Tuesday, 26 April 2016

The Ten Minute Post

Hi all...I was going to shut down the computer without writing tonight, having just finished my Day Plan for school tomorrow and having fiddled and fluffed about for much of the evening enjoying various bits n pieces found via Facebook...then I decided to see what I could do in ten minutes, just to say I'd written something...so here it is.

I've been feeling a bit annoyed about the latest push by the government to get children into school even earlier than they are currently starting. Now they can start so long as they are four years old by the end of January in the year in which they intend to commence. That is to be changed to make it okay to be three and a half...I think I have it right. Well really. Kids need time to grow and develop as part of a family and a community before they are thrown into a classroom environment. Are we going to be expecting them to be sitting at desks and concentrating to learn what we think they need to learn at such a tender age. And how much adult support is there going to be to achieve such an end? Are ratios of teachers and teacher aides to children going to be increased to ensure children receive the attention they will require. Think help with toileting, blowing and wiping noses, tying shoe laces, opening drink bottles and food packets and so on.

It makes me so mad. I think it is a mad attempt to steal children away from their parents at an earlier and earlier age. I chose to home school my own children and did so before I went to university to become a teacher. I am so glad that I gave them that time and the opportunity to develop free thought. I'm not saying my kids have no problems or that they are perfect...or that I'm a perfect or superior parent in any way, but for me it felt important to have them with me and to allow them time to explore and learn as they felt interested to do so. This felt like a more natural and healthy way to learn and both of them followed their interests.

The answers to these issues are never easy and I don't purport to have all the answers, but if they want three and half years olds in schools then I think they ought to have the parents accompanying them. Yes I do. Because kids need their parents...well that's it. My ten minutes is up. Bit of a rant this evening...and I will be getting along to an event to oppose the introduction of said adjustments to laws. No doubt there will be hundreds, if not thousands of fellow early childhood educators there too as we say together, "NO!!"

What do you think? 


Kerry x


  1. After many years working in child protection where early school placement was used as a safety measure and an antedote to developmental delay, I saw the value in early school enrolment for some children. But for my own son and many boys the research used to support extra time at home to allow them to mature and be children. Today as a school counsellor I see an epidemic of anxious children and the emerging research indicates that the lack of free play outdoors and helicopter parenting has something to do with this. I think if children can spend more time with their parents/families and more time exploring and enjoying nature we will end up with a healthier society.

    1. Thanks Michelle for your thoughtful contribution; it comes from a broad experience within the sector, I can see. There will always be exceptions to the rule, but I suppose child care might be more appropriate than the school environment for such young children. It will always depend on the quality of the facility and the level of knowledge/understanding and commitment of staff. It's tough. I guess it all begins with supporting parents of young children as early as possible. We have Launch into Learning here in Tasmania at many schools (as you may know) and that is to encourage families with children from birth to 4 years to engage with learning. A big yes to time exploring and enjoying nature! Thanks again for your input - much appreciated!