An end of year kindergarten show has been canceled at a New York elementary school for a totally absurd reason: Administrators believe that little kiddos need more study time to keep working toward their “college and career” track.
All I can say is that if this were my kid, I would be more than a little peeved that he wasn’t allowed to dance around and sing off-key with his friends on stage. If my five-year-old was told to study instead of perform in a silly play, this would certainly be one school battle I chose to pick.
An official letter was sent home to parents by the interim principal of Harley Avenue Primary School in Elwood, New York. The letter outlined their reasoning for cutting the two-day play altogether:
The reason for eliminating the Kindergarten show is simple. We are responsible for preparing children for college and career with valuable lifelong skills and know that we can best do that by having them become strong readers, writers, coworkers and problem solvers. Please do not fault us for making professional decisions that we know will never be able to please everyone. But know that we are making these decisions with the interests of all children in mind.
I don’t have children of school-age yet, but I have already been surprised when my son’s daycare sent home arts and crafts homework for a two-year-old. Of course, I would much rather have a caring, interactive daycare teacher who puts effort into all of her projects, as I do, but I still had a hard time figuring out how daycare homework for a toddler was going to help my son since we were the ones who did the project for him.
Similarly, some preschools and kindergartens have become “increasingly academic,” depending on the area of the country. On the one hand, you could argue that this is helpful as a high-quality, or high-strung, kindergarten sets a greater educational standard. These high standards may even be in response to parents demanding better schools and better education for their kids.
At the same time, this career-track kindergarten mindset is hard to swallow when I think back to my kindergarten days. I don’t remember much about the early part of elementary school (and I was homeschooled for a time), except for learning a few basics and having fun with friends. My parents did care about my education, or maybe my religion, since I went to a private elementary school. Still, I think they would have laughed in the principal’s face if a career track was even mentioned at such a young age.
Perhaps this commitment to education in kindergarten is helpful to keep kids in school and set them on the road to college. I personally am biased, but I completely disagree with this opinion. I know my personal life is just one example, but my husband and I both did not go to college and are making more money than our peers with our self-made careers. I would rather my kids learn a great work ethic, coupled with a strong sense of self-belief, and have fun while doing it. All of that could be achieved in a silly kindergarten play.