At what age or grade is it appropriate to teach "Romeo & Juliet"?
My daughter is in second grade, and the fourth and fifth graders are putting on the play, "Romeo and Juliet" as an all-grades assembly at the elementary school. As my daughter was telling me about how she was excited to go see the play, she told me about the story and how Romeo "kills himself because he was mad at people." I explained that wasn't a good way to solve the problem he was facing, but found myself very disturbed that second graders were being exposed to the themes of Romeo & Juliet. Am I out of touch? Is this now part of the curriculum for elementary school? I recall being exposed to this story in middle school, and am not happy that my daughter is learning it so soon.
I agree. Clearly, the theme of love, suicide, "accidental death" is far beyond the average primary grade student. Certain excerpts might be fine. I would bring this up with the teacher and ask how they plan to answer questions about the theme.
Wayne Yankus, MD, FAAP
expert panelist: pediatrics
Yes, this seems, to say the least, unusual -- even 4th and 5th grade seems very young to me. I remember reading a shortened version of the play in 7th grade, then reading and examining the text in high school. I would bring up my concerns to the parents or instructors overseeing this play, and calmly state my concern that the material is important in the overall history of the world, but inappropriate for most elementary school grades.