Thursday, June 3, 2010

Wrapping It Up

Another school year ending, while students and teachers rejoice, and we prepare for the anachronistic ritual of American summer, thus setting our children up for a lifetime of annual disappointment as working adults--unless they take up teaching.

Not to get on my hobbyhorse of increasing the school year--as much as I do believe that is the way, the truth, and the light. Instead, I'm thinking about all those adorable little savages, those incoming kindergartners, and I'm hoping that their parents have been talking and playing with them and reading to them and taking them to the library.

I met with an elementary school principal recently who described her incoming kindergartners of the last few years as bringing fewer skills and less knowledge to their first day of school than ever before. It would be depressing, if one's mind worked that way, but this principal is a powerhouse, a woman of firm and decisive action, and her mind is already working toward a solution: meetings with parents of preschoolers to let the parents know what they can do to prepare their children for kindergarten.

This isn't something everyone has to think about. Not thinking about it is a luxury afforded to parents of a certain education and socioeconomic level--the ones whose way of living grants their children automatic advantages. Lots of books in the home, trips to libraries and museums, music and dance classes, even just the time for lots of chatter and imaginative play. Crayons and paper and glue and let's not leave out the best of all, lots and lots of glitter.