At a recent staff meeting, we were shown a video about a service project 25 Bright Horizons employees embarked on to celebrate the company’s 25th anniversary in November. They went into the poorest zip code in the United States, Hunts Point in the Bronx, and built a space where families with children ages 3-5 could come and partake in a literacy program and just have a generally nice space to learn and play. In the video, the managing director of the Hunts Point Alliance for Children talked about the importance of breaking the cycle of “failing forward”. She stated that something like only 6% of children entering Kindergarten in that area have the school readiness skills to succeed. She said that even though they are just entering Kindergarten, they are already on their way toward failure, hence “failing forward”.
That phrase really stuck with me. It put words to the fear that I have for Max when he enters Kindergarten next year. I know it might sound superficial given what the children of Hunts Point have to deal with versus Max, growing up in the suburbs, but I’m being honest here. I worry that public school is not the right setting for him. I worry that teachers are not going to understand him and his curiosity, and that his love of learning is going to be squashed by the fact that he’s expected to sit still and learn at the same pace as all the other kids in the class, in the exact same was as all the other kids in the class. I worry that the teachers aren’t going to like him because he might be harder to reach than the other kids. I worry about the fact that teachers in public schools are not able to teach every child in the way he/she learns best; to encourage children to want to learn and to be curious because they have to worry so much about measuring up to other teachers and students, towns, even countries. I worry that by choosing the wrong setting now, the wrong school or the wrong philosophy that I’m setting him up to fail forward, to be unsuccessful in school forever.
I’m interested to hear from other parents of kids who need more flexibility, who may not have fit the public school mold. How did your children fare in public school? How did the teachers treat them? How or did their personalities continue to flourish in public school…or did you choose private? Any advice or suggestions appreciated.
I will be tuning into the Parent Webinar taking place this afternoon to get some tips on what I can do now to help Max (and myself) to be READY for SCHOOL next year.