How Preschool Has Changed in 30 Years: A Teacher Talks

Preschool Mural Photo by Luis Vidal/Flickr.com

Preschool Mural
Photo by Luis Vidal/Flickr.com

To say that preschool has changed since my mother, Abby Vance, began teaching tots 32 years ago would be an understatement. In 1982, she’d never met a vegan child, most mothers preferred formula to breast milk and preschools didn’t offer cultural enrichment courses.

All in all, they provided no fodder whatsoever for comedy writers such as Jason Shapiro. His Twitter feed of the fictitious Los Feliz Day Care lampoons 21st century preschools where Meatless Mondays are every day; superhero costumes are forbidden, as children should be “heroic through social action;” and spiders aren’t squashed but “euthanized.”

Shapiro is far from the only one to notice this sea change in preschool culture. In her 2011 short story collection You Are Here, author Danzy Senna takes aim at an exclusive preschool where the annual fees costs more than state college tuition and only “Google-worthy” families need apply.

So, when did the laidback day cares of the ’80s turn into the hyper competitive juggernauts of today? I recently spoke with my preschool teacher mother about the trends she’s seen over the years in the Chicago area and her tips on how parents can help their kids succeed during the pre-K years. Here’s what she had to say: Continue reading

When Breasts Get in the Way; Should Women Keep Their Maiden Names?

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Serena Williams
Photo by Marianna Bevis/Flickr.com

Breasts Are The Pits — For Female Athletes, Anyway (ESPN The Magazine)

Breasts are pretty darn heavy. Did you know that one A cup-sized breast weighs .43 pounds, while a B cup weighs roughly double that amount and a C cup triple? Accordingly, breasts can be a challenge for female athletes, including Ultimate Fighting Championship star Ronda Roussey, who blamed losing a match earlier this year on her “girls.” She told ESPN Magazine, “I got kicked straight in the chest right as I was trying to adjust my bra.” She later added. “You don’t see big titties in the Olympics, and I think that’s for a reason.” Is it any wonder that that some female athletes opt to undergo breast reductions?

Why Should Marriage Mean Losing Your Surname? (The Telegraph)

A British study has found that a third of married women in their 20s keep their maiden names instead of taking on their husband’s. One such young woman, Louisa Peacock, says that she didn’t make this move because she’s a feminist but because she likes her surname and wants to see it live on, despite the teasing it elicits. “I feel that if I lose Peacock, I lose a little part of me, my childhood and who I am. … My sister and I have no brothers, so if we both got married and changed our surnames, there’d be no one around to carry on the Peacock line. And I’m proud to be a Peacock.” Continue reading