Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Why Kindergarten Is Bad for Children

Not a bad proposition here:

"I'd encourage your youngest one to abandon kindergarten altogether. Almost everything I learned was learned outside the classroom, and school itself interrupted my education.

Moreover, school locks you in with your peers. That is a mistake. One's social circle should never include one's equals. From my earliest years I found children uninteresting and always preferred the company of adults. This was an advantage, because I got to know lots of folks who are dead now whom I never would have known if I had waited until I was an adult. - So I have a collective memory - and oral tradition - that goes back to the eighteenth century, having spoken with people who knew people who knew people who knew people who lived then.

- The only real university is the universe and a city its microcosm. That is why an expression like "New York University" is foolish. New York City is the university….Instead of school, children should spend some hours each day in hotel lobbies talking to the guests. They should spend time in restaurant kitchens and shops and garages of all kinds, learning from people who actually make the world work….

One day spent roaming through a real classical church building would be the equivalent of one academic term in any of our schools, and a little time spent inconspicuously in a police station would be more informative than all the hours wasted on bogus social sciences.

Formal lessons would only be required for accuracy in spelling and proficiency in public speaking, for which the public speakers in our culture are not models, and in exchange for performing some menial services a child could learn the violin, harp, and piano from musicians in one of the better cocktail lounges, or from performers in the public subways….

So I urge you to keep your child out of kindergarten, because kindergarten will only lead to first grade and then the grim sequence of grade after grade begins and takes its inexorable toll on the mind born fertile but gradually numbed by the pedants who impose on the captive child the flotsam of their own infecundity."

Fr. G. Rutler, quoted by Gerald.


Billiam said...

I have to say, the majority of those I hung around were older. Most of the time, this was a good thing. Sometimes, not so much..;-)

Anonymous said...

Best thing I've read in weeks!

Anonymous said...

If you homeschool, this is fine. Otherwise, what a crock. For vast majority of us who can't homeschool, school is the only alternative. Only formal lessons would be in spelling and public speaking? How about math, science and foriegn language?
Real world experiences are great, but you can only do so much. Maybe in a big city, you can see zoos and museums, but you don't get the rural flavor and likewise, living in a small town is not going to get you the same experience of living ina big city. And I am quite sure, putting that you were by real life experiences on your college resume is not going to impress very many people.
My sister homeschools by teaching real experiences- it is a curriculum. It's been a diaster for them.
To clarify, i am a teacher who also supports home schooling but I do not endorse in any way a real experience curriculum.

GOR said...

I have a lot of regard for Fr. Rutler, but I part company with him on this one - and I seriously doubt that 'almost everything' he learned was outside the classroom. With age, memory fails...

What education needs today is better teachers and parents who support and reinforce their work. For the former, Oliver Goldsmith's Village Schoolmaster reminds me of some of my old teachers in Ireland:

"A man severe he was and stern to view.
I knew him well and every truant knew.
Well had the boding tremblers learned to trace.
The day's disasters in his morning face.
Full well they laughed with counterfeited glee.
At all his jokes, for many a joke had he.
Full well the busy whisper, circling round.
Conveyed the dismal tidings when he frowned.
Yet he was kind; or if severe in aught.
The love he bore to learning was at fault.
The village all declared how much he knew.
'Twas certain he could write, and cipher too.
Lands he could measure, terms and tides presage.
And e'en the story ran that he could gauge.
In arguing too the parson owned his skill.
For e'en though vanquish'd he could argue still.
While words of learned length and thund'ring sound.
Amazed the gazing rustics ranged around.
And still they gazed and still the wonder grew.
That one small head could carry all he knew."