Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Graduate

I've written before about the Parents as Teachers program. This is a free program offered by our school district for kids from birth through age three. An early-childhood educator would come to our house four times a year to perform screenings, tell us what skills WCK should have at various ages, give us ideas for activities to do with her, and basically reassure us that WCK was TOTALLY NORMAL and, in fact, brilliant. They'd also have some group activities a few times a year. Because WCK turns three this spring, today was our last Parents as Teachers visit. WCK had to go through a long series of tests and passed nearly all of them with flying colors.

Her one "failure"? She had to answer a bunch of questions, such as "What do you do when you're tired?" ("I go lie down," said WCK. The Parents as Teachers Lady was very impressed with her correct grammar.) One of the questions was "What do you do with a chair?" (Correct answer: "Sit.") WCK thought for a while and said, "Use it to reach the computer!" While this was 100 percent factual, it was not the "correct" answer, so the teacher tried again. "Blow bubbles," said WCK. This, of course, made no sense to the PAT Lady. I explained that I'd put the bubble soap up in a high cupboard where I thought WCK would never reach it. She's recently figured out how to push the chair over to the cupboard, climb up on the chair, and reach the bubbles.

Again, this was a 100 percent true answer, but it was not "sit", so WCK failed the chair question. No points for creativity in the Parents as Teachers program.

Despite the chair failure, WCK was allowed to graduate from the program, and she got a nice certificate and a new book for her efforts. I'm very proud. I'm sure it's hard for a three-year-old to get a well-paying job without a Parents as Teachers degree. It was a little sad to say goodbye to our teacher. She was the one who reassured me that it was totally OK for Jay to let WCK watch football on TV when she was four months old. I was convinced it was going to give her brain damage.

Ticklebee update: My child is not as heartless as I thought. Yesterday, she found Ticklebee (the wounded balloon dog), and instead of shunning him, she announced, "Ticklebee is very sick!" She then ran to get her doctor kit and gave him a full workup and a plastic Band-Aid. He's still hanging in there, despite the fact that he still has no back legs.

Black jellybean update: My friend Hannah gave me another bag of black jellybeans this morning! Woo hoo! My supply will never run low.

Class reunion questionnaire update: Still have not filled it out completely, although I did circle the "N" on the plastic surgery question.


Grandma Kathy said...

The fault lies in the question, "What do you do with a chair?" WCK answered correctly what she does with a chair. This goes to show that standardized test questions are not valid for young children! I would have given her credit!!!

Margaret said...

Hi there.
I would have given WCK extra points for her imaginative answers. I was impressed! I particularly liked her "blow bubbles" answer. Hehe.
Besides, how dumb is the "sit" answer? VERY! Silly test.
My vote is: extra points for WCK!
(the one in Florence, Italy; I'm still giggling over your scared-of-fudge post, by the way)

Karen's sister said...

Grandma Kathy is right on. I still remember being burned in 3rd grade because the test administrator asked me to "draw a kite." So, I drew a little kite with a tail and a string... I may have even put clouds in the air. But the administrator (the very particular Mrs.D), said, "No, draw a KITE." She wanted me to draw just a diamond shape - with no details. Just for that (and my bad spelling, and I'm sure my inability to follow directions in class - I always seemed to be doing things wrong) I wasn't invited to be in the "Challenge Center." Oh well. There's nothing in my current profession that requires me to draw kites, so I'll never have to face my shameful secret.

Diane, Nick, and Maren said...

A friend's daughter failed the question where they show a telephone and ask what it is - she said "radio." She has never seen a traditional telephone because Mommy and Daddy have cell phones - they're going to have to update that test!

Margaret said...

Second comment (an afterthought). Your story and these comments reminded me of when my parents and I first moved to Italy. I was 6 years old and began attending the American School of Florence. My class was divided into "smart" kids and "dumb" kids. The teacher decided who was smart (a minority) and who wasn't (most kids). Ok, it wasn't as overt as that, but almost. There definitely was a division. We were taught separately from the others, as I recall. Oh, yes, luckily for me, I guess!, I was placed among the smart kids, but I wonder now about the psychological impact that being "not so smart" had on the rest of the kids. Terrible how things like this can perhaps mark you for life. Your sister's story illustrates my point perfectly.
Perhaps mothers need to start challenging this dumb testing system...
Florence, Italy

mplsdeanna said...

Oh man, I'm so glad I'm not the only one who's all riled up! When Tom did his preschool screening (through Mpls pub schools, not his current preschool), the teacher showed him an A and asked what it was. He said, "Aaaa." He made the SOUND that the A STANDS FOR. You see, he was READING the A.

Nope, counted it wrong, because he didn't say it was "an A." Craziness.