm #

    My daughter cannot learn when sitting still. I remember in first grade, when she was learning the Hebrew alphabet, the teacher had the kids get up and put their bodies into certain shapes that looked like each letter. At first it was like a form of yoga, but as she drilled them faster and faster, it ended up more like calesthenics. To this day she still remembers all of the forms.

    The next year, she was supposed to be able to count up to 100, but she struggled with it. She absolutely could not do it while sitting down. I put a mattress on the floor, and had her jump on it while counting her jumps. Suddenly, she could count perfectly, with no missed numbers. After a few rounds of that, she could then do her count for the teacher.

    Using movement to teach is so importantow! How much more so is free movement to develop creativity and problem solving?

  14. Paul M December 8, 2015 at 2:40 pm #

    I honestly believe most teachers and administrators don’t believe that recess and movement and play would make better test scores. It baffles me why they continue to double down on the instruction time and homework and lecture time. I’m not against testing at all. When American high schoolers can’t read or do basic arithmetic, or know nothing about history, there needs to be some accountability. Testing can be a good way of providing that. But all I hear is the whining and moaning about teaching to the test, we need more time in the classroom, we need to start them when they are 2, etc. How about you believe the studies such as the one above and implement these techniques and trust that kids will learn better, and gasp, perhaps do better on the tests.

  15. lollipoplover December 8, 2015 at 2:55 pm #

    It is getting worse. We chose our preschool over a decade ago. It was a block from our house and on over 20 acres of land where the kids could run in fields flying kites, ride bikes on tennis courts, and explore all kinds of outdoor adventures. They went outside every day and loved it.

    When our last child went through this school, they were in the process of getting accredited and the open fields were confined to small pens with age appropriate plastic climbers. Indoors, she was evaluated on her “scissor skills” and other things I had no interest in…did she play well with others and make friends? But they had checklists for evaluations and new regulations to bleach every surface after food was served. We switched her last year to a Pre-K at a small church where she could play outside everyday and make friends.

    Education is about academic, social, and emotional development. Most social and emotional growth comes through play- kids thrive on being active and engaged. School environments that take away play time are creating worse problems for children when they focus only on academic achievements. Music, arts, sports, and other outlets that are expanded in play contribute to the types of students that are high achievers yet well-rounded and happy.

    Sitting for long periods of time isn’t healthy for adults or children. Confining small children indoors for long periods of time should be considered inhumane as it is to veal.

  16. Havva December 8, 2015 at 3:33 pm #

    Paul Bearer, that story about a mom thinking it “weird” that another kid put a drawing in her daughter’s cubby is just so sad. When my daughter pulls a picture out of her cubby (that doesn’t bare the hallmarks of her artistic obsession of the moment) my first question is usually “Is this yours, or a gift?” She gets lots of gift drawings, or pretend invitations, or secret messages. They can be pretty strange sometimes, piles of tiny scraps of paper, a folded paper with one mark, or representational art that obviously took a lot of 4 year old effort to produce. They are all wonderful, because they all have a story. And a lot of the art projects of the day that the teachers talk about never make it home, and I can only assume were gifted to her friends. I hope the mother was disabused of the notion that it was weird to get a gift from a friend.

  17. Papilio December 8, 2015 at 3:45 pm #

    A couple weeks ago, the sort of opposite was on the news here: the University of Groningen has done a study that shows the positive effects of making children move while learning (much like Yocheved describes). IIRC they showed kids literally jumping up and down while answering the teacher’s math questions.

    “Kids in Finland start school at 7 . yet they end up among the most literate in the world.”

    ‘Among’? Have they been overtaken?

  18. sexhysteria December 8, 2015 at 3:58 pm #

    Every year there are thousands of children who are kidnapped in less than a second after they go outside. The statistics are overwhelming. Ask any political opportunist or profiteer in the child sex abuse prevention and rescue business.

  19. Elsie K December 8, 2015 at 5:10 pm #

    I feel very conflicted about this. I believe in play and I don’t like what I see in the schools (I’ve taught school, so I’ve been there and I know what it is like) but I can’t afford a special private school and I fear I won’t be able to homeschool due to my own stress at being with the kids all the time. I’m really torn over it.

    My oldest will be old enough to start kindergarten next year. One reason I don’t want to send him is because I do not believe he is emotionally mature enough. I get the strangest looks when I tell people that. He is a very bright boy and knows all sorts of things, but emotionally he seems behind his peers. I’m sure he’ll catch up, but I don’t see the point in causing emotional distress for him simply because he isn’t ready yet.

  20. Elsie K December 8, 2015 at 5:15 pm #

    Body movement and music are so important to teaching. Several years ago I began shaking my son’s blanket and counting to three before he went to bed. As he grew older, we counted higher. This summer he insisted that we begin counting backward – his idea – and now we frequently shake blankets together and count forward or backward from 82 or 45 or whatever he feels like. I didn’t do this to teach him numbers, I did it because it was fun. Learning was the byproduct.

    I have always used music to help him learn things too. I wanted him to learn our address this summer and straight memorization wasn’t doing it, so I put our address to music (There was a farmer had a dog…). He knew it within five minutes. Anything I need him to memorize gets put to a song, any song. It really works.

  21. FreedomForKids December 8, 2015 at 7:58 pm #

    “How Children Learn”, and “How Children Fail” by John Holt. Wonderful, eye-opening books!

  22. Donald December 8, 2015 at 8:24 pm #

    I went to an open house day at a Steiner School. In 1st grade the children embroidered their names. The needle was almost as blunt as a knitting needle and the material a very loose weave. The school did this because they knew the importance of developing hand-eye coordination.

    I thought it was brilliant and thought up a fun way for children to learn hand-eye coordination. I bought a book on animal balloon tying, balloons, and a hand pump. Animals are easy to make from balloons. My kids learned how and took to it like a duck to water.

    A word of caution. You can make a sword from a balloon. This may get your child suspended or labeled as a junior terrorist.

  23. Sam December 8, 2015 at 10:33 pm #

    No need for the false dichotomy between free play and rigorous education. Kids can handle both, even at a young age, if there is a good mix of activities.

  24. baby-paramedic December 8, 2015 at 10:58 pm #

    It is in Australia too, although not as bad.
    There is almost 15 years between the youngest and oldest in the family (the youngest being quite the surprise), and my parents thought the youngest needed to get “socialized” with people his own age before starting school, as he was surrounded by teenagers the rest of the time.

    All the settings for three and four year olds were focussed on literacy and numeracy, and not on “a year in the sandpit learning to share”. Eventually my parents found one, a town over connected to a private school, where the focus was not on academics, but was on social skills etc. Which is what a child with only teenage siblings needed.

  25. hineata December 9, 2015 at 2:16 am #

    Our kindergartens are roughly equivalent to your pre-k (3 to 5 year olds) and at least when my kids went, there was just 15 minutes or so of mat time at the end of the session, and they had to sit down if they were eating something

    I think we are looking too much to Asian countries for patterns of education (at the same time, funnily enough, as places like Singapore are looking West ). I remember a woman on a Malaysian website I joined while we lived there writing that her son had been ejected from his ‘educational’ daycare because he couldn’t sit still for the 45 minute lessons, of which there were 3 or 4 per day. She thought that might have been a bit harsh. The bulk of respondents on the site sided with the daycare and chastised the mother for not raising her child with enough discipline .

    The boy had just turned 3.

  26. andy December 9, 2015 at 5:40 am #

    The elementary school described in second half of the article sounds really bad. Then again, pre-K between 9:30 and 11:45 filled with more organized rigorous activities is unlikely to stung your child social development – example from beginning of article. Two hours of such activities still leaves plenty of time for free play whether alone or with other kids.

    I agree with Sam. The dichotomy between free play and rigorous education is false one. Yes drilling letters into four years old is waste of time and full day of sitting nonsense. Then again, there is also such thing as overemphasis on play socialization and how the kid “plays with others”. As much as I would not want my kid to be in over the top school, I would not want him/her (say over 6 years old) to go into opposite extreme school either. I disagree with “all learning must be fun and when it is not then it is horrible” philosophy. Not everything can be fun for everybody.

    Also, all those cute time consuming art gifts four years old generate in kindergarden (which were mentioned in these comments) exist only because adults help with them and teach the idea to kids. If you actively do not teach projects, three-four years old wont just suddenly generate elaborate projects. It is learned (or at least observed) thing.

    I have another observation: the ability to play alone for a while or even solve problems is completely devalued by all. As if the kid that solves the problem fully alone without help of others be less praise worthy then the one that constantly asks around wont get anywhere without other people (kids adults) chiming in. It is ridiculous, asking a question out loud gets kids more praise then figuring it out.

  27. BL December 9, 2015 at 5:58 am #

    “my parents thought the youngest needed to get “socialized” with people his own age before starting school,”

    One of the stupidest ideas of our age – that we’re supposed to spend the first 20 or so years of our lives in the near-exclusive company of people exactly our own age. Dumb.

  28. lollipoplover December 9, 2015 at 9:02 am #

    “The ability to play alone for a while or even solve problems is completely devalued by all.”

    I totally agree. Self entertaining and alone time are lost when kids are under constant supervision. There is nothing more annoying than the child who asks questions or requires assistance for every little problem. Asking questions nonstop is viewed as a bright talkative child where the kid that can quietly tie his own shoes at 3 is a “loner”. Give me the loner child to parent any day over the chatterbox.

    No child learns the same way. There are kids who love school and will sit quietly through passive lessons and be actively engaged. Then there’s the rest of the class, especially if this is pre-k and 4 year-olds. There’s a whole range of approaches to learning at young ages but rigorous instruction has to have a counterpoint with non-rigorous fun time. Kids this age have a range of attention spans- some like gnats and others like border collies. They also needed free play to find out what they enjoy doing as an outlet.

    And I love all of those “time consuming art gifts”. I have a shelf for them in my china closet.

  29. Katie December 9, 2015 at 9:17 am #

    @BL- amen! The world is comprised of people of many ages!

  30. Evalyne December 9, 2015 at 12:42 pm #

    The other piece of this issue that drives me crazy is how much adults expect children to be perfectly still and quiet at all times, especially during school, and if the children aren’t constantly subdued their parents are treated to a lecture about how they should medicate their child or stop feeding them gluten or red dye or some other ridiculous “solution” to the “problem” of an active child. Personally, I think this is partially because the culture of fear has led adults to keep children closer at hand, meaning that kids are constantly inside the house, never more than an arm’s reach from an adult. They’re not necessarily “acting up” more than children of any other generation, adults just notice and are annoyed by it because they made the decision to tie children to their hip for “safety”. I feel for my 9 year old brother, because he’s a little energetic and finds it difficult to sit still in class, so he wiggles and moves a lot (without disturbing other students), and thus four of the five teachers he has had so far have labeled him as having “behavior problems” and have suggested that my parents change his diet or seek ADHD treatment for him, despite the fact that literally the only problem is that he needs to move and that apparently annoys the teacher to the point of suggesting to my parents that he may have a mental disorder and not just that he’s a pretty typical energetic 9 year old. (As a note, to appease the school, they had him evaluated by a doctor, and the doctor concluded that he does not, in fact, have ADHD, but he does have a pretty rapid metabolism, which makes him bouncy and wiggly; even after voluntarily sharing the results of a medical evaluation, teachers have continued to suggest that my parents request he be put on ADHD medication)

  31. SKL December 9, 2015 at 1:52 pm #

    Well I have kids who were able to sit in pre-K and even younger, so I might be biased.

    But honestly, are most of these kids able to sit and watch TV? How is it that stats say US babies, toddlers, and preschoolers all watch an average 2 hours of screens per day (primarily TV screens)? And these aren’t in short little spurts either. I’ve also seen preschoolers sit quietly through an hour-long church service. I just don’t believe the average 4-5yo is incapable of sitting through an age-appropriate learning activity at pre-K.

    It needs to be in balance with a reasonable amount of exercise, hands-on play, etc. But these don’t all have to be happening all the time.

    Do they “need” this, perhaps not, but I don’t think it will hurt them either.

    I guess parents always have the option of not sending their kid to pre-K if this upsets them so much.

  32. SKL December 9, 2015 at 2:03 pm #

    Also, some kids prefer less active learning, so let’s not leave them behind.

    When I was pre-K age (I entered KG a year early at 4yo), my least favorite part of the day was the “social” time, when the more dominant kids would tell all the others who had to be the mom and who had to be the nurse etc. I was born an introvert, still am, will die one. I also hated doing those stupid wooden puzzles and other “age-appropriate hands-on learning acitivties.” Give me my book, paper, and crayons and let me be! I had the rest of the day (and the weekend) to learn hands-on life skills, fight with my siblings, play with my neighbors, tinker with the piano, and organize my dolls.

  33. Mike December 15, 2015 at 9:24 am #

    It’s really revolting. She has no right to keep the children steady. They need the interact each