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February 17, 2017

 

              No one is up yet at my daughter’s house, except for me.  I cherish this time alone, especially because this is a snow day.  It is still dark and there is snow on the ground and plenty of wind.  I just finished folding my granddaughter’s hearts.  When she gets up she will have the day to weave the halves together, finish homework, practice her cello, and have some outdoor fun.  Even better, she can sleep in.  Before bed last night I announced that everyone should sleep as long as they could, and the kids were all excited.  Sleeping in during the week is a luxury for all of us, but kids need it the most.

             The dining room table is strewn with valentines in various stages of completion.  It is a tradition in my daughter’s home to send handmade valentines to school.  This snow day is a godsend, since my daughter gets back from her trip the day before Valentine’s Day and I will not be here over the weekend.  The boys are making a couple extra in case something doesn’t turn out, but my son-in-law printed out 9 extra hearts to cut, fold, and weave.  He said, “More is better,” and it occurred to me that perhaps we ought to reconsider the word “more” and its implications.

How easy it is to fall into the trap of more.  Our world seems to be shouting “More!” everywhere we turn.  More to do, more to buy, more to see, more to eat, more, more, more…  How is this culture of more working for you?  Are you stressed as administrators add more to your work load without any extra help?  If you are a parent, are you expected to do more at work and yet more at home, too?  We are all pulled in so many directions that I get dizzy just thinking about it.

               Even more important, how well is “more” working for the children in your class?  Not so long ago children in kindergarten learned through play and developmentally appropriate activities.  Along came the pushdown curriculum because the young child is capable of so much more!  More comes at a price.  Anxiety among young children is rising at an alarming rate.  Many children do, indeed, learn to read a little earlier, but does this early start even out over time?  For those who need a little more time to develop the ability to hear phonemes and other reading related skills, the pushdown curriculum has left them thinking that they are dumb or cannot read, when all they need is time for their brains to develop.    Could it be that we need to listen to the experts in early childhood and stop adding more to the young child’s plate?  Is more really better?

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