Monday, March 21, 2011

the way of the world

I was watching a video of my granddaughter Maddie that my daughter Jen posted on Facebook today.  Maddie is in kindergarten.  She is 5 years old.  And she is reading.  I sat there amazed at how well she was sounding out words, and understood what she was reading.

This tells me that the analytical thinking of 5 year olds these days has surpassed what we did in school at the same age.  Read words and understand what they meant at 5?  Me?  No way! 

These are the things I remember about being 5 years old:

Carrying milk money to school.
Drinking room temperature milk and eating graham crackers for a snack.
Falling asleep.  Soundly.  During "rest period".
The smell of new crayons.
The feel of paper in my fingers while it was still pristine and unused.
Being afraid of my teacher. 
The excitement of writing a few letters and numbers. 
Knowing someday that what I wrote would mean something to other people.
Looking out the classroom window and daydreaming.  A lot.

Those are some of the things I remember. 

Now kids are learning to read and write in kindergarten.  A time that used to be spent getting used to the idea of being trapped with a bunch of strangers, and having to wait to go to the bathroom, is now filled with graphs that tell you how much your child should be able to read, write and count by the end of each grading period.

Are our kids losing their innocence too fast?  Can't we wait to start them on this road of learning a bit later?  Like the age of 6? 

Can't we give them time to look out the window and daydream?  I think that daydreaming is at least as important as learning to read and count. 
Reading and counting give our children the foundation for building life as adults.

Daydreaming gives them the wings to carry them there.

Let them daydream.  Just a bit longer.

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