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Sunday, January 29, 2006


All-Day Kindergarten

All-day kindergarten is taking hold in my town, presumably to help kids meet higher educational standards. What it's really all about is a further relinquishing of parental responsibilities to the schools. Parents are just becoming lazier and lazier as they stick their kid into one form of daycare or another starting the very day the child is born. All-day kindergarten, after-school care, school breakfast, riding the bus, summer care... It's not for the benefit of the kids, it's for the benefit of the parents who won't step up and do what they need to do. Increasingly more parents are refusing to make the transition from self-centered individual to selfless guardian. And our society makes it easier for them to do so, saying that things like all-day kindergarten will help improve children's language and number skills through repetition, activity, and individual attention. Those are skills that parents are supposed to be teaching their young ones, but now that the schools have taken away even more of their responsibilities mom and dad can spend more time working out or scrapbooking or whatever the hell else they do instead of raising their own kids.


Blogger Tawnja said...

I agree with you that most of our children do not see enough of their parents, I don't think that working out or scrapbooking are bad things for parents to be doing with their time. Are you suggesting that parents do these activities when their children are at home. Where are your kids when you are reading acrticles or, posting your blog? I understand that you are making a point that all day kindergarten or whatever the choice, not be a chance to get away from our kids, but a healthy hobby or two can't be regarded as a negative.

4:30 PM  
Blogger Daquell said...

I don't think he was trying to slur hobbies.

Phil- We need more parents like you.

5:11 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

Tawnja, you're right, I was making a point about the extremist parents, who truly act like having kids is some sort of nuisance. The problem I'm seeing is that there are more and more of them around, and society is making it easier for them to justify NOT RAISING THEIR OWN CHILDREN.

I have plenty of hobbies. Well, maybe three... blogging, music, and movies. Other hobbies of mine involve all of us: hiking, swimming, photography. But there are a lot of things I gave up when the kids entered our lives. A few of my interests I gave up reeeeaaal slow, like TV. I loved all those reality shows, but haven't seen them in years because it's too complicated, time-consuming, and/or expensive to keep up with it. I save my time and money for my kids. The rest of me comes second.

I think parents absolutely should be working out and scrapbooking and taking pictures (like I do), but you do it when you have free time. You don't create the free time at the expense of the children. They're not going to learn more at school, they'll learn more from their moms and dads.

Also, before anybody else says it, I understand some parents don't have a choice... I know many single parents who are doing their best. My disgust is saved for the family with one solid income and one stay-at-home parent who's not very interested in parenting... Like I said, there's too many of them around.

5:22 PM  
Blogger Redhead Mommy said...

I too, have a problem with all day kindergarten, along with the push to make our small children achieve in "academics" (and by academics, I'm referring to the governmental idea of standardized tests, not real learning). Some experts will say this doesn't help kids at all, and it all evens out in middle school anyway.

However, I also have a problem with blaming it on the schools, as they in turn are being forced to force their kids to "achieve" on these test so that they don't lose funding, or their teachers don't lose pay. Or, they are afraid to lose kids, so they do what the parents are requesting, like all day kindergarten.

Most educators I know think standardized testing and this big push for "achievement" is crap, and feel like we are expected to be parents to these children because the real parents are duds. When I taught art, I had to spend a good part of the first week teaching kids how to properly clean up after themselves, how to treat other students' artwork, how to behave in the classroom, etc.

I do think the responsibility lies with the parents, as you do. But becareful not to turn the teachers and schools into enablers. We are the first to say that parents' need to take more responsibility.

7:16 PM  
Blogger Redhead Mommy said...

oops and please forgive me for the many typos in that!

7:17 PM  
Anonymous brettdl said...

I see less of a problem with stay-at-home parents and a bigger one with dual-income families. If you talk to them, they will tell you that both parents HAVE to work because of the high cost of living in California.

For some, that is true. For others, both work to maintain a high standard of living, which they have determined is more important than parenting.

And therein lies the cultural problem: our society values materialism above sacrifice. I don't mean we should all be living in a straw hut, but I think this is at least partly the point Phil is making.

Redhead Mommy: I agree with you that parents are responsible, but it doesn't matter. If parents fail our children, then schools must succeed.

The danger is probably more obvious in a big city like Los Angeles, where I live, or Chicago. There is nothing more unnerving than knowing there are millions of uneducated young males wandering the street with no future ahead of them. Talk about a recipe for disaster.

Such a situation is dangerous to all of us, whether parents are to blame or not. It is imperative that society take care of all kids, because if not, we will all pay the price.

7:12 AM  
Blogger jb3ll3 said...

How much do you think the teachers are involved in this? Job security and benefits are biggies--the cost of providing kindergarten to public school kids doubles with all-day kindergarten and teachers suddenly qualify for different benefit and salary packages....

8:26 AM  
Blogger Phil said...

Brett, you're right about that "high standard of living" some of those dual-income parents are trying to maintain. I know way too many of them. Apparently their boats, third cars, time-shares, and club memberships are more important to them than raising their children.

We had some good friends recently give up one income to discover that none of the "luxuries" they gave up were missed. You'd be surprised at what you can live without. Start with that huge cable TV bill and go from there.

9:31 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

I completely agree with you that too many parents are too self-absorbed and do not put their child's interest before their own. Being a teacher a see it every day, children who are dropped off at school at 8am and are not picked up until 5 or 6pm. It's a sad reality in America today, and one that needs to stop.

12:29 PM  
Anonymous brettdl said...

Jen, we see the same thing at our preschool. Seth learns the bad habits of the kids who are there all day, so we constantly have to deprogram him.

2:23 PM  
Anonymous DPR said...

I'm assuming "all day" means "all day, five days a week". In our (rural) part of Ontario, the schools have all day kindergarten three days a week, which I rather liked. The little duffers were worn out by the end of the day, but the two days "off" were good for deprogramming (in the brettdl sense of the word) and processing. The K years have come and gone for our family, but what I appreciate about them in hindsight is the opportunity they provided for our daughters to make friends with local kids they otherwise would not have encountered.

HOWEVER, I completely agree with your larger point re: slothful, self-indulgent "parenting".

6:45 AM  
Blogger TugHillTina said...

The same thing is going on where I live, not only is it all day but they also have homework. Phonics is also out the window and they are pushing whole language, memorizing words. Also Printing has taken on a new look, they are teaching a cursive type print so it is easier to "transition" to cursive writing, I'm wondering if any of these educators have filled out a application lately. I'm alarmed at what I'm finding, basically public schools is out for my son. I'm more than likely sending him to a parochial school or homeschool.

6:21 AM  
Anonymous Melissa said...

I don't know if anyone is still checking this topic, but I had to post an AMEN to Phil's comment about kids learning more from their parents than all-day kindergarten, afterschool care, or whatever else. I am a teacher, but I can't replace a parent. I've seen it many times. Kids can get very bored at school (all day, every day). Teachers are not going give the same attention, energy, time, love to each student in their class as a parent would. The students at home are a much more attentive audience, I think, because a parent can cater more to the child's needs and personality.

10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it easy for you to say that because you have had your opportrunities in life. Now, I am a mother like may others who HAVE to work outside of a house and go to school full time. I didn't have the opportunity to go to school before I had children. I have to work to make ends meet, so I don't have to depend on government. So, it is not a matter of being lazy parent stupid, it is a matter of need to improve. So, all day kindergarten will benefit a lot of mothers like me, not because they are lazy, but because they work hard.

10:11 AM  

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