Teaching Pre-K kids the Pledge - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 28 Old 08-16-2004, 11:29 PM - Thread Starter
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I just learned that my dd's Montessori pre-K will be learning the pledge of allegiance and about "Old Glory." Dd is 3. I feel strongly that kids should not be learning "God and Country" stuff until they're old enough to start thinking critically about it, that indoctrination is wrong, plain and simple.

I need to talk with dd's teacher ASAP about how this is being taught. It would be surprising at dd's school if it were taught in an indoctrinating style. However, i need to be sure this is not happening.

What do you mamas think about this issue?
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#2 of 28 Old 08-17-2004, 01:27 AM
 
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I don't disagree with you and your thoughts and concerns on this . . .at the same time I don't see that it really does any harm. Maybe I'll get flamed for this. My 3yo knows the Pledge from preschool and she doesn't know what it means. To her it's just something she says with big words and it's fun to say.

And seeing her say it to my 80 year old grandparents, who had military careers and for whom freedom and country are sacred, well they got tears in their eyes watching their little great-granddaughter say it. She also says "Semper Fi" to them as we take leave. I think she thinks it's the same as saying "''goodbye" but it's her special thing with them.

I was taught the Pledge in kindergarten and I just said it, never really thought about what it meant. I think in about 3rd grade the teacher actually explained it to us. I guess it's like learning the Lord's Prayer or Bible verses as a child-- same thing, never knew what it meant until way later and it certainly didn't indoctrinate me, seeing as I turned out Universalist.

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#3 of 28 Old 08-17-2004, 10:52 AM
 
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I agree with you. They say the pledge daily in my dd's public school. She is going into 2nd grade, but they start in K. It is nothing but indoctrination at that age. I haven't made a big stink about it, but as she gets older, I bring it up from time to time with her and tell her why dh and I don't say it, and why if she ever decides she doesn't want to, we will support her.

Public schools cannot by law make children say the pledge and there have been two SC cases to that end. Children in public schools have the right to sit quietly and not say it if they so choose. I don't know that they have those same rights in private schools, but hopefully your school's administration will be open to it.

By and large, we are very happy with our public school, and we tend to pick our battles. If they ever tried to force her to say it against her will when she is older, I'll be all over them. But for now, I think it makes for good fodder for thought with her, and I think it is her issue to decide when she is sufficiently mature to think about it on her own.
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#4 of 28 Old 08-17-2004, 10:57 AM
 
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This is another reason we chose Waldorf. No Pledge of Allegiance until 7th grade when they start American History. It means so much more when they can understand it and when they can choose to say or not say it.

We didn't run into the pledge until my son joined Cub Scouts in 1st grade. We enjoy the Cub Scouts but it is a bit militeristic with its flag ceremonies and uniforms with medals all over them like little generals. My son at 7 understood a lot more than he would have at 3. We make sure he understands to stand and be respectful and he learned the pledge for a badge but I don't make him say it if he doesn't want to.
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#5 of 28 Old 08-17-2004, 12:06 PM
 
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My older child had to say the pledge in preschool when he was 4 and 5 yo. (And they don't in his grade school.) I spent some time go over the plege with him phrase by phrase, talking about what it meant with him. When we were finished, he had this to say:

"I think its bad to make kids say a promise when they don't understand what they are promising. I also think its silly to make a promise to thing instead of to people. And I think that we should work on being good to all people, not just the ones in our own country. I wish that instead of saying this pledge at school, we could just stand up every day and promise to be nice to each other and share."

I agreed with him.
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#6 of 28 Old 08-17-2004, 12:23 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamaduck
My older child had to say the pledge in preschool when he was 4 and 5 yo. (And they don't in his grade school.) I spent some time go over the plege with him phrase by phrase, talking about what it meant with him. When we were finished, he had this to say:

"I think its bad to make kids say a promise when they don't understand what they are promising. I also think its silly to make a promise to thing instead of to people. And I think that we should work on being good to all people, not just the ones in our own country. I wish that instead of saying this pledge at school, we could just stand up every day and promise to be nice to each other and share."

I agreed with him.
WOW! What an awesome little boy you have there!
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#7 of 28 Old 08-17-2004, 03:30 PM
 
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mamaduck & son!!!

 

 

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#8 of 28 Old 08-18-2004, 11:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Still haven't had a chance to talk with the teacher about this...will report back later....
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#9 of 28 Old 08-21-2004, 07:17 PM
 
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My son is 4 and learns just about everything [acedemic] by rote it seems. ABCs. 123s. Songs. Rhymes. etc etc etc. Especially this week during the Olympics, he is curious about the pledges and anthems and wanting to "follow along" with the adults.

PS. In 2002 the US Supream Court ruled that "under God" was unconstitutional and supported the return to the pre-1954 pledge. It is currently in appeal etc, but... I am hopeful.
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#10 of 28 Old 08-22-2004, 03:30 AM
 
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mamaduck & son!!!
Ditto! What a smart little guy!

Ilaria mamma to Owen, Caroline & Patrick .... loving life as expats in Asia intactlact.gifnovaxnocirc.gifuc.jpgnamaste.gif
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#11 of 28 Old 08-24-2004, 11:50 PM
 
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Please don't flame me, I am curious. Why not learn it? Is it against your religion? I thought all amercians learn and do this.

...With the internet I have learned alot about others and I am truely curious.
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#12 of 28 Old 08-24-2004, 11:59 PM
 
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My 5 yo "graduated" from Pre-K in June. The class marched in wearing cap and gown (a bit over the top) and said the Pledge. All 9 had it word perfect till "indivisible" which they scrambled in 8 different ways. I asked him about it after and he understands what it's about. The class did spend the month of May prepping for graduation, though.

This is the same little guy who balks at repeating some of the standard Christian prayers we use in our home.
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#13 of 28 Old 08-25-2004, 01:00 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulaSue
Please don't flame me, I am curious. Why not learn it? Is it against your religion? I thought all amercians learn and do this.

...With the internet I have learned alot about others and I am truely curious.
I want my children to understand the pledge and decide for themselves whether or not to say it. I don't find it patriotic or cute see a bunch of kids reciting something they really don't understand yet. It just rubs me the wrong way. I want my children to be free thinkers and independent.
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#14 of 28 Old 08-25-2004, 07:53 AM
 
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What's wrong with the pledge of allegience?? You say it's indoctrinating, well I think that you're indoctrinating a sense of disrespect into your child. You are teaching your child that it's okay to be disrespectful of our country at a very young age. Sure, it's your right to not say the pledge, but why are are you forcing your beliefs onto your child? I was taught the pledge in elementary school and I remember running home proudly to my mother to tell her that I'd learned to love my country. It seems that today you can't have pride in anything but your individuality, yet if you're an individual you are criticized and ostracized. As long as you're different like everyone else you're okay I guess. This post sickens me. Like you should be offended?! It's not like the book 1984, that's true indoctrination. If you are offended by your child learning the pledge, why don't you take matters into your own hands and explain it to your child instead of complaining and griping about it. That way you are sure that your child understands that it's not just a bunch of words and knows exactly what it means. For crying out loud, this is what's wrong with America today and you act as if you're proud of it.

You are not a unique flower, you are not special, you are just like everyone else...complaining about everything under the sun and doing not one damn thing to change it.

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#15 of 28 Old 08-25-2004, 08:39 AM
 
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Yikes Shyly! Maybe you should pick a new username!

I don't see how Marlena is being disrespectful. Her child is 3 years old for gosh sakes! A 3 year old learning the Pledge of Alliegence is equal to learning to sing Happy Birthday. They have no idea what it means even if you explain it to them. My 6 year old is still trying to understand what the difference is between cities, counties, states, countries and continents. How can she understand love of some intangible thing?

Also, I think you can teach a child to behave respectfully while the pledge is recited but you don't have to expect them to say it.
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#16 of 28 Old 08-25-2004, 09:34 AM
 
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What's wrong with the pledge of allegience??
Because forcing children to recite it in school is blind indoctrination. Because there is nothing fundamentally "American" about the pledge to begin with. Please read http://archive.aclu.org/news/move/pledgeorigin.html I don't have any allegiance whatsoever to a piece of cloth. I'm an American and I deeply love my country and my country's constitution. But I refuse to make a fetish out of a symbol, and that's what the pledge is all about. Because, even though I'm Christian myself, I firmly believe that separation of church and state is one of the things that makes this country great, and I think that the truly patriotic thing to do is to defend this vital principle of separation of church and state every chance I get.

By standing up for the important principles upon which this country was founded, I am most certainly NOT "indoctrinating a sense of disrespect" into my child. I am teaching her to think for herself and to exercise the freedoms this country was founded on.
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#17 of 28 Old 08-25-2004, 10:32 AM
 
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We have BTDT with both of our boys when they were preschool-age. Neither one of them knew what they were saying, but they did try to understand. I explained to them what the pledge of allegiance was all about, and basically that it was a ritual (for lack of a better word) that we all do when we are in school. I would suggest just keeping the lines of communication open with your DD. Don't make a big deal about it one way or another at this age, but be open to answering her questions about it if she has any.
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#18 of 28 Old 08-25-2004, 01:07 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhonwyn
I want my children to understand the pledge and decide for themselves whether or not to say it. I don't find it patriotic or cute see a bunch of kids reciting something they really don't understand yet. It just rubs me the wrong way. I want my children to be free thinkers and independent.
ITA. My DD recites the pledge to me at home from time to time. She knows all of the words- but does not understand what any of it means. It rubs me the wrong way too.
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#19 of 28 Old 08-25-2004, 01:46 PM
 
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At some point every child questions what she was taught, right? An example from my own life growing up Catholic: saying the Apostles' Creed. It was rote for many years, and at one point I started to think about everything I was saying. That was when I started omitting portions I *didn't* believe.

I guess I don't see a problem with it as long as it's not being beaten into them. I'd like my little ones to learn the pledge. I'd like to tell them my impressions of it and explain to them that other people don't agree with me, and it's perfectly fine that they don't.

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#20 of 28 Old 08-25-2004, 03:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by levar

PS. In 2002 the US Supream Court ruled that "under God" was unconstitutional and supported the return to the pre-1954 pledge. It is currently in appeal etc, but... I am hopeful.
That was the 9th circuit court of appeals. The SC recently ruled on this case, stating that the father who brought the suit had no legal standing to do so (he didin't have custody of his daughter). So the pledge will remain unchanged until another test case makes its way through the courts and the SC agrees to hear it.
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#21 of 28 Old 08-25-2004, 03:19 PM
 
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My problem is that the pledge is just ONE of many "patriotic" rituals that are taught, and I am not sure if that is the "default setting" I want my children to have. I really dislike the "Love it or leave it" mentality that is frequently associated with "patriotism".

I have come to feel that there is little to no room for dissent or disatisfaction in this country. Ironically, dissent and disatisfaction is what this country was founded on.

He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.  ~Albert Einstein
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#22 of 28 Old 08-25-2004, 03:56 PM
 
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You are teaching your child that it's okay to be disrespectful of our country at a very young age.
Not true. I never said the pledge my entire life, even when certain teachers tried to berate me in front of everyone. I stood out of respect for others but I never held my hand to my heart and I never recited it. How does that make me disrespectful then or now?

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#23 of 28 Old 08-25-2004, 06:37 PM
 
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Maybe I'm in the minority, but I taught my 2.5 yr old and 4 yr old the pledge and the Star Spangled Banner myself. I just think they are worth knowing, as part of U.S. history if nothing else. I didn't teach them to it in order for them to show reverence, it was more in the spirit of teaching any sort of poem or song. We can discuss exactly what it means later on when they can understand. We've already discussed quite a bit of the Star Spangled Banner since they are so interested in it.
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#24 of 28 Old 08-25-2004, 10:51 PM
 
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Shyly, I pm'd you about the tone of your post. Let me know your thoughts. Thanks.

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#25 of 28 Old 08-26-2004, 05:18 PM - Thread Starter
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:LOL

"Shyly," I second the suggestion to change your username.

Other than that, I have little to reply, other than to note, once again, that dd is three years old and has a limited conception at best of what countries are, let alone the notion of pledging allegiance to one. Additionally, the notion that one "learns to love one's country" by having learned the pledge is sorta like claiming that one learns to love God by learning the Apostle's Creed or something, and deserves, IMO, no respect.

I still have not discussed the issue with dd's teacher, as there have been bigger fish to fry. Having observed the class today and based on other observations, though, it doesn't appear that the pledge or other such things (like the pledge to the Texas flag ) play any but the most nominal role in the workings of the class.

Oh, and mamaduck, that indeed is one insightful child you have!
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#26 of 28 Old 08-26-2004, 09:51 PM
 
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if they'd make my daughter say it every morning I would be outraged and simply forbid it.And let the teacher know,too

Nothing wrong with discussing it in history classes etc...but not actually making her say it,simple
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#27 of 28 Old 08-27-2004, 12:22 AM
 
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I don't pledge allegience to our government. I don't condone many of the activities of our current government, and there is no way I am saying a pledge to them; and a public pledge at that!

I dunno, maybe my idea of this is skewed; I have a degree in German language and lit, studied more than my fair share of German history, and had several relatives who fought and died for Germany during wwII, including some lower-level Nazi officers. So I have a hard time not seeing all these little kids in brown, heil hitlering. Not much different in my view.

Plus we aren't Christian, so I don't want my kids saying a pledge to a god we don't believe in. We've discussed it; the meaning behind the words. Both my kids choose to stand respectfully during the pledge, hands behind their backs, heads bowed. It's their choice; I'd support their choice to say it, if that is what they wanted. But they are the minority in their school. The *entire* school assembles in the gym in the morning, and everyone says the pledge together.

I pay my taxes, volunteer in the schools and in our community, teach classes, and participate in local political activities. Sorry if that makes me a bad American. But I hope my kids follow my example.
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#28 of 28 Old 08-27-2004, 12:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lorijds
I don't pledge allegience to our government. I don't condone many of the activities of our current government, and there is no way I am saying a pledge to them; and a public pledge at that!

I pay my taxes, volunteer in the schools and in our community, teach classes, and participate in local political activities. Sorry if that makes me a bad American. But I hope my kids follow my example.
It doesn't make you a bad American IMO. It makes you an honest American. You seem very active in your community which I think is more of an indication of participation in being an American than saying some pledge because everyone else is doing it.
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