Why do Skinner students wear uniforms? by Nikki Skinner
Skinner is one of the few Montessori schools in the Portland/Vancouver area that requires students to wear uniforms. This decision went into effect in the fall of 1997. Please know Skinner did not go to uniforms to bring it more in line with Montessori philosophy; this was strictly an administrative decision.
As a teacher for over 30 years, I truly feel that if I am unable to touch your child’s heart in a meaningful way, I am not successful. As a teacher, I am blessed in Montessori as your child’s head is filled with all sorts of wonderful things because of their keen desire to learn, but this is the easy part of our job. The most important part of our job is to help your children construct themselves in a loving and kind way.
I could not — personally or professionally — be a part of anything that would allow one’s sense of self-worth to be determined by what they wore, and I saw that happening at Skinner. Most parents can remember their own childhood experiences well enough to acknowledge that children can sometimes be cruel. If another child does not have the “right” brand or style of clothing, some children can —and will — make life very difficult for that student. This kind of behavior is very difficult for a child to bear. Of course, it is important for teachers to help students understand that teasing is not acceptable; however, uniforms eliminate this issue.
” I do not want any child’s regard for another human being to be based on the clothes they wear, the car their parents drive, or the kinds of toys they have. I want our students to base their judgments of people on their words, actions, and for the regard that person extends to all people, regardless of their race, color, or creed.” The decision to require uniforms was not made casually, nor is it be enforced casually. Without parents’ support, the goal I have for your child cannot succeed. I need your support, your positive energy to realize this inner vision I have for your child. The values we sow into the minds of our children now will grow into a heart that is filled with love and respect for all people — a heart that compares a person’s words with a person’s actions, because actions always speak louder than words.
But, for those of you who are still uncertain about the effect of uniforms on your child’s creativity, individuality and self-expression, please remember that there are convenience factors and financial benefits to using school uniforms as well.
Gone will be the debates and arguments over what your child wants to wear to school and the incessant whine “But I NEED to have Joe Schmoe jeans – all the kids at school are wearing them!”
We use Dennis Uniforms in Portland, Oregon as the supplier of our uniforms (if you wish to place your order on line, our school number is 61375). The clothing items we have selected are reasonably priced and wear like iron (compare that to the latest fashions touted on television, newspapers, billboards and buses!). Your children will outgrow their uniforms before they wear them out. We offer used uniforms for sale in the office.
Free Dress Days
We also have Free Dress Days on the last school attendance Friday of each month and other occasions as designated by the school. Also, if a child needs to be in another uniform (for example, a Scouting uniform) on a particular day, they may wear this uniform in place of their Skinner uniform. We also do not require uniforms during our Summer Session, and your children may wear their own everyday raincoat or jacket when playing outside.
If you have any questions or concerns about our uniform policy, please contact me, and I will be happy to explain our position further.
Nikki Skinner, Skinner Elementary Montessori Administrator