What did you learn in Kindergarten?
If you’re like me, that was a long time ago. There are moments frozen in my memory, but what’d I learn? I don’t remember. Of course back then, the idea of a full day of kindergarten was unheard of.
The state of Indiana – the state in which I teach — is working on requiring full day Kindergarten, and the state of Michigan – where I reside — requires all students to attend Kindergarten. With such laws, do they require preschool? Of course not. Nevertheless, I’m torn about preschool.
When I was growing up, preschool was called play school. We probably worked on colors, and if Mom’s reading this, she can certainly correct me on what we did and didn’t do. I vaguely remember taking little trips to the post office to see how things worked and to the fire department to check out the trucks, and there was always reading going on in our house. But it seems to me that preschool’s a necessary element to a child’s readiness for Kindergarten these days, and Emily Guevera of the Beaumont Enterprise helps explain why that’s the case.
Seems to me that if we’re going to require students to attend Kindergarten, and if we’re going to expect children to be able to sit through a full day of school who’ve never had a schooling experience, that these states need to invest in stronger preschool programs. But I’m not really just talking to the states here. Senator McCain, what’s your plan? Senator Obama, what’s yours? Governor Huckabee, how will you support preschool programs nationally? Senator Clinton’s got the Head Start plan, but is she also prepared to support moms and dads who need childcare/workplace assistance in assuring their children can attend preschool? In 2003, 1/3 of at risk children in the state of Michigan were not receiving the services they needed. With all the talk of universal health care, perhaps we should consider universal preschool too.