Fellow parent’s of the world,
This week I would like to look at primary school / childcare 5-11 year’s.
By now you have hopefully succeeded in supporting the development of the well rounded individual that is your child. You can now ask them questions in regards to what they’ve done that day, who they have spoken to and get a response that will give you an incite to their world and how they have perceived the things you are not around to see. Finding’s support that between the 1950’s and 1990’s the average vocabulary of a child entering primary school saw a dramatic decline, this decline reflected a rise in mothers returning to work and pension cuts. Less family time resulted in less exposure to the use of words other than those used among your peers at school. Who were the same age as you and as had become necessary also had working parents. Parents working longer hours had less time and energy to read with their children. Which in turn resulted in an explosion of television programs and activities to distract our children, corroding precious direct bonding time. Parents found they had less patience to answer the 10,000 questions that popped into their five year old’s mind’s, with the depth and enthusiasm they deserved. Before catchment area’s, bidding, points and bonus systems. The councils priority would be to house you within distance of relatives. This maintained community spirit and addressed the need of extended family support. Your children would become familiar with the route to aunty or grandma’s house, seeing familiar members of the wider community along the way. Easing the adjustment process that the world is just that little bit bigger.
Being five years old and waiting to start primary school was an exciting time. The stories your siblings, cousins and neighbors children came and told on the evenings and weekends were full of things you couldn’t wait to understand. You knew you were going to have loads of fun learning because you were going to be with them. The thought of dealing with other children wasn’t an issue, you knew you would be safe. That the teachers were familiar with you and your family further ensured, you would be on your best behavior. You parents wouldn’t be stressing about a school place because your place was secure through family or community links . You wanted to be that good child that local faces greeted . You had a sense of pride and belonging and carried these qualities within you naturally as you began to take you place within the wider community. You were bursting and ready to learn because that’s all you had to worry about. Learning.
The closure of primary schools has resulted in the remaining establishments filling their classes to maximum. Class size has increased to an average of 30 children in order to accommodate the increased demand for places. Teachers are strained and worst of all children are strained. Failing to submit a primary school application on time can result in a last minute rush to take any place available. Children attending schools outside of their communities are less likely to attend with children they are familiar with, further increasing feelings of isolation. We are encouraged to have our children partake in after school activities in order to stimulate their interests. Further distancing our children from the influences of family. After-school clubs and play center projects such as those run in the late 80’s and early 90’s, where children would socialize within their communities are a thing of the past. As the government continues to reduces public funding for community projects. Our children have less opportunity to recognize their value as part of something bigger than themselves.
Family connections in schools unless direct siblings are rare. Suddenly the system makes it very clear that your child is in competition with thousands of others. We again ignore our instincts that tell us our children are individuals. We tell our children how wonderful they are, that there is only one them and then tell them to keep up with the rest. The current system encourages our children to fall in line and to think within the box. This influence is not only promoted in the class room, but through magazines and programs. We don’t need science to tell us we all learn in different ways. The current system focuses on retaining information rather than knowledge through experience and obtaining an understanding of how to apply the facts to everyday life. This chosen method is to ensure excellent pass marks. This in turn secures funding, excellent reports and reviews. The institute of education is a political socialization minefield all about numbers, turnovers and what the out of touch say needs to happen in order to generate as much revenue as possible.
Those in the position to change things are well aware of what the problems are and what needs to be done. Although these changes will not show immediate results the long term benefits to be gained would be conducive to the personal and social well-being of generations to come. Rather than looking at what is working and applying it across the board authorities re-label already apparent problems, launching campaigns which create the illusion of addressing the problems at hand. We already know that the current reading programs in place have failed to support the academic needs of our children as they move forward onto further and higher education. Rather than consider implementing resources that ensure upon entering primary school, our children are equipped with the necessary basic tools. They have instrumentally created a system that fails to address the core issues of being a ‘decent human being’ and replaced it with being a ‘successful person’.
Year 1 Phonics Test FAQ’s http://www.education.gov.uk/a00198207/faqs-year-1-phonics-screening-check
Our children are like a field of trees. If the roots are stable and the conditions met the saplings will grow and flourish to stand strong for years to come. Family is the key to our children blossoming into the flowers that are within each and every one of them. Nurture and protect their innocence. It encourages them to grow and develop their own ideas and once lost can never be regained.
In-no-sense should we forget that which we have been entrusted to protect.
Photo credit to flikr.com (wording in photos adapted for the article)
- What does it mean to parent a child who has been the labelled as having an ‘intellectual disability’? (fionaeplace.wordpress.com)