"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Parents Demand and Get More Play Time at PS 101

In an era when kindergarten nap time is history,  play time is on the skids, entrance exams are commonplace, and kindergartners must do idiot worksheets that clueless principals demand, it is heartening to see parents stepping in to see that the developmental needs of their children are met.  From the New York Times:

Some kindergarten parents at Public School 101, a graceful brick castle in Forest Hills, Queens, wanted more free play time for their children; so they decided to do something about it.

Gone were the play kitchens, sand and water tables, and dress-up areas; half-days were now full days. Instead, there were whiteboards, and the kindergartners, in classes of up to 27, practiced reading and math on work sheets on desks at P.S. 101, also known as the School in the Gardens.

Play came in the form of “choice time,” a roughly 30-minute afternoon period during which each child chose what blocks or toys in the classroom to work with, and at recess, which was often truncated by the time it took for every child to calm down and form an orderly line back to class.

About a month ago, about half of the kindergarten parents signed a letter to the principal, Valerie Capitulo-Saide, asking for more unstructured time in the school day, an extra recess period and better procedures in recess. Ms. Capitulo-Saide gave them one extra gym period a week and no longer required students to form perfect lines at recess, one parent said. . . .

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