I have to admit, I'm already overwhelmed by all the notes and homework my Grade 1 kid gets sent home with. I mean, really, when do kids get the chance to just be kids? (And, more importantly, when do parents get the chance to sit on their deck, drinking wine and feeling mildly carefree for half an hour?)
But at least my son is actually in school. One US mum shared with Scary Mommy a letter she was sent home from her child's preschool that has parents everywhere scratching their heads. This is for a class of three- and four-year-old kids.
"We made it through a really tough first month with tears, attitudes, unwillingness, not listening, not obeying the rules and especially, too much talking and not enough sitting in seats when asked to," said the newsletter.
Welcome to the world of every kindy and preschool in the world! Three- and four-year-old children are not designed to sit still and learn by rote just yet. They're made for jumping in puddles, chasing grasshoppers and running around with their undies on their head.
"We work on this every day at school, but we need help from home too," the letter went on. "We realise kids don't want to sit and would rather talk and play when they want to; but that's not how school works.
"Preschool is preparation to go to 'big' school and these things are important there, too. We simply can't say that our kids don't like colouring and sitting still because Kindergarten and first grade have a lot of colouring. Please, work five or 10 minutes each day with your child on this and you'll see improvement. We have seen improvement with several kids already."
Whoa, they're asking parents to train their children to sit still and colour? Like, homework?
When my four-year-old daughter came home from kindy yesterday she ran around under the hose, made a "witch's potion" out of mud and sticks, and then played Barbies. No way was I asking her to sit still.
"We realise it's a fast-paced world and parents work, but the adults in the house have to be in charge and help the kids to understand this. Please, talk to your child about the importance of sharing, not fighting, keeping their hands to themselves, and learning to get along with each other. Remind them that once we pick up the toys that we don't get them back out again, because we are done playing and going on to learning fun things."
Yes, fun things. Don't you really get the impression that learning is super fun at that preschool? And this preschool is telling these parents that they have to be in charge? Because it sounds to me like these teachers have no control over these kids, and are desperately looking for help.
Either way, I'd be looking elsewhere for a positive and healthy start to my children's education.