L’Eggo My Lego in TCS Daily reports on the Lego ban at Hilltop Children’s Center in Seattle: Teachers at the private school wanted children — most from upper-middle-class white families — to learn about “the inequities of private ownership.”
In the winter 2006-07 issue of “Rethinking Schools” magazine, the teachers explain that students in the after-school program had been building an elaborate “Legotown,” with some students taking the lead, negotiating with other builders about who would get to use the most desireable building blocks. Legotown builders were incorporating “their assumptions about ownership and the social power it conveys,” the teachers write. These assumptions “mirrored those of a class-based, capitalist society — a society that we teachers believe to be unjust and oppressive.” When Legotown was destroyed accidentally, the teachers decided “to promote a contrasting set of values: collectivity, collaboration, resource-sharing, and full democratic participation.”
Maureen Martin writes on TCS:
They claimed as their role shaping the children’s “social and political understandings of ownership and economic equity … from a perspective of social justice.”
So they first explored with the children the issue of ownership. Not all of the students shared the teachers’ anathema to private property ownership. “If I buy it, I own it,” one child is quoted saying. The teachers then explored with the students concepts of fairness, equity, power, and other issues over a period of several months.
Children were allowed to build with Legos only when they agreed to certain principles, such as “All structures are public structures.”
“A house is good because it is a community house.”
“We should have equal houses. They should be standard sizes.”
“It’s important to have the same amount of power as other people over your building.”
One wonders about the parents paying private school tuition at Hillcrest. Do they live in communal homes of equal size? Do they own their homes?
Via BizzyBlog, who provided the link to the article.