Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Making Kidergarten Less Stressful (huh?)

Stress Week installment 3 of 4
If Discovery Channel presents Shark Week for your entertainment each summer, then we at can present "Stress Week" so that you enjoy a stress-free and fun-filled summer.

Peggy Orenstein recently lamented (in the New York Times magazine) that in the old days, kindergarten was a place to play and not even consider something as ridiculous as homework. She criticizes the multiple choice tests and early-literacy measures that are administered to millions of very young children.

“According to Crisis in the Kindergarten, a report released by the Alliance for Childhood, all that testing is wasted: it neither predicts nor improves young children’s educational outcomes. More disturbing, along with other academic demands, like assigning homework to 5-year-olds, it is crowding out the one thing that truly is vital to their future success: play.”

Orenstein emphasizes, “Play — especially the let’s-pretend, dramatic sort — is how kids develop higher-level thinking, hone their language and social skills, cultivate empathy. It also reduces stress, and that’s a word that should not have to be used in the same sentence as “kindergartner” in the first place.”

And have you heard the acronym KGOY? — Kids Getting Older Younger — it is the marketers’ explanation for why 3-year-olds now play with toys that were initially intended for middle-schoolers.

Seriously folks, would you want your kindergartner doing homework each night?

Upcoming - the Final installment for Stress Week:
Post 4: Stress Gene Found in Infants (we kid you not)