Obama’s Race to the Top Goes to Kindergarten: Is standardized testing for 5-year-olds a good idea? – Slate Magazine

The point made in this article that “most 5-year-olds can’t read, are just learning to write their names, and have trouble sitting still”  may not be an accurate picture of what most 5 year olds that I’ve known over the last forty years as an early childhood educator are like?

In fact, the 5 year olds I’ve  known and those I meet every day  are often quite capable of holding a great conversation with adults and their peers. They are intelligent, confident, sociable, talented and great to be with. Most times they can offer solutions or figure things out. They are creative, spontaneous and able to give good answers. The answers that the 5 year olds give, may not necessarily match the tester’s answers but could it be that our children are right and the tester has made a huge mistake in marking it wrong.

Could it be that we have no confidence in our children and therefore pose such questions such as ” Can kindergarteners even take tests”?

We are truly under-estimating the capabilities of our younger generation. In fact, our 5 year olds can figure out how most electronic gadgets work, can order food from a menu, select a favourite TV programme on a remote control and help to solve problems which baffles most adults.

The reality is that most children are born ‘Genius’ until we start to ‘educate’ them and ‘teach’ them how to draw, read, write or sit for tests.

One good example was given by Sir Ken Robinson in his talk , “Changing Education Paradigms” where he mentioned that the 98% of 1500 Kindergarten Kids reached the ‘genius’ level when asked to think of as many ways they could come up with for a paper clip.

So maybe it is not the 5 year olds who are not ready but rather that we are ready for our children to lead us into the future.

Obama’s Race to the Top Goes to Kindergarten: Is standardized testing for 5-year-olds a good idea? – Slate Magazine.

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An Insight Into Multiple Intelligence

Howard Gardner is the John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor in Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

He is best known for his theory on multiple intelligences. However, I am most impressed with his insights into how children learn and the need for a fundamental change in curriculum design and the approaches to assessments in schools.

Unfortunately, we tend to fall into the trap of using his multiple-intelligence theory to ‘push’ children vertically and to try so hard to develop their intelligences so that they can achieve good grades or be labelled a ‘child-genius’.

My belief is that children are naturally intelligent in so many different ways and all we need to do is to appreciate their intelligences.  The role of the parent or teacher is not to ‘teach’ a child to be an ‘all-rounded genius’ but to understand the child and to know what makes him tick and what he can do to make this world a better place.

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A Special Tribute to Mothers

When you thought I wasn’t looking

Author: Unknown

When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator,
and I wanted to paint another one.When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I saw you feed a stray cat,
and I thought it was good to be kind to animals.

When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I saw you bake my favorite cake for me,
and I knew that little things are special things.

When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I heard you say a prayer,
and I believed that there was a God to talk to.

When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I felt you kiss me goodnight,
and I felt loved.

When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I saw tears come from your eyes,
and I learned that sometimes things hurt,
but it’s alright to cry.

When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I saw that you cared,
and I wanted to be everything that I could be.

When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I looked….
and I wanted to say thanks for all the things
I saw when you thought I wasn’t looking.

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I attended the ASCD 2011 Conference held in San Francisco this year and will be sharing some of my learning journey with you here. Look out for more.

Founded in 1943, ASCD (formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) is an educational leadership organization dedicated to advancing best practices and policies for the success of each learner. ASCD has over 175,000 members from over 148 countries who are professional educators from all levels and subject areas––superintendents, supervisors, principals, teachers, professors of education, and school board members.

“We are losing too many kids and wasting too much talent. We think we know what good education is, what our children need but what we don’t realize is that some where along the way we’ve lost sight of the whole picture. We’re born creative, curious, engaged and whole. We can be anything we want to be cos’ no one has yet told us that we can’t.”

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Making A Difference

The Miracle Worker – Part 1/17

Helen’s Aunt: Oh, Katie, you know we all love Helen but surely you must see what an effect she is having on your household. All your time is given over to the girl. You hardly ever have time for your new baby.”

The Miracle Worker – Part 2/17
Helen’s mum and dad are at their wits end trying to confine Helen’s temper tantrums and to communicate with her.

Helen’s Dad : “Kate darling, what can anyone do? The kindest thing we could do would be to find a sanitarium.”
Helen’s Mum: “NO, Never!”
Helen’s Dad: “If you won’t send her away, then we must find some way of confining her.”

The Miracle Worker – Part 3/17
Helen’s Mum : “How much can a blind and deaf child learn, Ms Sullivan?”
Helen’s Brother : “Can you teach her to sit still Ms Sullivan?”
Helen’s Teacher: “I have to teach her language first. If she doesn’t know words, how could she know why you want her to sit still?”
Helen’s mum: “Ms Sullivan, perhaps you were misled as to Helen’s conditions. She can neither see nor hear.”
Helen’s Teacher: “But if it is her senses that are impaired and not her mind, she must have language.”

“Language is more important to the mind than light is to the eye!”

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A Time To Reflect

An inspiring poem by Helen Buckley, “The Little Boy”

“Now,” said the teacher, “We are going to make flowers.”

“Good!” thought the little boy. He liked to make beautiful ones with his pink and orange and blue crayons.

But the teacher said “Wait!” …. “And I will show you how.”

And it was red, with a green stem.

“There,” said the teacher, “Now you may begin.”

The Red Flower

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Created For A Purpose – The Teacher

The Creation Of A Teacher

A teacher was to be created and the angel who was assigned with the task knew that it was not going to be easy as teachers would touch the lives of so many impressionable young children.

He read the specifications given to him by the Good Lord.

The teacher must stand above all students, yet be on their level

The teacher must be able to do 1001 things not connected with the subject being taught

The teacher must run on coffee, coke and leftovers

The teacher must communicate vital knowledge to all students daily and be right most of the time

The teacher must have more time for others than for herself/himself

The teacher must have a smile that can endure through pay cuts, problematic children, and worried parents

The teacher must go on teaching when parents question every move and others are not supportive

The teacher must have 3 pairs of eyes

1/ One pair to see a student for what he is and not what others have labeled him as.

2/ Another pair of eyes is in the back of the teacher’s head to see what should not be seen, but what must be known.

3/The eyes in the front are only to look at the child as he/she ‘acts out’ in order to reflect, ‘I understand and I still believe in you’, without so much as saying a word to the child.

The teacher is one that comes to work when he/she is sick

The teacher teaches a class of children that do not want to learn

The teacher has a special place in his/her heart for children who are not his/her own

The teacher understands the struggles of those who have difficulty

The teacher never takes the students for granted

The teacher may appear too soft-hearted but he or she is also tough. You cannot imagine what this teacher can endure or do

“Can this teacher think?” asked the angel. “Not only think,” said the Lord, “but reason and compromise.”

The angel then said, “Aren’t you putting too much into this model. You cannot imagine the stress that will be placed upon the teacher.”

Look there is a drop of moisture coming from the teacher’s eye. Is that a tear? What is it for?

“The tear is for the joy and pride of seeing a child accomplish even the smallest task.

It is for the loneliness of children who have a hard time fitting in and it is for compassion for the feelings of their parents.

It comes from the pain of not being able to reach some children and the disappointment those children feel in themselves.

It comes often when a teacher has been with a class for a year and must say good-bye to those students and get ready to welcome a new class.”

“My,” said the angel, “ The tear thing is a great idea…You are a genius!!”

The Lord looked somber, “I didn’t put it there.”


Find Out how Virginia Axline could have been created for a purpose – for someone like Dibs.

READ “Dibs in Search of Self” – a true story which chronicles a series of ‘play sessions’ Virginia had over a period of one year with an ‘emotionally trapped’ 5 year old. Dibs’ wealthy and highly educated mother and father considered their son as a ‘mental case’ whereas Virginia was able to understand Dibs and saw his giftedness instead.

Dibs In Search Of Self” by Virginia Axline.

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