professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Programmed to Fail

I read an ad this morning for a program for children ages birth to 24 months. It is a reading program. It looks like a scripted curriculum. It is being marketed by a well established publisher. It has a famous children's book creator's name attached to it. You can see more at this link:

While the print ad indicates the market is librarians and early education professionals, I wonder how long it will be before parents clamor for a copy for home. It includes CDs, story times, reproducibles for parents and caregivers. In light of the recent declaration of making preschool available for all kids, I suppose this makes marketing sense.

I wonder, though, how the cost of one program (about $150-300) could be put to better use. How many books could someone buy for $300 from a jobber? How many storytime programs could be provided for the same amount sans the programmed materials?

I also wonder about this packaging of childhood. I see commercials on TV for toys that tout how much learning is taking place while kids are playing with various toys. Is that the new purpose of toys? To learn something? Where is play now relegated? When elementary kids are being given THE LITTLE PRINCE, I suspect the time for playful texts is gone along, apparently, with playful toys, playful talk, and anything that is not serious learning. Heaven forbid kids have fun. No other country has kids having fun, right?

Kylene Beers posted about this and said she and her husband used the Rock and Read (TM) reading program. They rocked the kids and read to them. I am a big fan of this type of program. Kids learn early about our attitudes toward books and reading. They know the difference between fun and a lesson/learning.

I start semesters in children's literature with EVERYBODY NEEDS A ROCK by Byrd Baylor and Peter Parnall. One of the rules of finding a rock is to sniff that rock. Kids, after all, can smell better than grown ups. I agree. Kids can smell a lesson coming from a long way off. They can smell a program as soon as it enters the room.

Can we please just place the lessons on pause for childhood (especially birth-24 months) and let kids enjoy having someone they love read to them. As Steven Layne says in his poem: "Read to them. Before the time/Before the moment/Is gone."
Tags: programs
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