I went to kindergarten orientation yesterday. For my granddaughter. I won’t mention the terrifying moment when I realized that she would be five in April, my daughter 40 in August and me, well, it’s all right for me to get old.
But not my children.
The principal explained that kindergarten was not like it used to be. Well, I knew that. I can remember Miss Buckley’s school in Beverly Hills, where the snooty daughter of a movie star stabbed the palm of my left hand, leaving the tip of a Ticonderoga #2 embedded forever. I certainly hope kindergarten isn’t like it used to be.
“It’s academic,” the principal said. “It’s February and you have until September to work on some skills with your little one, to get ready.”
Skills? She will have to list and sound out eight letters of the alphabet in 60 seconds. Write her name in initial cap Upper case, then lower case. Which means no more messing around with the magnetic letters on the refrigerator door. They must make sense. She must also focus on one task for 20 to 25 minutes. This will be fine as long as she stays away from email. I think II will try that.
Scissors. Absolutely. Some of the mothers in the audience gasped. My guess is that the tools were verboten in their households. Not so here. Not one Barbie doll here has a full head of hair, or is wearing underwear.
Three-step directions. Oops. The child must be able to take on a three-part task. Go to the freezer. Get the box. Open it and eat it. then be quizzed about what was done.
Coloring inside the lines! Oh, no! My creative genius will have to abide by the laws of conformity, and use appropriate colored-crayons. Does it look real? I am supposed to ask? Real? What is real? However, in my aged wisdom, and a book I’m reading by Todd Henry, The Accidental Creative, It’s pointed out that a creative person needs lines. So we have something to rebel against! Absolutely.
She must learn that if two people are talking, she is not to interrupt. She doesn’t have to raise her hand to speak, but stand quietly and wait for the conversation to cease. Except of course, if there Is a HUGE DRAGON flying in through the French Doors and knocking over papa’s chess game in the living room.
Finally, she should learn how to lose gracefully. Wow. Things have changed! What! No more “we all win because we showed up.” What a relief. Maybe this generation will realize that it’s all right to be wrong, it’s all right to care for other people, and it’s all right to congratulate others on their fortunes and quietly contemplate how we can do better next time.
Kindergarten? I’d love to get the principal to visit the company I work for. That would be a hoot!
I wouldn’t even interrupt.