In the occasional moments of internet freedom between child and household chores as well as work, I have been intrigued to read about the ‘Let our Kids be Kids’ campaign.
My eldest is aged 6 and in year 1. He hates school. He hates it with a passion which causes me alarm. He is reasonably bright but is not meeting his full potential by any stretch of the imagination. My view? He is 6 years old. 6 years ago, he was struggling to work out how to attach himself to my boob and drink milk from it, having excelled in his biological instinct to push his way out of my body in the first place. Now, he is being asked to spend hours at a time sitting on a patterned carpet answering questions about castles, spelling and shapes. Joined up writing is his nemesis. Frankly, if he and I came across Biff, Chip and Kipper crossing the road while in the car, I think my foot might accidentally slip onto the accelerator rather than the brake.
I know that girls and boys are different as I have 2 of each. My girls love to read and spend time concentrating. My boys love to spend time running riot outside and learning practical things like that water only runs downhill and not uphill.
What baffles me is that this has not in any way been factored into our curriculum. If my eldest boy is tested next year, he will do badly. This is not because he is not capable, but because he is too busy wanting to learn about his world and this earth to want to read what others have written about it. He just wants to be and do. My daughter (my second child) will be different when her time comes.
I grew up in Northern Ireland where your post primary school education was determined by your 11 plus results. This blighted my childhood as although ultimately I did well, I spent most of not all my primary school years preparing for this one exam. 7 years preparation for two days
The pressure on a primary school child was so great, it has never left me. I have only just seen this campaign, but I must say, it has my full support. Let my boy come round to learning in his own way. Support and nurture his talents, and help him with the things he finds more difficult. Whatever you do, don’t test his abilities aged only 6, and judge him on that going forwards. Don’t try to justify it as assessing the need for ongoing support. If those who have the power are listening at all, please just let our children live, grow, explore their world and be children. With a likely life expectancy in the future only increasing, let’s leave these babies to their play.
After all, life is long enough to fit it all in.