Let me tell you about my dad. He was a wonderful man that raised a family of 6 in a small town in the midwest. As a young man, before he married my mother, he was in the army, assigned to a special "top secret' photography unit during the Korean War. After his military duty ended, he married my mother, started a full time civilian job, and began his family. He had many hobbies: photography, collecting cameras, woodworking, camping, and attending auctions were just a few. He was incredibly intelligent, and as a child and young adult I sincerely thought that there was nothing that he couldn't do. As a seasoned adult, I know that there was almost nothing that he couldn't do. He was an honest, hard working, law abiding, contributing citizen that raised 6 children who are also hardworking, honest, law abiding, and contributing. He worked hard so that each of his 6 children could have a college education. He passed away a few years ago after having lived a marvelous life filled with all the things that he loved, leaving behind 6 grown children, and many grand-children, who were blessed to have been taught by his example.
Not long after he died, I found his kindergarten report card among some of things, and being the kindergarten teacher that I am, you would have thought I found gold!
As I looked at his report card, and saw the things that he learned during his kindergarten year, and thought about the kind of man he was, it made me wonder if what we are teaching in kindergarten classrooms in 2017 is so much better.
I look at the men of his generation. The man I described above is the norm for my dad and his friends. They weren't learning to subitize, or to read CVCe words, or writing in complete sentences beginning with a capital and ending with appropriate punctuation in kindergarten. They were learning to keep clean, and be polite, and respect others, and find original ways of doing things. They were allowed to be young, to play, to grow, and to mature.
And yet they grew and matured into one of the greatest generations ever. It just made me think. It made me think that this year, in my classroom, I will teach kids how to subitize. I will teach them how to read CVCe words, and all kinds of other words. I will teach them how to write sentences so that they can later write personal narratives. I will teach them all that, and more. But I will also let them play. And I will encourage them to treat each other respectfully, and to be polite, and to find original ways of doing things. I will let them be little. Because having another generation of young men (and women) like my dad would be a great thing.