I’ve never really paid attention to what the other teachers at my school do in their rooms. I only know what the teachers have told me. Recently, however, I’ve gone more out of my way to see what goes on in other rooms – and I’m appalled! There doesn’t seem to one one developmentally appropriate classroom in my school besides my class! It’s sad and I feel for the children who are missing out on sooo much! Here are a few examples:
Kindergarten: I don’t like getting the Kindergarten children in my class every afternoon when their teachers go home. They are wild, loud, and incredibly disrespectful! Now I think I might understand why. It has come to my attention that all they do all morning is sit at table and do worksheets. No play. No fun. Workbooks and worksheets. I was skeptical of this – how could anyone make a 5 year old do worksheets all day? How can this be meaningful work to a child? So I questioned the children – and they confirmed what I had been told! The sad thing is – no one but myself sees a problem with this!
Older Pre-k Class: These children are 5 but had birthdays that were after the Kindergarten cut off date or were simply not ready. So they are put in this class for an extra year. I was talking to the teacher telling her about some of the collages and gluing projects we’ve been doing and about some of the paintings my children have made. She got this look of horror on her face and exclaimed, “You let your kids glue by themselves and use paint in the classroom?!” I nodded in confirmation. Her reply was, “I never let my students touch a glue bottle or paint in class – it’s too messy!” Never let them paint or glue?! I wanted to ask her: “What is wrong with you?!” but I knew better. She told me if an art project requires glue – she does it for them. Anyone else beside me see a problem with this?! I’m disgusted!
3 year old class: These children come in and are barely 3 years old. I walked in one day on my break to ask for something and there was the teacher sitting at a table do worksheets with 3 year old children! Yes – with 3 year old children! As you can imagine I was, once again, appalled and disgusted! She later told me that parents expect them and that’s how they can show parents how the children are learning…and blah blah blah. Nonsense. Then I looked around at the art on her walls – all coloring sheets! No opened ended art at all! None. These children are simply deprived! No wonder they are over whelmed with the variety of choices they get when they come to my class! They’ve never had the opportunity to think and discover for themselves!
It’s just sad. And these aren’t the only examples I can give. There are plenty more. I work at a school where teachers don’t care about developmentally appropriate practice – and neither does the director. It seems like their motto is, “Whatever is the easiest is the best!” Most of all I feel sorry for the children. This is why I fight so hard to keep worksheets out of my class and more hands on experiences in. A fight I have to continue on Monday because a parent (actually one of the same parents from before) complained again about the lack of worksheets. But I know in my heart what children need to grow and develop fully and as an adult in their life, I need to stand up for them and be their voice in this matter. So, I have to try to convince my director (who told me she likes worksheets – so basically she is on the parents side in this matter) to let me do some parent education and hand out this brochure next week. Wish me good luck…Lord knows I’ll need it!