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Playful learning is more than just Sight Word BINGO

This weekend my sons had four days off from school. They played and built; wrote thank you notes and get well cards; did some baking with their dad and helped clean the house. An excellent time all around.

I am worried tonight, though, because I know tomorrow will be tough for my two five-year-olds. Kindergarten [...]

Today’s NY Times Magazine: Can the Right Kinds of Play Teach Self-Control?

Just a quick heads up about a terrific article in today’s NY Times Magazine by Paul Tough, Can the Right Kinds of Play Teach Self-Control? The article describes an emerging methodology for kindergarten and prekindergarten called Tools of the Mind, based on the work of Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky. Basically, the program is part of [...]

Kinder kindergartens, please!

This Peanuts cartoon, originally published in 1962, was reprinted this week. It was just another sad reminder about how much kindergarten has changed. The truth is, now there are many anxious and stressed-out kids in kindergarten. Sally wouldn’t be alone in her need for therapy. (She’d probably have to stand in line!)

In the Sunday [...]

Kindergarten Summer School ?!?

It is a sad day when kindergartners are required to go to summer school. I met a mom this weekend who is dismayed at the prospect. Her daughter is 5 1/2 years old and just finished kindergarten. This youngster didn’t reach the reading benchmark and is now facing 4 weeks of summer school. It’s not [...]

Who is flunking kindergarten? The students or the system?

This morning I talked with a mom whose daughter is struggling in kindergarten. The classroom set-up hasn’t matched well with the temperament of this imaginative and spirited little girl. At this point in the year (mid-May), the teacher has recommended to the parents that the little girl repeat kindergarten. What?! That is hard to [...]

What do we want? Free play! When do we want it? Now!

I’ve been thinking about a mom I know whose oldest child (now in second grade) had a terrible time in kindergarten. The child came home from school everyday miserable and stressed. Eventually, her mom realized that the academic focus of the class was not a good match for her child. There were “tons and tons [...]