A Living Rainbow

Bold primary and secondary colors exemplify the essence of preschool, at least in the traditional sense. Memories of bright blobs of finger-paint, jumbo sized crayons, and brilliantly colored carpets to sit on, while the teacher reads colorful books like Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See? by, Eric Carle.

Learning the colors seems to be one of first preschool milestones or signs of preschool readiness in our modern society where there is a push to learn more earlier and at a faster pace than ever before.

Just take a stroll down the toy aisle of any big box store and you will be met with a barrage of talking plastic toys that bark the names of colors in an odd robotic voice at the press of a button. Companies like V tech, Playskool and Leap Frog to name a few have really capitalized on this consumer desire to teach kids and babies their colors.

Turn on the television and you will find endless commercials for ABCmouse.com, which I am convinced is the truest evil in the current education climate for children and their parents. The pull of these commercials is akin to a creeper in a van with candy luring children to their demise. An exaggeration? Maybe.

But why then is the website so profitable that it can buy enough commercial space to monopolize every break in every preschool show? What do they have to gain by hooking children and their parents on commercialized computer-based learning programs by 3 years old, at the latest?

The answer might lie in the multi-million dollar standardized testing industry that has driven schools to invest billions of dollars in chrome books, typing programs, test skill prep programs like Study Island and IXL, all while our nation’s school librarians are cut from budgets and libraries are referred to as outdated and under/defunded.

“Well, computers are the way of the future.”

I hear this all of the time. And I want to ask…the way of whose future? And what kind of future?

Since computers have taken over our workplaces and schools have we seen progress? Have our lives been improved or made easier? Or have we seen an unprecedented spike in drug abuse, anxiety, depression, suicide, and violence? Has our Earth been healed by all of these marvelous technological advances? Or has it become more polluted, disrespected, endangered, and irrevocably damaged?

What if we stopped letting the companies who are profiting off of this vision of a technologic Shangri-la? What if we envisioned a new future and stopped buying all that these companies and their vision of the world, so limited by the blinders of greed, offer us?

What if we taught our children the colors with literature again? Real books with hand painted illustrations read by real humans who love them?

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What if we lead our children to the forest or farm instead of to a room with cinderblock walls and flourescent lighting?

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What if they learned the name and appearance of a color not by pressing a plastic button that would one day pollute their beautiful ocean, but by pressing their hand to a living organism in their environment?

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What if we showed our children that human connection is the most powerful rainbow of all?

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What would the future look like with a living rainbow of educational experiences?

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