Queens Kindergarten Parents Fight for Play
On Jan. 12, the New York Times reported that half the kindergarten parents at P.S. 101, also known as School in the Garden, in the Queens neighborhood of Forest Hills, had signed a letter asking the principal for more recess and unstructured time during the school day. Principal Valerie Capitulo-Slade agreed to create one more gym period weekly and relax recess procedures to give the kids more playtime.
Parents note that the water table and dress-up area have disappeared; now the kids use whiteboards and worksheets to practice reading and math. The article quotes Clara Hemphill of Inside Schools saying that this citywide trend is producing "a quiet backlash."
Parents were also divided on the value of homework for their kindergartners. On Monday, children receive a packet of about a dozen math and reading worksheets to be completed at home during the week and returned on Friday.