Yesterday, someone left this comment for me on this post:
I started to reply in the comments section of that post, but then decided to do it here, in case anyone else shared Anonymous' thoughts/opinions.
I agree with you 100%!! I long for the days when kdg. was about socialization and BEGINNING to develop the skills needed to succeed in school. Sadly, it's not like that anymore. I don't know where you live, but check out http://www.isbe.net/earlychi/pdf/iel_standards.pdf
to see the kdg. standards for Illinois. The book is 118 pages long!! If my children don't meet these standards, I'M held accountable, not their parents, not their preschool teacher, ME! And, if Obama gets his way, I'll make less money (to support my own child with!) thanks to this deficit, paired with the lack of support from my students' parents. The whole (merit pay) situation is ludicrous!
The preschool program here in IL supposedly has an academic curriculum, but I'm having a hard time figuring out what it is exactly. However, knowing that kdg. is the new 1st grade, shouldn't pre-k then be the new kdg.? Some children spend 2 years in our pre-school program. Is it too much to ask that they learn a letter or a number or a color? Hell, you can learn that by watching Sesame Street, for God's sake!
As professional educators, we both know that at 3 and 4 years old, children are not developmentally ready for a formal curriculum, but unfortunately, we don't have much of a say-so about it here. It is dictated to us that we do it, so we do it. It's not like I don't know these things, but when I have to deal with it on a daily basis, it becomes incredibly frustrating. Especially given that the parents in our community provide almost nothing when it comes to school-readiness. Most of my students don't have any books in their homes, no one is reading to them, no one is actively teaching them their numbers, letters or colors as part of their daily routine (bring mommy the blue dish, let's count how many cookies, your name starts with an R, etc. Things that you and I probably take for granted.) Most of my students don't even know what the hell their real name is because they've been called Little Man, or Boo Boo for the past 5 years. I'm not trying to be funny, it's a fact. A sad, sad fact.
Whew, sorry, let me climb down from my soapbox before I hurt myself...