IMHO, all day kindergarten is NOT good for all children

One of the most confusing parts of the American tendancy to mix politics and religion (where to be Christian means you must be Republican) is the right-wing position on the role of the government. I understand how this is a “conservative” view point — I don’t understand why its a “Christian” view point.

In Canada, its the Liberal party leading the fight against government interference in the telecommunications marketplace. Maybe this is just one of those areas where Canadian politics don’t map well to American ones. (Which of course begs the question, are any Canadians really Christians according the Republican definition?!)

That’s not the point of this particular rant though. In fact, the point of this rant is that despite not being a “Republican”, I’m a little peeved with the government interfering with my children’s growth and development.

Ontario-wide our government has begun a 3-year roll out of all-day/every-day Kindergarten (including JK.) This means that 6+ hours a day, 5 days a week, if your child is enrolled in school, they must be in school.
Put another way, if we want Benjamin to experience the benefit of Jr. Kindergarten, we must relinquish our role as his primary care-taker to the public school system’s “Early Childhood Educators.” At 4 years old, a government paid employee will have more day-time access to our child than we do.

I went in today to register Ben for JK, and to ask the principle about flexibility in this new system — which will be province-wide soon, but right now is only targeted at “low income” schools. I was surprised when she opened with “I wanted to explain some of the options you have when it comes to all-day Kindergarten.”

Great, I thought, I’m not the first parent to be upset by this. Then she pulled out a brochure that explained that we could pay money to have our child come to school earlier and stay later if we wanted! Apparently there are parents who are so inconvenienced by their children, that they aren’t satisfied with having them gone most of the day, they want someone else to take care of them all day!

When I explained that we’d actually like our child to be in their care less, she clucked disapprovingly and condescendingly explained that its crucial to our son’s social adjustment and education for him to be in school as much as possible. What, the public school system has a lock on playing with other kids and large-lettered books?! We’re talking about 4 year olds here, lady.

I guess I can understand that if you’re a low income family, you want your kids in school so you can work. I’m trying to be compassionate about that, but for the government to mandate that all children must be treated that way, just because some portion of the population would find it more convenient, is a little bit insane. In our case, we’re both home almost every day — there’s rarely a time when one of us can’t be around, and when there is, there’s a line-up of wonderful Christian young ladies, or grandparents, who love to spend time with our kids. When we send Ben to school it should be for his benefit — not our convenience. And the fact that they’ll allow no exceptions to this government-dictated policy (unless you want to give up MORE of your parenting responsibility) just makes me furious!

So furious, in fact, that we’re going to seriously consider alternatives. I’m not sure we’re entirely back around to the home school discussion, but we’re definitely going to see what other options there are. Sending my 4 year old away to be raised by a stranger all day is not my idea of good parenting.

Who the heck runs this country anyway? A collaborative and democratic Internet gets sacrificied to the alter of the idiot box and our children are sent off to provincial institutions as soon as they can pee on a potty so we can go to work and make minimum payments on our credit card bills. There are days I’d give up everything we have in a heart beat, if it meant our kids could grow up in a culture that wasn’t increasingly self-destructive and moronic…

I’m going to end this, slightly crazed rant, with some quotes, cause its been said better than I can:

Give me your 4-year-olds, and within one generation I’ll construct a socialist state. — Lenin

First they came for the fathers, then for the mothers, and now for both parents in intact families. In the end all children will be in the care, custody and control of the State. — Walter H. Schneider

[The state] must set race in the center of all life. It must take care to keep it pure. It must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people.  —  Hitler, in Mein Kampf

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9 thoughts on “IMHO, all day kindergarten is NOT good for all children

  1. We really struggled with that for Ben last year when we registered him. Thankfully the school that he’s at is still all day every other day and it’s going to stay that way for the next school year as well (’11-’12). But, once Olivia gets in school, it could be all day every day. We went back and forth on the idea of possibly putting them in the Christian school but financially that wasn’t possible. I think that out of the 2 of our kids, Olivia would do better with going to school all day every day. She is the type of child that wants to be with other kids and learn as much as she can. Who know’s, maybe by that time, they’ll realize that it’s too much school for kids and there won’t be any more all day every day.

  2. As much as I agree with your argument for choice for parents, this post comes across as somewhat condescending for women who want to have a career and remain in the workforce while their children are young. “Sending my 4 year old away to be raised by a stranger all day is not my idea of good parenting”. I respect the fact that Nicole chose to stay home and raise your kids because it is what you value, and I would hope that you would respect other’s people’s choice to not do so. When I have kids I will probobly still work and my kids will go to daycare…while I highly esteem the role of mother I spend each and every work day advocating for children who have very little, whose own mother and father can’t or don’t care, have mental health or addictions issues, abusive relationships and the list goes on and on….I think this is valuable as well….didn’t Jesus call us to help the widows and the orphans? My children will still have their needs met in daycare, or at school and will still come home to loving parents…should I put aside the gifts that God has given me and the passion and compassion I feel for these other kids who have so little in the hope that someone else will look out for them while I focus on my own? I know many other women will contribute to society in many other just as meaningful ways… I know this is a bit off track of what the post was about, but it’s just some food for thought….

  3. Its not the same, though. I’d wager that, in the case where both parents were working, and were given a choice, they would carefully select a day care that they were comfortable with, based on recommendations from friends, interviews with day care workers, and the “gut feeling” about the place. And even once you’d committed to day care, you’d expect to have the flexibility to arrange it around your work schedule.

    Mandated public school is different. The government decides when your child should be in school, the government decides who will care for your child, and the government says when you’re allowed to pick them up again. This isn’t a loving atmosphere carefully chosen by parents who select what guardians will be in their kids lives. This is a provincial institution encroaching on parental responsibility…

  4. As a parent that has her son in SK all day every day. Well, it’s not that bad. Academically it has been incredible for him. And he seems to enjoy the social time. We do take him out of school for the odd “family day” or to take off early for a weekend at the grandparents. And he will be out of school for 2 weeks upcoming. Because after all it is only kindergaten. I thought it would be terrible and it would have no more time with my kid anymore. But, 5 months in he is an incredible reader and I find I value to time we do have together. It’s not all bad in my opinion. But, of course I didn’t really have a choice 🙂

  5. I actually work in a before and after school program at one of the new schools in St. Thomas, in the early learning program. I see the good and the bad things about it. Yes, it is an extremely long day for some kids. I had a child in my group born the end of the year (like Ben, I believe) and she was only 3 starting school. She was there at 745am and some days didnt go home until almost 6pm. But, if she wasn’t at school, she would be at daycare. Mom is in school and Dad works. Honestly, if they have to be gone all day, I personally believe it’s so much easier for the child to adjust to just being at one place all week. It is entirely less confusing for the child. However, I do think its unfair for parents that don’t want to send their child to school every day becasue they want them home still. I guess the only other option would be to enroll Ben at a good daycare in your area a couple days a week for the social development.

  6. I agree, Jon. As a Christian, conservative (though not always Republican), if the gov wants to offer all-day Kindergarten, fine. But I’m not a fan of the gov “mandating” much of anything (ok, there are some exceptions). Not all family situations are alike, and (especially) not all CHILDREN are alike. One of mine THRIVED in the all-day environment. He couldn’t WAIT to go everyday. But the other, well, he was much better served by the 1/2 day. One option you might check on is to see if there are other parents out there “banding together” to form private K and other pre-school options. Also don’t know if your gov would even allow that though. Good luck!

  7. I don’t know if there are any Christian schols close to where you are and yes, I recognize that there are drawbacks to ‘cloistering’ your children away from mainstream education. But mainstream education has a lot of problems in Canada. One of them in our day was called ‘whole language,’ an Orwellian euphemism if there ever was one. What it meant in essence was that anything the chiild said or wrote was ‘correct’, even if it was unintelligible to anyone else. We don’t want to negatively affect our children by implying that they may be wrong. It was the ‘whole language’ craze that drove us over the edge into putting the three of you in a Christian school.

    This might be the straw that breaks your back. On the other hand, some creative ‘absences’ might solve the problem if the school is otherwise sound. But it doesn’t appear sound from what you say.

  8. There are two Christian schools. One is prohibitively expensive, so its off the table. The other has a reasonable (although not cheap) rate of tuition. Unfortunately, both schools are a 30 minute drive from home. If we did half days, that would mean 2 hours of driving for 3.5 hours of class time… that just doesn’t seem workable.

    Ben’s been in a co-op preschool this year, and we’ve appreciated it — although its been some work for Nicole. The Christian community in our little village mostly exports itself to the surrounding larger cities, so finding like-minded parents is likely to be a challenge. Additionally, we were chosen as a full/every day school because our town is a little blue-color, and I suspect most of the parents do not have schedules as flexible as ours.

    At this point, “creative absences” is looking like our best way to make this situation work.

  9. I had a pretty vivid dream about this last night. They sent the truant police to your place. I shouldn’t have referenced Orwell so late at night. LOL !!

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