Get Ready for Kindergarten [Video]

For parents and kids starting kindergarten soon…

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School Success Criteria Vol 1: Parents

In the news lately there has been a lot of talk of underperforming “Renaissance” schools who will forced to dismiss many of their teachers.  On the one hand, I applaud the attempt to shock our worst schools into improvement.  On the other hand, I am dismayed that the teachers are being disproportionately punished for the failures of their schools.  It occurred to me that so many factors contribute to the success of schools beyond the teachers.  I am going to try to go about hypothesizing what those factors are so that can be an angle for my research and school visits moving forward.

My first hypothesis–schools that have involved parents perform better.  Groundbreaking idea, I know.

On a recent tour of Meredith, I was struck by how many Read the rest of this entry »

All I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

On a recent public school tour, the school principal handed me a packet of paper with a variety of information about school programs and what to expect from kindergarten and how to prepare your children for school.  This was on the cover.  I had heard of Robert Fulghum’s book before, but I had never seen the words completely written out.

All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sand pile at school. These are the things I learned:

  • Share everything.
  • Play fair.
  • Don’t hit people.
  • Put things back where you found them.
  • Clean up your own mess.
  • Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
  • Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
  • Wash your hands before you eat.
  • Flush.
  • Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
  • Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
  • Take a nap every afternoon.
  • When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
  • Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
  • Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die. So do we.
  • And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the biggest word of all – LOOK.

Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.

Take any one of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it would be if we all – the whole world – had cookies and milk at about 3 o’clock in the afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had as a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.

And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out in the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

[Source: “ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN” by Robert Fulghum.  See his web site at http://www.robertfulghum.com/ ]

MAPN Annual Kindergarten Discussion Group

The Mt. Airy Parents’ Network (MAPN) has been mentioned already on this blog. You should also be familiar with the group’s Annual Kindergarten Discussion Group. For three years, MAPN has sponsored a discussion group for families exploring their education options (despite the name, it’s not just limited to kindergarten discussions). Notices are usually posted on the MAPN discussion board in May, June, and July. Any interested member may join. The discussions take place via email usually between August and November. The direction that the group takes and how active it is depends totally on the make-up of the group. For example, the 2007 and 2009 groups were very active and busy, while the 2008 group really wasn’t. If you’re interested in learning more, please join the MAPN list or leave a comment on this post.

Best of luck!
Catherine Collins
MAPN Moderator & Co-founder