Our neighborhood elementary school requires students to wear school uniforms. I love it. Seriously, I think it’s fantastic.
Granted I’m only talking about school uniforms of a certain color polo shirt + a certain color of pants or skirt. I’ve never experienced the more rigid dress code that some private school have, with specific plaids or only this particular kind of shoes. Our school uniform situation is pretty relaxed, as uniforms go…which is just one reason I like it so much.
Here are just a few more reasons I think school uniforms are a great idea:
Shopping for them is easy. For the month or so leading up to the first day of school, you can buy school uniforms just about anywhere for just about any price point. Even during the school year, if your kid needs an extra pair of khaki pants, they’re not that hard to find.
Getting dressed in the morning is easy. There are only so many options, and everything matches everything else. That’s a huge relief for me, since she has some, uh, interesting ideas about what things “match” each other. Now the only real clothing-related concern we face each school day is whether or not she has PE that day. (No sandals allowed for PE.)
Navigating the dress code is easy. Since her outfits are already pretty much picked out for her, I never have to wonder whether or not a certain style or trend will be allowed on campus. Ridiculous school dress codes are another post entirely, but it’s nice I don’t even have to think about it for now.
There’s just something about wearing the same clothes as everyone else. Suddenly you feel like you’re on the same team. And when you’re on the same team, you tend to treat one another with more respect, cooperation, and understanding. I’ve loved watching the older kids at my daughter’s school take the kindergartners under their wings and make sure they feel safe and comfortable on campus.
My daughter’s school isn’t my first experience with school uniforms. I also taught for a year at an inner-city junior high where they were required. It definitely helped cut down on gang-affiliated clothing choices. More than that, it helped the students–who had very strong attachments to their elementary schools–start to see each other as friends and equals rather than acquaintances from a rival school.
They simplify team activities for teachers.
At least once a week I hear about how the students in blue shirts did one thing while the kids in red or white shirts did something else. The PE teacher in particular likes to take advantage of which version of their uniform the students are wearing to divide them into teams. I know I would’ve preferred that to wearing the stinky old jerseys we used at my elementary school!
They’re first-grader approved.
I can’t speak for other children, but my daughter has loved wearing uniforms. One of her favorite things is seeing who is wearing the same color shirt or shorts as her on any given day. Because when you’re six, twinning is winning.
I mean, come on. What’s not to love about a six-year-old in a polo and pleated skirt? I doubt I’ll ever get tired of it.
On the other hand…
They can be hard to find.
When everyone who goes to your neighborhood school also shops at your neighborhood Target, size small red polos are going to sell out pretty quickly. I thought I was doing so well getting my daughter’s school uniforms two weeks before school started. Nope. The racks were pretty picked over already. One pair of shorts she liked only had size 4 and size 12X left.
They can require a second wardrobe.
Either she stays in her school clothes all day and wears them out/gets them stained faster, or I make her change right after school. I prefer the latter, mostly because I’m hoping her little sister can wear hand-me-downs when she starts kindergarten. But that means she needs school uniforms AND play clothes.
There goes all my money.
They make anything unique stand out more.
When everyone dresses pretty much the same, it’s easy to spot something that doesn’t quite fit in. Some kids use this to their advantage and express themselves creatively. Other kids find themselves sticking out in a negative way because their clothes are too faded or don’t fit well, their hairstyle is wonky, or their shoes aren’t the “cool” style.
All in all, though, I love school uniforms. For the most part I think they’re fantastic, to the point that I’d be super disappointed if our neighborhood school stopped requiring them.
What about you? Do your kids have to wear school uniforms? Are you a fan or not? And what do your kids think of them?