Dear parent, family member, caregiver, and supporter of children in Brookline Public Schools -
Thank you. More than 475 people have signed the petition in support of Brookline kindergarten teachers and keeping play in our classrooms. We received signatures from well outside of Brookline, too. Other districts are watching to see if and how we lead.
More than 100 of you left thoughtful and moving comments reflective of the depth of care and concern the community feels about this issue.
"We hire wonderful teachers. LET THEM TEACH!"
"Play is a critical part of inclusion for children with special needs. In the words of Fred Rogers, 'Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.'"
"We chose Brookline's public schools for the creativity and innovation that Brookline teachers bring to their craft. We trust that they know how to engage and excite our youngest learners as they embark on the lifelong journey of education. We did not choose to live here for standardization and excessive data collection. These are not Brookline values."
We have not yet heard if Superintendent Andrew Bott or members of the School Committee have responded or reached out to the kindergarten teachers following their public presentation on June 6.
So, what now? We will be presenting the petition, signatures, and comments at the next School Committee meeting on Wednesday, June 19. The meeting begins at 6pm at Brookline Town Hall, 333 Washington Street.
Your voice matters. Your presence matters. Sadly, I fear that even the most hefty petitions can be ignored, but individuals in a room are not so easily dismissed. Therefore, if you felt strongly enough to sign and comment, we encourage you come to the meeting. We encourage you to speak during the public comment period. Make your concerns, stories, and requests heard. We understand (and sympathize) that attending evening meetings can be very challenging, but if even a fraction of those who signed come to this meeting, we could fill the room in support of our littlest learners. Thank you.
Meghna Chakrabarti and Benjamin Kelley