Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Loss of K...

We call it K-12 education, but let's just re-number educational years 1-13 and leave the K out. The K was to stand for Kindergarten but Kindergarten is not what it once was, nor what it was intended to be, so to call it K is a misnomer and a lie.

Kindergarten was a time of learning through play and through which a child was to embrace his or her wholeness within community, not to launch the children in a scheme of advancement through standardized tests.

This article (one of hundreds about the death of Kindergarten) was sent to me by John Grossbohlin in New York: I've been in education for 20 years, and there's a disturbing trend afoot in kindergartens around the US.

The trend has been going on far longer than that, and the loss of real K in schooling along with the general trend to eliminate woodworking, too, has been going on for many, many years. Schools and educators have embraced a systematic elimination of play. Parents have gone along with it out of fear that their children, unless driven relentlessly by others will not be given the tools to keep up. The author notes:
Giving children a chance to play and engage in hands-on learning activities helps them internalize new information as well as compare and contrast what they're learning with what they already know. It also provides them with the chance to interact with their peers in a more natural setting and to solve problems on their own. Lastly, it allows kindergartners to make sense of their emotional experiences in and out of school.
So let's start being honest with ourselves. If we don't know what K was intended to mean by those who brought it to us in the first place, then we lie when we refer to K-12 education. Americans should make an effort to learn about Froebel and the invention of Kindergarten and stop making a lie of what he invented. If you know nothing about K, Norm Brosterman's book Inventing Kindergarten is a place you might begin your studies. If you want to do something about what you learn, consider my recent book, Making Classic Toys that Teach.

The image of play in a school yard is from 1918, a Catalog of Play Equipment. – Jean Lee Hunt.

Make, fix, create, and increase the likelihood that others learn likewise.

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