A true garden for children

Love and Joy

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.

16 Responses to “A true garden for children”

  1. Mia says:

    It sounds great! i wish i attended such a kindergarten.I think that learning about the world around you is more useful than learning to read at an early age. And who said that learning should exclude the fun…?!

  2. Brandy says:

    I am also a homeschooler, but decided to send my youngest to kindergarten, he wanted to go so bad. I got so lucky because his teacher loves music and teaching with games and play time and sharing time. I was totally worried but it has worked out so well thus far. Anyway, I am still homeschooling my 5th grader and I love it. We’ll see how kindergarten goes, one day at a time. My favorite thing to do with kids, besides play, is to read to and with them, so I started a blog Storytime Crafts to help anyone who needs ideas for their storytime. I would love to have you visit and let me know what you think.
    Brandy´s last blog post ..Fall Preschool Activites about Apples

  3. Issiana says:

    I agree that kids should be kids for as long as they can. Hell, I’m still a kid and I”m in my thirties but according to my mom I turned out okay (my husband invoked his rights against self incrimination btw)
    Issiana´s last blog post ..PSGroove Breaks Free from Jail

  4. slovn says:

    okay, im try donate some money..

  5. fotka says:

    I think learning through touch is better than books.

  6. Hope all the best for your kid,i have my kids in regular public school and everything is good.
    Alice Costumes´s last blog post ..Queen of Hearts Costume

  7. Laura says:

    Hmm…is it really like that in the states (where you’re from, right?). In Scandinavia homework has no place in kindergarten. Earliest is at 6 years of age and 1st grade.

    • Brandy says:

      @Laura – It isn’t like that all over the States. My kindergarten age children have never had homework. I started homeschooling when they were older. In fact my youngest is in Kindergarten and he loves it so far and so far, no homework.
      Brandy´s last blog post ..Free Crafts for October

  8. I really enjoyed reading this article. It was nice to see that some folks out there share my perspectives on the public school system. Honestly, I think that their number one goal sometimes is to remove every
    ounce of creativity from our children. Nice to know that I am not alone in my concerns because out here in the “burbs”, I often feel alone!

  9. Tom says:

    That sounds like a much better options. We plan on homeschooling out daughter when she is old enough, because we don’t want the school system to turn her into something that she is not. We want to allow her to express her creativity and uniqueness.
    Tom´s last blog post ..30 ft Caravan For Sale

  10. This sounds great. I think our current educational system is too much based on strict rote learning and unfortunately there is not enoug space for creativity.
    Bob @ Free Numerology Calculator´s last blog post ..Free Numerology Calculator Software – Immediate Download

  11. Plan Miasta says:

    Painting is the best for kids. My kids are fast learning. More painting less computers 🙂
    Plan Miasta´s last blog post ..Mapa Pabianic

  12. Hope all the best for your kid,i have my kids in regular public school and everything is good.

  13. Oh yes, public schools must be avoided at all costs. Maybe in very small towns they are OK, otherwise they are just horrible. Home schooling is the best option, but private schools are also fine. I’m glad you and your daughter found your way.

  14. I’m so glad to have read this. I have a 5 year old daughter with autism and I’m actually planning to homeschool her and just enroll her in a play school. I don’t want her all stressed out in coping with the school’s pressure. I want her to learn on her own pace. Hope to find a great program for her. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I can totally relate.

  15. ashish says:

    playing is very good method for study and getting knowledge these are fixed on their mind for forever. by playing study it gets many new facts which it is not understand by other methods.

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