Poor Preparation for College

Ian reciting Lysistrata at Epidauros.JPG

It is truly unfortunate that so many parents buy into the myth that they have to start “preparing” their children to get into the “best” colleges when they’re in kindergarten. Here’s a report from the newly created Let Grow blog about a New York City school that cancelled its end of the year kindergarten show to devote more time to “academic prep time for college.”

Seriously?? Well, a lot of these places have cut out recess, art, and music, so no wonder!

What’s ironic is the ignorance on the part of this school’s administration: They don’t understand that the skills acquired learning how to participate in a theatrical production are golden.

At Council Oak Montessori School, which I founded with some other parents in 1990, we have regular musical theater productions which include all the children, from 3 years old to 15.

All the children have to learn how to follow stage directions, pay attention to what everyone else was doing, time their words and actions to fit the play, and memorize what they have to do. They have to put ideas into action. And they have to have, or develop, the self-confidence to do this in front of a roomful of people.

Useful skills if you lead a company! Or in many other professions and actions in life.

And you should have seen the children blossom! The speaking, acting and dancing skills of some were truly amazing—often children who had a hard time getting themselves to sit quietly and work. Not surprising!

But what was an even bigger surprise was the way some really shy, quiet children bloom in the productions. Suddenly, they overcome their anxieties to rise to the challenge. And are different afterwards—more self-confident.

These are things you can’t buy with SAT prep.