What happened to early childhood? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
Old 06-13-2011, 08:04 AM
 
mistymama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 4,824
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Yes, this is so very true. And as you child gets older, these conversations turn into talking about what they have just read - "So what did the character do in the book?", "What do you think about what he did, and would you do it another way?" - it's a very important step in reading comprehension to not just read the words, but understand what they mean and be able to talk about what you just read.

 

I know my son has always loved these types of conversations and to this very day still asks me questions about our environment and why things are they way they are. Often now I have to google the answer on my phone (haha!) but learning about the world through questions is a great way to interact and learn.

 

I agree that so much seems clear - but as your child ages, if you are really AP, you'll find that each child is different and there is no single "formula" for how do teach and raise a child. We all do what our children need, and if we listen, they clearly tell us.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drummer's Wife View Post


this actually doesn't sound like forced or contrived learning, to me, unless, of course, the child is resistant and uninterested and the adult is truly forcing it upon them. 

 

I also think that chances are you will change your opinion on a lot of this as your infant gets older.  You will see that it is healthy parenting, not to mention good teaching in an early childhood education setting, to ask inquiring questions such as, "what color is that leaf?" or "what animals did we see on our walk?" or similar.  Children actually enjoy having someone interact with them like such, part of it is just having an engaging conversation with a small person whose mind is an absorbent sponge. 

 

 


Candacepeace.gif, Married to dh   guitar.gif, Mom to ds (8) biggrinbounce.gif , Gavin candle.gif (9/30/10 - 12/19/10) and cautiously expecting our rainbow1284.gif 4-29-12

mistymama is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 06-13-2011, 05:26 PM
 
aHikaru's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: California
Posts: 786
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I know exactly how you feel, i've been noticing the kindergarten graduations also and how weird it is to have that. I'm young, only 22, but even i didn't have a graduation or an emphasis on finishing any grade and i much prefer it that way anyways.

 

I myself am a little more outspoken, so i have commented on a "graduation" photo with "wow, her classroom looks a lot different than my daughters", the mother could've taken that either way, but i'm so glad i found Waldorf because anything else i look at is over stimulating, even for me.


Mama to DD(4) energy.gif&  DS baby.gif

aHikaru is offline  
Old 06-14-2011, 05:36 AM
 
AllisonR's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 3,100
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

If the child asks, I think the child ought to be respected. And I think A LOT of children ask, not what we want or assume they will ask, but what they are interested in. I have a DS, who always loved to draw and sculpt, and count, but was never big into letters. He went to school not knowing how to read and write, gasp, and is doing fine. But I also have a DD, who INSISTED on writing. She wouls want to make a birthday card for her daddy, and I would say "OK, draw him a pretty picture." But she would rush through it with a quick scribble and instead INSIST that I tell her how to write "Happpy Birthday Daddy, I hope you have a fantastic Birthday. Love dd." And then write the whole thing, clearly, legibly, even if it took 15 minutes. This issn't a one time thing, she wrote for 2 years and very rarely drew. She would look at the words in books when I was reading to her and learn the words. What was I to do, wack her over the head and take her books and pencils away and say she was not allowed to write or read until she was 4 or 5 or whatever number society deams relevant? No, you meet each individual child at their level, their interests, their needs, to the best of your ability. And the same parents, with the same views and expectations, in the same enviornment.... can still make vastly different kids with different needs and interests.

 

I don't see how anyone could truely avoid all lettters and numbers, or even want to. In 15 minutes outside, we have walked from our house, #10, down the street, passing #12, #14, #16.... and my kids know what the house numbers mean, why they are there - not because anyone drilled them, but because they have asked. Three kids are playing some marble game in the gutter where they are counting. My kids are listening and watching. Then we reach the corner flower shop, with a sign above it; again they know the sign because they asked what it said. Then we wait for the bus, #17 or #3, but not any of the other buses, and they know this is useful and check out which buses arrive. There is a newspaper on the bus bench, they enquire about the picture, but also about the story, which I read aloud to them. If I am literally in a hut in the middle of nowhere, with no computer, newspaper, books.... Ok, maybe letters and numbers can be avoided. But otherwise, how is this possible?

 

And why would you want to avoid it? Are learning numbers or letters somehow stressful or dangerous for all (or even most) of small children? Seriously, not being snarkly here. If my DD didn't know her numbers, fine, there would be other things to do in the day. But SHE would lose out on a lot of other things she loves to do, like play a wicked game of uno, play yatze, measure her teddy bears, draw hopscotch, bake pandcakes (a bit ough if you mix 3 tbsp sugar with only 1 tsp salt).... And I have to admit I'd miss out on the card games too, because it's fun playing with her and trying to win and still losing.

 

 

AllisonR is offline  
Old 06-14-2011, 06:02 AM
 
lach's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: MA
Posts: 1,923
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by AllisonR View Post

And why would you want to avoid it? Are learning numbers or letters somehow stressful or dangerous for all (or even most) of small children? Seriously, not being snarkly here. If my DD didn't know her numbers, fine, there would be other things to do in the day. But SHE would lose out on a lot of other things she loves to do, like play a wicked game of uno, play yatze, measure her teddy bears, draw hopscotch, bake pandcakes (a bit ough if you mix 3 tbsp sugar with only 1 tsp salt).... And I have to admit I'd miss out on the card games too, because it's fun playing with her and trying to win and still losing.

 

 


I think that the OP is interested in Waldorf, and Waldorf has a very specific spiritual/religious reasoning behind most of its precepts.  For letters and numbers it's that they're man-made, and thus "of this world."  Meanwhile, Steiner believed that until age 7, children exist mostly on a spiritual plane.  Introducing "worldly" things too early, he believed, messed up their natural development from angel to human.

 


Trying to live a simple life in a messy house in a complicated world with : DH, DD (b. 07/07), DS (b. 02/09), and DD (b. 10/10)
lach is offline  
Old 06-14-2011, 12:20 PM
 
yaboobarb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: USA
Posts: 267
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

What I think is important is Play, Play , Play and self exploration.

I never, ever ( if at all possible) disturb my children while they were absorbed with something. They are always protected and respected and I keep my self out of it. ( No suggestions, or showing them how to do it right etc.)

 

Their own absorption and experimentation and play are the most important things they need- whether it is with their body, balance or with objects of play.

 

I think I learned a lot from John Holt, How Children Learn

 

 

 

 

 


Birthpower AWARENESS CAMPAIGN - Do you have your button yet?   www.BirthPower.us      
 

Did you ROCK that VBAC or Natural Birth? Honor yourself with a Birthpower Necklace! & Empowered Birth Lawn Sign!

PLEASE join our yearly-  EMPOWERED BIRTH AWARENESS WEEK.     

yaboobarb is offline  
Old 06-15-2011, 06:04 AM
 
lindberg99's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 2,799
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:

Originally Posted by cassandraz View Post

 

I myself am a little more outspoken, so i have commented on a "graduation" photo with "wow, her classroom looks a lot different than my daughters", the mother could've taken that either way, but i'm so glad i found Waldorf because anything else i look at is over stimulating, even for me.

 

Wow, I'm hoping you also said that her child looked cute or whatever. I would be sad if I showed my friend a picture of my child at her preschool and all she did was bring it back to herself with a comment on how the room looks different from her daughter's.

 

 

 

lindberg99 is offline  
Old 06-15-2011, 12:47 PM
 
krisknig's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 2
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I believe that America has come to coddle our children too much. The preschool awards and graduation are just fine to me, nothing too serious about them. They are truely for fun. But in the older grades and even in youger ones children need to learn that they are going to have set backs and how to do deal with them(not everyone is going to get to have a certain toy or be friends with Sally, but that's ok). In the real world your boss is not going to give everyone an award for a good trait, they have to earn it. I want my son to stay young and free for as long as he can, but preserving childhood shouldn't mean shielding them from how things really work.

krisknig is offline  
Old 06-15-2011, 01:58 PM
 
alexsam's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 3,191
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

OK, I didn't read *everything* but I'll put on my ECE professor hat on for a moment.... There IS  a well documented trend in American schools in "pushing down" academics. If you would like to read more on it, go to the NAEYC's site on their position statements for kindergarten. The expectations of academic skills when entering elementary is increasing. This is, in part, a result of policy which enables more preschool and K programs fold in with the public school system. When this happens, the preschools must comply with government content standards and prepares children for future schooling and leads to this pushing-down. Private schools then feel pressure to prepare children in a similar way, as their livelyhood depends on parents choosing them and one of the factors that many parents consider is how prepared children are to enter school. At the current point, these policies do not really account for the rich and wonderful history and philosophies that have shaped early childhood education. The field is at a crossroad this way.

 

The choice for private preschool is out of the reach of many families, so while we may sit and decry the introduction of academics and do not choose that for our children, we must remember that this is a position of privilege. Most preschool aged children are not in preschool.

 

As another trend in education relating to the many ceremonies and such... This is actually rooted in a declining achievement of children and their being able to *actually* graduate from high school and of parents having diminishing opportunities to celebrate their children's accomplishments at school. For some children, quite literally every year is a struggle. With some minority populations high school graduation rates at national averages of 50% and in some places more than 75% drop outs, middle school graduation is their only time to feel that transition and for parents to show support. Celebrating "graduations" younger and younger, as a national trend, reflects the huge obstacles, sacrifices, and uncertainty many children and families face when they move from one level to another. Of course this is not the case in every school, but if there was more confidence that each child would see their high school graduation and be honored along the way and parents had outlets for supporting and celebrating their children... we may see fewer little kid graduations and awards.

alexsam is offline  
Old 06-15-2011, 03:44 PM
 
Linda on the move's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: basking in the sunshine
Posts: 10,637
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 85 Post(s)

another thought ---

 

I don't think parents select their child's school, at any level, based on what the graduation ceremony is like.

 

My kids switched schools this past year, and my of my DDs did 8th grade in a totally new school that I spent many, many hours researching, visiting, and selecting. I didn't even know they had an 8th grade graduation until 3 weeks before it happened, and I didn't have any idea what it was like until the night it happened. If any friends/neighbors had attempted to evaluate my choice in schools for my child based on this one, brief event, I think they would have missed the point completely.

 

It was a very cool graduation, and the teachers said something unique about each graduate, talked about their strengths or how they had grown this year, and each student was given a gift from the school that was unique to them in some way. It was very touching.

 

But it isn't why I picked the school. I didn't even know about it.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

Linda on the move is online now  
Old 06-16-2011, 07:51 AM
 
coffeegirl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: a glaxy far, far away
Posts: 811
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by P.J. View Post

In the last couple days a few of my Facebook friends have posted pictures and been proudly posting about their young children's preschool and kindergarten graduations, awards and achievements. These are not my more mainstream friends either, but the old hippies I was on Dead tour with and more "alternative" minded friends. As I looked through one such album, I noticed all the things on the wall, about letters, numbers, reading and math. This was a preschool. I also noticed how they give special awards like "Most creative thinker" or "Best in Math".

 

I don't mean for this thread to be a judgemental rant, more an expression of the sadness I feel when I see that 2, 3 and 4 year old children are being put in classrooms and taught to read and do arithmetic. What happened to just letting a child be a child? And the competition created when one child is awarded over all the rest for how much math they learned. I am not in favor of competition at any age, but for preschoolers? It just breaks my heart.

 

I grew up in the 70s and 80s and I don't remember doing any kind of academic work until 1st grade. Preschool and Kindergarten were about playing and napping. I now live in Germany, where many kids do not start any kind of school until the first grade (age 6 or 7), and nobody is taught to read until then even if they do go to the optional preschool and kindergarten. I remember being shocked about this at first, like "WHAT!? Kids can't read here until age 7???"...but now I am convinced that is the best thing for a child. Let them play and learn as they naturally will through play until they are ready to learn to read. Some are ready sooner than others, and if that's the case then it's important to help them learn to read or do math if they want that, say, at age 3 or 4. But I think most kids would rather be outside playing than sitting at a desk learning that 9-4=5 at age four, kwim?

 

Is anyone else upset by this trend? What have you done to protect your child from all this pressure to learn academic skills and compete at such a young age? My son is only one, but I avoid toys and books that purposely try to teach the alphabet or numbers. We will be sending him to Waldorf kindergarten starting next year, and their philosophy is firmly against teaching academic skills until age 6 or 7. If DS shows interest, of course I would teach him to read or simple math if he asks for it, but otherwise he will learn that stuff when he's in first grade and until then enjoy just playing and being a kid.




Seems that this has turned into a broader discussion. But I just wanted to say I've had the same thoughts you're expressing here before. I have some relatives who were put in pre-school at age 2-3, and I (personally) don't understand it. My own feelings are that once they start school (at age 4-6, or whenever kindergarten starts) then they're going to be in school from then on straight until they're adults. So why rush it? I think for some people it's a status thing, to get their kids into a "good" preschool is seen as "better" than having them at home. With my relatives there's also an element of "daycare" thrown in, and their parents getting a break by having them in the preschool for however many hours or days a week. I have feelings about it, but this has been going on for awhile now and I've.....evolved? lol into trying not to judge why they're doing it because I don't know 100% of the whole story. 


caffix.gif
coffeegirl is offline  
Old 06-16-2011, 12:21 PM
 
lach's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: MA
Posts: 1,923
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by coffeegirl View Post






Seems that this has turned into a broader discussion. But I just wanted to say I've had the same thoughts you're expressing here before. I have some relatives who were put in pre-school at age 2-3, and I (personally) don't understand it. My own feelings are that once they start school (at age 4-6, or whenever kindergarten starts) then they're going to be in school from then on straight until they're adults. So why rush it? I think for some people it's a status thing, to get their kids into a "good" preschool is seen as "better" than having them at home. With my relatives there's also an element of "daycare" thrown in, and their parents getting a break by having them in the preschool for however many hours or days a week. I have feelings about it, but this has been going on for awhile now and I've.....evolved? lol into trying not to judge why they're doing it because I don't know 100% of the whole story. 


Because preschool is an awesome amount of fun?  We've been starting my kids in little toddler preschools at 2, and it's the best parenting decision I've ever made.  They have a blast, make friends, form connections with other adults, do all sorts of activities, and I get some time to spend one on one with the younger kids.  

 

I think it may be regional, but it's hardly a new thing. Both my sister and I started preschool at age 2 also, on different sides of the country.

 


Trying to live a simple life in a messy house in a complicated world with : DH, DD (b. 07/07), DS (b. 02/09), and DD (b. 10/10)
lach is offline  
Old 06-17-2011, 07:35 AM
 
meetoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 753
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I can relate to the OP. I think the problem is the "trickle down effect" and the "standards based Preschool curriculum".  Little kids develop at different rates. They spend time growing in different areas in different times. Standard based preschool makes about as much sense as saying all kids need to walk by 14 months and start talking by 18 mths. I know there are good preschools and kindergartens out there, that still believe on play and exploration, but they are few and far between in many areas. My son is in a public K in a "good" district. They absolutely spend most of the the day sitting at a desk working(we are still half days BTW). They are required to do everything, there is NO free time or down time for exploration. There are no toys in the classroom other than math manipulatives and some puzzles. The children are required to use these in a certain way (i.e. making patterns, sorting etc.) so it's basically the same thing as doing a worksheet. They do use songs, and stories, but everything is rushed. They don't get so savor anything because they have to keep up with the standards. I don't believe it's the teachers fault either, I think it's just this push to pass the tests and up our world standing. 

 

Many preschools here are the same way. I opted not to send my middle child to preschool because I couldn't find one that was play based enough for my taste.  They required the children to participate in all the activities.The free play time is very short (30 minutes including clean up time) studies show kids need up to an hour to really get into their play. These kids are gaining visible skills like  letter/number recognition, but they are loosing on in the imagitive, creative, vocabulary, social etc skills.  Preschool age children should not be required to do work. They have their whole school lives ahead of them for that. I was touring daycares recently for my two yr old and some of them are just as bad. they required two year olds to spend time tracing lines on work sheets and learning sight words! It is absolutely getting out of control and just insane! They claim it's "playbased" because they make a bingo game out of the sight words, but by requiring the kids to do it its automatically not "play". Toys that teach math/reading skills are taking over preschool classrooms and toys that encourage creativity, social skills etc are getting a backseat. The true meaning of learning through play is that kids learn a lot from the games they create. They learn language skills, social skills, they are creating pictures in their minds, etc, etc.  These days thats being lost with all the learning games that claim to be "play based education". 

 

***disclaimer my kids attend regular public school, I do not believe at all in waldorf or unschooling (past preschool age anyway which is about age 6). So far one of my kids attended preschool, one of my kids learned to read ( I even taught that one!) before K, we own and play learning games.  Basically I'm not a radical unschooly type or anti learning, but I can very much relate to what the OP is saying.....Oh and I will be attending a K graduation next week. I can't wait! That part I disagree with, the little graduations are adorable and K is a milestone in many ways. My baby is growing up! :) 

meetoo is offline  
Old 06-17-2011, 07:58 AM
 
meemee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Norther California
Posts: 12,623
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 22 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by meetoo View Post

I do not believe at all in waldorf or unschooling (past preschool age anyway which is about age 6). 

do you know anything about waldorf past the first second grade that we hear? i am not being rude. its a genuine question.

 

because i was soooo misinformed about waldorf (i really like the principle but not the religious aspect of it). 

 

in middle and high school waldorf become totally different than first or second grade. it becomes way way way more intense than any public or private school. 

 

i know quite a few now highschoolers who left waldorf in middle or high school because for them it was just tooo much work. almost all the middle schoolers from our public waldorf go on to college (they dont have a high school yet) and the private waldorf the first 10 students go to ivy league colleges.

 

my dd is in public school, but i was so so misinformed about waldorf. 

 

and its not all just academic. they have tonnes of projects which take up a lot of time. 


 treehugger.gif Co-parent, joy.gifcold.gifbrand new homeschooling middle schoolerjoy.gif, and an attackcat.gif 
meemee is offline  
Old 06-17-2011, 08:26 AM
 
Alyantavid's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 7,595
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by meetoo View Post

 My son is in a public K in a "good" district. They absolutely spend most of the the day sitting at a desk working(we are still half days BTW). They are required to do everything, there is NO free time or down time for exploration. There are no toys in the classroom other than math manipulatives and some puzzles. The children are required to use these in a certain way (i.e. making patterns, sorting etc.) so it's basically the same thing as doing a worksheet. They do use songs, and stories, but everything is rushed. They don't get so savor anything because they have to keep up with the standards. I don't believe it's the teachers fault either, I think it's just this push to pass the tests and up our world standing. 

 

Many preschools here are the same way. I opted not to send my middle child to preschool because I couldn't find one that was play based enough for my taste.  They required the children to participate in all the activities.The free play time is very short (30 minutes including clean up time) studies show kids need up to an hour to really get into their play. These kids are gaining visible skills like  letter/number recognition, but they are loosing on in the imagitive, creative, vocabulary, social etc skills.  Preschool age children should not be required to do work. They have their whole school lives ahead of them for that. I was touring daycares recently for my two yr old and some of them are just as bad. they required two year olds to spend time tracing lines on work sheets and learning sight words! It is absolutely getting out of control and just insane! They claim it's "playbased" because they make a bingo game out of the sight words, but by requiring the kids to do it its automatically not "play". Toys that teach math/reading skills are taking over preschool classrooms and toys that encourage creativity, social skills etc are getting a backseat. The true meaning of learning through play is that kids learn a lot from the games they create. They learn language skills, social skills, they are creating pictures in their minds, etc, etc.  These days thats being lost with all the learning games that claim to be "play based education". 

 


That's the problem with half day kindergartens.  They have to cram the same amount of work into a much shorter period of time.  I was against full day kindy until we had no other option.  They have time for art, music, pe, extra recess, just free time.

 

And yes, there are tons and tons of awful daycares and preschools out there.  But not all of them.  They just give a bad name to preschool in general and then you get assumptions like the op made that all preschool is bad.
 

 

Alyantavid is offline  
Old 06-17-2011, 09:26 AM
 
meetoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 753
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post



do you know anything about waldorf past the first second grade that we hear? i am not being rude. its a genuine question.

 

because i was soooo misinformed about waldorf (i really like the principle but not the religious aspect of it). 

 

in middle and high school waldorf become totally different than first or second grade. it becomes way way way more intense than any public or private school. 

 

i know quite a few now highschoolers who left waldorf in middle or high school because for them it was just tooo much work. almost all the middle schoolers from our public waldorf go on to college (they dont have a high school yet) and the private waldorf the first 10 students go to ivy league colleges.

 

my dd is in public school, but i was so so misinformed about waldorf. 

 

and its not all just academic. they have tonnes of projects which take up a lot of time. 



There is a lot I don't agree with waldorf religious/world views. To much for me to ever consider sending my child to one. :)  I just threw that in about Waldorf because most people know  about the early Waldorf years and that isn't my view either. I'm not saying we shouldn't teach kids things, I teach my kids many things. I just believe if  we wait until the child is ready, whether they are ready at 2 or ready at 6, it makes learning enjoyable and easy!  What preschool is being turned into is more of the same old standard based U.S. education. I'm not anti preschool. Some kids love preschool, some parents love preschool. A good preschool can enhance a child's world(in fact I would love to open a preschool on day :) ), I just feel the trend is really becoming academic. Most people/parents I know IRL support this because of the push on K kids and they want their kids to be ready (it can be hard to argue that point too lol) But the trickle down has to end somewhere or pretty soon 1 year olds are going to require schooling to prepare for preschool....  

 

**I'm not anti Unchooling either BTW, it just doesn't fit with my personal beliefs so I wouldn't choose to educate my kids that way.  :) I'm failry mellow, to mellow to really care what other parents choose to do with their kids. The preschool thing bothers me because I see (in my area) all preschools going that way. The ones that don't are under pressure from the board of Ed to have the kids "ready for K" which is really not all that developmentally appropriate to begin with......whole nother rant lol. 

 

As far as 1/2 day  K, I do still like it (of course I have never experienced full day K). For kids that do not go to preschool adjusting to a full day can be hard and it sends the message even more that "Kids NEED preschool". I also don't trust the school system not to completely turn K into first grade if they are there all day. At least now I know when they are home they are home they have plenty of time to play.  Oh and they do get specials at least even with the half day. 

meetoo is offline  
Old 06-17-2011, 10:13 AM
 
tracysroberts's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Los Olivos, California
Posts: 49
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

PJ,

Yes absolutely it makes me sad and even more it makes me sad that you have been somewhat criticized for standing up for what is right for young children.  I have a masters degree in early childhood and ran a preschool very not like the ones you describe, but it was very rare even here in California.  I went back for Waldorf teacher training to be involved in a philosophy that I knew would continue to support my strong beliefs about young children.

 

What you saw is what the school values or they wouldnt put it all over their walls.  At the very best, they are not pushing academics, but pretending to in order to impress parents which means they are parent centered and not in tune with educating parents about what is developmentally appropriate for that age.  Sure there is a random kid here and there that likes to do direct instriction but it is very rare and in a truly child centered program would be recognized and brought without the crap you noticed in these pictures.  Excuse my boldness, but I have spent A LOT of years in this field and it is true. 

 

What everyone forgets is that Play encompasses math, reading, etc....  True Play as defined as free choice of an activity, not whistles going from one center to the next,it  has physics, chemistry, enginering, etc... all as the foundation of what children are doing.  Direct Instruction is not appropriate for this age sitting at desks or not.

I dont think Waldorf is the be all end all, but thank goodness for it in our crazy American culture or most communities would have nothing to choose from if homeschooling didnt fit.

 

So glad there are parents out there like YOU!

tracysroberts is offline  
Old 06-17-2011, 11:03 AM
 
Alyantavid's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 7,595
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by tracysroberts View Post

PJ,

Yes absolutely it makes me sad and even more it makes me sad that you have been somewhat criticized for standing up for what is right for young children.  I have a masters degree in early childhood and ran a preschool very not like the ones you describe, but it was very rare even here in California.  I went back for Waldorf teacher training to be involved in a philosophy that I knew would continue to support my strong beliefs about young children.

 

What you saw is what the school values or they wouldnt put it all over their walls.  At the very best, they are not pushing academics, but pretending to in order to impress parents which means they are parent centered and not in tune with educating parents about what is developmentally appropriate for that age.  Sure there is a random kid here and there that likes to do direct instriction but it is very rare and in a truly child centered program would be recognized and brought without the crap you noticed in these pictures.  Excuse my boldness, but I have spent A LOT of years in this field and it is true. 

 

What everyone forgets is that Play encompasses math, reading, etc....  True Play as defined as free choice of an activity, not whistles going from one center to the next,it  has physics, chemistry, enginering, etc... all as the foundation of what children are doing.  Direct Instruction is not appropriate for this age sitting at desks or not.

I dont think Waldorf is the be all end all, but thank goodness for it in our crazy American culture or most communities would have nothing to choose from if homeschooling didnt fit.

 

So glad there are parents out there like YOU!


There are many versions of what is "right" for children.  No one has judged the OP for her view on Waldorf.  What we didn't like from her and now from you, is the insinuation that the rest of us, who do send our children to preschool, are bad parents for it.  Not every child does well with Waldorf or homeschooling.  It's extremely hard to judge something you have never seen or experienced just because it's called preschool and you've heard of bad preschools. 
 

 

Alyantavid is offline  
Old 06-17-2011, 12:00 PM
 
tracysroberts's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Los Olivos, California
Posts: 49
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I ran a preschool!  Waldorf is preschool!  This is not about judging even though I do believe there is one developmentally appropriate way of being with young children.   Sending your children to preschool is not what I am against.  And it isnt that I have just seen a few preschools.  I also know there are excellent ones out there.  Maybe yours was one of them, but what she is describing I would place money on it not being appropriate regardless of how many loving parents and teachers trying to do the best for their kids are there.

tracysroberts is offline  
Old 06-17-2011, 06:48 PM
 
Dandelionkid's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,605
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I don't object to preschool or kindergarten learning. What I object too is the underlying current in our society that says a kids needs to start academics early to get the best start. With my first child it seemed almost unheard of not to do preschool. Then there are the all-day kindergartens cropping up everywhere that trumpet the merits of the program. For a close-knit,loving family early-learning seems to have little benefit that couldn't be derived at home.

Dandelionkid is offline  
Old 06-17-2011, 07:06 PM
 
One_Girl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 4,668
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 35 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dandelionkid View Post

I don't object to preschool or kindergarten learning. What I object too is the underlying current in our society that says a kids needs to start academics early to get the best start. With my first child it seemed almost unheard of not to do preschool. Then there are the all-day kindergartens cropping up everywhere that trumpet the merits of the program. For a close-knit,loving family early-learning seems to have little benefit that couldn't be derived at home.


 

Actually many close-knit loving families send their children to Early Learning Centers where the care tends to be better than daycare for a variety of reasons including working.  If you felt like you had a valid reason for your lifestyle choice why are you resorting to passive-aggressive digs on other parents?  That is something that people tend to do when they feel insecure about their choice and are trying to divert attention away from it any way possible so they don't have to think about it.  I am sure that every parent on this board chooses the environment that works for her child and her family with love and care.

One_Girl is offline  
Old 06-17-2011, 08:14 PM
 
Dandelionkid's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,605
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post



 

Actually many close-knit loving families send their children to Early Learning Centers where the care tends to be better than daycare for a variety of reasons including working.  If you felt like you had a valid reason for your lifestyle choice why are you resorting to passive-aggressive digs on other parents?  That is something that people tend to do when they feel insecure about their choice and are trying to divert attention away from it any way possible so they don't have to think about it.  I am sure that every parent on this board chooses the environment that works for her child and her family with love and care.

 

Out of your own defensiveness you misconstrued my last sentence. I didn't say close-knit,loving families never send their kids to preschool or kindergarten or daycare. That is absurd. I was simply saying that early-learning environments are not necessary for a healthy, happy childhood. I disagree that kids need an early-start to academics, not that early academics are harmful or the product of a dysfunctional family.

Dandelionkid is offline  
Old 06-17-2011, 11:46 PM
 
babygirlie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 855
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

i remember lots of awards in the 80's and kindergarten and grade school. I find nothing wrong with teaching small children. My dd will be going to preschool at 3. She has autism. This is PRIME learning time between 2-5 and very important for her to start. She started what we call "school" at 1. It is all play based.. no whips and tears lol

 

if you don't want my kid biting your kid you better hope we head to school because as of right now she has zero communication skills except biting where most her age are stringing sentences together.

babygirlie is offline  
Old 06-18-2011, 06:34 AM
 
lach's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: MA
Posts: 1,923
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I agree that a school environment is not necessary for a 3 or 4 year old, but I do think that a highly social one with lots of other kids is.

 

Up until a generation or two ago, very young children were kicked out of the house after breakfast so their mother could do the chores, and expected to play outdoors for most of the day with neighborhood children.  I would be willing to bet that this was a tradition that goes waaaaay back into pre-history.  Parents have work to do to ensure survival, and kids who are too young to be of any real help are just underfoot.  The idea that children 2+ were hanging out with their mothers all day just doesn't make any practical sense.

 

I would probably have her removed from my care if I sent my 3 year old out to do that.  So I send her to preschool.  Where she can be socialized with other children (and one of the reasons I like Montessori is the multi-age classrooms), and she's not bored and underfoot at home.

 

Oh, and for pretty much all of human history, people have lived in communities.  The whole "rugged homesteader miles from his neighbor" is basically a 19th century European adventure.  And 4 out of 5 of them gave up and went east within 5 years, largely because of the isolation.


Trying to live a simple life in a messy house in a complicated world with : DH, DD (b. 07/07), DS (b. 02/09), and DD (b. 10/10)
lach is offline  
Old 06-18-2011, 07:27 AM
 
Lollybrat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 493
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by tracysroberts View Post

I ran a preschool!  Waldorf is preschool!  This is not about judging even though I do believe there is one developmentally appropriate way of being with young children.   Sending your children to preschool is not what I am against.  And it isnt that I have just seen a few preschools.  I also know there are excellent ones out there.  Maybe yours was one of them, but what she is describing I would place money on it not being appropriate regardless of how many loving parents and teachers trying to do the best for their kids are there.


My child is beyond the preschhol age, but I've been following this thread with interest. I really do not understand the above statements.

How can there be "one developmentally appropriate way of being with young children" when children can differ so greatly in their development and their needs? What is a developmentally appropriate environment for my friend's child would be disastrous for my child with autism, hyperlexia, dyspraxia, and vision impairment. The same environment would be woefully inadequate for my neighbor's child with severe hearing impairment. Even children without disabilities vary widely in how they develop, their interests, their abilities, and their needs.

My son need a highly structured environment. He always has, even as a toddler. He cannot function appropriately in an unstructured setting. As I mentioned, he has hyperlexia as a feature of his autism. Hyperlexia is acompletelt different way of experiencing and processing language (this has been supported by fMRI studies). For all intents and purposes, the written word is my son's "native language" and teaching him verbal language is like teaching an adult a difficult foreign language. If we had withheld letters from him as a toddler, we would have deprived him of a way to communicate. My son's developmental path is unusual, but not unique. These things exist as a continuum, so children have varying traits, needs, and abilities.

I simply don't see how anyone can claim that there is only one way of being developmentally appropriate with young children.

Lolly
Mom to an amazing little guy, age 9 (Autism, Hyperlexia, Dyspraxia, Albinism, Chromosome Microdeletion)

Lollybrat is offline  
Old 06-18-2011, 09:25 AM
 
meetoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 753
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:

I simply don't see how anyone can claim that there is only one way of being developmentally appropriate with young children.


There are certain things are just not developmentally appropriate for most young children to do. Like it wouldn't be right to expect a 3 year old to tie their own shoes and spend 1 hour a day trying to teach them that.   I personally was not talking talking about special needs preschools. Those are run through our public school system with trained special ed teachers and other professionals on hand (speech etc). I personally know nothing about what is appropriate or not for a special needs child.  There are some preschool classroom models that are not developmentally appropriate for most children though. Like the daycare I visited that wanted my two year old doing tracing work sheets and sight word flash cards. Some parents like that and feel it gives their kids an edge(and that is their choice). I think it's not age appropriate and would much rather see my two year old exploring the properties of mud, using paint brushes, practicing buttoning, etc etc, There are plenty of fine motor activities that are age appropriate that a two year old could/should be doing. Work sheets have no place in a two yr old class room.    Children need to build up their muscles before they are ready for writing, including the large upper body muscles. It would benifit the kids more to install a set of IKEA rings and give them a box a duplos to play with. Those are activities they can be successful at. Giving most two yr olds a tracing worksheet is just setting them up for failure and frustration.  The sight words i just don't even know what to say about that. There are soooo many more appropriate and FUN language activities that can be done with 2 year olds!  Our kids should not be burnt out on school by third grade. We need more of a slow and steady approach that focuses on all areas of development, not just the testable skills. 

 

I hope no one was offended by my posts. I am not against preschool or  daycare. I just feel bad when I see parents panicked about what preschool their three yr old got into and when the preschool is saying said three year old is "behind" because they can't identify a square yet and they might need to repeat the threes class. It's just really getting out of control...... Kids need the freedom to develop at their own rates. Preschools need to provide the tools and guidance but step back and let the kids discover on their own. :) 

 

meetoo is offline  
Old 06-18-2011, 03:09 PM
 
Polliwog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,999
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 22 Post(s)

I've worked as an Early Childhood Education Specialist (and teacher.) Developmentally appropriate is just one piece of the puzzle. There's also individually appropriate and culturally appropriate.

Polliwog is offline  
Old 06-18-2011, 06:08 PM
 
Alyantavid's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 7,595
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by meetoo View Post





There are certain things are just not developmentally appropriate for most young children to do. Like it wouldn't be right to expect a 3 year old to tie their own shoes and spend 1 hour a day trying to teach them that.   I personally was not talking talking about special needs preschools. Those are run through our public school system with trained special ed teachers and other professionals on hand (speech etc). I personally know nothing about what is appropriate or not for a special needs child.  There are some preschool classroom models that are not developmentally appropriate for most children though. Like the daycare I visited that wanted my two year old doing tracing work sheets and sight word flash cards. Some parents like that and feel it gives their kids an edge(and that is their choice). I think it's not age appropriate and would much rather see my two year old exploring the properties of mud, using paint brushes, practicing buttoning, etc etc, There are plenty of fine motor activities that are age appropriate that a two year old could/should be doing. Work sheets have no place in a two yr old class room.    Children need to build up their muscles before they are ready for writing, including the large upper body muscles. It would benifit the kids more to install a set of IKEA rings and give them a box a duplos to play with. Those are activities they can be successful at. Giving most two yr olds a tracing worksheet is just setting them up for failure and frustration.  The sight words i just don't even know what to say about that. There are soooo many more appropriate and FUN language activities that can be done with 2 year olds!  Our kids should not be burnt out on school by third grade. We need more of a slow and steady approach that focuses on all areas of development, not just the testable skills. 

 

I hope no one was offended by my posts. I am not against preschool or  daycare. I just feel bad when I see parents panicked about what preschool their three yr old got into and when the preschool is saying said three year old is "behind" because they can't identify a square yet and they might need to repeat the threes class. It's just really getting out of control...... Kids need the freedom to develop at their own rates. Preschools need to provide the tools and guidance but step back and let the kids discover on their own. :) 

 


Did you read the rest of the thread?  Where many posters described how their child did much better in preschool than out?  My younger son was tracing things at 2.  Not because I forced it, but because he wanted to be like his brother.  Was I supposed to make my (then) 6 year old not do the math problems he begged me to make him just so I wouldn't damage his little brother?

 

Oh and my 5 year old was tying his shoes at 3.  We certainly didn't make him practice an hour a day.  He begged dh to show him how and kept trying until he got it.  It was much less than an hour a day.  I think it's much more damaging to hold a child back from something that they obviously want to know and do than it is to follow their lead.  Believe me, I'd prefer my 9 year old didn't want to do college algebra because I'm terrible at it.

 

I don't think posting these types of complaints on MDC is the best venue for it.  We all put a huge amount of thought into what we do with our children.  Seeing a picture of a letter on a preschool's wall and bashing all preschool parents is a little more judgmental than I was going for when I came here. 
 

 

Alyantavid is offline  
Old 06-19-2011, 06:26 AM
 
lindberg99's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 2,799
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Alyantavid View Post

I don't think posting these types of complaints on MDC is the best venue for it.  We all put a huge amount of thought into what we do with our children.  Seeing a picture of a letter on a preschool's wall and bashing all preschool parents is a little more judgmental than I was going for when I came here. 
 

 

 

Yes. That's what bugged me about the OP. It was pretty judgmental about how everything is awesome in Germany and at Waldorf schools but in the non-Waldorf US, preschool children are being forced to sit at desks and write all day. And all of this was based on seeing pictures on a FB page. I don't think she really meant that, but it was the way that it came across.

 

I've had experience with both academic and playbased preschools. My oldest two went to just the playbased school. I was working more by the time my youngest started so he went to the playbased school in the afternoon and in the mornings, he went to the more academic early intervention preschool as a peer model. Yes, they did have pictures of letters up and did try to teach him some letters, etc. but they also played a lot, went outside to the playground, went on field trips to the library and pumpkin patch, etc. They were not making kids practice shoe tying for an hour or doing math worksheets. I did like the play based school better but I wouldn't fault someone for choosing the more academic preschool for their child. My son really enjoyed going there too. And a lot of parents don't have much of a choice of where to send their child. For some parents, the choice might be between our school district's more academic free preschool or leaving their child with Grandma where he will watch soaps and Dr. Phil all day. I sure wouldn't want to make those parents feel bad that they couldn't send their child to the $$$ playbased school.

lindberg99 is offline  
Old 06-19-2011, 07:05 AM
 
velochic's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Dreaming of the Bavarian Alps
Posts: 8,198
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

As is often the case, I think culture is playing a role and many people here are not understanding the cultural differences.  We lived in Germany when our dd was a toddler.  I *do* understand the cultural differences, OP, and I understand what you're saying.

 

However, the education that kids receive in the US can.not.at.all be compared to the educational system in most of Europe, including Germany.  It's a rare child in Germany who isn't WAY beyond their American peers academically with only a couple of years of formal education.  Once kids in Germany start school, it is INTENSE beyond anything that occurs in the US.  Great, the kids get a break until they're 7, but then after that, the academics are much more intense than anything we have in the US (except for private schools that are academically-inclined).  That's also what makes Europeans better at things like science, math, and problem solving when they are older.  My dh, who is a computer science prof says that non-American students that have just a high school education are usually more academically advanced than American students with post-secondary degrees.  But starting early vs. the intensity is not a fair comparison at a young age.  (We have many, many friends, including dh's best friend with 5 kids who have been in the German education system... and some who have been in both the German and American systems, so I'm well aware of the differences.)  It doesn't matter what American kids do.  They'll never catch up to their non-US peers because the whole system is screwed up.

 

So, what I'm saying is that perhaps academics start earlier here, but the quality is so extremely dismal that people who care about education do worry.  You are comparing apples and oranges and the education systems are dissimilar enough that those who only know the (North) American way of education are raising their hackles a bit out of simple ignorance.  They can't see where you're coming from.

 

And, in the spirit of full disclosure, our dd attends a rigorous ACADEMIC immersion school.  This is a private international baccalaureate school that goes to grade 12.  Its rigorous academic environment is what we felt was best for dd based on her personality and we were relieved that dd tested into the school.  Years later we see that we made the right choice.  Dd needs this environment.  She loves it and thrives.  You would seriously disapprove of it, though, most likely.  If we were still in Germany, things would be different, though.  As it is, although she started earlier than the kids do in Deutschland, she'll receive about an equal education, but it is due to early start, academic rigor and language immersion.  And FTR, she still enjoys her childhood.  Schooling and play need not be mutually exclusive.

velochic is offline  
Old 06-19-2011, 07:42 AM
 
meetoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 753
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alyantavid View Post




Did you read the rest of the thread?  Where many posters described how their child did much better in preschool than out?  My younger son was tracing things at 2.  Not because I forced it, but because he wanted to be like his brother.  Was I supposed to make my (then) 6 year old not do the math problems he begged me to make him just so I wouldn't damage his little brother?

 

Oh and my 5 year old was tying his shoes at 3.  We certainly didn't make him practice an hour a day.  He begged dh to show him how and kept trying until he got it.  It was much less than an hour a day.  I think it's much more damaging to hold a child back from something that they obviously want to know and do than it is to follow their lead.  Believe me, I'd prefer my 9 year old didn't want to do college algebra because I'm terrible at it.

 

I don't think posting these types of complaints on MDC is the best venue for it.  We all put a huge amount of thought into what we do with our children.  Seeing a picture of a letter on a preschool's wall and bashing all preschool parents is a little more judgmental than I was going for when I came here. 
 

 


no no!! I'm sorry my post is being misunderstood. Kids all learn at different rates. One of my kids rode a bike at two, it doesn't mean I should be expecting my now two year old to ride a bike just because her brother was able to. She isn't wired that way and isn't ready.  I taught one of my kids to read at four because that child asked and wanted to learn to read. It doesn't mean all kids are ready to read at four though. I'm not at all against preschool. I sent one of my kids to preschool.  That child loved it and has a blast and I would have sent my others there had we not moved. It was a great preschool. :)  I don't agree with seeing a facebook picture and bashing parents. We have no idea what goes on in those classrooms. Having ABC pictures on the walls means nothing IMO.  I can however relate to the feeling that early ed in this country is much to focused on academics and "readiness skills".  This is of course relative to where I live and the preschools, childcare centers, kindergartens I have visited/have experience  with.  The majority (that i see) are very focused on reading and math skills and feeling a lot of pressure from parents and elementary schools to have the kids "ready" for the K standards. It is leaving out free choice/free play time for the children. I am not at all saying children should not be allowed to do things just because they are doing it early.That is just absurd!!  Really I'm so sorry if you got that out of my post!  :)

meetoo is offline  
 
User Tag List

Thread Tools


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off