Legos: Tools of the evil capitalist hegemony

Legos are a great toy for kids. They help with fine motor skill development, spatial reasoning, problem-solving skills, and creativity. Plus, they’re just plain fun. So of course, some school wants to ban them:

Some Seattle school children are being told to be skeptical of private property rights. This lesson is being taught by banning Legos.

A ban was initiated at the Hilltop Children’s Center in Seattle. According to an article in the winter 2006-07 issue of “Rethinking Schools” magazine, the teachers at the private school [RT: emphasis added there] wanted their students to learn that private property ownership is evil.

According to the article, the students had been building an elaborate “Legotown,” but it was accidentally demolished. The teachers decided its destruction was an opportunity to explore “the inequities of private ownership.” According to the teachers, “Our intention was to promote a contrasting set of values: collectivity, collaboration, resource-sharing, and full democratic participation.”

The children were allegedly incorporating into Legotown “their assumptions about ownership and the social power it conveys.” These assumptions “mirrored those of a class-based, capitalist society — a society that we teachers believe to be unjust and oppressive.”

They claimed as their role shaping the children’s “social and political understandings of ownership and economic equity … from a perspective of social justice.”

Good Lord. Put down the Karl Marx and take a deep breath, people. I wonder if they ever considered that as a private school, they are a business and succeed only as a result of parents exercising their free-market choice to send their kids there. And where does that money come from, you think?

If you want some real irony, compare this with the Hilltop Children Center philosophy:

Our program is inspired by children’s curiosity and natural inclination to learn through play. Teachers observe children’s play and listen carefully to children’s questions so they may support emergent projects and creations that come directly from the children instead of the teachers. In small group work teams and large group free choice activities, teachers provide invitations to the children on topics they express interest in.

Unless, of course, your child’s curiosity, interest, and free choice leads to something we don’t like, in which case we squash it like a bug and indoctrinate your child with socialist drivel instead. So much for “full democratic participation”.

If my 3-year old — who is ridiculously bright and loves to play with Legos — were enrolled there, she’d be out of there as of tomorrow. How’s that for capitalism?

[h/t Joanne Jacobs]

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5 responses to “Legos: Tools of the evil capitalist hegemony

  1. JimMc

    Knutty and goofy? You betcha. Which is the beauty of the marketplace isn’t it? Private schools can be as wacky and far out there as they want to be.

    There must be some weird neo-communist demand out there that they’re satisfying.

  2. Just another liberal professor

    “The children were allegedly incorporating into Legotown “their assumptions about ownership and the social power it conveys.”

    No…how about the children were building a damn town out of legos?

    One of the most annoying traits of my fellow liberals is our tendency to read too much into the wrong things.

    Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar.

  3. And all those teachers walk to school or take public transportation (since ownership of a vehicle would violate their beliefs), return “home” to their communal shelter (since ownership of a house would violate their beliefs), and claim no personal income from their work?

    Funny how such ideals only apply to *other* people, eh? What’s good for thee (and for thy legos) doesn’t apply to me!

  4. markm

    Well, they’d kind of have to live in homeless shelters, since the school takes all children regardless of whether their parents can pay … Wait! You mean it doesn’t?

  5. Art

    I read the article in Rethinking Schools.

    If the Lego village was to exist, then the Lego pieces should have been divided equally amongst the children, or groups of children. This way it would encourage collaboration, if groups were formed, otherwise it would preserve individualism, encourage leadership, innovation, build self-esteem and promote creativity.

    Instead of encouraging and building, Hilltop school opted to suppress growth by limiting the options and rationing freedom like communists tried for decades and failed.