Thursday, January 13, 2011

More Parents Getting Fed Up

From the NYTimes, At One School, A Push For More Play Time:

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.

Most parents hate to rock the school boat, so the fact that half the parents signed a protest letter shows that the culture is beginning to change. What a lame response from the principal, though.

Homework was another problem:

Early childhood homework is another issue. Each Monday, the kindergartners get a packet of worksheets they are supposed to complete by Friday. There are generally 10 to 12 reading, writing and math worksheets each week. Parents are also asked to read to their children.

Victoria Zunitch, who recently withdrew her daughter from P.S. 101 to send her to a private school, said kindergarten homework ended up being parent homework because the children had trouble working independently.



  1. PsychMom says:

    When I read stuff like that, it makes me wish that I had encountered that nonsense earlier in my daughter's schooling. Because the kids have gotten used to school, it's so much harder to get them out. The problems are the same in the higher grades, but the kids are already indocrinated so that they are more willing to take on the burdens that are placed on them.

    Rejecting school earlier would have been easier.

  2. PsychMom, you make an excellent point. Because the principal's comments are so stupid and ill informed, it's easier to see the demon more clearly. This principal's easy. Who would ever want to send their kid to this school?