Friday, August 12, 2011

First Things First

I heard a piece on the radio tonight about the importance of preschool in helping people develop the skills that are essential in today's job market: compromise, curiosity, and cooperation. It made sense. There was also a companion piece about the wildly expensive, uber-exclusive preschools in Manhattan. It seems that children younger than two are "interviewed" for places in these institutions. The reporter hastened to assure us that they are not real interviews, but more like play date observations. What comprises a successful examination? Well, they are looking for tots who show the three C's mentioned above.

The educator in me scratched my head when I heard that. If we are saying that kids need those essential skills to be successful, then does it not seem counter-intuitive that the "best" schools only accept those children who have already developed them? What's the point in that? As a writing teacher, I know how much fun it is to have kids who are good writers in class, but I don't for a minute think that's my mission. If anything, it's the kids who most need support who should have it, not at the expense of any other child, but certainly as a priority.

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