Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What's Cooking?

We have our play kitchen ready at the store - always a favorite place to spend an hour. It's wonderful to watch kids turn on their imaginations when they immerse themselves in pretending to prepare dinner, bake cupcakes, or just stir something interesting up. They're not following the script from a movie or cartoon, but they are remembering and reinterpreting things that have happened in their own lives, and using that to create. To see that flame get lit is one of the joys of education, and having it in the store every day is inspirational.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Are We Crazy?

One of my broken record themes is the death of kindergarten. It's one of the saddest things about modern education. Kids are having kindergarten stolen away from them, and though it's happening right in front of us, everyone just throws up their hands and says "what can you do?"
This week, I had two kindergarten parents in, one looking for sight word flash cards, the other for addition flash cards. They both lamented the idea that their child needed rote memorization work, but both also said the children were being graded on their academic performance, they had no choice.
I told them my stock story (which is true) about the pediatrician who told us the number of kindergartners with stomach problems was epidemic. They didn't doubt it, but told me over and over that they had no choice.
We do have a choice. Kindergartners should be studying fingerpainting, singing and playing Duck Duck Goose. We keep slipping farther behind the rest of the world in education. Other cultures don't insist on ruining childhood for the sake of bragging rights about who can read at the youngest age. It's a sad world we're building, and insisting we have no choice is pathetic.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

We're Ready!

Despite the the advice from wise heads, I went ahead with our store make-over, just as we were trying to get ready for our busy holiday season. The good news is it worked! We did have our share of bumps and bothers - and there are still a few things to work out. The change was a success, and as our new classroom comes together I think we will be ready to offer our community a much better education resource.