"The free play of art is the result of mastery. " --Ernst Fischer, The Necessity of Art

"Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them." --Ladybird Johnson

"...a well-trained ear, a well-trained intelligence, a well-trained heart, and a well-trained hand...." --Zoltan Kodaly


Looking and seeing

This is report card week at school.

Most staff are utterly stressed from the piles of detail-heavy forms, test result grids, and on. Putting in long, long hours each workday, and over the weekend.

Great. So now each child has a meticulously documented trail of assessments on their educational progress.

The whole process exhausts the adults. It pleases/alarms/doesn't matter to the families, depending on their worldview. The kids? The living, lively," needing to go outside and play, wanting to share their stories" subjects of all this study?

They're gradually being pushed out of the community and into being objects of intent concern.

Isn't data important? Isn't it true that we need to know, objectively, what and how children actually learn? Shouldn't we be tracking their progress, so that we can spot areas where help is needed? And--at least in our school--isn't it true that social/emotional/nutritional needs are carefully attended to, as well?


But not at the risk of losing communication. Not so much that we break the fibers of community, that we stop listening to their stories, stop realizing they need to get up and move and make LOTS of noise sometimes. Not so much that we take their childhood away.

Yes, children need to learn. Yes, we should be doing all we can to help that to happen. Address all the needs that we can see. And yes, all of that needs to be considered.

How about figuring out how to accomplish that while still seeing the whole person? How about throwing out all of the tests and giving children tons of opportunities to create and puzzle and wonder, and time to chew on a topic or a skill until they 'get it'?

Do I think I know how to do that, in our current educational system? No.

Do we need to figure that out, right now? Oh, yes.

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