Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Senseless Acts of Beauty

One of my favorite bumper stickers reads:


This is exactly what America needs: kindness and beauty.

Kindergarten is a good a place to plant the seeds of kindness and beauty. So, even though kindergarten is supposed to be narrowly focussed on literacy and numeracy, I am determined to find time for empyrean pursuits.

Good manners sweetened our tea. We invited Mrs. Frech.

Last Friday we concluded KIDS club with a semi-formal tea party—with scones jam and real whipped cream provided by Madeline's mom, Shelly. It was lovely. The scones were light and fresh. We enjoyed imported jam. I served ginger tea made in Sebastopol.

After what better accompaniment for a homemade dessert than homemade music? If you tune a guitar or ukulele to an open chord great music can emerge even from a band of young maestros.

Have you seen the original Parent Trap with Hayley Mills?
Here's our Hailey, there on the left, actually strumming the guitar.
Let's get together, yeah, yeah, yeah!


culmom37 said...

Very sweet...I know Belle had an absolute blast in Kids Club and would love to do it again!

Dan Gurney, Mr. Kindergarten said...

I enjoy it, too!

When I first started teaching a generation ago, kindergarten was a year-long refuge of happiness. Happiness was the main agenda of kindergarten back then.

Along the way, for reasons I don't fully understand, it was thought that this happiness was somehow wasteful and that we could and should do a whole lot more to teach early literacy and numeracy.

For many young children, not Belle, but for many, this early emphasis on reading writing and 'rithmetic has proven to be stressful. Whatever benefits there might be to early academics (and I'm not aware of any compelling scientific evidence that there is a lasting benefit to start so early) these supposed benefits come at a cost: stressed out kindergartners.

Back in the day when I began teaching there were many educators who thought that first grade should look more like kindergarten (more time to play, have fun, paint, etc.). What's happened instead is that kindergarten has come to look more like first grade, and preschools, many of them, look like academic kindergartens from yesteryear.