So, apparently, "School Of Rock" isn't just an excellent 2003 comedy starring Jack Black (and an upcoming show on Nickelodeon) -- it's also real-life pre-kindergarten program in Oklahoma City. However, in Mr. Jarred Geller's classroom, you better throw a "punk" in front of "rock."
"We’re like if Bill Nye the Science Guy joined Blink-182 and started singing about trapezoids," Geller told MTV News of his burgeoning program, Punk Rock Pre-School. The teacher -- who is currently going into his third year of slinging knowledge to 4-year-olds -- started couching learning in music when he realized much of pre-K is basically memorization. And that kids are a bit smarter than that.
"I’ve pushed my pre-K kids pretty hard -- because they don’t ask them to learn much in pre-K," he said. "They have to learn a few letters, a few numbers, the colors, the shapes. And the kids can learn anything that you throw in front of them. This year has been a huge testament to that."
So what exactly is Punk Rock Pre-School? Well, it's basically a (lite) crash-course in the music business -- mixed with all the usual fare kids learn before they head to kindergarten. Geller has written eight songs in total to teach the kids about everything from geography to currency.
"It’s all about finding one part of the song that kids can pump their fists to," he said. "So, in the shape song it’s, 'Oh, boy. Oh, man.' They just go crazy for that part and in my geography song it’s, 'Geography, you and me.' They’re throwing their fists up for that."
Geller has also filmed music videos with the kids, which they distribute on their YouTube channel as part of a larger lesson on entrepreneurship.
"I have a really wide curriculum where I try to put different jobs, different careers, in front of the kids and let them see all the things that they can do if they’re passionate about it," he said. "We do a whole unit about the community and what it means to be in school. Then we go into a whole unit about the environment and animals and recycling and keeping the environment clean. Then we go into business and entrepreneurship. Then we go into a unit on arts and sciences. By the end of the year they have 50 jobs that they can choose from, which is a lot better than when they come in and everyone wants to be Elsa or Spiderman."
Since a lot of the kids decided they wanted to be rock stars -- and are currently begging their parents for guitars and drums -- Geller and the kids set up a Kickstarter to send the kids to California (home of rock stars) and achieve their dream of being famous musicians. Sadly, the Kickstarter did not meet it its goal, but the kids did gain a wider understanding of what it means to be a musician, how to market themselves and how to create music that makes a traditionally boring subject more interesting.
"I think this year instead of just having the class be on entrepreneurship and funding, I think we’re going to focus more on performance art and try and play some shows in the city," Geller said of next year's class. "That would be an awesome experience for the kids in this upcoming classroom to be able to perform live concerts. Get that kind of confidence and have those experiences for the rest of their life. That’s where I’m taking it right now."
Even though Geller's program is admittedly the most adorable thing ever -- and I totally wish I had had the chance to go when I was a tot -- he has been getting some backlash on the Web for its name.
"People are like, 'This isn’t punk-rock, this is pop-punk. This isn’t punk, there’s nothing punk about school,'" he said. "I want to reply to these people, but I know not to engage with them on the Internet. [But it's like]: 'OK, you sound like a terrible punk. You sound like a punk, not a punk-rocker,' you know?"
Gabba gabba hey, dude.