Monday, February 04, 2008

TV in School

Though the TV is seldom on in our home, Pippi watches TV, everyday. I have no clue what she's watching because she is watching it in Kindergarten. At first, I was okay with the kids watching a little TV. They were watching Letter Factory and stuff like that. Last week it rained every day, and guess what the kids were doing during recess. You got it. They were watching TV--The Little Mermaid and The Muppets in Outer Space were the two movies I heard about.

So I want to write a letter to the principal and the school district. This is ridiculous. The television is not being used for only educational purposes. It's being used to give teachers a break. Am I unreasonable? What do I say? I adore Pippi's teacher even if I vehemently disagree with the way television is being used in our school. Is this a problem nationwide? Why are our children getting homework if there is time to watch TV?


citymama1 said...

First off, good for you for being an observant and informed parent! I would be very upset if I found out my child was watching "Muppets" during classroom time, but I don't know how I feel about it being on during recess.

When I taught school I only very very rarely used the TV and when they did, they got to watch a movie...after they earned it, and it was educational. Did the teacher have other activities the kids could do or was it just TV?
In my experience, "inside recess" is usually free time where kids are given a wide variety of things to choose from. The TV may have just been in the corner for those who wanted to watch it, with other activities available.

I am also a bit partial to making sure teachers get a bit of a break during recess. It is often a crucial time for them to prepare for the next activity and the only time to use the bathroom.
If you are very concerned about TV during recess, maybe in your letter you could offer to come in and read-aloud or supervise "inside recess" on some rainy days. I'm sure the teacher would appreciate it, and it would alleviate the need at all for TV.

On another note, I think you are totally right to monitor the type of movies that are shown. Disney movies are especially off limits at schools. As I understand it Disney has some pretty hard core copyright laws and were completely forbidden at my school for fear of being sued.

The Silly Witch said...

I have issues with TV in school at all. At the beginning of the year TV was only used at the beginning of the day while everyone was waiting for school to start. This, I didn't like, but I decided to tolerate it.

Now it seems that anytime the children should be outside, moving their muscles, they are inside, watching TV. And I haven't approved of what is being watched. Is it really up to the public school system to decide what is appropriate for my child to watch?

Teachers definitely need a break. The children also need a break.
I think citymama1's ideas about coming in and providing teacher relief are so good. Thank You!

citymama1 said...

I had one other thought about inside recess. Maybe you could talk to the principal about seeing if the gym or some other large indoor space could be available for kids during rainy days. I totally agree that kids need breaks to run around and move their muscles. Especially Kindergarteners! I remember they did this at the school I taught at a couple of times and it was fabulous. Chaotic, but the kids loved it.

P.S. From what you describe it does seem like the TV is being used much more than it should be at Pippi's school. I would definitely talk to the principal about that. I think TV can be a great educational tool (thus the reason every classroom has one), but mostly for the older kids (I taught 5th)and only with very specific purposes. Again, good for you for being so involved. I wish I had parents like you in my classroom when I taught. :)

tenacious d said...

You are not being unreasonable at all. It sounds like TV is being used to babysit the kids. Citymama1 has good insights. I'm sure the teachers really do need a break, so suggesting that you come in and help by reading aloud or supervising would be welcome. When I was a kid, we'd play in the gym on rainy days. Unfortunately, not all elementary schools have gyms these days.

Good luck, SW! Speak your mind, be constructive, and I'm you'll at least make people think, if not change things right away.

Sisyphus said...

Maybe I should write the letter. I'm not sure they'll be able to understand the biting sarcasm, however.

JessK said...

That's ridiculous! The TV watching, not your reaction to it. You should definitely write a letter. Back in the day, we used to go to the gym or have free play. TV should be a rare treat, and for movies, they really should send home permission slips.

Prudence said...

Amen Sista! That's the reason I took my darling out the preschool she was in. That and the fact she was being fed brownies and cookies frequently for snacks! What happened to apples or carrots! I didn't like how when I dropped her off and picked her up the TV was always on!
Here on base, the school gets out early and they only have one recess at lunch. Can you believe that? That seemed weird to me but whatever! However, the kids always go outside, even when it's cold. The children are required to bring hat, mittens or gloves and a snowsuit to school. Maybe they should require the kids to bring rain gear and keep it at school. Was it really raining, raining? Was it one of those huge downpours or just a drizzle? Nothing wrong with a drizzle is there? I guess that could be a lot of work for parents, but I would do it.

Also, here they don't have PE either. They don't have the funding. PE is three times a month! I'm very shocked by that! My friend takes her kids swimming after school so they get some exercise in the winter. I'm learning lots here and am glad to have such great examples like you and my friend who care about their kids' education. Write a letter or go in and personally talk to the principle or even politely bring it up with the teacher. Good luck and keep up updates!

Prairie Smoke said...

The use of TV in school infuriates me. Talk about LAZY teachers and staff.

There were no videos when I was in school. Everything was a film that schools had to buy or check out. In 7th grade, we had projectionists who learned to run the projector. The films broke all the time and flickered. All the films we watched were educational, except once in the 6th grade when they showed us a 20 year old version of Heidi while we waited for the other kids to perform in their part of the Christmas program so we could go home. That was the only non educational film I ever watched in school.

I remember our favorite educational films were the Disneys. They showed flowers blooming in fast motion and had some music in them.

Kids need to be active during recess time playing games, talking to each other, running, not babysat by the TV. Poor kids. That's all some of them will ever get because their parents do it too. I guess that's why teachers think they can get away with it.

Amberly said...

you hit a hot topic here sister! I'm with you, although my experience is limited as Coop is only three, but I completely agree that TV should not be what our children have going into their brains when they are school!

Kissy said...

I may be remembering wrongly, but the only time we ever got to stay inside when I was in elementary school was when the weather was below zero. Rain or shine, they kicked us out of the school and into the elements. If the rain is incredibly strong perhaps they could construct an outdoor pavilion area where the kids could still run around and play when the rain is coming down.