Originally Posted by amseiler
...If they don't they will be behind and unprepared to take the standardized tests that they have to take every year. The school system has to cram so much into each year that they leave no time for personal development.
Honestly, I'd have to say that good teachers, even in PSs, aren't this rigid.
The kids start taking standardized tests for NCLB in 3rd grade, so there is some time in which to get them prepared. Don't get me wrong, I am not a fan of these tests. What I am getting at is that teachers who push, push, push in K and 1st are misguided IMHO since there is no need to have kids performing like little trained monkeys that early.
My older dd's second grade teacher really did make an effort to let the kids explore their personal interests. DD, for instance, loves the ocean and we adopted a manatee for her class through the Save the Manatee Club. The teacher adapted the entire science curricula for a week or so to study sirenians of the wild (the group to which manatee belong). She also let dd spend some of her reading time writing "books" b/c dd was already doing very well in reading and had developed a real passion for writing as well.
The ironic thing is, that her 1st grade teacher took the drill 'em on the facts approach and dd made very little academic progress that year until we took her out and homeschooled her. The next year with a more laid back approach and room to explore her real interests, her test scores went up btwn 2-3 grade levels in everything that year.
My point is, that a child led approach can work in a PS with a good teacher and often results in better test scores anyway so it truly doesn't make sense
to cram in information using flash cards and anything you can do to prep them for standardized tests. It is counter productive regardless of which result you are looking for (happy kid or good test scores). The two seem to go together although I agree that many teachers and schools have not gotten this fact.