Thursday, February 26, 2009

Pajama day for Kindergarten?!?

I have had to add some information to this post - since way too many of the negative comments come from people who jump to one conclusion about some of my comments.

First - you might want to actually look up the Meriam-Webster's definition of intimate.  I would have thought that fairly intelligent people would have been able to figure out my usage of it... but evidently not. Here is the definition from the dictionary:  1.) a.  INTRINSIC; ESSENTIAL;   b.  belonging to or characterizng one's deepest nature  2.)  marked by very close association, contact, or familiarity (~ knowledge of the law); 3.) a.   marked by a warm friendship developing through long association;  b.  suggesting informal warmth or privacy;  4.)  of a very personal or private nature. 

Intimate as I use it here is used as the last definition.  I find it amusing and at the same time disturbing that the negative posters equate intimate with sex.  How sad. Sex isn't necessarily intimate - however, I would charge that love and trust require a degree of intimacy.  Further, IF you actually read the post and don't jump to conclusions before you finish - which I  believe people are doing here...  PJ's are worn at bedtime - not to school or the shopping mall.  Anyone who wears PJ's outside of the home - I do have to question your character.  It's that simple.  What do you have to prove by wearing clothes inappropriate for the day/weather/season?  So, here's the rest of the original post.  I am a mother who prefers to teach my children right from wrong every time I see something that comes up and can be considered a teachable moment.  Not like the moms who think they are loving their kids by giving them whatever they want or allowing them to do whatever every one else does.  The school stopped having PJ day after 2009's.  I would have to say it wasn't on my complaint alone...

Well, imagine my surprise when I picked up Kenzie the other day and she began to talk about "Next week we're going to have a pajama day at school."
That raised my eyebrows. I told Kenzie that I didn't think she would be going to school in her pj's, and that I would be talking with her father later. When we got home, I read the flier in her backpack and just shook my head with wonder at how a school could justify this kind of activity.
When Roy got home, I told him about what Kenzie had said and what was on the flyer sent home with her. I told Roy that I felt pajamas had no place in a school - to which he replied that she should be kept home. My thoughts exactly.
When picking up Kenzie from school the next day, I approached her teacher and asked her about the pajama day, and she began to talk enthusiastically about it. I told her I found it highly inappropriate that the school would allow young children to wear pajamas to school and that Kenzie would not be going to school that day.
I got a call from her later that day. She said that it caught her offguard that I would say anything in front of the other kids or parents. She said I shouldn't talk about these things in front of other parents and should call her at home or she would be willing to stay and talk with me privately.
The thought running through my head at that moment was, God forbid should I express an opinion that is contrary to the school's curriculum or one that perhaps other parents are thinking about but perhaps are afraid themselves to say anything. What she needs to understand is that every teacher needs to get used to my open and blunt way of expressing what I think about inappropriate activities or curriculum at public schools. Get used to it, folks - I don't mince words.
She then wanted to know what my objections to the pajama day were. I gave them to her, and she began trying to expound on how the kids are just 5 or 6 years old, and they're so innocent, and the school has been doing this for - oh, as long as she can remember! Even her son did it. And its fun for the kids.
Well, I guess that makes it alright then, huh! In my opinion, these were not reasons to do it, they were excuses why it is still going on. There was no educational rationale for children to go to school in their pj's, bring their blankets or sleeping bags, and their stuffed animals.Let's just talk about what's "fun". There was a time when the good ol' boys would go out on a Saturday night and either terrorize, torture or tie a knot around a black man's neck and string him up in a tree - all in the name of "fun". And I'm sure they considered that a tradition, of sorts... That doesn't mean it was the right thing to do.

Some people get a real hoot out of setting fire to cats. That doesn't make it the right thing to do.

And fraternities love to torture pledges with drinking alcoholic beverages until they pass out or die from alcohol poisoning - and the frat brothers must think that is great fun - but that doesn't make it right.
I told Kenzie's teacher that the argument she gave me wasn't good enough for me to change my mind, but just for the sake of being fair, I thought I'd gut-check my thoughts on the whole situation with someone I trusted, just in case I was over-reacting.
I called Dr. Laura Schlessinger. She agreed with me on every one of my points concerning the matter. That's all I needed. Her opinions are based in logic, not feel good emotions, and her first priority is protecting children and doing what's right. So I trust her.
So, Kenzie is being kept out on "Pajama day".

There is no good reason for children to wear intimate apparel to school. I send my daughter to school to be educated, not to be titillated by what even she understands is a taboo outside of the home. Children are more sophisticated than the school administration is giving them credit for. And because children are so impressionable while growing up, it is even more important to be certain that inappropriate actions on the part of others are not “normalized” and made part of the mainstream.
When children are allowed to do things considered taboo by society at large (Does any serious business allow their employees to show up in sleepwear?) and it is made into a “fun” activity, they internalize and begin to associate that other things in life that are considered taboo and inappropriate might also be fun. This sets a dangerous precedent.
Once you begin to make excuses for one thing (no matter how innocent it may seem at the time) you will make other excuses for other school related (or friend related) events so that your kid won't be left out of some activity, and eventually, it becomes easy to excuse the more dangerous activities with serious consequences. If year after year the schools have inappropriate activities, and you allow your child to participate in them, it sends the wrong message to the children. The kids internalize the message that if it is fun, just do it. If it is taboo, or if it is slightly risque, just do it. And then parents wonder why their kids are having oral sex as pre-teens.
There's yet another layer to this - and that is teaching Kenzie how to stand up for what is right. It may not be a popular stance to stay out. But as I told her, there will be many, many times in her life that her friends or other people around her are going to be doing something that she will either know isn't right, or her gut will tell her that something is quite kosher about the situation. Listen to your gut and stand up for what you know is right. Your friends or the other people around you might make fun of you or alienate you, but then, those people aren't your real friends, because a real friend will look out for your best interests, and they won't want you to do something you know is wrong. And the people who try to get you to go along with them? They are not people you will want to hang around with, because they really don't care about you or your welfare.

Standing up for what you believe in isn't easy to do. But it is the RIGHT thing to do.


Super Mommy said...

I commend you for standing up for what you believe and holding steady to that.

cabbagemintor said...

We have Comic Relief each year. It is a national fundraising event organized by the BBC. Pyjama wearing in a grade school is one of the events on offer this year. I am not sure if it is in a mixed sex schoool. If so, I would have objections to it. I remember you writing about inappropriate actions by boys towards Kenzie. There are many cases of sexual assaults involving children as young as five in this country. Children themselves complain that adults talk about sex around them all the time and a lot have little parental guidance. The fact is that kids are sexualized too early these days and pj wearing just would give the wrong message and detract from the dignity of school life. I understand Kenzie's school is mixed-sex, so it would be doubly inappropriate. I have never heard about complaints from parents here; but you might have a point. I myself would allow it in an all-girls school.

Julie said...

cabbagemintor - I wouldn't mind if it was a same sex school, either. And when the time comes, and she gets invited to a sleepover at some girl's house, I won't mind it - but will be ever vigilant to make sure that 1) there are parents present and 2) there are no boys at the sleepover. There have been many instances of pre-teens and teenagers having co-ed sleepovers - and I can't imagine what parent would find that okay - but evidently some have completely abandoned their parenting all in the name of being their kids' "friend". Makes you wonder who's in charge in those families.

fuzzandfuzzlet said...

Stay well prepared to fight this battle. Pajama days are very common in both public and private school. I have seen them for each grade level. ( well pre -6th anyway)

cabbagemintor said...

England has the highest rate of teenage pregnacies in Europe. Abdication of parental responsiblities is a big problem here, resulting in widespread youth problems and crimes. I have heard of boys and girls, some in their mid or late teens, having sleepovers and their parents think that it is alright. Like you, I would say, "NO WAY!"

I do appreciate that modern educational methods attempting to create a friendly, fun, and democractic place for children. Thinking back to my school days, I wish there were connections made in the home, school, community axis. Nowadays, we have PTAs, counselloring, community projects etc. And that is all good. I suppose the school's proposal to have a pj day is based on those good intentions. But Kenzie's school, as you say, is mixed sexed; so that should be a no brainer from the start. As for other policies like bringing blankets or fuffly toys,I remember my nieces' school allowing them for very young uns who needed them to adjust to school life. LOL, one kid even brought her mom's silky nightie! But she was only three, bless!

A lot of parents want to be their children's "friends." The Duchess of York loves to say that she goes out "on the pull" with her two daughters. So we poor taxpayers have to fork out heavy expenses to "protect" those parasites on their wild nights' out. A mom's job is to instill discipline, teach not only by words but also by example, show right from wrong, and create an envrionment of order, love, compassion, and respect for self and others. A lot of people are not doing that. Parents and teachers can co-operate to challenge the decline in societal standards and morals.

Julie said...

Cabbagemintor - I couldn't agree with you more - especially your insight on what it takes to be a good parent to our children!

Diana said...

I work part time at my sons school and we have different day for "Spirit Days". Pajama day, Hat day, Crazy hair day, Favorite college team day...I personally think there is nothing wrong with it. The kids wear mainly wear PJ bottems which look like sweat pants and tops. Kids Pajamas do cover a lot more then what some kids wear to school. A lot of the teachers get involved and it is a FUN day for all..Kids can learn and have fun at the same time. I do agree with talking to a teacher privately instead of in front of children and parents as it can come across the wrong way.
I am not trying to be mean but if you keep your daughters home everytime you might not 100% agree with something you will be keeping your kids home a lot.

Julie said...

To Diana -

This wasn't just because I disagreed with the policy of letting kids come that day in their pj's - The philosophical reasons went far deeper than "I don't like it."

I don't like the fact that the school lets the kids "figure out for themselves" how a word is spelled. I don't keep her home because of that... I try to teach her at home that she has to learn and memorize some word spellings until she becomes more familiar with sounding out words and their phonetic sounds.

However, PJ's at school are a no-no. I think I outlined quite well what my objections were - and they aren't frivolous or superficial in their origin.

cabbagemintor said...

Julie, I would like to have your opinion on an issue. A grade school in England is going to give same sex education to children. One of the stories being used in the course is about "the story of two princes." Evidently, a prince has his pick of princesses from different Kingdoms. But the most eligible bachelor chooses a prince instead. And they live happily ever after. There are other curriculum literature in that same vein. You get the idea. A lot of parents are up in arms. They say that their kids are too young to be exposed to that message. But their threat to withhold their children's attendance on days specific to the course is now countered by the council's (responsible for local education) threat to sue the "offending" parents for unauthorized absence. Children's organizations are backing the parents, saying that they have the right to decide what is suitable for their offsprings, within reason. This is just one of the many "battlefronts" being opened in the educational establishment's search for a way forward in the 21st Century. I am with the parents on this one. To push "Little Katie with dad and dad at home" books down the throats of little ones is just absurd. I myself learned about homosexuality after going abroad in my late teens. For a time, I had strong prejudices against it. But I have come to accept homosexuals as people who have the right to choose their way of life. Why confuse children whose priority should be the three Rs, soccer, and brownies. It is alright to have fun; but the main purpose of schooling is to learn important skills and knowledge, not play around with gimmicks.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with you (and I am now following your blog!). Although my twin boys are only 2, I will never allow them to participate in "Pajama Day". PJ are for bedtime and it's intimate apparel. I have complete admiration for you (for a lot of reasons). I'm a HUGE Dr. Laura fan, too! I'm my kids' mommy!

Maria said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
shortyblackwell said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
blegh said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
bugaboo89 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Julie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lady R said...

This is such an old post but just today picking up my son from pre school I noticed children leaving school in their pj's and onesies.... I moved to England from Poland 9 years ago. No school would have a pyjama day during my times at school.... so I came back home today and started reading parents opinions about pyjama day at school and it shocked me how the vast majority sees nothing wrong with it.... my son is starting school this year and neither he not any other of my children will be participating in pyjama's day at school. It is almost as if you were the lone voice of sanity... all the best and thank you for voicing out your opinion.