And some fell on stoney ground …
It appears, after reading and listening to the BBC News today, that Mr Wilshaw is again attempting to steal childhood. I just don’t know why he can’t see that today is important in itself and is not, I repeat not, in preparation for adulthood. And the joy of the early years of growing up is about playing, getting excited, being with friends and not about learning how to behave in school. I just cannot understand why we persist in going down this pathway when few other countries in the world seem to do this. Institutionalising children at the age of two just does not make sense. Just view this quote from Mr Wilshaw from the BBC site: A greater emphasis on structured learning is the answer, he says. And he calls for schools to take the lead by providing high-quality early-years education in on-site nurseries.
Further: Sir Michael added: “The corollary of not preparing children well for school is that they don’t do well in reception and, if they don’t do well in reception, they don’t get on at key stage one, they find it difficult to read at seven, they fail at the end of primary school and that failure continues into secondary school.
So according to Wilshaw today is a preparation for tomorrow and what do we know about tomorrow? Very little indeed, we continue to prepare our children for a world that we have no idea about. So what would a key skill look like? … I suggest that learning how to grow vegetables would be a really good skill to have. And learning to be safe and kind and thoughtful and caring are much more important than learning the five times table.
We need to give children time to grow and time to be still, there is no rush to formalise learning in any way. Being allowed moments to fail and to experience moments of joy are fundamentally important to developing a sense of self. The formalised, stratified learning talked about by Children’s Minister Liz Truss who has said repeatedly that she wants to see more teacher-led sessions in the nation’s nurseries – is not appropriate for our youngest children.
The divided education system that we have at present continues to head off in the wrong direction. I just hope that the present teachers in training will have the sense and power to turn things around.