Friday, September 26, 2008

Justice's Non-teaching Method of Teaching

So after going to a playgroup at an uppity pretentious accredited preschool today, I have decided to patent my own method of teaching children. It's called the "Justice's Non-teaching Method of Teaching." More on that later. Let me tell you my uppity pretentious accredited preschool story first.

I decided to take Mateo to the once a week playgroup at the local preschool that also runs the town's early childhood special education program. Long story short, Mateo is scheduled to go here for special ed when he turns 3. So my hopes were high that I would like this school and would have the opportunity to meet some of the staff.

The beginning was fine, despite my son's best efforts to scare other children away from everything he was and had ever played with by yelling in their face. The classroom was very nice, but crowded, which is less than ideal for Mateo who gets overstimulated easily. But we did okay.

So we were at the very end of the group and having a snack when the parents started asking questions to the playgroup facilitator (who is also the head of administration and the special ed program for the school). Questions like....

Is there a checklist of skills my child should doing at this age?

Is there a handout about preschool readiness so we can start working on things with our child?

How can I make my child the smartest kid in the classroom giving them a leg up on the competition for coveted advanced placement classes and first string on sports teams therefore increasing their likelihood of getting into Harvard, becoming a successful surgeon, and paying for my retirement?

So the teacher started talking about this seminar they are running about school readiness and things to do to get your child ready. And I was a bit confused because I thought preschool was, like, glorified playtime and Mateo is already good at playing, so what kinds of things am I supposed to be preparing him for? So I asked what I thought was a good question, "readiness for preschool or kindergarten?"

Well, apparently that was an absolutely ridiculous question because the woman got very upset and passionately described how there is no such thing as "kindergarten readiness" (although she was the one to use the term) and we should never utter those words again and erase them from our vocabulary immediately. Then she preceded to tell me, condescendingly, that parents who dare to even think about getting their child ready for kindergarten are horrible, horrible parents and know nothing about child rearing and should be obliterated from the earth entirely. Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but you get what I mean, right?

So I guess the big thing now is school readiness (do you see a difference? Cause I don't but maybe I'm missing something). And I guess there is some kind of secret list of all the things we should have been doing since birth to get our children ready for school (guess I dropped the ball on that one) and apparently every other parent in the room knew about this except me. However, after seeing the look on my face, I think this administrator could tell I wasn't impressed.

So, to make me feel better I suppose, she tells me I am doing the first step by bringing him to this playgroup. As if I've never been to another playgroup or done a thing to encourage my child to learn and socialize before attending this NAEYC accredited playgroup that you have to apply for! It starts already!

And to make matters worse, as we were leaving, the facilitator bent down and asked Mateo was his name was, to which he replied, "juice." I'm sure that bodes well for us.

Well, to my credit, I think I'm doing a pretty good job. I've never pushed Mateo to do puzzles (mostly because Mateo does not lend himself to being pushed to do anything) but I give him the opportunity to explore them at his own pace. Well, just today he sat down at the table and did an entire puzzle almost completely by himself. So here's to non-teaching!

Back to my patented technique. It's called, "Justice's Non-teaching Method of Teaching." It's all about fun. That's the goal. Fun. It includes wrestling, tickling, hugging, kissing, playing hide and seek, playing monster games, blowing raspberries, and being silly. After that, you give the child some toys (i.e. puzzles, games, play-do, etc) and then go surf the internet. Well, there's no scientific data yet. And the only trials have been on Mateo. But he seems to be turning out alright. Besides thinking his name is "juice."

Anyway, I'm thinking about getting a grant to do some research. What do you think?

Stickers are a very serious business


HomeGrown Life said...

LOVED this post! What an awful morning. I think your un-schooling method (by the way, many of my friends with school-aged children use this method of homeschooling)is just what Mateo needs right now.

Rachel said...

Thats pretty funny. My 1.5 year old daughter either refers to herself as "Baby Doll" or "Boy". When I try to inform her that she is a girl she screams even louder "BOOOOOYYYY"! Then again, who am I to decide the gender she identifies with?

Joe said...

Looks like I'm already using your "Justice's Non-teaching Method of Teaching", and my boy's only 3 months old. I'M AHEAD OF THE GAME!!!