I was heartened to read the Comment posted by a teacher in response to the piece I ran two weeks ago, The Trouble With Kindergarten.
I want you all to know that there are corners of hope for early childhood education. I teach kindergarten at a charter school in San Diego CA: the San Diego Cooperative Charter. We believe that children learn best through a partnership between parents and educators. My students learn through play and exploration, as children were designed to do. My job is to know each of them well enough to be able to structure learning experiences that will best meet their needs. Just as in the main stream kindergartens I’ve experienced, some of them read and write at the end of the school year, and some of them do not, but they all love school, have learned to negotiate and get along with their classmates, and are excited about learning. Our curriculum is the CA state standards, but our day is filled with blocks, guinea pigs, singing, gardening, clay, rainforests, outer space, dress up, swings, stories, drawing, and questions.
Our school, which serves children in grades K through 8th, was started by parents and educators who saw how children were being short changed by the typical public schools. It was hard work, but oh so fulfilling. If you want a better learning experience for your child, and ALL the children, find out what you can do to create alternatives. You’ll be glad you did.