Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Colorful Look at Education

The town where my children used to go to school had, over time, renovated and updated all the elementary schools so that each school had walls festooned in bright, primary colors and floor tiles that not only gleamed but also gave directional prompts through differently colored tiles that indicated the possible directions you could take. The entire effect was hectic but pleasing to a young eye. I supposed they believed that children would feel energized and stimulated by this environment and be eager to learn.

The strange thing is that my son's new school is anything but new, but academically he is achieving far more. His reading skills were considered non-existent in his bright, shiny, school but have exploded in his current educational environment. This school looks a lot like the dilapidated schools I attended when I was young. Lots of ceramic tile on the walls, in muted non-colors that match everything and nothing while blending into sameness. Every wall, every room looks the same. There's nothing colorful at all, especially in winter when even the world beyond the windows fails to produce anything but greys and browns. Perhaps the key to learning is teaching, then, and not an attractive classroom?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Good Manners Month

September, it seems, is National Children's Good Manners Month. I didn't even realize that there was a month so designated, let alone that it had already arrived. I wonder why that is?

I certainly haven't been inundated with requests utilizing the word "please" nor have I become short of breath uttering "you're welcome" after every "thank you" directed my way.

In fact, aside from having slightly grumpier children every morning that they have to rise slightly earlier to get ready for school, I have seen little change in their manners.

Wait, suddenly this all makes sense. September is the month that the school year begins in most of the country. To the delight of teachers everywhere, Good Manners Month neatly coincides with this mass return to the hallowed halls of academic institutions.

I can honestly tell my children to listen to their teachers, they're pretty smart cookies.