A New York school has canceled an end-of-year kindergarten show so that its five- and six-year-olds have more time to focus on preparing for college and their future careers.
These kids are barely beyond the rugrat stage and a rational person might question whether a show is going to do irreparable harm when it comes to preparing for higher education. But don’t go there, the school said in a letter.
The letter to parents from Harley Avenue Primary School in Elwood, New York, which was obtained by The Washington Post, states:
“The reason for eliminating the Kindergarten show is simple. We are responsible for preparing children for college and career with valuable lifelong skills and know that we can best do that by having them become strong readers, writers, coworkers, and problem solvers. Please do not fault us for making professional decisions that we know will never be able to please everyone. But know that we are making these decisions with the interests of all children in mind.”
The school is part of the Elwood Union Free School District on Long Island. According to the school’s online calendar, the show was to take place May 14 and 15.
Superintendent of Schools Peter Scordo said in a statement that, "Our educators believe that the traditional kindergarten performance requires multiple days away from classroom work for preparation and execution, and together with the lost instructional time this year due to poor weather, is not the best use of the limited time we have with our youngest learners."
While studies repeatedly indicate that play is good for kids, schools have increasingly begun to limit things like art, music, recess - and now - school performances. Some of that has to do with budget cuts, but it’s also a reaction to the fact that a college degree is now viewed as a de facto requirement for success.
That may be true, but there are plenty of people who got to college and also took time for the occasional break, like an end-of-year show. Nevermind the fact that putting on a show would very probably involve some of the reading and problem solving the school is supposedly so intent on teaching. Let’s all take a deep breath and let kids be kids.
Emily DeRuy is a Washington, D.C.-based associate editor, covering education, reproductive rights, and inequality. A San Francisco native, she enjoys Giants baseball and misses Philz terribly.