A few weeks ago I posted that I decided to send my daughter to a regular public school, despite my strong objections to homework, worksheets, mindless recitations, limited recess, and the goal of separating children from their parents (among other objections). Every time I sent her to school I felt a little shudder. I was on edge, stressed out, and suspicious. Not a fun way to feel every morning.
And then one week they sent home homework, and I let the teacher know I refused to make my daughter do the work. I also told her my concerns about a lot of worksheets and sitting for long periods of time. And I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of constantly telling children their work wasn’t good enough.
Anyway, I finally had enough, and I rescued my daughter from the prison…er….school. Kindergarten is supposed to be fun and carefree, with learning hidden amongst the joys of playing.
I found just what I was looking for! There are a few play-based schools in Tucson, and I found a way to send my daughter to one of the best, which is the closest thing to homeschooling I can find. She now gets to play outside most of the day, while learning is in the form of fun games and one-on-one activities. There are 4 adults for her class of 20 children (the ratio at the public school was 1 adult for 26 children). And the best part is they welcome and encourage parent participation. I’m not shuffled out of the classroom when I drop her off. No one is giving me dirty looks when I hang around. My daughter’s educational experience isn’t a secret. I’m not left wondering what they’re hiding.
She gets to be creative at this school, mixing paints, digging in the mud, planting and cultivating a garden, playing super hero, drawing on herself to be a dragon, telling her elaborate stories to a listening adult. She is being celebrated for who she is at this stage in her life, rather than being told she needs to fit into a certain box. Can you tell how much I LOVE her new school? Last week they even found time to bake bread together…cooking will be part of the curriculum.
Sure, with this much play she might not be reading and writing like a pro when she leaves kindergarten, but who says reading at 5 makes you smarter? Actually, research shows that it’s good to let little children wait a few years before reading. What they need, as little kids, is to play in this developmental stage. Playing helps them learn better. It’s what they were meant to do. In fact, because they’ll be doing real-world activities (field trips, cooking, and more), there’s a good chance that reading, writing, and arithmetic will come naturally and readily…when the children are ready.
The new school is a private school, and it is a little pricey. I’m working on getting a small scholarship from friends/family, but it will still be a challenge to pay for it. (Shameless plug coming up.) So if you support the idea of play-based kindergarten, you sympathize with a single parent household, or you find Crayon Writer to be valuable to you, consider making a donation to my little scholarship fund. The donate button is below, and it’s also in the sidebar to the right.
The best thing about it all is that now I send my daughter to kindergarten with a huge smile in my heart and on my face. I’m SO overjoyed that, surprisingly, I’m almost without words. Almost. I’m so glad I followed my gut on this, though I wish I’d done it sooner. This is going to be a great year for her and for me.