kindergarten too intense
Ready to Succeed
My most vivid memory from kindergarten involves me throwing up on my Valentine's Day art project. While that may not be a universal experience, I'm guessing most of you who grew up in the '70s and '80s have halcyon and occasionally terrifying memories of that first year of school as well. You know, that year where everybody is still struggling with dressing themselves and remembering to ask when they need to go potty. But those days are long gone my friends.

Something has changed inside the kindergarten classroom, and it's not just the lack of chalk boards.

Considering I just received a pitch declaring that kindergarten teachers think kids are not properly prepared for their entrance into the lower grade, I'm thinking it's not just so-called "helicopter parents" that are pushing their 5-year-olds to succeed. In fact, the email I received said teachers felt too many students were beginning kindergarten not knowing their ABCs and thus, not prepared "academically."

The last time I checked, kindergartners were all about eating paste and learning how to tie their shoes, and if there is time left over -- learning their ABCs. Okay, so maybe not tying their shoes, since we all have the magic of Velcro on our footwear, but since when did you need to prep for kindergarten?

As a mother to a daughter who goes to an all-day kindergarten (which is great for working parents, don't get me wrong), I also wonder when the half-day kindergarten model was abandoned. Perhaps right around the time when parents started jockeying for a spot at the "best" kindergarten in town, rather than walking your kid to your local public school. How to find the best kindergarten? Hire a "Kindergarten Concierge" as someone in my son's pre-school just did. I'm serious.

Allow me to channel Andy Rooney (may he rest in peace) here, but what in the hell is going on that we need to hire someone to tell us where to send our child to kindergarten? They're still using snub-nosed scissors and mispronouncing "dump truck."

I realize by sending my daughter to a private school, I'm also part of the "regular school isn't good enough!" movement. But I hope we do enough at home to stunt her excelled education so she doesn't think kindergarten is all work, and no fun. I think we'll start by throwing out the homework. I kid, it's a progressive school which focuses on community -- there's no homework. Just incredibly lofty expectations for tiny children.

Is your child's kindergarten too intense?