Video viewing in kindergarten

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz  October 6, 2009 06:00 AM

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article


Question: My child attends full day kindergarten. Each day there is a rest time. Instead of rest on Fridays they watch a "show." Is this appropriate?

From: AKM, Harwich

HI AKM,

I assume by "appropriate" you don't mean the choice of video (one can only hope that they are showing age-appropriate material) but rather the fact of a video altogether.

As you may be aware, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under 2 not watch TV or videos at all and that screen time for older children be kept to a minimum, no more than two hours a day. What's more, the on-going debate among early childhood educators about the value of imaginary play leads me, at least, to conclude that viewing a screen of any kind is not in a young child's best interests. I don't mean to say that no viewing is the way to go, either, although I know of many families who pull that off admirably. In our family, TV viewing was limited to Saturday mornings and it was a treat, which is probably exactly what these teachers have in mind.

It's also possible that by "appropriate" you mean: Why should rest time be sacrificed for a show, especially if that rest is what keeps a child from being cranky later on in the day? And there's a third interpretation: What in the heck are teachers doing showing videos every Friday? That's not what they are being paid for! That's not what I'm sending my child to kindergarten for! And if they want to do something the children will perceive as a "treat," surely there are more creative ideas they could come up with.

No matter your interpretation, I encourage you to talk to the teachers. You can't be the only parent offended by this policy! I have to admit: I wouldn't be happy if my child was in this class.

I answer a question from a reader every weekday. If you want help with
some aspect of child-rearing, just write to me here.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

4 comments so far...
  1. TV in and of itself for young children is not a bad thing, especially when educational, watched in moderation or under the supervision of a teacher. Check with yours to confirm this is the case and not just a convenient "babysitting" tool. Make sure concepts the show teaches are reinforced in lessons later.

    I have to say that I don't think cutting out TV altogether for older children is a good idea. For me at least TV was a window to other worlds. I grew up sheltered in the Bible Belt South and the varied people and places I saw on TV were an impetus and inspiration to do good in school so I could go to college and travel. For some people books fill this function, but not all.

    Posted by A reader and TV watcher October 6, 09 11:32 AM
  1. what child in kindergarten needs a nap??? i'm sure alot of the kids dont sleep but they need to 'rest' as mandated by the state. so why cant they show a little video on friday for those kids that arent sleeping? i dont see what the big deal is.

    as for the comment 'what are those teachers doing during the video" comment - i'm sure they arent just hanging out. probably doing what they do during rest anyways - planning and getting materials ready.

    Posted by kiki October 6, 09 01:13 PM
  1. There are so many factors here that the writer didn't even begin to address.

    How long is the "show"? 30 minutes of educational TV isn't going to ruin a bunch of Kindergarteners.

    What is the video/show? There's a huge difference between "Between the Lions" and "Back to the Barnyard."

    Are the kids who do still need a nap able to sleep if they want to on Fridays? I agree with #2 -- not many 5- or 6-year-olds still need a nap (the kindergarten in my town doesn't let them take one). And, given that it's a Friday, being able to perform at school the next day isn't really an issue.

    Why are the only stats given pertaining to 2 year olds? The question is about a Kindergarten class... what's "appropriate viewing" for a 5 or 6 year old? The AAP link you provide doesn't even correspond to the statistic you cite. There's a huge difference between a 2 year old and a 5 year old.


    Posted by K Teacher October 6, 09 11:54 PM
  1. One thought as a parent of a kindergartener, first grader, and toddler. The classroom teachers at our (excellent) local public school are constantly looking for parents to come into the classroom to provide extra eyes, hands, and expertise. Even the busiest parents (including my husband who travels most days of the week for work) try to prioritize some time to come into the classroom.

    Instead of taking a confrontational stance with the teacher(s), how about assuming the best, and approaching them with an offer of help. "On Fridays, I can make time in my schedule to come in to read/demonstrate a skill/organize a puppet presentation. How would that be instead of the video, when I can make it?" You can also engage with other interested parents to share this idea so you all do it, say once a month. There is nothing like putting yourself out there to make your child, not to mention teachers, feel supported.

    Posted by localmom October 8, 09 11:33 AM
 
4 comments so far...
  1. TV in and of itself for young children is not a bad thing, especially when educational, watched in moderation or under the supervision of a teacher. Check with yours to confirm this is the case and not just a convenient "babysitting" tool. Make sure concepts the show teaches are reinforced in lessons later.

    I have to say that I don't think cutting out TV altogether for older children is a good idea. For me at least TV was a window to other worlds. I grew up sheltered in the Bible Belt South and the varied people and places I saw on TV were an impetus and inspiration to do good in school so I could go to college and travel. For some people books fill this function, but not all.

    Posted by A reader and TV watcher October 6, 09 11:32 AM
  1. what child in kindergarten needs a nap??? i'm sure alot of the kids dont sleep but they need to 'rest' as mandated by the state. so why cant they show a little video on friday for those kids that arent sleeping? i dont see what the big deal is.

    as for the comment 'what are those teachers doing during the video" comment - i'm sure they arent just hanging out. probably doing what they do during rest anyways - planning and getting materials ready.

    Posted by kiki October 6, 09 01:13 PM
  1. There are so many factors here that the writer didn't even begin to address.

    How long is the "show"? 30 minutes of educational TV isn't going to ruin a bunch of Kindergarteners.

    What is the video/show? There's a huge difference between "Between the Lions" and "Back to the Barnyard."

    Are the kids who do still need a nap able to sleep if they want to on Fridays? I agree with #2 -- not many 5- or 6-year-olds still need a nap (the kindergarten in my town doesn't let them take one). And, given that it's a Friday, being able to perform at school the next day isn't really an issue.

    Why are the only stats given pertaining to 2 year olds? The question is about a Kindergarten class... what's "appropriate viewing" for a 5 or 6 year old? The AAP link you provide doesn't even correspond to the statistic you cite. There's a huge difference between a 2 year old and a 5 year old.


    Posted by K Teacher October 6, 09 11:54 PM
  1. One thought as a parent of a kindergartener, first grader, and toddler. The classroom teachers at our (excellent) local public school are constantly looking for parents to come into the classroom to provide extra eyes, hands, and expertise. Even the busiest parents (including my husband who travels most days of the week for work) try to prioritize some time to come into the classroom.

    Instead of taking a confrontational stance with the teacher(s), how about assuming the best, and approaching them with an offer of help. "On Fridays, I can make time in my schedule to come in to read/demonstrate a skill/organize a puppet presentation. How would that be instead of the video, when I can make it?" You can also engage with other interested parents to share this idea so you all do it, say once a month. There is nothing like putting yourself out there to make your child, not to mention teachers, feel supported.

    Posted by localmom October 8, 09 11:33 AM
add your comment
Required
Required (will not be published)

This blogger might want to review your comment before posting it.

About the author

Barbara F. Meltz is a freelance writer, parenting consultant, and author of "Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Understanding How Your Children See the World." She won several awards for her weekly "Child Caring" column in the Globe, including the 2008 American Psychological Association Print Excellence award. Barbara is available as a speaker for parent groups.

Submit a question for Barbara's Mailbag


Ask Barbara a question

Barbara answers questions on a wide range of topics, including autism, breastfeeding, bullying, discipline, divorce, kindergarten, potty training, sleep, tantrums, and much, much more.

Send your questions to her at:
meltzbarbara (at) gmail.com.
Please include your name and hometown.

Child in Mind

Moms
All parenting discussions
Discussions

High needs/fussy baby

memes98 writes "My 10.5 month old DS has been fussy ever since he was born, but I am getting very frustrated because I thought he would be much better by now...has anyone else been through this?"

More community voices

Child in Mind

Corner Kicks

Dirty Old Boston

Mortal Matters

On Deck

TEDx Beacon Street

RSS feed


click here to subscribe to
Child Caring

archives