moreshortstuff

Life, kids etc.

Mummy, cats and Robert Peston

on March 9, 2012
Teach em' Young

Another child chooses to make an early start on learning how to write computer code after encouragement from Ofsted

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE BOLTON NEWS, FRIDAY 18 NOVEMBER 2011

MY YOUNGEST boy goes to a childminder on week days.
He is 18 months old now and loves it.
It helps that the childminder is recently qualified and therefore really keen.
Which means she has plenty of ideas for how to keep the kids (which is really just my boy and another toddler a few months older) busy.
They were learning about “the beach” recently so she took them to the seaside for a day. The petrol alone must have cost more than we pay her! As I said, she’s keen, and we’re reaping the dividends.
The little mite has come on leaps and bounds since he started going in September.
He knew two words back then: “mummy” and “cat”.
Now his vocabulary is huge, considering he’s still a baby. “Daddy” is in there at last. As is “more”, “rice crispies”, “please“, “socks”, “bear“, “pirate” and, oddly, “Chihuahua”.
Don’t get me wrong, he’ll still choose to watch “In the Night Garden” on Cbeebies rather than, say, BBC economics editor Robert Peston’s insightful analysis on Newsnight.
But the point is we’re really seeing a difference in the way he acts and interacts each and every day.
Sadly, it may have to stop.
Because Ofsted has suggested to our childminder that she could do more “child centred planning”. What that means is she needs to let the kids have more of a say in what they are learning about.
When she pointed out the kids are under two, they suggested – and this is absolutely true – holding a “brainstorming” session with the toddlers.
I’m not sure how you “brainstorm” with an 18-month-old child whose idea of fun is to pour porridge on his head, then scoop it up and put it in the fish tank. Then scoop it out and eat it.
But, God bless her, she said she’ll give it a go.
So her educational fun activities about the postman or growing vegetables may fall by the wayside.
Our educational leaders believe that perhaps the grown up with life experience may not always be best placed to decide on what a child should learn about.
The idea of giving our Jesse a say in his learning might be admirable on one level. But in reality it means the childminder is in for a long cold winter and her days filled with activities centred on mummy and cats.
Myself and Mrs Short know exactly how difficult this task is going to prove for the childminder. After all, we recently tried to give our older boy more of a say on what we do as a family at weekends. Sadly, while Bolton can boast a great many things, footballing robots made of chocolate that fire rockets at baddies is not something we were able to locate.
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