Monday, 30 August 2010

Early education

"Big Bang for Full Day Learning Buck"

Mon Aug 30 2010
Ontario could be missing out on a significant economic payoff by offering a scaled-down version of full-day learning"

I didn't even click into this Toronto Star newspaper article. The tag line says it all. Full day kindergarten for children as young as three years old is nothing more than an economic scheme. Yes, mothers may go back to work early, but can we really say that society has improved since mothers left the home for the workforce? The only reason it is being put in is for an economic stimulus. The most money in the fastest way seems to be the mantra today, with little thought to long-term effects and overall impact on society.

It makes me mad, especially since the majority of media articles cite (and laud) the academic reasons for 6 hours of school for children so young. THERE IS A REASON WHY GRADE 1 IS THE FIRST GRADE! It is because at 6 years old, children are ready for formal learning. Then they added kindergarten for school before first grade. The direct translation is "children's garden." Perhaps if kindergarten was simply that - a place for children to play with friends and explore new things, a voluntary drop-in sort of place, it would be an ideal setting. But instead kindergarten teachers have curriculum and the children have "expectations" in order to be ready for grade 1. Now they have added a second kindergarten year, because apparently in order to get ready for the first year old school you need TWO preparatory years. Does anyone else see the insanity in this?

Children learn the most in the first six years, which is why, I believe, school used to start at age six. The first and most impressionable years were spent in the home with the mother. It wasn't a free-for-all, but a place of emotional, physical and spiritual learning. A time when children's character was shaped and good behaviour instilled. There was (and is) plenty of learning needing to be done in those early years, and the most effective teacher is the mother.

Thank goodness kindergarten isn't mandatory, for the most part. (Although you must take a minimum 1 year of kindergarten in French to gain entrance into the French Immersion program) But that's not a fact the schools boards advertise very much. Not too surprising, since they come under the jurisdiction of the government, and the government is the one wanting all the mothers back in work as soon as possible. I'm getting a little tired of our captilalistic society. I wonder what it will take for us to realize that having the most money does not equate with either success or happiness, and certainly not with a healthy society and community.


Jenn said...

Great post, Terri-Ann. Griffin starts JK this year, but I'll have no qualms about pulling him out of school for a day or a week to go on some "real life learning" adventures. I'm sad that by the time Corben goes to school, he'll be doing all day every day JK. Kids spend enough time in school, lets let them be kids for a few years longer!

Anonymous said...