Originally Posted by expecting-joy
In that kind of situation I would ask the teacher to not use commercial characters or find some other activity. I might even ask for my money back if it were a lot and it were not clear from the course description that it were a commercial-character-based class. I mean, surely the other children know the sun is yellow, the grass is green, the sky is blue, etc., right?
I thought you were going to ask about visiting other families. Honestly, I would not attend a class like that. I'm not going to pay for something that goes against our family values.
I agree with the above and I agree with your philosophy on T.V.
Dd will be 8 in a few months and still doesn't watch T.V. Well, not typical T.V. She enjoys watching Andy Griffith and I Love Lucy and other black and white shows from the early 60's. She has never watched the typical shows like Sesame Street, Dora, and even now has never seen Hannah Montana and that disgusting ilk of Disney commercialization poorly disguised as T.V. She has attended a private language immersion school since she was 3.5 and most kids in her class know all of these characters. But there are plenty of other interests for the kids to find common ground. In fact, because the school philosophy, she has very few kids in her class that have two American parents... it's very diversified, so there are many different ways families approach T.V.
We actually returned from living abroad around the time dd started school and we were TV-free completely at that point. She was about 5 before she really started watching anything other than a few classic videos (nothing live). She has NEVER felt left out at school because she doesn't know these characters. It's not like kids sit around talking about the latest episode of Sesame Street like adults do Survivor. So, on the playground, they'll start playing Little Mermaid... O.K., dd has never seen that, but she can figure out what they are playing pretty easily and just join in. She's an easy-going and smart kid, so she quickly adjusts or she'll take some initiative and say, "Hey I don't know how to play that, how about playing *something generic*?" She has never had self-esteem problems and quite frankly, I would work with her if she felt that her self-worth centered on knowing pop-culture rather than being true to herself and beliefs.
Stick to your guns. When someone uses examples such as you have described, step up and say something. If you're somewhere and the T.V. is on, ask politely to change it or occupy your child elsewhere (we had to do this a lot at gymnastics). As long as you are polite and not self-righteous about it, people are usually more than happy to accommodate. In fact, many times I've had people say, "Yeah, I hate that show and I wish my kiddo didn't watch it!" (as if they have no choice... this is what the media wants you to think!!) As the mother of a 7 year old, I can tell you that the rewards are enormous and will not have any lasting effects on a well-centered and well-loved child that has plenty of activities to keep him/her active.
(BTW - dd rides, too, and is crazy about horses, so she does have a specific interest... it's just not character-based.)