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Home » Green parenting

Want a happy, healthy child? Then sign this petition

Submitted by on Sunday, 7 September 2008 Loading Add to favourites  9 Comments

let our children be children by signing the petitionIn the UK, most children start school in the September following their 4th Birthday. Their FOURTH Birthday! They are just babies aren’t they?

If that isn’t enough, legislation is due to take effect soon that involves a set of Learning and Development Requirements, which must be followed by providers of care for children below 5 years old – the age of compulsory education in the United Kingdom.

All childcare providers, including childminders, nurseries, kindergartens and pre-school classes, are obliged to register under the Childcare Act in order to operate legally.
They include controversial targets for literacy such as 5 year old should readily use written language in their play and learning, they should show an understanding of how information can be found in non-fiction texts to answer questions about where, who, why and how and begin to form simple sentences, sometimes using punctuation.

My daughter is just getting to grips with the idea of punctuation NOW and she is a bright seven and a half year old.

We took our daughter out of school when she was five because she was already showing signs of stress. She was pulling out clumps of her hair, wetting herself at night and becoming ‘disruptive’ in the class room. More alarmingly her self esteem and confidence were being eroded. When she started to use words like ‘can’t’ then it was time to pull her fragile soul out of the institution.

She is reclaiming her childhood and learning through play. As you’ll see from a post last week, she’s decided to write a book. So, not learning to read until she was 5 clearly hasn’t hampered her has it?

We need to let our children be children, let them develop at their own pace. It burdens me to think of children in nurseries and kindergarten struggling to read and write when their brains are not ready for it.

It’s like trying to help a chrysalis to open. If we do, it whithers and dies. Think of that the next time you’re told your child is not up to a certain Government standard.free range children enjoying their childhood

Even Einstein recognised that imagination was the most important thing! Beatrix Potter was home educated, left to her own devices with no ‘formal education’ and I don’t think she did too badly either.

My daughter is crap at maths ‘on paper’ but ask her how much money she has saved up and how much more she needs to buy something she wants and her grey cells soon start firing! Put some home made cakes in front of her and her Dad and she’ll divide things equally, down the the last meticulous crumb.

She knows how to make a meal for herself and will bring me the herbs she needs from the garden if she gets ill. She knows the name of her Guardian angel and how to light a fire. She nurtures her ‘babies’ and takes care of the cat.

Will those qualities put a tick on a SATS test? Of course not, but who cares? She is happy, healthy and believes in herself. She stands in front of the mirror naked and says ‘look at my beautiful body’. When she was at school the words ‘fat’ and ‘ugly’ and ‘stupid’ entered her vocabulary .

So yes, I’ve taken her out of school and brainwashed her – washed her brain of all the lies and crap that the school playground instilled in her; and given her back her freedom.

PLEASE, take a moment to sign this important petition.

They urgently need people to sign so as to get to 8,000 by the time it closes on 18th Sept. If you care about the future of our children, then it will only take a moment to sign up and have your voice heard. If you’re planning children in the future or have little ones yourself, it is vital that you sign so that your children can enjoy a childhood.

If you have grown up children, then sign it too, because one day your grandchildren will be part of the system. If you are young, free and single and not even thinking about kids yet, just take a moment to try and imagine what it will be like for your 3 year old to struggle to write their name.

If you have more time on your hands and want to learn more about The campaign for an Open Early Years Education then have a read on their site.

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9 Comments »

  • Maureen says:

    I agree that a set of Learning and Development Requirements is outrageous! I did a google search for the campaign link and a link to the petition. Here are the links:

    http://openeyecampaign.wordpress.com/open-eye-petition/
    http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/OpenEYE/

    (I signed the petition)
    And I have to say that I admire you for stepping in and taking your daughter out of school.

  • Laura says:

    Really interesting piece, thanks! My daughter is still young, but Im already struggling daily with the decision to ‘school’ or not to school- Im sorry your daughter showed such signs of distress in school- I think under those circumstances I would have done the exact same thing that you did.

  • Mrs Green says:

    Hi Maureen,
    Thank you for the links; I had problems getting this post to keep the links and photos in, so thank you for bringing to light these important pieces of information that were missing. Now I’ve put them in for other readers – phew!

    Hi Laura, It is a tough decision for many. But follow your heart and take each day at a time. We’re not saying never to school again, but at the moment it works for all of us, and that’s all that matters. It’s dd’s choice and life and we respect her chosen path 🙂
    Love your website, btw; I’d like to write a post about you sometime, if you don’t mind. The name is great LOL!

  • Laura says:

    Thats a really nice way of thinking- sometimes I have to remind myself to follow my heart and not be driven by peer pressure! At least I still have a while to decide anyways!

    By all means write a post about FYP 😀 That would be great, thanks!

  • Melissa says:

    Mrs. Green:
    This is exactly the conversation I had this morning with a few moms and more specifically regarding “all day” kindergarten in the US. Thankfully it’s not mandated until after J. will go – but most families seem to be for sending their children at the age of 5 into a classroom for an entire day. An entire day without absolute freedom? I don’t think that’s age appropriate.
    Kids are far too stressed out these days. I feel as though at these young ages, children should be shown a love for learning rather than having to meet milestones they just aren’t built to meet. It makes me sad to see how much we push our children and end up with kids that hate learning.

    I wish I could sign your petition. There has to be a better way.

  • It seems like it really does have to be considered on a case by case basis — I started reading just before my 3rd birthday and was reading and writing (and trying to figure out why my sister and brother couldn’t pick it up) but I was held back until 3 months before my 6th birthday because my birthday fell just a few days after the cut off.

    Ironically, when my mom signed me up the following year for kindergarten, she was threatened with a report to child welfare if she didn’t also sign up my sister (11 months younger) at the same time (she didn’t). I was always a year older than anyone in my class, but about 3 years ahead learning skills-wise.

    Most of my friends’ kids have all been able to read and write by 1st grade — it’s just part of the curriculum in the US. I think that the education system is really not set up to take into account how kids learn differently from each other or an established curriculum — while parents may be able to highlight particular strengths, a really good teacher can often uncover hidden talents, but it all requires more communication, flexibility and attention than a “one size fits all” program.

  • Mrs Green says:

    Laura, it’s great that you have time to decide; don’t rush a decision. Did you see the post I wrote about you this week, btw?

    Melissa, you make some points that I completely agree with – it’s a love of learning that needs to come naturally from our children and then they can achieve anything. I’m reading a wonderful book at the moment called “Last Child in the woods” by Richard Louv and it ties in with what you say about young children being in a classroom without freedom for the day.

    Jennconspiracy – welcome to the blog! It’s good to see you here. It absolutely does need to be a case-by-case basis; but who is going to fund that?!?!

    Some children are desperate to read and write from an early age, but many are not and it is these children that I worry about. They simply get lost in the system and labelled; often those labels last for life and kill the spirit of learning.

  • Fr. Peter says:

    Often I despair at the so called ‘experts’ who make the rules regarding child education. They assume that all are equal and that one size will fit all, what an aweful error!

    Our son was a slow reader, in fact hardly did any when he was small and I often wonder how he would have shown up in SATS tests, would he have been considered as failing? When he did start later he went from one extreme to another and ended up with an MA from St. Andrews University.

    I would have hated strting school at such an early age, I still remember my first day at school when I was five!

    We are all different and government regulations for schools should celebrate that difference, not seek to reduce all the individuality and creativity of our little ones to the same level.

  • Mrs Green says:

    Hi Peter,
    Your thoughts echo those of Jenn – the one size fits all concern that parents, and I’m sure a lot of educators, have.

    Your son is an excellent example of how a chrysalis will become a beautiful butterfly if, and when, it is allowed to develop in its own time. Unfurling those wings early results in early death and nothing more.

    A celebration of difference and unique abilities would be wonderful and of course this exists in many of the Steiner and Forest schools……

    great to see you, I always love reading your comments.