With concerned parents seeing a drop in their young children’s enthusiasm for schooling and a spike in anxiety, the internet is abuzz with the question, “Is formal schooling stressing out our Prep children?” This concern has led to a study by the Queensland Government investigating the age appropriateness of the curriculum and pedagogy that mainstream schools are using.
The inappropriateness of the standard curriculum has been clear to us at BIS for the last 4 years as we have watched tiny children come to us showing terrible signs of anxiety after only one year of mainstream schooling. A five year old is completely attuned in their body and mind to the concrete, physical world around them, to their senses giving them direct feedback and their body moving in response. A five year old is supposed to wriggle, move, laugh, talk and run the gamut of emotions as they build a strong and powerful sense of self in the world around them. Making a five year old sit still and silent at a desk is making that child live in their mind not their body, and the mind of a five year old can be a scary place because they still believe in monsters, magic, and mystery around every corner. That little mind, when taken away from the sensory world of feeling and exploring, will make up scary stories and answers that build anxiety and fear of the world around them. In the mainstream search for early academic outcomes they are building silent, compliant, terrified and disconnected children who are trained out of their natural bravery and into a world of fear.
So what can you do? Amy Cox, is so concerned about what is happening to our little children that she has started a lobby group called Protecting Childhood. This organisation, can be found on Facebook Www.facebook.com/protectingchildhoodAER or by visiting their website www.protectingchildhood.org is determined to raise awareness of the plight of our prep-age children by petitioning government to change their policy and bring back play-based learning for Prep. You can help by visiting the site and signing their petition http://bit.ly/1XDSx87 that already has over 5000 signatures from concerned Queensland citizens. If you want to do something more direct, you can write to your local member, the Education Minister Kate Jones and the Premier to tell your stories and to remind them that Parents want their children to love, not fear, schooling. The time is now for the parents of Queensland to stop saying “maybe it will be better next year” and instead demand a schooling system that will make them proud right now, to say “My child is thriving!”. If you want to know more about this topic or see a school that is doing high quality, evidence based education that nurtures the creative and academic mind, come and visit us at bis.qld.edu.au to find our next talk on childhood development and how education should be incorporating it.
Don’t just wait and hope, make a better choice today.
Jen Haynes – Principal