Why School Uniforms Make Sense
Preschool at The Gardner School marks the time when students begin wearing uniforms. While school uniforms are a frequently debated issue for students at nearly every level of education including day care, The Gardner School has found them to help students focus and make life easier on parents and teachers. Rachel McCormick, Director of The Gardner School of Brentwood outside of Nashville, explains the rationale behind wearing uniforms at TGS: "We believe that school uniforms keep the students focused on learning and build a sense of community within the school. When getting ready in the morning at home, our students begin getting excited about school as soon as they get dressed. They enter the building feeling positive about the school day and are ready to learn. The students are more focused on expressing themselves through their personalities and school work, rather than their outward appearance."
Here are several additional advantages to uniforms for preschool students:
Morning Routine: Getting the little ones dressed and out the door is rarely a simple, efficient process. Whether it is the parent or child selecting the day's outfit, uniforms save time in the morning by eliminating extra decisions -- no more worrying about whether or not something matches! Parents will also have more solid ground to stand on when explaining why flippers, tiaras, and capes cannot be worn on a school day.
Transition: The point of uniforms in preschool is not to hinder your child's creative expression of their self. However, uniforms can help children make a mental transition into the routine of education. The uniform prepares them for a school environment -- one that is distinctly different from home, and one in which they will learn, explore, play, and interact with others. Once the uniform goes on, it's influencing them to get in to "school mode."
Cost: There are certainly up front costs that come with uniforms, but in the long-term, it tends to save parents money, since fewer school clothes have to be purchased over the course of a year. The uniforms can also be recycled or reused, which is definitely a bonus if you have additional kids attending TGS in the future.
Comparisons: It's difficult to keep kids from differentiating between one and other based on what the child is wearing. However, when children are wearing uniforms, these cultural or socio-economic distinctions are mitigated in an effort to form a tight-knit community focused on learning.
Safety: To put it quite simply, if all children are in uniform, it's much easier to identify people that don't belong on school grounds.
Creativity: Uniform critics will argue that individualization and creativity are stripped away when young children are required to wear uniforms, but if you spend a day at TGS, you'll see how many other opportunities our students are given for creative expression. Between art, music, computer work, language skills and everything else TGS has to offer, preschoolers are encouraged to explore and think creatively every day at TGS. This is the kind of expression that goes way beyond the clothes they wear.