The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


What Agencies Can Learn From Otis’ Kindergarten …

So Otis goes to this amazing hippy kindergarten school near where we live.

It’s a co-parenting school which means that the parents have to help with the schooling of the kids, not just with the funding.

It follows a very specific philosophy defined by the founder and it’s a place where kids learn through expressing their creativity.

They even have a ‘mud room’ for the kids to cause mayhem when it rains.

Put simply, we love it.

A few weeks ago, we went there on the weekend to help decorate it during spring break when I came across these 2 signs in the school …

I love them.

It sums up everything we adore about the school.

It captures exactly why Otis feels it’s a safe and happy place for him to explore.

It also addresses something I have been looking into for a while, which is the lack of outlet American men have to express their feelings.

Everything is built on acting tough.

Crying is for wimps.

Hell, even the bars are full of sports TV’s basting out scores, which means people don’t have the quiet to talk to one another – something I had growing up in England that actually encouraged the sharing of feelings and emotions. Albeit often wrapped up in banter.

The macho pride that seems to underpin so much of American male society feels like it’s still the 1950’s … which is why I love that this school doesn’t tell kids to ‘stop crying’, but asks what is wrong and then sympathises with their predicament which remarkably, helps them stop crying far more quickly and in a more positive way than any shouting would ever do.

Now imagine if companies operated by the same ideals.

Listening.

Valuing.

Caring.

Developing.

Oh I know those words appear in a million mission statements, but we all know they’re often used more as an illusion than an action.

In the bid to build office ‘culture’, so many organizations forget it’s not just about what you say – or even what you do – it’s the practiced beliefs that defines what everyone values, which is why companies could learn even more from this school than my dear Otis.

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16 Comments so far
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It’s nice to be the first commentator on my own blog for once. I can thank at 6:30am concall [thanks managers of metal masters] and a 2 hour time difference between Kansas and LA.

Despite that, this post is quite important to me – not just because it involves my son – but because it highlights how my son is in a more uplifting environment than many adults in their jobs. Of course school and employment are different but with companies talking about how ‘their staff are their most important asset’, they have a lot they could learn from Otis’ kindergarten.

Comment by Rob

the best bit about this post is knowing you are in kansas and had to get up at fuck oclock.

Comment by andy@cynic

Your biggest achievement to date.

Comment by DH

bonnies kids school was like otis. is it independent? i bet it fucking is because all the others talk about making the kids future fucking scientists. if bonnie wants that, cool, but let her enjoy her young years and make her feel valued and valuable. thats all i want and thats all any fucker wants regardless of age.

Comment by andy@cynic

unless when theyre adults they say being treated as valuable means having an annual 30% payrise then theyre just fucking dicks.

Comment by andy@cynic

This is why I’m glad you never started a kids school.

Comment by Bazza

are you kidding, you fucks were worse than toddlers filled with sugar.

Comment by andy@cynic

What an amazing school.
How are you finding Kansas or should I ask how is Kansas finding you?

Comment by Bazza

I’m guessing the worst tornado they’ve ever encountered.

Comment by DH

Good post. Amazing a kindergarten shows more consideration about the people they represent than companies with all their HR departments and work policies.

Comment by DH

Important stuff. Happy for Otis that he gets to go to a kindergarten that let’s him grow up not in the 1950’s. I love the mud room philosophy too, which is why I have one in my house – not for my kids, but for me.

Comment by fredrik sarnblad

I hope you don’t mind Robert, but I have sent this to some colleagues. It is very good, especially the policy adopted by the teachers at Otis’ school. Inspiring stuff.

Comment by Lee Hill

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