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March 26th, 2013

Kindergarten Crap

Truth or dare, dear reader? (By the way, you have to pick dare for this to work).

Oh, dare, you say? Well, fine! I dare you to park yourself in a place where stay at home parents gather for mid-morning coffee, listen to their conversations about schooling and NOT punch someone in the face. I’m serious, it’s a real challenge. Maybe it’s just where I live, or the people I find myself overhearing, but it seems like parents are increasingly misguided when it comes to where to send their school-aged children for book-learnin’.

Now, I get it. I’m not a parent. I don’t have tiny, mushy-brained fools running around my house, asking me what that word says and what that word says and what that word says. I haven’t spent months researching modern pedagogic strategies. But, remember, I did actually go to school. So I’ve got that expertise. I know. All you parents went to school too. But judging by some of the nonsense I’ve overheard, it seems you’ve completely forgotten about it.

I’m not going to get into the shortcomings of you parents with kids in high school. Just know you’re messing them up, and you’re messing them up bad. I’m more concerned with the parents of very young children upon whom they have bestowed ridiculous names like “Newton” and “Shrively.” The parents who are spending thousands of dollars in tuition money for kindergarten. KINDERGARTEN.  I didn’t even realize there were kindergartens that cost thousands of dollars. I thought you just dumped your sobbing heap of a child off with half a tuna sandwich and a box of lukewarm apple juice and the staff took care of the rest. But nope, apparently there’s some serious bank to be made in the private kindergartening game.

And did you know there are preschools that have waiting lists? As in, they are so packed to the hilt with the gifted toddlers of the more fortunate that they cannot possibly stuff in just one more? Commoners’ children must sit tight until one of the A-List toddlers decides to do a semester abroad before they can attend a “good” school. These waiting lists cause parents a lot of a stress. The idea that Newton, their perfect, illiterate, bed-wetting wonderbaby might not make it into the 25k-per-year nursery school of their (the parents’) dreams, is just too much to handle. Why, though? Preschool is essentially a dog park for five-year-olds. You leave them there to sniff each other’s butts and learn how to socialize. Just because Newton goes to an exclusive, five-star nursery school does not guarantee he’s not going to end up dropping out of high school to take bath salts, obtain head lice and follow a mediocre jam band called the Floating Beef Cheeks around the country in a roofless RV.

When you really think about it, Newton only needs to develop a few skills during these early stages of schooling. He should be able to match a picture of a dog to the word “DOG.” He should be able to locate his assigned seat and remain there for several minutes at a time without urinating. He should be able to use his scissors in a socially acceptable manner. He should be able to encounter light conflict without sinking his teeth into anyone’s face. He should be able to scrawl his name in large, wobbly, possibly backward lettering. And, if necessary, he should be able to sit quietly and listen to a story about ducks.

Newton doesn’t need to know how to speak a second language, read chapter books about socialized medicine, make waffles from scratch or sketch a still life. He doesn’t need to be able to sing harmony, make change for a fifty, drive a stick shift or do any of the other crap I can only imagine they must be teaching at these private baby schools.

At the risk of sounding like a crotchety old man, back when I went to preschool we just sort of rolled around in the dirt, pretended to be kitties and buried trucks in the sandbox. In Kindergarten we learned to pay attention, use a hammer and share markers. I got into a good college later on in life because I put in the damn work. I don’t know what these other schools are doing that leads parents to believe they’re going to somehow get their children into Princeton, but I don’t buy it. Unless you live in a school district that exclusively hires convicted murderers, I don’t really see the need for private schooling. (And even then, many convicted murderers have above average IQs, which, you know, might be useful to pass on to our youth, so that’s another point in public school’s favor.)

Yes, fine. They’re your stupid kids. If you want to spend thousands of dollars on tuition for kindergarten instead of taking a fun, restorative family trip to Hawaii, it’s your deal. All I’m saying is, I did public school all the way and I turned out fine. The kids at my high school that had the worst drug problems were the kids who had grown up going to private schools. I don’t do drugs. Also, I have never physically assaulted a bank teller. Nine times out of ten I know which version of “its” requires an apostrophe AND I am a good listener. You know why? Because I had parents who spent their time with me, setting a good example, instead of wasting my childhood years trying to get me on a list for the city’s most prestigious day care.

All I’m saying is let your kid run around and be properly socialized, as you would with a Jindo puppy, because they aren’t much different at that age anyway. Then when he comes home, YOU teach him to sound out some damn letters. You save serious cash, you aren’t stressed out about a waiting list (??) and you get to be involved with your kid, which probably will keep him from killing hookers with his gym teacher later on.


4 comments to Kindergarten Crap

  • Beau BAker

    I live a nine-iron away from The Woodbridge School. K-6, I think, and in the neighborhood of $25K a year. And the place is a dump, by the way. Each morning, whilst trying to walk my dogs, nannies, trophy wives, and the occasional househusband trot the unkempt, non-uniformed brats across Woodbridge Park. A better scam I have yet to find.

  • Roy

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! especially the paragraph about the preschool skills!

  • steve the cat

    young Shrively doing a semester abroad in preschool. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. brilliant!

  • Lyn

    Love this. In total agreement. LOL However, I think MY public school Kindys were a little too refined to leave any kitty ‘tricks’ in the sand box. : )

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