Here is another piece by Lynn Stoddard which relates back to nearly everything important in the world, LOVE. I wish you could meet Lynn. He radiates Love, and it is at the core of what he and all of us know our children need.

Today in carpool my riders and I were discussing crazy things teachers do which are not good for children, like structuring recess for four year olds rather than letting them play, or trying to force all children to learn to read by five (see the Exchange piece below which inspired that conversation.) When the kids asked me why teachers do these things, I thought, well, they are feeling obligated to meet standards, and they do things like try to make sure all kids can throw and catch and balance on one foot during recess, rather than allowing kids free play, or they try to teach all their four year olds to read, when only a few are ready or interested and most children would learn to read more easily at another time, because someone tells them they should and must. What I also think and said is that most teachers who know children feel and know that this stuff makes no sense, but they somehow do it anyway. Others leave the field. Still others do what Lynn Stoddard and Parker Palmer suggest, they have the courage to put the child at the center of their work, to love the child in their care, and to follow their own heart in working with the child.

Whether this is in a traditional school or progressive classroom, private or public, urban or rural, large or small, or even a democratic or free school, the basic treatment of a child as a full person worthy of love and respect is at the core for me. Teachers and caregivers, coaches and advisors, whoever you are working with the children and teens of this world, remember to love those in your care, to give them the care and respect each of us needs and deserves, and make this come before what somebody high up tells you is important. Follow your heart and intuition and I hope they’ll guide you as well as Lynn’s words and the piece from Exchange below. I love the quote. Make the new standard allowing each person to be the beguiling one they were meant to be!

Reading at Five. Why?
October 10, 2013
If you’re not beguiling by age twelve, forget it.
-Lucy VanPelt (Charles Schulz)

Joan Almon talks about the current craze to promote reading by five in her article “Reading at Five. Why?” in the online magazine SEEN

“For 40 years I have searched without success for studies that support the notion that reading at five is a helpful step for long-term success in school. A recent doctoral thesis confirmed the absence of such evidence. Sebastian Suggate, studying in New Zealand, did an extensive search for quantitative, controlled studies that showed long-term gains for children who learned to read at five compared to those who learned at six or seven. He found one methodologically weak study from 1974 but could find no others. Thus, a major shift in American education has taken place without any evidence to support it. Nor have NAEP scores — Department of Education tests that are often called the nation’s report card — over the past 20 years increased enough to indicate that we are making strong gains, especially when one considers the problems that accompany the current focus on cognitive learning in kindergartens and in preschools.”