I'm horrified - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 03-07-2012, 05:44 PM - Thread Starter
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I just read this page http://www.icanteachmychild.com/2012/03/71-things-your-child-needs-to-know-before-kindergarten/

It's called "71 things your child needs to know before kindergarten" (in the US, I'm guessing) and I am truly horrified that they expect this from children that age. The comments are the worst part!


I need some sane input from you Waldorf mamas and papas. What do you think of that link? Of course I agree there ARE some things that a child needs to know before kindergarten, but not most of the ones on that list! What do YOU think a child should know before kindergarten? To clarify, the article refers to children 5-6 years of age.

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#2 of 10 Old 03-07-2012, 06:11 PM
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I have seen this issue from different sides. Our state standards are very similar to that list. Many items on it come with developmentally appropriate practice, but the academic parts are pushy IMHO. The mentality behind this type of list is part of the reason my daughter attended a Waldorf home nursery during her Kindergarten year (she's now at a Waldorf School for 1st grade).


My early childhood degrees are not Waldorf, so when I did observations, child study, and student teaching it was in "mainstream" child care and public schools. My cooperating teacher in Kindergarten student teaching actually told me that she turned down a job at another school because she wasn't comfortable with the amount of play they did!! I was speechless.


I think that children aren't a checklist. The wonder and curiosity that a child has about the world, physical development, social interaction, self-regulation, imagination... things like that need nurturing before academics can genuinely be tackled.

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#3 of 10 Old 03-07-2012, 06:14 PM
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Our family is v laid back academically and we follow a lot of Waldorf stuff. Will be homeschooling, may purchase W curriculum around age seven, not sure. Unschooling for now. DD1 is almost 4 and she can do almost everything on that list. I didn't find anything unusual about it. Just today, she wanted to take her bike out (small w/ training wheels) and is just learning to pedal it for real. Not even good yet, but really working. Been doing letters forever, has always been naturally drawn to them. The only formal schooling she has had has been these past two years of Waldorf Morning Garden. Her little sister (almost 2) is the one who has led the Play-Dough enthusiasm here, they both play w/ it a lot. Been doing scissors since 3.5. Not fabulous, but understands the mechanics. Can hold a pencil close to correctly.


I'm not sure which part bothered you the most. Certainly, if you are going the W route, there is no reason to delve into letters; dd1 has a passion for them. All this stuff has been picked up by her with us playing and some purposeful "learning time" that we knew she would enjoy (color bears for colors, counting, and pattern recognition, for example).

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#4 of 10 Old 03-07-2012, 07:03 PM
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I agree, my two year old knows most of the "academic" things on that list, and we have never done anything other than read to her.  But, I think if you are avoiding academics for philosophical, or other reasons (like- that isn't what your kid is into) they will pick all of those things up without a problem whenever they are exposed to them.  The ideas about what kids "should" know at certain ages seem to be a mostly cultural construct.

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#5 of 10 Old 03-07-2012, 08:56 PM
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I think that there is a gender difference as well. That is one of the reasons that our family went with the Waldorf philosophy. 


My son was too shy to speak to others. And he had two years of play based preschool. We did work on those social skills.


He couldn't skip until he was close to seven. When he was 7, we worked really hard to get him to be able to tie his shoes or his Aikido belt. It was a real struggle. 


Phew! My son wasn't in public school - because he had an eye tracking problem, so he never could have accomplished the reading side of things. And depending on the print for the math, he couldn't have done that either. He is 8.5 years old and just becoming a reader. We are using the pre-reader books. He still doesn't know his left from right, which is a part of the vision issue he had.


And I can't imagine what they are doing to get boys under the age of 6.5 to sit. That 5.5 to 6.5 year transition can be really tough!


My sister's son is doing well in Kindergarten though. They exercise him in the gym in the morning so that he can control himself during the day. He really liked it for the first 6 months, but now it is starting to lose its luster. 


I just really didn't want to push anything early. I am a big believer until waiting until kids are over that 6.5 year - 7 year transition for academics.


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#6 of 10 Old 03-07-2012, 11:25 PM
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Well I think what is missing from the title is "71 things your child needs to know before beginning an academic kindergarten," for starters.  Your child isn't going to need to know those things for Waldorf Kindergarten.  They are going to learn many of those things, there, though.


A lot of those things are what I think they are in kindergarten are to learn so they are ready to meet academics in grade one.   I think if you're taking a 4 year old (as it would be in my state) and sending them to a classroom where they are to sit at a desk, write letters, hold pencils, learn math, etc. etc. it's going to be a tough ride if you don't know any of those skills already, not that I think it's age-appropriate that they ought to have.


It is like preschool is what kindergarten was for us and when is it the children just get to play and learn to socialize?


I can think of so many kids who couldn't do most of those things at age 4 1/2 or 5.  Thank goodness my child will be seven before they need all this in first.

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#7 of 10 Old 03-08-2012, 01:07 PM
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It seems a long list but I don't think it is unusual. Probably worth noting that K attracts an older group than in the past who would have additional skills. I also think most kids emerge from a good quality preschool of any philosophy with an awful lot of these skills.

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#8 of 10 Old 03-09-2012, 07:14 AM
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I didn't bother reading the link, but it is equally frustrating for me.


My daughter just turned 3 and all she has to learn is what she wants to learn. 

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#9 of 10 Old 03-12-2012, 07:58 PM
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I didn't see anything shocking here really....at 4 and 5 my son could do pretty much all those things already.  I don't think that necessarily all those are needed, Waldorf setting or not, and its no big deal if a child does not have even half of those down by the time the kindergarten year approaches.  However I don't see anything too scary or shocking here either...those are pretty moderate considering some state's core standards that I've seen.  I see more scary things pushed in kindergarten than before.

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#10 of 10 Old 03-14-2012, 05:22 PM
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Most of those seem like regular life skills.  I have never had a "checklist" but my child could do all of that way before kindergarten.  Heck, we're doing Waldorf homeschooling now and she can read, do lots of mental math, and has logical skills to rival adults.  But this is who she is.  I can see if you were putting your child into an institutional school situation, it would be helpful to know the skill expectations and work on those--and really, most of those skills listed are very basic.  So, I don't know.  I'm still waiting for the punchline ...

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