Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Something to chew on

I was chatting with our school psychiatrist the other afternoon. We were having one of those, "what is going on with these kids?" moments. In multiple classrooms, we have multiple kids, whose needs seem to be above and beyond what we are capable of meeting. We have runners, we have screamers, we have biters. Thinking quickly, I can count 4 classrooms that have more than one child in each room that routinely needs to be restrained.

The school psychiatrist said it's not just us. Other schools she works in are experiencing the same thing.

"Shut up" I said. No one has it like us.

"Oh but yes, they do." she says.

My mind immediately starts thinking back to 5 years plus or minus 40 weeks ago. What world event was going on that caused people to shag, and then bring a child into a world where the environment was so stressful that might have caused this?

She immediately said, "it's the lack of play, don't you think?"

Hmmmmm. Yep, I can see that.

I've only been teaching kindergarten for 5 years. In those 5 years alone I have seen the elimination of nap time, a decrease in play within the classroom, a decrease in free play outside, and in turn an increase in structured time like Reading Workshop, Writing Workshop, and Math Workshop. I am testing more this year than last. Last year I tested more than the previous. We talk about common assessment (TESTS), results (TESTS), and remediation for kids based on those assessments (PREP FOR FUTURE TESTS).

I like the structure of all the workshops because I am a structured person. That doesn't mean it's the best for 5 year olds. I do think our day lacks play, and while I do try to make centers in the workshops fun and hands-on, it's certainly not play.

Is this our fault? Are we creating these little runners, biters, and screamers?

But what does a classroom teacher do? Defy the rules and close the door?

Something to chew on, no?

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