Disillusion With the Perfect School

Kindergarten Boy Drawing at a Table
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When my son was ready for school, I had a problem getting people to understand his needs.  After quite a bit of searching, I thought that I found the perfect kindergarten for my son.  Boy, was I wrong!

The school I sent him to was a private school with a philosophy of meeting each child's individual needs. The school prided itself on meeting the needs of all children. Their literature described the child-centered approach to education, and suggested that children would work according to their own abilities.

I wasn't going to just believe the literature, though. I also went to talk with the principal (and founder) of the school. At our meeting, I found the principal to be a kind woman who was concerned that all children be able to work according to their abilities. How perfect is that?

Unfortunately, the principal didn't mean kids on the upper end of the ability scale, the gifted kids. She meant all the other kids, from the average kids to the kids on the lower end of the ability scale. In other words, kids who could keep up with the lessons would be working at their own pace, while those who struggled in school would be able to work on material until they learned it. Gifted kids? No such thing.

To be a little more accurate, the principal believed that gifted kids existed. It's just that she was one of those who believe that all children are gifted. It didn't matter what I told her about my son's needs and abilities.

As far as she was concerned, it simply wasn't possible. Yes, that's right. She could see that my son could read, but she insisted he couldn't - because kids that age can't read.

She wasn't one of those who seem to be hostile to gifted kids, but since she didn't believe they actually existed, she wasn't exactly sympathetic.

She was, however, quite sympathetic to the needs of children who had learning disabilities and whose abilities fell below the average range. In her mind, there were children who were able to achieve the skills and knowledge of their age and those who were unable to do so. She simply did not believe any children existed who could achieve more.

It didn't take long for me to discover her real viewpoint, a viewpoint that would have some serious repercussions for the way my son was treated in that school and set in motion an on-going problem my son had in school.

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