• Attendance

    June 2012
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  • The “Class”

    Avery, Naim, Aaron

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June 29, 2012

Wow, going from Trackers yesterday to spending the day with Avery in preschool is a bit of whiplash. I went from talking about war games and weaponry to “Come on, friends! It is time to go outside friends! and everything is just lovely and peaceful. Nik asked me which I thought was more sincere, and I stumbled over that answer. I think Trackers are sincere, we just differ philosophically. And although Goddard is a slick corporate sales pitch, I think individually, Avery’s teachers are sincere. It’s a toss-up, I guess.

Lets wrap up Trackers, first. The last day went reportedly well, until Aaron’s massive breakdown. I did not hear too much about what they actually did during the day. I have heard far more about the aftercare program and the scout pit. But Nik and I have really struggled with this one. We like it there, yet there is something that inherently feels not right about it and not the direction we think the kids should go at this time. We have heard nothing but nerfgun, sword, arrow and blowgun talk all night. Of course we understand the interest in that stuff and why it is fun. You start to feel like a big stick in the mud about it. Then I hear some story about one of the guys there that got shot several days ago because he was saving his sister from a gunshot that was supposed to be a nerf gun????? (I cannot vouch for the accuracy of that story.) Again, we did not want to tell the kids “no” without really having a good understanding of why and a good way to articulate why. It is a struggle.

What it comes down to is that we both feel like in a perfect world, playing paintball or war games for entertainment would be fine. A perfect world being a world where peace is the default and war is not used for profit and young men and women are not recruited and exploited for nefarious military industrial reasons. But since so much of our culture is really geared towards glamorizing war and training young people to go to war for really no good reason, we have to be a louder voice to say there are other ways. Other ways to be a hero, to be noble, to be brave. Other, better ways to show courage. These are the things we wish them to master, nonviolent communication, diplomacy, comprehension of complex and nuanced issues of right and wrong, consensus and democracy. These things are challenging enough, we are not going to spend money, time and effort to support things that go directly against these goals. Trackers in its current form, does just that. It makes heroes and villains false and black and white, it glorifies warfare as the only option to conflict and doesn’t seem to teach any other alternatives. They get enough of that in just everyday life and media without us having to seek it out in such blatant ways. Aaron’s final meltdown, which was a biggie, was probably due largely to fatigue, but also to a bit of cognitive dissonance to what he was being asked to do, what we teach him, the fact that we have taught him that violence is wrong, and the fact that it was admittedly a lot of fun. We set him up to fail there. He is not ready to reconcile those things in his mind. Naim isn’t either, but Naim flat out says that. He says he does not want to go back at least for a long time. Aaron says he only wants to go back for origami (an after school project that we could find anywhere.) So, it has been a hard week, but a good one to reflect on what we want to do as a family.

I don’t have a lot of pictures from Trackers, but Nik took a few, which are sort of classically random in his Nik way of the “Scout Pit.”

I spend the day with Avery at Goddard finally. He is obviously comfortable there. He knows the routines. He was very happy for me to spend the morning with him and stuck by me and showed me everything. One thing that I think is funny is the “Freely Reports.” Which I will link to, here. We met a guy at the parent party who was going off on how wonderful the reports are to know what your kids does all day. Dude, they do not do what is in those reports. They may do some, they may do other things that are not listed, but in general they are going through the day and they are not really saying the Pledge of Allegiance, nor doing Yoga outdoors or whatever else it says. They are just guidelines that they write in advance. Your kid probably did not really do 1/10th of what it says. It doesn’t mean what your kid DID do was bad or wrong or a waste. Two year olds don’t really need formal curriculum anyway, especially not about the Pledge of Allegiance! They are just playing and doing their thing. But there is not a lot of extra stimulation outside of normal just playroom, outside stuff. There was also a lot more shifting and orchestrating of staff than I thought. It is good, because I assume that Traci and Kelaiah get more breaks then, but sometimes it feels like a revolving door of people.

The other weird thing that I had to wrap my head around is that I was introduced to Traci’s son, who is Avery’s age and is in the next class over. She takes care of my 2 year old while another person is taking care of hers right next door. I wonder what kind of return she gets from working. I mean, she gets a daycare discount, but how much can it be compared to her salary. People gotta do what they gotta do, it was just ironic? or something.

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