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Snow Angels, Sand Castles, and Pathways

By Remy Benoit

    Many are searching today; searching for meaning, for purpose, for guidance in life.
    Many are searching for time to search.
    Many different ideas are being put forward as to what kinds of paths can be followed; many opening paths offer tremendous challenge to traditional beliefs, and thus, there is often much confusion.
  
    More and more of us feel " Nickel and Dimed, " and not only monetarily. I often find myself mumbling, There are just not enough hours in the day. But the time to search, the time to be quiet, is of vital importance to all of us.
    Time to re-create, time to play, to kick back, to just let it all go for awhile is also important.
    And so is time to be a kid when you are one.
    Several weeks ago I received a newspaper clipping in the mail from a friend.  The article had run in the Philadelphia Inquirer and concerned those pushing for pre-school being attached to public schools, starting at age 3, but preferably, at age 2.  The reasoning behind this was we could begin teaching foreign languages, etc., at an earlier age.
    This article, this idea, has not been resting easy on me.
    At age 2, a child is just discovering a personal and separate identity, thus, the " Terrible Two's," and the time that NO is added to the vocabulary. Why NO? Because NO is an expression of the self-hood being discovered.  Ages 2 and 3, and a few years that follow them, are the time of the beginnings of finding a place, and a function, of the self, in the world whose parameters are just gradually beginning to be understood.
    I am a verbal and visual person. My mind began to conjure up images of those old paintings with children dressed and comported as miniature adults, seated in tidy rows, made to stand in straight lines, and told to be quiet.  Two and three year olds are not adults; they are quite simply small children.
   With so many espousing so many rights for so many, WHO WILL SPEAK FOR THE CHILD'S RIGHT TO BE A CHILD?
   WHO WILL SPEAK TO THE RIGHT to make mud pies; to skin knees, chase fireflies, cloud watch, and sand castle build?
   WHO WILL SPEAK TO THE RIGHT for hugs when they need them?
   WHO WILL SPEAK TO THE RIGHT of children to laugh aloud, to holler, HOME FREE, to get dirty and sweaty and fall asleep from a healthy day's play in a parent's arms being carried in at night after bike rides and chocolate milk?
   WHO WILL SPEAK TO THE RIGHT to taste the first snowflakes as they fall, to make snow angels and Frosty?
   What will happen to the development of a child if at too young an age his education, her opening up, is restricted to straight lined rows of seats and bottom line production.
   With the overwhelming problems of our public schools today, I find it very, very hard to believe that any pre-school situation in them will not fall into the same old, same old regimentation that so
plagues them now.
   We must ask what kind of curricula will be put in place for 2 and 3 year olds; who will be teaching it; in what kind of environment, and with whose value system?
   And, oh dear, oh my, how we will "evaluate" what the tiny ones learn?  
   Will the teachers know how to play, or will they, will they, be teaching to the test?
   Pardon my skepticism, but I do remember growing up when someone banged his shoe and said, We Will Bury You. His empire, with the collective schools we scorned, is not longer around - yet a Commissariat of Education doesn't seem so far fetched an idea if we are willing to implement it ourselves in the name of " early education. "
   WHO WILL SPEAK FOR THE LITTLE ONES' RIGHT TO BECOME, TO PLAY, TO CREATE, TO BE INDIVIDUALS WITH SKINNED KNEES, CHOCOLATED MOUTHS, AND SNOW ANGELS' WINGS IF WE DON'T?
  
   And Yes, WHO WILL SPEAK FOR CHILDREN WORLD WIDE WHO ARE STARVING, IF WE DON'T.  VISIT HungerSite

   For more of Remy's thoughts on education visit The IrascibleProfessor.com
   AssemblyLineEducation. TheBuckStartsHere.


  

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This item is part of WelcomeHomeSoldier.com: historian, author, editor, and educator Remy Benoit's ongoing weblog for Veterans, writers, students, and others who believe in learning from and making history; including thousands of articles and posts and the free writing seminar, Using History for Healing and Writing.


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