Don't get me wrong, I'm all for college and educating children, but I also am a firm believer that children need to be kids. They need to be able to explore the world, they need to dance, they need to sing, they need to act, they need to draw, they need to color, they need to climb trees, scrape knees, build blocks, make snow angels, do crafts, cuddle, squeal, cry, laugh, and be a kid.
Unfortunately, we're losing this in our society, which is evident in the article I just read in the Washington Post, entitled Kindergarteners Show Cancelled So Kids Can Become 'College and Career Ready' Really?
I don't think that I actually need to recap the article, since the title pretty much explains it all, except maybe that this article also shows the letter sent home to parents explaining their decision and that the letter was verified to be true.
The thing is, we are losing all that makes people individuals by taking away the arts. My cousin, who is an extremely successful Lead Engineer for EA Sports, is in large part successful because of his hard work at school. The thing the school's forget is that, people like him chose their career path because of the hours of play they did as a child. I remember him taking me on "adventures" where we would act out video games, running into problems that only video game characters would run into. We would fight and defeat them or die and miraculously come back to life (used up a life).
We need to let our Kindergarteners play. We need the arts to remain an active part of our schools. It gives many people joys, passion, and even purpose in an otherwise mundane world. Yes, our children need to be able to read, write well, and have a basic understanding of mathematical principles, but a true rounded education does not stop there. Performing allows children to understand how to act in front of a group of people, which is important for those such as CEOs, teachers, and sales representatives. Music is believed to actually enhance mathematical abilities and reading comprehension. Art teaches forethought and planning, needed in most any professional setting.
I am not in essence against homework. I feel that extra help is sometimes necessary, but not at the expense of family time, extracurricular activities, and play. I have read many articles based on research studies (including this one) that states that children do not benefit from homework until they have reached the secondary level. I am not saying no children should receive homework, but the amount sent home in many school districts is unhealthy for the grades of the children.
Our society needs to tread carefully in our pursuit of education. There is much more to education than test scores, homework, and the three Rs. By focusing away from the arts, we are taking away the creativeness that is needed in some of our most life changing technologies (computer technology, medicine, defense). Schools, please educate our children, but don't take away the arts in order to do it.