Monday, 22 April 2013

Dreamers, sillyhearts and toddlers

Just when you think you won't be political any more and just when you think this government cannot prove they are any more out of touch with reality than we first thought...they prove you wrong! 

This new haridan-Elizabeth Truss...yes I know she sounds like a Roald Dahl character...but she is a Childcare Minister of our "elected" government-has announced with stunning clarity and understanding of the development of the child-that "chaotic’ pre-schools that allow children to do what they want all day long, leaving them unable to sit still and listen by the time they get to primary school". Not content with this staggering claim she added 
"many nurseries were filled with toddlers ‘running around with no sense of purpose’. 
Well pardon me for noticing-but "toddlers" are normally between the age of 2 and 3...even 4...what exactly does she think they should be doing? 

Obviously, don't take my word for it...I have only had twenty years teaching experience-a lot of it in Early Years (to Y2) -oh and have reared 3 kids of my own...and worked in Toddler groups...and now am helping to look after Noah our 3 year old grandson... However, I would hate to suggest that these things make me more knowledgeable or skilled than Ms Truss but what a load of...sheep's testicles to suggest that infants under 4 should do anything less than what they want...if you can't do what you want at 2 when can you? 

As for manners-these are developmental and require good role models at home for starters-then the nursery/school can add to it...What two and three year do you know who can get it right all the time? My grandson has been taught please and thankyou-but -being 3 has to have a gentle reminder sometimes. Unruly? Yes! Isn't that a developmental stage we all went through? Terrible twos and all that? Perhaps Truss was swaddled (tightly I hope) till she was five and made to learn tables by rote...but most kids in "child centred education" (novel idea that-wonder why that's never been tried?) learn through exploration, experience and they try out their emotions on each other, fight-learn the rudiments of sharing, fight, race round, fight, laugh, cry...they are not the complete article...that happens a lot later normal kids! Obviously those with nannies, prep schools etc are not quite as lucky-I generalise...but you get what I mean!

This isn’t about two-year-olds doing academic work – it’s structured play which teaches children to be polite and considerate through activities which the teacher is clearly leading,’ she said. Well goodo! I actually think that this is what most nurseries do...but also they have to skip along doing the prescriptive curriculum packing their little minds with all kinds of stuff...has this woman been in a real nursery? Would she know a toddler if she met one? Should we all rethink Early Years Education?

I for one will be chastising my grandson daily and ensuring he says hello when I enter the room-maybe I can get him to doff his cap as well at the same time! I will instruct his erring parents to purchase a back brace so his posture is correct and we must immediately cure him of his spiteful left-handedness! As for all this running round with lack of purpose-well clearly we must beat this out of him! And at the same time I must prevent my son from taking him out to look at the moon and stars and him being able to identify a picture of planet earth at 2! Obviously when I drive him past Furness Abbey I must stop him shouting "our abbey Grandma! My daddy worked there and they got treasure out!" It would be best too to stop him uselessly memorising stories like the Grufallo and retelling it page by page-he might be too unruly! 

And as for those "graduate" level teachers who should be in charge in nurseries...perhaps when the government start to pay graduate level pay for Nursery leaders, teachers and Teaching Assistants. But no-what they want is subservient, dull, unimaginative teachers who toe the line-delivering something akin to the Dame School education of the 19th century to children until they reach 14. We wouldn't want them to get all aspirational and think they could achieve anything other than the basic and mundane! Starve the imagination and feed them facts that they will never use-and you will have a docile and malleable nation! Perfect! And then they can start on the NHS...oh hang on...but lets face it...a hospital is easier to run when all the patients are asleep...or dead!

Unruly use of water

Running around without purpose

a chaotic nursery setting?