Friday, July 27, 2007

Building Blocs

Anyone who draws inferences of a "class-based, capitalist society" from the behaviours of children is someone who is trying to invent a class-based society of children. Of course, if you're looking through the prism of class-based rhetoric, then you're already there.

Earlier this year, a private(!) school in Seattle banned Lego because children were incorporating "their assumptions about ownership and the social power it conveys" in their play, assumptions that "mirrored those of a class-based, capitalist society — a society that we teachers believe to be unjust and oppressive."

Luckily, the kids are getting a second chance at the Lego — this time to teach them about rationing and progressive authoritarianism:

  • All structures are public structures. Everyone can use all the Lego structures. But only the builder or people who have her or his permission are allowed to change a structure.
  • Lego people can be saved only by a "team" of kids, not by individuals.
  • All structures will be standard sizes.
With these three agreements - which distilled months of social justice exploration into a few simple tenets of community use of resources - we returned the Legos to their place of honor in the classroom.
And there's so much more. With any luck, the kids will eventually notice the incongruity between their education and the "upper-middle class and socially liberal" families around the school that could afford to pay for it.

Link from Maggie's Farm


Bruce Gottfred said...

Too funny. And scary as hell.

I'm terrified of what my kids are going to be exposed to as they start to go to school in our 'environmentally friendly community'. Maybe it's a good thing that they're so stubborn and obstinate.

MapMaster said...

How fortunate your children are to live in an "environmentally friendly community," when so many other communities advertise themselves as "environmentally hostile."

Elaine said...

I can see the kids going for that an environmentally friendly xmas. That means they get a rock and a stick, perhaps a coconut shell full of mud to plant a seed in.

Reminds me of this holier than thou family that lived down the street from us when my kids were growing up.

No tv, no comic books, no treats. Treats were considered evil, a self indulgence. Thier kids would end up at my house when the parents were off praying somewhere, they were forever gone praying.

It was ninja turtle cartoons, nintendo games, and all the junk they could eat. I was just one of those mothers. They are full grown now, and they always stop and speak, with smiles on their faces. I hope I didn't ruin them.