Tuesday, February 7, 2012

TV in schools

I posted on facebook yesterday how I was shocked at how much television my kids watch in school. They're in kindergarten and first grade, and they watch everything from music videos for music class, to "The Magic School Bus" for science, to "Reading Rainbow" for reading. The list just goes on and on. If it is wet or chilly outside (hello...it is winter) they watch tv for recess. While they wait for the buses to be called, it's time for more tv.

Since our current county isn't exactly known for it's great schools, I was sure this was a pretty isolated occurrence. I was surprised to see that this morning I had lots of comments, from friends all over the country, who had similar concerns about their own child's school.

Is this really what elementary school is coming to? I don't see any reason in the world kids should need to watch a video at school more than once or twice a month. Maybe the occasional educational film, and also the occasional movie for a class party or other celebration. If they have all this extra time, why not just send the kids home after a half day and save the tax payers a lot of money? I feel pretty certain that everyone could watch tv at home for free. Everyone would hate that idea of course. It would be very hard on working mothers, and I can certainly sympathize there. However, it does beg the question...are public schools in the business of providing daycare or education? If the answer is in fact education, shouldn't they be doing something worthwhile with their instructional hours?

On another note, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than two hours of total screen time for children each day. My first thought when reading that is "Who watches tv two hours every single day?" We're not really tv people, so two hours seems like kind of a lot. However, when you add up the entire day, and also include computer time, it becomes extremely easy to meet and surpass those two hours. I think most parents would assume that their children are not spending even more time in front of a tv at school.

I really am just curious as to why this is becoming so widespread and acceptable in our schools. I guess it requires limited supervision, and no real materials, and that in itself is appealing when so many of our schools are in a budget crises. I really implore you though...if you work with children think outside the box. The pay-off is so worth it.

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