Thursday, August 9, 2007

Daycare is for indoctrination - the Lego lessons

I’ll bet most people place their kids in daycare expecting them to socialize, have fun and maybe get some bonus learning experiences. Well, the staff at Hilltop Chidren's Center in Seattle, WA have some very politically slanted ideas on what kind of fun their little charges should be exposed to.

Legos were OK at first until Hilltop decided that the children were learning the wrong lessons from such play. So Legos were banned:

This bold decision would demonstrate our discomfort with the issues we saw at play in Legotown. And it posed a challenge to the children: How might we create a "community of fairness" about Legos?

We also discussed our beliefs about our role as teachers in raising political issues with young children.

...we want to take part in shaping the children's understandings from a perspective of social justice.

These children seemed to squirm at the implications of privilege, wealth, and power that "giving" holds.

Our planning was guided by our goals for social justice learning,

Now, with Legotown dismantled and the issues of equity and power squarely in front of us, we took up the idea of power and its multiple meanings.

In Legotown, the children had constructed a social system of power where a few people made the important decisions and the rest of the participants did the grunt work...
[Which, when you think about it, is pretty much how the real world
works. But, as we all know, socialists hate the real world and in their Utopian
fantasies are forever seeking ways to change human nature.]

After a period of theoretical indoctrination of the children, Legos were reinstated, with a new set of rules more to the Hilltop staff's socialist liking. For example: was time to challenge the children to wrestle their theoretical understandings into practical shape and apply their analysis of individual and collective ownership to a concrete project.

If Legotown was an embodiment of individualism, Lego Pike Place Market would be an experiment in collectivity and consensus.

Collectivity is a good thing

Shared power is a valued goal

All structures are public structures,

All structures will be standard sizes.

One could go on at length about the significance of this. But there are at least two others that do a much better job than I could possibly attempt. So,

Credit where credit is due
I first encountered this story in an excellent essay at "Breath of the Beast".
David Thompson offers his take and provokes some interesting debate in the comments.
A couple of final thoughts

This is another example fitting a theme I’ve posted on before. The left has long seen the education system as an obvious vehicle for socialist indoctrination and they’ve made great inroads. Wouldn’t it be nice if the philosophies of Adam Smith, Hayek and Friedman were at least as well represented in the today’s curricula as the socialists’?

And it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if I were to learn that the daycare teachers in this case were thoroughly exposed to this kind of thinking during their college studies.

Update: Here's the "Rethinking Schools" reaction to Fox News and others' criticism of their Lego article. [H/t to John M Reynolds]


John M Reynolds said...

I agree with Rethinking Schools when they say, "Then we need a curriculum that honors children's potential, rather than the scripted lessons of memorization and correct answers, favored by so many socialists." Oh, wait. What do you mean they used the word conservatives instead of socialists? Their "social justice teaching" is just their version of "scripted lessons of memorization and correct answers." Learning by example is how kids learn most things. It takes a lot of hard work to teach kids to think for themselves. What they imagine themselves doing for those toddlers is way beyond the capabilities of the young ones.

John M Reynolds said...

Sorry, but I forgot the link to the article:

JR said...

John, Thanks for the link. Very interesting.

The "Rethinking Schools" editors and Hilltop Center are certainly not shy about their "social justice teaching" agenda.

I agree that kids of daycare age are far too young to have any understanding at all of the concepts being 'taught'. So it isn't teaching it's socialist indoctrination/programming. I'll bet even many of the parents don't understand what their children are being exposed to.

Patrick Ross said...

These folks must have been right fresh out of the U.

These people thought they were going to teach kids to build "standardized size structures"? I couldn't even get my three-year-old nephew to try to read X-Men comics.