An elementary school in Elwood,
N.Y. has cancelled its annual Kindergarten show so students can focus on their
No, this is not a joke.
In a letter to parents, Principal Ellen Best-Laimit of Harley Avenue Primary School wrote:
The reason for eliminating the Kindergarten show is simple. We are responsible for
preparing children for college and career with valuable lifelong skills and
know that we can best do that by having them become strong readers, writers,
coworkers and problem solvers.
And I thought my kindergartener was the only one who spent her weekends studying for the SATs. Guess I was
Principal Best-Laimit continues, “What and how we teach is changing to meet the demands of a changing
Thankfully, parents have protested the move by starting a Change.org petition to have the show reinstated. Nearly 2,000 people have
signed the petition so far.
What is the message we are sending our kids here?
According to psychologist and best-selling author Dr. Madeline Levine, parents and educators mistakenly
believe that we are doing our kids a service – and helping them become better
students– by pushing learning at a young age. In contrast, research shows that “if you push kids too early, if you
expose them to Baby Einstein, it actually retards language acquisition,” says Dr. Levine.
In her new book, Teach Your Children Well, Levine questions our culture’s current notion of success and argues that there are factors other than academic
achievement that will enable our kids to do well in life – factors like grit, kindness, integrity and honesty.
“Value what your kids bring to the table,” says Levine. “Not just straight A’s.”
Having raised three boys herself, Dr. Levine is not a big advocate of educational toys like Baby Einstein. Nor is she a fan of too much homework, preoccupation with
test scores, and pushing our kids to get into the “best schools.”
She is a fan of PDF – that is, Play Time, Down Time, and Family Time.
Levine encourages parents – and schools – to do what they can to ease the “performance
pressure” that weighs so heavily on kids today. As she says, “While we all hope
that our children will do well in school, we hope with even greater fervor that
they will do well in life.”
Sounds like the administrator at Harley Avenue Primary need to read Dr. Levine’s book.