Are you smarter than a kindergartner? These kids will put you to the test

SEATTLE -- Think you're smarter than a kindergartner? There's a class of little ones in Seattle that might really challenge you, especially when it comes to local government.

The kindergarten class at Bryant Elementary might look like a bunch of ordinary 5- and 6-year-olds, but listen to what they're saying and asking and you learn otherwise.

Seattle City Council member Sally Bagshaw answered a number of intelligent questions during her classroom visit. We wondered: Do kids this age normally ask such big questions of a city council woman?

"Not an ordinary kindergarten class, but Mr. Gallagher's class is light years ahead of most adults," she said. "It's amazing. He's taught these kids who the nine council members are."

Kevin Gallagher has been teaching little ones for more than 30 years, but it was only about five years ago that he was inspired to completely overhaul his curriculum.

Now his teaching totally revolves around social studies.

"President Obama in his inauguration speech said we call could do more and I took that as a challenge to teach why this election was important regardless of party," Gallagher said.

In the fall, he starts with the native peoples and works his way through all branches of government, culminating in a big field trip to Seattle City Hall.

The kids get to go into council chambers, tour city hall and meet with many elected officials, including the mayor.

"They're so gracious to us - and we know what we're talking about," Gallagher said.

That's his goal: For students to be versed enough in current affairs that they command the conversation at the dinner table.

"I always think of it as the hold the fork in mid-air," he said. "I want the family to be having dinner and one of these students said something and everyone said how did you know that?"

Gallagher said he often gets phone calls and emails from parents asking what he's about to teach so they can be prepared for the evening's dinner conversation. And it's not unusual for parents to request that their kids are placed in his class.