A totally off topic post

I really just have to get it off my chest.

Tomorrow is the last school day before Halloween.  Our school is one of the few in the area that still allows costumes in the school.  Many of the schools are having a “Fall Frolic” sort of party, but nothing related to Halloween is allowed.  The elementary school MY girls go to  is having a Fall Frolic, and allowing SOME of the children to dress up.  Yep…that’s right…SOME of them.  The younger children (kindergarten through 2nd grade) are allowed to dress up.

Grades 3 and 4 (the upper grades in the school) are not being allowed to dress up.  They are invited to the Fall Frolic, where they are going to go outside and watch the younger children parade, and then they are invited to enjoy the cookies and juice with the rest of the children.

I’m actually rather upset.  I’ve thought it was a ridiculous policy when Abby was in the younger grades, and still allowed to wear a costume.  Last year, the first year that Abby was NOT allowed to costume, I approached the principal to ask WHY they had the policy, and to request they rethink it.

This year, when I discovered the policy had not changed, I emailed the principal about possibly rethinking it before Friday.  I got back a rather condescending email about how they are now allowing all the children to partake in cookies and juice, but that no, the older children are not allowed to dress up.

I’m irritated because by necessity,  we are asking our children to grow up so fast.  They are doing things in school about 2 years before I remember covering them.  We ask our Kindergarteners to go to school full days, some schools have even eliminated the rest period.  Our kids are expected to be able to do so much at the end of each year.  We don’t allow them to be CHILDREN.

I don’t understand why we are taking this little “right” of childhood away from them before they are even out of elementary school.  If she was to tell me “we aren’t allowing grades 3 and 4 to dress up because we don’t want to take instructional time out of the classroom” then I would be irritated, but I would understand it.  There are only so many instructional hours in the school year.  However, that’s not the case.  They are all leaving the classroom to watch the parade…and then to have cookies and juice…then, when they get BACK to the classroom, they are going to be allowed to hand out treats, if they brought them, then, they can each choose 3 treats to eat…so while it’s not a big party…it’s still not instructional time.  What would it hurt to take an extra 20 minutes, 10 on each side, to let the kids put on a costume and be in a parade.

I really think I’m going to suggest that if ALL the children can’t dress up, that next year, they make it that NONE of the children can dress up. (I’ll still have a child in the school, one who is of dressing up age…so I’m not waiting until my kid is in 3rd grade to make the suggestion)

I have a huge problem with adults (teachers, administration, and parents) who expect children to grow up before they have to.  I can’t stand teachers of younger grades who make comments like “well, it’s their responsibility”  when clearly, it’s not something that a kindergartener should be responsible for.  I have a huge problem with parents who allow their first and second graders to dress like a hooker on a corner somewhere, with a miniskirt and thigh high boots, and I have a problem when the principal won’t let our kids do something fun.   I really would rather that NO ONE be allowed to dress up, than for any other parents have to try to answer the question…”How come we can’t dress up…it’s not fair that the little kids get to, and we don’t…WHY did Mrs. T make that rule?”  I don’t have a good answer…and my kid wasn’t the only kid asking…at least last year she wasn’t.  I’m sorry….but “Gee, Mrs. Capalbo…I don’t KNOW why we don’t allow the older children to dress up….it’s just how it’s always been done.” isn’t an acceptable answer. (I just tell Abby that I’m sorry, but Mrs. T is crazy…and it’s not fair that she got a school with a crazy principal…but she did, and hopefully, the middle school, Jr. High and HS don’t have crazy principals too.

SO, yet again, I’m going to be “that mom” and make an issue out of it.


9 Responses to “A totally off topic post”

  1. 1 kerri October 28, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    When you told me about this, it just made me so mad. The school really shouldn’t have any choice in the matter [unless, it should be up to the parents. If they were going to be in class doing learning-y stuff, then I understand not dressing up due to distract-y costume issues. But if they’re not, they should totally be allowed to dress up. That’s totally not fair, kids have to grow up fast enough as it is…

    Keep being “that mom” Sara. Because, you are totally my favourite “that mom”. Your kids are lucky 🙂

  2. 3 mymusicallungs October 30, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Sadly, in life, some schools choose to have differentiated policies in order to allow the natural progression of maturity, although why your daughters’ Principal feels that the grade 4 and 5 pupils are too grown up (or whatever) to dress up for Hallowe’en, beats me.
    Have you tried to get yourself on any of the Parent Teacher committees to see if you can’t change a few of these crazy rules?

    In the UK, Hallowe’en and the whole idea of Trick or Treating encompasses children aged up to about grade 8. And long may childhood continue-they grow up fast enough as it is!

    Hugs and hope both girls and you have a great holiday weekend.

    • 4 mommato2beauties October 30, 2010 at 3:27 pm

      That’s what I think is crazy…I get that some policies (naps, snacks, etc) are different because of different maturity level…but, since in the Middle School (grades 5 and 6-so ages 11 and 12) and Jr. High (grades 7+8-ages 13 and 14) as well as the high school (grades 9-12-ages 15-18) are allowed to dress up (the JR High and High School required a donation to a local charity for the privilege)

      I have LESS of a problem with the policy being different for the older kids as I do with the fact that she couldn’t give me a REASON for the policy. (“It’s the way we’ve always done it” isn’t really a good reason, in my opinion)

      In the States, even High School kids will go out Trick or Treating…and no one bats an eye. (as long as they don’t create havoc…which, sadly, happens too)

      I will be emailing the Parent Teacher Organization-sadly, due to Rob’s work schedule, I can’t actually be ON the PTO-they don’t offer childcare for meetings-but I’ll be emailing the president of the PTO, since obviously, the principal isn’t planning to be anything but condescending to me.

  3. 5 Elisheva October 30, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    I really don’t get why she can’t dress up.

  4. 6 Amy November 1, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    Yeah, everyone or no one, for sure. That’s just a crazy unfair policy. My girls’ school is K through 6th grade and not only do they all get to dress up, but Halloween parties go on all morning from 8:30 to 10 am. This whole area is freaking awesome for Halloween–the adults all celebrate, too, and there were parties all weekend.

    Contrast that with north Florida, which is pure Deep South and not at all like the rest of Florida. No dressing up or parties at school at any age, and lots of people don’t even pass out candy or let their kids trick-or-treat, for religious reasons. My kids LOVE that Halloween is such a big deal here.

    Interesting about kindergarten, though–it’s all full day in most of the South and Florida. Half days aren’t even available anywhere that I lived when my girls were that age, and full-time kindergarten is totally normal for everyone–I was surprised when I moved here and found out most kids only go for half-days.

    • 7 mommato2beauties November 1, 2010 at 10:17 pm

      When I was in OT school, I “knew” I was going to work in pediatrics, so I went heavy on the child psych and child development…and it was right at the height of schools starting to go full day…and something the professor said in the child development class stuck with me…

      “when it comes to full day kindergarten…some kids thrive, most kids adapt, and quite a few flounder, and fail. In half day kindergarten, most kids thrive, some adapt, and far fewer flounder…fewer still fail.”

      I want my kids the thrive, not merely adapt. Abby THRIVED in full day kindergarten. Mariella barely adapted. I’m sure her health factored into that…but did her constant state of exhaustion contribute to her poor health? Who knows.

      I could go on all day about full day kindergarten…suffice it to say that I don’t believe it’s entirely developmentally appropriate for most children, and absolutely INAPPROPRIATE for most children.

      As for the costume issue…I really haven’t decided how I’m going to proceed. I’m irritated as anything. I think the principal is a condescending schmuck. (and know that many of the teachers in the district, if not the school) feel the same way. However, I have to work there sometimes, and would rather not have it be uncomfortable

  5. 8 Amy November 2, 2010 at 10:32 am

    I wonder how much child development research like that takes into account regional differences, though?

    For example, Mr. Asthma Mom and I both come from families that have lived all over the place, we’ve both lived in various parts of the country/world ourselves, and we’ve noticed that younger kids in the South and particularly on the coast are FAR more independent and mature than their more northern and/or inland counterparts. It has a lot to do with the weather, I think–when it’s warm outside 8-10 months out of the year, kids are much more physically confident and maybe that translates into emotional maturity. That’s not a judgment, although I know it sounds like one. 🙂

    Both my kids could swim without flotation devices/nose-holding and ride bikes with no training wheels before they turned five, and that wasn’t out of the ordinary where we used to live. Many kids–though not all–there play sports year-round, too, and none of them are used to being at home very much. Because if you’re a stay-at-home mom in a warm-weather climate, you’re never actually home. There are no snow days, no days where it’s too cold to play outside, no icy roads, etc.

    In fact, when I think back to the kids my girls went to school with their first few years, I can think of maybe 3 kids, total, who would have benefited from half-day rather than full-day. The rest probably would’ve driven their parents insane because they were too restless and too ready for full days to put up with half.

    Here’s the crazy part, though. That whole independence thing? The reverse seems to be true for OLDER kids in the South. CO kids who are AG’s age have WAY more freedom than the ones where we used to live, and I have no idea why. Maybe the lack of independence when they’re younger makes them really crave and appreciate it as they grow up? Or maybe the more conservative South gives their little kids freedom b/c they’re innocent and then tightens down on the strictness as they get older and more worldly.

    Maybe it’s a little of both, lol.

    At any rate, I have to respectfully disagree with the statement that full days are inappropriate for most children. Or at least, I don’t agree that statement can be applied across the board to all children without taking regional/community/lifestyle differences into account. (Not saying you’re doing that, just clarifying my own position) Half days seem to work great where I live now, but where I came from? It would never work.

    Offering a choice between the two is the best option, I think.

    • 9 mommato2beauties November 2, 2010 at 10:51 am

      Interesting point…and I might think very differently if I had not had a professor make the statement to me.

      I also hear a lot from parents who have had kids in day care from the age of 6 weeks, from 8-5:30 or whatever…but the difference is that full day school requires these kids to be “on” from 9-3…it’s instructional time…not play time. KWIM? Which would be the same for being out and about and such as a SAHM…if you’ve got a kid who is done at the park at lunch time…you can go home…if the kid is done at school at noon…and they’ve still got to be there, learning and attending until 3, it’s a different story. But, again…that’s my experience and what I’VE seen in the past few years in the classroom…(and it’s very possible that studies and the current academic wisdom have changed…it’s been more than 10 years since I’ve been in the classroom)

      Having spent time in kindergarten classroom…and seeing the kids at the end of the day…(and our district still does rest time) Holy crow…even by the end of the year…2/3rds of them still slept and had to be woken up at the end of rest. Of course the rest of the day was a waste, because they were so groggy.

      The other thing too, that bothers ME…is that in MY town…full day kindergarten came about because a push from the working parents (there really aren’t a whole lot of stay at home parents here) not from research of what’s best for the children…and that this group of parents took away the choice for other parents. Parents know their kids best, and they should definitely have the choice of what they think is best educationally.

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