April 15th, 2017


preschool evaluations

I'm gonna say it again: preschool evaluations are the best. At least they are for me, a manager of engineers who need to work together. You don't even need a preschooler to understand what I'm saying, just google preschool assessment forms and see what kinds of things they are evaluated on. Yes there are the "skills" like coloring in the lines, knowing letters, pointing out which shape is the triangle. But if you're going to a good preschool the kids spend a lot of time just playing so their evaluation is based on this life-changing new question: can you handle the WORLD?

For example:
- Plays independently with minimal supervision
- Shares willingly
- Uses words to express needs
- Respects the personal space of others
- Participates in group activities
- Willing to try new things
- Invites others to join in group play

These are things that preschool teachers discuss with you at length, and then you never hear about them again. From what I've read, some parents never hear about them PERIOD, as there is more and more pressure from preschools to drill kids on mundane facts so they can recognize letters before anybody on their block and impress adults by reciting the periods of the paleozoic era.

If I had to do it over again, I might request to see an evaluation form that's used for conferences before I pick the preschool. I lucked out - the school we picked based on simple toys, degreed teachers, and cheapness evaluates mostly on social and behavioral skills with a side note about recognizing triangles. But behavior is the priority.

I read a great book, "Becoming Brilliant", about this topic. I'll blog more about it in the future but it's too big for one entry. The basic point though: we live in a world where facts are readily available, but we still value facts and content in education. Critical thinking and the ability to work in groups is on the downtrend.

I KNOW, because I work with grown ass people who cannot "use words to express needs". I love them, sometimes... anyway...

I sat in Olive's preschool evaluation hearing about how she's a bright little kid who can write her name like a pro but they're still dealing with these "meltdowns" when she doesn't use her words to say what she wants, and the teacher explained that they're working on it, but it's also a common issue with three year olds and she will grow out of it.

Let's just pretend that I'd come from a meeting with adults yelling "No you SAID YOU'D WRITE THAT REPORT IT'S NOT MY JOB" rather than declaring calmly, "here's where we are now, the deliverable isn't done, we all agree it's critical so now we just have to decide who is best equipped in this team to handle it?" All I could think was I'm not so sure everyone grows out of it. We just assume it's handled when you're three feet tall and never speak of it again.

I think we should keep working on those skills, everyone.