That was the title of the piece I wrote for Huffington Post in 2013. The piece drew such an overwhelming response that I eventually wrote a book with the same title. The book is full of questions similar to the one in the title — like,
“Why Does Sitting Still Equal Learning?”
“The Earlier the Better?”
“When Did a Hug Become a Bad Thing?” and
“iPads or Play Dough?”
These questions — all of the essays in the book, in fact — were prompted by the nonsense prevalent in today’s educational climate — the stories that indicate to me that many of the adults responsible for “making the rules” in education and parenting don’t have a clue about children. Some of these people, I’m quite sure, don’t even like children. How else to explain school administrators interrogating a six-year-old girl for three hours after she told another child she was going to shoot her with her Hello Kitty gun that discharges bubbles? How else to explain the elimination of hugs, nap time, play, and recess from children’s school days? Or making kids — even the youngest of them — sit still for hours at a time?
The Huff article and the book were a start. Now I want to create a movement. I want to call attention to the nonsense out there — to the stories sending a clear signal that those behind them do not understand child development. I’ll post those stories here — and on Facebook and Twitter, using the hashtag #AskingWhatIf.
It’s my hope that by calling attention to the nonsense and, when possible, offering solutions and alternatives, we can create the change we’re hoping for. Below you’ll find my reflections. To read more, simply click on the title.
Please feel free to send stories of developmentally inappropriate practice — or frustrations you experience as a result of people who don’t understand child development. Send your comments too. Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org, with “#AskingWhatIf” in the subject line, or use the contact form below!