My understanding of this stoplight system is that it is public. So, yes there is a difference between reprimanding someone in front of the class, ie "Jeffrey, chairs are for sitting," or "hitting hurts" and highlighting their misbehaviors publicly all day for their friends to see, just at a time when they are developmentally figuring out their own self-awareness. These children are just babies at 5 and many do not possess the self-control necessary to meet all the requirements of sitting still, standing in line, not talking etc. at this point in time, akin to asking my newborn baby not to cry if he's hungry. Yet, we are willing to insist on perfection and potentially embarrassing them if they are not perfect? Further, do we want them to behave b/c it's they should and it's the right thing to do, or do we want them to be embarassed into behaving? Maybe b/c of large class sizes, understaffed classrooms, inexperienced teachers etc., the ends justify the means?
Example, if you used a reward system for potting training, chores etc., did you give a "sticker" for every time your child used the potty? Or did you highlight everytime he had an accident for all to see? I guess this is really scary for me b/c we have been commitment to gentle and positive discipline at home and my sensitive dd could be open to something completely and shockingly different at Kindy. I thought (assumed) these kind of fear-based tactics went away with paddling.
Furthermore, do we do this with adults? Say, you're at a meeting at work and you happen to make a comment to your neighbor while someone else is talking. Rude? Yes. Appropriate for your boss to mention this to you in private or during your annual review? Yes. Appropriate for your boss to ask for quiet in the room? Yes. But what if your boss went down to the lobby and put your name on a spotlight telling everyone that you misbehaved. What if you were caught making a personal call and your employer posted your picture for all to see? What if you were made to wear a scarlet letter A...Human Resources would have a field day with this kind of public reprimand. I think they would call it a "hostile work environment."
Yes, I am sure that there were other factors contributing to the "demise" of Ross, with whom I went to school. But, his parents were hard-working poor people. They were a particularly loving family that practiced what is now known as attachment parenting (I know all of this b/c I was friends with his sister).
Ironically, the teacher that put his name in the doghouse was one of the best teachers I've ever had. When he cried/wet his pants that day, she lovingly carried him to the nurses office (without concern about getting urine on her dress). But with a class of 25, time alone at the bustop, during recess and gym glass, she could not be present to protect this child from the chiding and humiliating remarks. He was placed in counseling 2x/week at school (which the kids also made fun of him for). Kids, even at 7, can be cruel. When I've talked to his sister and parents about him, they all trace his drastic change of behavior to this incident. Where there several other incidents before this? Yes, probably. Ross was a handful. He WAS a distraction in the classroom and spent many hours in the principals office, standing in the corner etc., so this "doghouse" incident wasn't the first; but it was probably the straw that broke the camels back. Furthermore, he faced years of watching other children being embararrased much the same way. Thankfully, he did have a loving, supporting family and caring and a school system willing to support him, or maybe at some point in high school, he could have brought a gun to school...
Which is my point. Everyone has a breaking point. And, I'm not sure that we want that breaking point to happen at 5-7 yo. Sure, some kids won't have issues with the "spotlight" approach, some will simply conform and get used to it, but some will be effected adversly. (My kids will not do well in this environment, I can assure you.) We can make mistakes as adults and luckily, most of the time, those mistakes are not made public.
As for our homeschooling decision...we have been very focused on learning everything we can about schooling and have been dedicated to this learning process for almost a year. We have poured over books, articles online blogs/forums, talked to educators, joined hsing groups, toured schools and examined our lifestyle. We have not come to a decision yet. We would NEVER base our decision on one comment we saw on the Internet. However, this discussion has opened my eyes to another aspect of schooling.
I'm sorry if I've offended anyone on the forum. I am neither pro- or anti- school or hsing. I am just shocked that this happens in public schools especially, in Kindy, especially with all of the current research into positive discipline, attachment parenting gentle child rearing etc.
I think maybe this discussion has been my breaking point. Thanks Mamas!