Age of Innocence

“Too Soon”

by Shel Silverstein

You’ve spilt your milk

And dumped the mashed

Potatoes in your chair.

There’s tapioca in your nose

And broccoli in your hair.

Your applesauce is on the wall

And nothing’s on your spoon.

I think perhaps we let you

Try to feed yourself too soon.

When people hear that I teach Kinergarten, their first response is always, “Aww. That’s so cute.”

They’re right.

They are cute,

but I’ve gotten over that cuteness because that’s one of the reasons they ate me alive my first year of teaching.

That first response is usually followed by:

they must be so precious,

or, it must not be that bad because they are so innocent,

or, it must be fulfilling because they’re at such a young age when they’re easier to mold.

I’m sure it’s no secret that kids these days are growing up too fast.

I can even say that for 5-year olds.

First, it begins with their home life.

There are so many different situations where I’ve heard of or seen some Kindergarteners staying up late to feed their baby sibling or hanging out on the block with older kids without adult supervision.

And if they are with adults,

they are observant of everything.

They look up to their grown-ups at home, so of course they will try to act like them.

Some of these parents also talk to their children like they are adults, such as the use of inappropriate language.

I’ve had my share of kids, who spoke about topics only adults should speak of and acted all tough.

Their character made the adults around them believe they were grown up.

Sometimes, I would believe it too,

until I saw how their faces lit up by just getting a sticker,

and if they were too cool for that,

their faces lit up for play time,

or  even just bear hug time.

As the school year goes on,

I also tend to forget how young they are because of the standards they need to accomplish.

They are expected to decompose numbers 1-10, and write sentences for different genre pieces.

There is no nap time, and they only get play time on Fridays.

However, I do try to incorporate many hands-on activities to keep them engaged.

Teachers are expected to do so much with these 5 year-olds.

Some of the kids can achieve most of the goals,

but when they come back to school in September,

they have forgotten most of what they learned in Kindergarten.

So,

is all the content we’re teaching necessary?

I was blessed with a bright class this year.

However, now that the end of the school year is nearing,

I’m slowly beginning to review everything we’ve learned.

And guess what!?

They don’t remember it all

because they ARE 5.

We’re just letting these childen feed themselves too soon.

They need tons of practice in one concept and master it before they can move onto something else.

They also need guidance in building their character and problem-solving skills.

They shouldn’t live the life of a teenager.

I’m glad I can help bring them back to the age of innocence.

Can you?

‘Til next week world,

Miss You

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