When Reinventing Education, Start Them While They are Young!


    As a parent of four children I find that their first lessons are truly impressed upon them when they enter kindergarten. In discussing how we should reinvent education, let’s consider whether our schools are prepared to accept our children as the individuals they truly are. I have found with each of my children that one or more teachers were somewhat “NOT” prepared to deal with children who are slightly different from the rest, especially those children who are raised in homes with open views on spirituality or individualism.

    I remember when my son’s kindergarten teacher called one day and said, “We really need to talk about your son. It is very important you come to see me right away!” In my mind, I could not figure out what the problem could be, as he was such a good child.

    My son and I arrived at the school and met with his teacher. She brought out an assignment she gave all the kids. Her instruction was to color a picture of a bird and trees any way the students wanted. The next thing that came out of her mouth surprised me: “I don’t think your son will pass kindergarten if he does not know his colors. Just look at how he colored this picture!”

    I took the picture from her and I saw a rainbow of colors on the page. I placed the picture down in front of my son and asked him to name off all the colors on the page. He did so perfectly. Then I asked my son why he colored his picture this way, and his response was amazing.

    “The teacher said I could color it any way I wanted, and I wanted it to look beautiful with lots of colors,” he said.

    What true beauty

    I turned to the teacher and said, “It is not my son who is colorblind, but at some point in your life you have forgotten what true beauty lies within a child’s mind! The problem with the world is we forget how colorful this world is. Children are just starting to see its beauty. Why is my son wrong for seeing such a colorful world?”

    I ended up transferring my son out of the school because his teacher just treated him badly after that.

    The first real impressions about the many lessons life can hold comes shining through when children first enter kindergarten. They are exposed to new friends and new ideals. They learn about themselves.

    Instead of relaxing and learning new and wonderful concepts, children are now under extreme pressures and rules from the start. If they don’t stand up to the status quo they are marked as a troubled child who is unable to learn. However, the real truth is that the teaching staff doesn’t want to bother with children who stand out from the others. Children have great access to intuitional skills and a whole lot of colorful ideals of life’s innermost treasures. How more advanced could they be if they were to learn how to trust in themselves and not be afraid to express their true given gifts? How sad is it when we have to learn later in life how special each of us truly is.

    I know our educational system wants to give these children the most education possible, but do they realize how much more pressure they are placing on our teens today? Some days it is way too much for them to handle; they either have emotional breakdowns or just give up completely — especially with all the so-called performance tests. Most young students do not know how to properly cope with these stressful situations. How much more fulfilled would these kids be if they are shown how to relax, how to meditate deeply and how to use their natural intuition skills to their full potential?

    I strongly believe that these skills would produce better children, better students and much better adults. It’s not only what you learn but how you learn. I taught my children to believe in themselves and their God-given gifts, but when you send them to school it becomes an entirely different ball game. They face the exploitation of the war, drugs and terrorism. In school, they have to be very careful or they can be accused of wrongdoing.

    Made an outcast

    Three years ago, my daughter was accused of bringing a toy plastic gun to school. Even after she gave it to her teacher, she was accused of trying to harm other children. She was suspended and made an outcast from the rest of the students. She was teased when she returned to school. The sad part of it was that it was my fault the gun went to school with her. The weekend before, the kids were playing a new game of hide and seek, but instead of hiding themselves, they hid each other’s toys. One of my son’s toy guns was hidden in a pencil box, under the markers and pencils because it was very small. I stopped the game before the kids recovered all of the hidden toys. Three weeks later I kept finding things all over the house. Anyway, that next morning I didn’t like the pencil box my daughter had so I gave her the extra one, the one with the hidden toy gun inside, and I just put it in her bag without checking it.

    Not one school official listened to my explanation. I was so ashamed that even when my daughter was being honest with them, she still was excused with a harsh punishment.

    How many more students will experience these embarrassments, pressures and high anxiety before we have more shootouts on college or high school campuses? By teaching students a more relaxed way of being, and by teaching them with guidance instead of extreme pressure, we will create many more advanced students.

    We know not everyone learns at the same level as everyone else. Just because a student learns a little bit slower, or expresses him or herself in more creative ways, doesn’t mean they are special or dumb. It means we have to find a more inventive way to teach our students! Yet, many are put into special education classes and are made to feel “less than” they actually are.

    Now is the time to re-teach the teachers. Let’s show them how to use relaxation, meditation, intuition, and many other holistic ideals in their classrooms to strengthen their students. It might even help reduce the stress on some of our teachers, especially those who take out their frustrations on students who do not deserve such treatment.

    Our children need these lessons at a young age. They need to learn how to use their fantastic abilities now, rather than later in life. How many more students would be less stressed out, more confident in all they do, and have a more positive attitude in life? A great many would.

    The only thing to fear in this life is fear itself. Why are we so afraid to try something new that can work for the good of all?

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    Barbara Stewart
    Barbara J. Stewart, who was born and raised in Wisconsin, moved to Minnesota in 2000. Raised with holistic beliefs, she is embracing all of her gifts. Contact her at [email protected] or [email protected]. Copyright © 2007 Barbara J. Stewart. All rights reserved.


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