children's playground and sandpit

The sandpits are empty
The Block Corner’s dead
A child is now only a bodiless head!


Within all the research about brain plasticity, brain stimulation, accelerated learning, directed and explicit learning a robbery has taken place.
Children are being robbed of their childhoods.
We’ve lost sight of what children need and who they are.
They are being hooked up to machines that supposedly take the place of teachers or parents and left to repeat and repeat.
They are sitting in rows looking at flashcards and parroting answers.
The sandpits are empty, the block corner is quiet.
Their eyes look dull and it is obvious they are starting to perform like trained seals.
Is this what we want for our children?
Is it REALLY all about results? Results of what?
Sure, we must teach in the best way possible and there is nothing wrong with explicit teaching methods – we use them every day.
What IS wrong is the lack of thinking, experimentation and curiosity driven learning.
I WANT Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar and many other effective literacy and numeracy programs to be used in schools. I just don’t want these used to the detriment of social skills, motor development and general vocabulary development.
We can take steps to make sure this does not happen. We just need to THINK.
Children could trace their spelling words in sand-pits, learn about volume and capacity in the sandpit and build a model of the narrative they have been listening to.
They could use plasticine to model sight words and numbers.
They could build simple structures to help them understand a spelling rule.
Who ever said that learning has to be boring and have a punitive feeling?
Are adults so angry with their fun-less lives that they have to rob children as well?
Worksheets are not always the way. Properly designed worksheets may help children to pass specific exams and practise skills that require a great deal of repetition but there is ALWAYS an alternative – even if it involves a little more planning.
We did need a U turn in Australia. For many years we had a lack of curriculum documents, laissez faire attitude and “she’ll be right” does not work in education!
BUT – we did not need the big NAPLAN stick and the factory approach that is robbing children of their right to just BE, to think, to wonder and to dream.
Some balance PLEASE?


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