Rebecca - Briarcliff Manor, New York
Entered on June 13, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

It always came to me as a shock when someone asked what two colors make purple or worse- how to make yellow. Wasn’t it in kindergarten that we learned that red and blue make purple and yellow is a primary color? At what point do we lose such fundamental knowledge to make room for quadratic equations and saponfication reactions? What is taught in schools later in life helps shape us to be better, more sophisticated citizens but much of what we learn is trivial. I believe that what we learn in elementary school is truly what will carry us through life.

In kindergarten through fifth, we are given our first real taste of reality. People are mean, life’s unfair and it’s really our mother slipping money under our pillow. In kindergarten, we learn that a cow has four stomachs and a spider has eight legs; circus is spelled with a c and kite is spelled with a k. These lessons are seemingly insignificant until we recall the experiences tied to it. We experienced are first feeling of humiliation when we misspelled a word in front of the class (despite how it sounds, circus is not spelled with an s), and a new sound of wonder when we discovered that everyone is different, not everyone has one stomach, two hands and two eyes.

In elementary school, we learned to imagine and make the best of things. A mundane jungle gym can just as easily be a castle just as a cardboard box can be a spaceship. We learned that everything holds a hidden beauty and you can’t judge a book by its picture. That little caterpillar is destined to be a magnificent display of colors; all elementary schoolers know- the ugly duckling isn’t ugly forever.

In elementary school, we learn the value of generosity. Show and tell and sharing blocks taught us not to be possessive and give whenever you can. To make friends, we have to share and kindness is almost always rewarded.

Parakeets and goldfish are fragile and they show us that everyone dies eventually. Death is cruel and often unexpected; the frog in the aquarium may have looked fine the day before it croaked. With death comes remorse, and that new goldfish isn’t the Bubbles you took home from the fair, but it’s important to move on and treasure life.

Elementary school teaches us the fundamentals that we build on and it’s important not to forget them. What we learn in elementary school is the real desert while everything we learn in school past that is just the toppings. No one eats whipped cream and sprinkles by itself, so never forget the basic ice cream that makes the toppings worth while.