Thursday, March 29, 2012

Art & Accountablity in Kindergarten

Please forgive me for climbing up on my soapbox here.

Over the past few days I've been thinking about accountability and schools. We need to think both broadly and deeply about accountability. These days, sadly, most of discussion about accountability in schools seems neither broad nor deep.

Usually when people discuss accountability all they are talking about are the standardized machine-scored test results that are said to measure reading and math skills. Using standardized machine scores to assess the success or quality of a school can be compared to using a person's height to assess their health: both fail to account for tons of vital information.

One reason I'm happy we've adopted Toolbox Project is that it develops the social and emotional health of our school community. This growth and development is unlikely to show up on a standardized test of math or reading skill. But it's vital.

(I often wonder when I hear of incidents of school violence such as happened at Columbine High School and Virginia Tech if these schools had spent too much time raising test scores and not enough time fostering social and emotional well being among their students. The evidence suggests strongly that they hadn't done enough.)

Who is accountable when school violence occurs? Perhaps we all are at least to the extent that we allow our interest in children's achievement to narrow down to only reading and math. We must broaden our interest in the well being of our children and their schools to include the development of their hearts, their minds, their imaginations, their empathy, their creativity, and of course their bodies.


Here in this corner of education, I try to strike a balance between education that sharpens the minds and warms the hearts of the students whom I am given the responsibility to teach.

Art is an important part of that balance. Today we had art (thanks to the PTO) as part of our enrichment program. The class finished up the rabbits they began in the previous lesson by adding googley eyes, pom-pom noses, and cotton ball tails.

Kayla K. brought for sharing one of the acrylic paintings on canvas that she did as a participant at Scribbles and Giggles, an after school art venue in Rohnert Park run by Lisa Russell. Here is a picture of the painting that Kayla did.

You can learn more about Scribbles and Giggles and their WEBSITE. Perhaps someday we'll have Lisa come here to teach the whole class.

from the Scribbles and Giggles website

Be well.

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