The NY Times Sunday Opinion section had a piece by William Logan titled Poetry, Who Needs It? advocating poetry in the classroom. He was not advocating just any poetry. Logan wants the inclusion of Dante, Milton, Shakespeare and Pope by fifth grade.
(1) the times tables up to, say, 25; (2) a foreign language, preferably obscure; (3) the geography of a foreign land, like New Jersey; (4) how to use basic hand tools and cook a cassoulet; (5) how to raise a bird or lizard (if the child is vegetarian, then a potato); (6) poems by heart, say one per week; (7) how to find the way home from a town at least 10 miles away; (8) singing; (9) somersaults.
This curriculum with its nine objectives seems a little sparse, although that probably was Logan’s point. I would like to offer the following three options as electives to his curriculum:
10. Sharing folk tales and fairy tales;
11. Painting (finger painting or even painting a room);
12. How to swim. (I am very serious about this one).
Call it the “Poetry Plus” curriculum.