Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Show and tell is under siege

At our preschool, the children in the afternoon program are allowed to participate in show and tell once a month, which is called "sharing", instead of "show and tell", for some obscure reason. During the designated Sharing Week during the month, children may bring one object one time only.

My daughter did not participate in this for months after starting preschool; she avoided occasions calling upon her to talk due to self-consciousness over her severe speech disorder. When she finally did start joining in (not coincidentally she was working hard in speech therapy at the same time), she could not get enough of it. She was always plotting and planning what she would bring in the next time. Once she tried to double dip and bring in a second toy for sharing the last month. (I was a wimp that day. I knew the rules prohibited it, but she cried and cried, so I allowed her to take the toy in to ask her teacher if she could share again, but I laid the groundwork that I believed the teacher would say no. Lola was angry, but she accepted the ruling). Over the summer vacation, she talked about sharing a lot and kept a mental list of which toys she wanted to bring in when school resumed.

This year we haven't celebrated the festival of Sharing Week yet. Our director sent out an email to the membership expressing that some parents feel show and tell is "too materialistic" and that perhaps we should move to having "themes" for show and tell, like "things I made" or "pictures of my family" to move the focus away from commercial products. I was annoyed by this. The children LOVE show and tell. They tend to bring in bedraggled stuffed animals, rather than glossy action toys. I'm in favor of allowing the child freedom of choice and not controlling the decision in this regard.

My child has never asked me to buy her anything based on show and tell, and I wondered if others were truly having an actual problem. I asked in an email to our listserv that if other parents were having issues, please share their experiences, but no one spoke up. I expressed my personal preference for allowing freedom of expression and autonomy (in other words, the Drunken Housewife does NOT want to be bothered to remember the frigging theme of the month and to argue with her child about whether she can bring in her toy rabbit when the theme is Pictures Of People We Love or Things We Found or Global Warming or whatever uplifting theme it might be). I'm the only one saying publicly that show and tell is not broken, why fuck with it (although one parent pulled me aside and confided that she agreed with me completely and had composed a rant on the subject, but she reconsidered before sending it). The other parents are using a lot of lofty, vague-sounding talk about enrichment:

> Lastly, we're always looking at ways to promote
> talking about and understanding our emotions; an idea
> for a theme could be along the lines of
> "something/someone that makes me feel better when I'm
> sad" (gets all those stuffed animals included!) Maybe
> we could find a way to incorporate the multiple
> intelligences that our director spoke about the other week,
> highlighting a different one each month to get
> different kids excited? Just brainstorming.



Ashish Lohorung Rai said...

hey drunken h. i like your blog overall and i think u do it up in the future. though all are fine but don't think i am being rude, i don't like that interface. you must change the apperance coz has give so many nice templates that u can chang it for free. so i hope u will do it .

best of luck ..

the Drunken Housewife said...

Don't worry, you didn't hurt my feelings. Actually I dislike most of the blogger templates, and I like the orange color, so I have that one for now. I will... in the future... get a nice customized design, not a template, but that's in the future. I need a decent logo. I have a friend who is a graphic artist, and I may hound her to give me a birthday present or Christmas present of doing some work on my blog. Thanks for reading & for the feedback.

Green said...

Continuing the theme of commenting about Things You Did Not Blog About, I like plain blogs (that aren't like mine) simply because I can get away with reading it at work easier if it just looks like words on a page, rather than some snazzy website. But I can hit you up in Bloglines during work if need be. Oh, I suppose I could work too, but...

Ahem. So show and tell is being micromanaged to death, huh? Bummer. I say fight it, and if you lose, figure out how to spin whatever the kid wants to bring in so it relates to whatever dumb topic they've picked.

Anonymous said...

Here's another thought. Have her bring a vegetable each time and talk aout how good it is for you and how good it makes her feel. OR, bring in some gross looking meat (or ribs for the irony)in a baggie with pictures of a live donor, and she can talk about how sad that makes her feel. She could do a dance to the old Frank Zappa song "Call Any Vegetable"