Thursday, August 18, 2005

First Day of School

It was with a sigh of great relief that I got up this morning at the obscene hour of 6:09am. Today was the first day of school here in Bryan and the kids were up and ready to go. They dressed right away, got their breakfast, and even brushed their teeth without troubles. They didn't complain about what was in their lunches and their clothes even matched.

Hubby and I walked along the way to school, happily holding hands, as if this was a special family outing. The kids hurried ahead, sticking together and waiting patiently for their slow-poke parents. They didn't wander in front of cars or walk in people's yards.
Well, that was this morning....

I waited by the bridge at school to the "real world" to walk the kids home. Jarod just ignored me, happy to have his friend walking home with us. Sonia was behind a bit because her teacher was new in the school and was a little behind herself. Whitney celebrated her very first day of Kindgarten by plopping her bag beside me, kicking a shoe off, and declaring that school is boring.
But I can't say I blame her. They decided to hold recess, snack, and then a nap right before school gets out. For a child that hasn't taken naps in 2 years, this left quite a bad taste in her mouth right before she left. She also had to eat lunch at the strange hour of 10:50.

Warning: Rant Ahead

But since it is the beginning of the year, let me take a moment to rant and rave about the ridiculousness of full-day kindergarten. If you consider the situation where they eat lunch at a noon hour, then you realistically, the teacher only gets ONE more hour of instruction. The rest of school is filled with nap and recess.

But why would the school districts endorse full-day instruction? Why pay a teacher for 3 more hours of work when you only get a net worth of 1 hour? Don't listen to those lies about the "socialization" of these kindergarteners. These socialization skills would/could be a bonus to the children but it is based on a fallacy. That fallacy is the idea that the children would not get ANY socialization skills while during those extra three hours. But in fact, due to daycare and good parents, the child would get socialized even while not in school. It's simply a trade-off of who's doing the skill building. After all, they don't leave school and go hide in the closet all day long.

People wanted to believe that if their child was in school longer, it would automatically mean that they would learn more. They could catch all the problem kids and set them out straight. But I think this could have an adverse effect on the younger, less school-ready children. Consider Susie Q- she comes to school every day with her hair done perfectly, the latest coloring page in her folder with each letter of her name written with a different crayon. She would benefit from extra instruction. But Johnny B doesn't care. He hates everyday, is tired of coloring, and doesn't want to sit. Instead of a quick, half-day, this boy and teacher are forced into a daily battle of wits to make a boy who's too young fit the mold of a studious child.

But everybody's doing it. Even my church's school has gone to full day kindergarten. Hey, it's free day care for most people. But be wary, very wary. Now they are talking about demanding pre-school for every child. They'll offer the same excuses. But you don't need somebody with a 5 year degree being paid to teach your child their colors and numbers. Let's think about it.

Written Tues, 16 Aug

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