Are Pre-School Grad Celebrations Going Too Far?

Posted by DrEdwardHudgins 2 years, 5 months ago to Education
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Is marking graduation from pre-school taking celebrating too far? Ayn Rand’s description of educating children sheds light on the matter!
SOURCE URL: http://atlassociety.org/commentary/commentary-blog/6040-are-pre-school-grad-celebrations-going-too-far


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  • Posted by khalling 2 years, 5 months ago
    yes
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    • Posted by 2 years, 5 months ago
      Any reasons why, as per my argument in the piece?
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      • Posted by  $  TomB666 2 years, 5 months ago
        I think I see - you want to celebrate. But shouldn't celebration be about an achievement? When I was stationed in Okinawa we 'celebrated' getting fresh linens on Wednesday - as good as excuse as any to have a beer, right? Pre-school graduation is about as much an achievement as getting fresh linens in my opinion.

        So if you want to have a party and cake/ice cream/etc. do it, but don't pretend that some great accomplishment has occurred. As someone else has already said: Does anyone flunk pre-school?
        Celebrating 'graduation' from pre-school cheapens the whole idea of graduation.
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        • Posted by 2 years, 5 months ago
          In my post elsewhere I explain that in our pre-school the kids have fun but there are sets of motor coordination and intellectual skills that the teachers are helping the students develop. We get very detailed reports each semester. Ability to follow through on instructions on a project, for example, is one measure. That's the ability to focus or concentrate. So the kids are told "Let's make a little dragon fly! Here are the materials! Here's how to do it!" It is a training exercise both in motor skills and ability to focus. And we have been able to gauge the progress of our girls from ages 3-5 and see the strengths of each and areas where they need some work (fortunately not that much). And the parents are very involved in school activities. We watch the minds of our children emerging and watch as they become better able to work and think and direct their own efforts. It is a wonderful thing to watch, something we will celebrate!
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      • Posted by  $  allosaur 2 years, 5 months ago
        Having once been one, it looks like $omething a professional photographer would dream up.
        The only time now age 69 me wore a cap and gown was at the end of the 12th grade.
        Later had Troy State mail me my diploma.
        I was already too busy working a job.
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        • Posted by  $  TomB666 2 years, 5 months ago
          I didn't bother attending either the Masters or PhD ceremonies - a waste of time in my opinion. All that matters really is the education. Those who demand documentation want a transcript, not a photo of someone in a cap and gown.
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  • Posted by evlwhtguy 2 years, 5 months ago
    Have to disagree with the author of the article. A complete waste of time which inflates the child's notion of self value for doing something which is a basic expectation. My wife one time insisted I take off work to attend one of these ridiculous affairs [a 3rd grade "Graduation"] ....TAKE OFF WORK....I am the sole breadwinner of the family and the source of the income to pay for the education. It never happened again. This is nothing more than an education oligarchy creating an event that takes little effort on their part and makes a splash for the parents so everyone thinks something is being accomplished.
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  • Posted by  $  terrycan 2 years, 5 months ago
    Does anyone fail Preschool? I understand wanting to have a good time. Graduation ceremonies for Preschool seem over the top. Just my opinion.
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    • Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 2 years, 5 months ago
      Interesting question. Can't imagine a kid failing prekindergarten.

      For the reasons stated in the article...yes; but sadly, in the mainstream of society, It's to show off or justify the effort of the parents, not the kids.
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  • Posted by  $  Ben_C 2 years, 5 months ago
    I view this as well as graduation from elementary to middle school and middle school to high school as participation trophies. If a family wants to have a party fine - but not a school sponsored event. High school graduation might have some significance if schools administered proficiency exams. Since it is not mainstream and most kids from urban areas can barely read or write I wonder if graduation is truly meaningful. In fact, I have had employees that are graduates from the University of Michigan who could rarely but together a complete written sentence. Graduation is more about the pomp and "circumstance" than anything else. Professional degrees as well as Masters and PhD's should be acknowledged and celebrated as real achievements because they are just that. OK, I am done venting.
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  • Posted by cjferraris 2 years, 5 months ago
    The easier a degree is to get, the less that it's worth. Can you "fail" Pre-School? Is it a true accomplishment? When we award mere participation as accomplishment, we are feeding the entitlement generation.
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  • Posted by Abaco 2 years, 5 months ago
    "In Atlas Shrugged the heroine Dagny Taggart encounters a young woman and her husband who have retreated from the world with their two young sons..." That's pretty powerful to me.

    I have two little ones and I never understood preschool graduation celebrations blown out of proportion like they typically are. I think the kids are even confused by it, honestly. Not everything is a party. People, kids especially, need to learn to find joy in basic life. This, believe it or not, is a challenging lesson for parents these days. My kids get bored and I respond with a long, goofy list, "Do pushups, sit-ups, math, read, let's go on a hike, let's play catch..." Not everything is a bounce house and cupcakes. Jezuz...I look back on my youth when I was 7,8,9...I'd steal a piece of bacon from the table, sneak down to the bridge with my little fishing pole and spend the whole morning catching bullheads. Wanna see the bridge? She's due for replacement...

    http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/pdf/bridge...
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  • Posted by Zenphamy 2 years, 5 months ago
    Yes, a thousand times, yes. I even think that pre-school is going top far. It's just what used to be called baby sitting.

    Edit for spelling.
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    • Posted by 2 years, 5 months ago
      Wrong, to the post above that pre-school is just baby-sitting. Do you have kids in pre-school! In my post below I explain that in our pre-school the kids have fun but there are sets of motor coordination and intellectual skills that the teachers are helping the students develop. We get a detailed report each semester. Ability to follow through on instructions on a project, for example, is one measure. That's the ability to focus or concentrate. So the kids are told "Let's make a little dragon fly! Here are the materials! Here's how to do it!" It is a training exercise both in motor skills and ability to focus. And we have been able to gauge the progress of our girls from ages 3-5 and see the strengths of each and areas where they need some work (fortunately not that much). Watching a mind emerge in a child is a most wonderful thing!
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      • Posted by Zenphamy 2 years, 5 months ago
        Dr; I come from the world before pre-school, hell even before kindergarten and I started 1st grade already knowing how to read, how to print, how to count and do basic addition and subtraction and my pre-school friends could all do the same as well as my 4 younger brothers as they grew to that age. I learned to "follow through on instruction on a project" through having family tasks and responsibilities to help with the younger brothers. We had no need for "training exercises"--we got those experiences and development from making our own toys, doing things with our parents, from our life, and being free range kids.

        It was a time of life in which the raising, socialization, and early teaching of children was a serious matter for parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, even neighbor friends and baby sitters. I fully agree that "Watching a mind emerge in a child is a most wonderful thing!" as well as watching the child's identity, self direction towards learning, interest in the world beyond his home and family, self confidence, pride in accomplishment, and learning to recognize needs for more learning and practice to improve emerge.

        The question you pose in your posting immediately raises the flag of concern in my opinion, and points directly to two issues of strong debate; celebration for participation and passing parental responsibility to gov't.
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      • Posted by  $  puzzlelady 2 years, 5 months ago
        Special milestones reached and goals achieved are worth extra attention and applause. Rites of passage are a historical custom. I just question how the festivities are conducted and what a child is expected to feel. Are cake and icecream and balloons the right accoutrements? Will they be doing cute little caps and gowns every year? What are the divisions nowadays that merit ceremonies -- preschool, kindergarten, first grade?

        I fully applaud giving children all the stimuli of developing cognitive and manual skills, language, creativity, logic, and respect for self and others as their minds become ready for each next step. A child's mind is naturally eager and joyous for each new insight and expansion. I give you +10, Dr. Hudgins, for that last sentence:
        "Watching a mind emerge in a child is a most wonderful thing!"

        A child's mind is the most precious resource in the world. That, if anything, is sacred.
        I get to see it a hundred times a day at my art show booth where kids play with our math-based puzzles. See my website, http://www.gamepuzzles.com/fyplayer.htm, for sets suitable for the very young.
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        • Posted by 2 years, 5 months ago
          Nice website, of course! We tried puzzles on the kids a year or two ago but I think they were too young. Now they're getting back into such things. Actually, they like the books with a complex scene and the kids are supposed to spot the hidden objects. They like are are getting good at the more tougher versions. Sophia has gone from pounding on the piano to picking out tunes. Allegra is a little architect. She loves to build. As you say, a child's mind is the most precious resource in the world!
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          • Posted by  $  puzzlelady 2 years, 5 months ago
            Will they be at the Summit? They can try out my puzzles there. And in my website are many puzzles and memory games they can do to sharpen their powers of observation, all free. Find the play buttons.
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    • Posted by khalling 2 years, 5 months ago
      it is play time. getting some sort of acknowledgement for play time sends the wrong message. now, kindergarten is a different story. children have to actually focus and maintain certain behaviors for extended periods of time. you can see that children have to work at composure and complete exercises within a set period of time. it's tough for them. Preschool is a socialization mechanism, IMO
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      • Posted by CircuitGuy 2 years, 5 months ago
        I'm not opposed to anyone doing graduations for kindergarten or pre-school, but I do not like them for my kids. I see even Kindergarten as socialization and learning through play. It's not the same thing as when you're older and force yourself to work problems and mug up notes, and you know there's a real chance you won't succeed. If you fail, you have to take the class again or try a different subject. If you succeed, you can celebrate.

        Even though kindergarten requires forcing yourself to sit down and write letters or read words, it just doesn't seem like something worthy of a celebration.

        My kid just had her kindergarten graduation. Kindergarten graduation per se means nothing to me, but I found myself afraid to look away, feeling like if I looked away and blinked I might look back and see her graduating from college.
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      • Posted by 2 years, 5 months ago
        Actually, our pre-school focused on both. Socializing is important. But the teachers give us evaluations of progress in skills--counting, following instructions for making projects, etc. Of ability to take a little story idea and add to it. Of the ability to focus and concentrate. As a child grows from age 3 to 5, obviously this latter is a crucial intellectual skill. Pre-school is not just play though part of the idea is to have them do fun things that develop motor and intellectual skills.
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  • Posted by Herb7734 2 years, 5 months ago
    I'm all for celebrations. Any reason to be happy and have fun is OK with me. Young, middle aged, old, very old, everyone in my family celebrates something at the drop of a hat. However, I don't like excessive celebrations. Those aren't really fun, they are merely saying "I have a better car or a bigger house, than you." That doesn't increase the pleasure of the celebrant in most cases unless he/she is throwing the party for themselves. As to pre-school graduations -- why not? It gives the kid a reason to look forward to a reward and gives parents and grandparents an excuse to take pictures. I'm not sure of others, but the sight and sound of little ones having a good time is often better than music. And, I love music.
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  • Posted by  $  blarman 2 years, 5 months ago
    The question shouldn't be about if a graduation ceremony for preschool or kindergarten is appropriate, but if the value in such an activity warrants it.

    Is it appropriate in my opinion to blow hundreds of dollars celebrating something which the individual so honored will forget the next day? Nope. Unless really what I'm trying to celebrate is my own little success at parenting. But seriously, if I'm that insecure that I have to celebrate such a minor accomplishment as preschool graduation to shore up my ego, I have serious image issues and that money I blew on a fancy cake, cap and gown, etc. for my child should probably be used seeing a psychiatrist.

    And let's get down to why a parent would feel a need to celebrate by proxy? It's pretty obvious really: guilt. These parents haven't been spending the time with their children that they should have so they attempt to compensate by throwing money at them. It's unfortunately a growing issue in today's day and age and is starting at a younger and younger age where parents have a child, then drop the child off at daycare while they both go off to work. I know some parents who are dropping off month-old babies to daycare.

    Now please realize that I am not referring to single-parent families. Those parents rarely experience the guilt described above because they know that their first responsibility is to put bread on the table and that means a job. Or at least it does to a productive member of society.

    So really, the question being posited by DRHudgins has to do with the value of parenting itself.
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    • Posted by 2 years, 5 months ago
      Profoundly wrong. If you read my article, you'll see that we picked the school because parents are required to be involved and want to be involved. It's not "Drop them off for babysitting." And, as I write, we seek to instill in our kids the value of achieving. In addition, the teachers prepare a long report on progress across a number of categories of manual and intellectual skills. And if you read my piece, you'll see this: " If the goal of parents is to show off to other parents, the answer is “Bad!” Or if parents somehow equate monetary expenditures with loving their children, again, their values are mixed up to say the least."
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      • Posted by  $  blarman 2 years, 5 months ago
        I read your article and I applaud you for being involved in your childrens' educations, but I think you mistake my comment. I drew contrast between your actions and what 99.999% of the rest of the country does.

        That being said, however, if you are asking me to applaud your preschool graduation ceremony, you'll be waiting indefinitely. Not because I haven't been subjected to such festivities for my children but because in my mind it is a terrible precedent to set. I have no interest in establishing in my children the expectation that their routine activities entitle them to extravagance and special recognition - especially not for an impressionable five-year-old. I reserve special recognition (ie the expenditure of hundreds of dollars) for when my child does something rare like win the science fair, attain the rank of Eagle Scout, be inducted into National Honor Society, graduate cum laud (or better), etc. - achievements which set them apart from their peers and are the result of sustained, personal effort. In my mind, we do our children a grave disservice to treat the commonplace as extraordinary because it gravely distorts the value comparison between the mundane and the exceptional. That kind of parenting is not for me, nor will I celebrate such.
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  • Posted by brkssb 2 years, 5 months ago
    Isn't the only reason we have pre-school and kindergarten is that the grades 1-12 were fixed in the hierarchy of education? We could have grades 1-14 instead, with "graduations" at intervals such as third grade (now first), eighth grade, and fourteenth grade (high school). Graduation ceremonies are celebrations of achievements, running the gamut from the basic ability to think to being a valedictorian, class president, etc., but moreover a celebration of self-esteem, of setting and achieving one's own goals. Had I homeschooled any of my children, there would have been graduations, which are a system of measurements used to mark the achievement of one set of goals and the commencement of another set of tasks. The traumatization sets in when the expectation is of equality.
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  • Posted by term2 2 years, 5 months ago
    I didnt even have "pre-school" in a government indoctrination center or any other school- and I turned out just fine.

    Kids should be allowed to study pretty much what they are interested in, not what the indoctrination center determined they "need" to learn.
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  • Posted by khalling 2 years, 5 months ago
    when I was in HS, and a Girl Scout, they let me run a pre-K program during a GS program called "Day Camp.". it ended up as babysitting and the children were anywhere from 2-5. anyway, we marched across corn fields and along the river. If I think about it, I'm pretty sure I should not have been in charge of 10 little ones next to a river. anyway, no one died. at the end of the two weeks, I set them up at picnic tables and let then make their own "ribbons of achievement." they were pretty clueless.
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    • Posted by 2 years, 5 months ago
      FYI, see my response to another post above. In our pre-school the kids have fun but there are sets of motor coordination and intellectual skills that the teachers are helping the students develop. We get a detailed report each semester. Ability to follow through on instructions on a project, for example, is one measure. That's the ability to focus or concentrate. So the kids are told "Let's make a little dragon fly! Here are the materials! Here's how to do it!" It is a training exercise both in motor skills and ability to focus.
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      • Posted by term2 2 years, 5 months ago
        If one looks at the results of our educational system, its a total failure in most cases. I say the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
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        • Posted by 2 years, 5 months ago
          Let's define "Our" in "education system." I've written often about the general failures of government schools. We picked a private pre-school in which parents could participate in the education of their children and that didn't just babysit but focused on training in a number of motor skills and intellectual capacities. We received detailed reports on our kids' progress. I agree that he current government system is a failure on many levels and should be replaced not just with private options but options that move away from the 19th century assembly line model (pour history into heads at 10:00am, math at 11:00, etc) and use techniques more along the Montessori lines that treat children as individuals.
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          • Posted by term2 2 years, 5 months ago
            I would say the issues with government schools is that there is no competition tending to make things better. Also, the idea of "teaching" vs "learning" means that children tend to be taught on some sort of schedule as opposed to letting their natural curiosity take over and encourage learning. I wasted a lot of time being trapped in public schools, which did nothing but hinder my education. Too bad there wasnt youtube, history channel, etc. back then. I learn a lot every day now, and none of it is from public school. I hardly remember anything from government schools .
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            • Posted by 2 years, 5 months ago
              Yes! If parents could choose where to allocate their money for their kid's education the way they other choose where to allocate it for food, cars, consumer electronic and the like, we would have the same increases in quality and drops in prices we see for all goods and services in the market. And I like to refer to what government schools do as "schooling" as opposed to "education." That's why I mention the assembly line approach of the 19th century, which conferred important benefits back then but is hopelessly outdated yet supported by the government education establishment. We know so much more about how kids really learn. I'm sure every parent has seen what I've seen in my little ones right from the beginning: an insatiable curiosity. School too often stifle rather than encourage it.
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