Guest blogger Karyn Bryant: The other day while vetting a preschool, the open mind I was trying to keep got assaulted by a four-year-old boy dropping the F-Bomb like the NYSE drops points. As he repeatedly screamed the expletive at another student, I became convinced that this "free-spirited" school I thought I wouldn't like was, in fact, a school I didn't like. The teachers were hardly phased: all they did was ask the boys about their feelings. Meanwhile I felt like a hostage in hippie land.
On paper, the school's humanistic approach to learning intrigued me: The idea that children ages 3 - 13 would initiate their own curriculum sounded interesting. But, the longer I toured, the more I wondered how many kids ever initiate algebra. I'm not looking to drill my toddler on grammar or American history for several hours a day, but I do feel more comfortable with a little more structure in school. A set game plan. Quantifiable growth. Concrete things I can show to the cutthroat kindergarten admission doyennes here in LA when the time comes.
It saddens me a bit actually, because I do like the idea of teachers who mediate rather than simply mete out punishment. I'm just not sure how well the touchy-feely stuff works in the real world. My daughter is sensitive and often shockingly perceptive, so I have faith that her emotional development is on track with her intellectual development (which stuns me daily). There was never a question, but I've reconfirmed that I, Karyn Bryant, am not a hippie. Patchouli incense is about as far as I can go.