The internet has been a buzz lately after some questionable conclusions about the latest Muppet Movie. The folks over at Fox Business News, in their infinite talent for hyperbole and fear-mongering, made claims that the movie is some sort of left-wing conspiracy to turn our nation's kids into communists. (read about it here: The Muppets Are Communist)
To most of us, these outlandish mischaracterizations seem a bit extreme, but it got me thinking. If you paint the world with this red brush, and take the time to consider the values that we teach at preschool it's clear that Preschool Teachers Are Communists!
- In preschool we are taught to share. The toys are distributed to everyone, and turns are taken to assure we all have our fair share of the fun.
- In preschool we are taught to walk in line, follow directions and go with the group. Those who strike out on their own are sent to time out (the gulag?).
- Preschool students look to a benevolent leader to provide them with the basic necessities, snacks, jobs, leisure activities. Snacks are passed out evenly to all, jobs are shared, and activities promote the virtue of the group over the individual.
- The life of a preschooler is tightly structured. They are told when and where to go, when they can eat, when they can play and how to conduct themselves while they do.
- Using songs and poetry, preschool students are indoctrinated to believe that "caring is sharing," and that we are all friends (comrades).
If you are looking for red flags (pun strongly intended), you'll find them everywhere. I was not around in the 50's, but I know enough about MacCarthyism to know how damaging this line of thinking can be when it snowballs unchecked. I did an interview project while living in Berlin about 3 generations of a family living in East Berlin from the Weimar period through the present day (well 1998). The short comings of an authoritarian communist regime were clear from their accounts. I love our democracy, and believe in capitalism when we remember that corporations are NOT people and therefore We The People need to be the moral compass driving their actions. However, I would never sacrifice the values that I teach at preschool. Can you imagine a classroom of 10-20 preschoolers acting with the "take what is mine, and do what I want" attitude that is so prized by the far right?
It may not work for a gov't (though China seems to be doing better and better), but in a preschool I'll take a socialist utopia any day!
Kids Quote of the Day: A boy came into music class wearing a U-Mass sweatshirt (a rare thing in South Florida). Pointing to his chest he exclaimed, "This means 'You go to music class.'" ~Marco (age: 4)
UPDATE: This is too good not to share: