​Kindergarten Play Cancelled So 5-Year-Olds Can Focus on College Prep

kindergartenMoms and Dads, how prepared is your kindergartner for college? Fairly prepared I hope, because 13 years is BARELY enough time to equip your son or daughter for university. Said no one ever. Oh, wait, someone DID actually say that. The principal of Harley Avenue Primary School in Elwood, New York, along with four kindergarten teachers. They canceled this year's kindergarten play in order to "prepare children for college and career."

Sadly, no. I am not joking.



The letter reads:

We hope this letter serves to help you better understand how the demands of the 21st century are changing schools, and, more specifically, to clarify, misperceptions about the Kindergarten show. It is most important to keep in mind is [sic] that this issue is not unique to Elwood. Although the movement toward more rigorous learning standards has been in the national news for more than a decade, the changing face of education is beginning to feel unsettling for some people. What and how we teach is changing to meet the demands of a changing world.

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 get putting education first, really, I do. But cancelling a play -- a part of the arts, which has its own merits (building confidence; public speaking; getting kids to use their imaginations) -- is in no way going to prepare kindergartners for college and career, in my opinion. Nor should it ... because they're 5-year-olds for crying out loud!

Of course, young students learn skills in reading, writing, and math each day that are crucial stepping-stones for future education. But if school is nothing but standardized tests and sitting behind desks all day, every day, won't kids lose their lust for learning? We want our kindergartners to be excited to go to school each day (school play days were the greatest!), not grow bored of it.

I know education is a problem in this country, but the idea of preparing a child who's a stone's throw away from toddlerhood for college is laughable to me. We shouldn't be putting pressure on our children when they're this young. They should be running around outside; finger painting; and learning how to get on with their peers. Worrying about what college they're going to go to? No. These are still human beings who see nothing wrong with picking their nose and eating it, remember?

And if I'm wrong, and college prep should start right after preschool, is two days of classroom time instead of a school play really going to make a difference? I think not.

Do you think college prep should start in kindergarten? What do you think of the play being canceled?


Image via Robert S. Donavan/Flickr

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