Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Importance of Being Playful

My girls are genius's. Obviously! Today J came home from school with a very nice certificate for being a "caring, friendly and hardworking member of the class" and A came home with her record book from Kindergarten full of photos of her exploring water, sand and ice.

They have settled in so well into the system over here I cannot fault it at all - so far.

J went to maternelle for a short time in Belgium where the kids start at 2 and a half. They troop in there at 9am with their little ruck sacks on their backs and stay a full day until 3.15. They sit in a classroom environment from such a young age it seems like their childhood ends far too soon. I am so happy the A has the opportunity for free play at Kindy. She seems to spend most of her time there dressed as Dorothy the Dinosaur and being chased around the sandpit by her best mate Noah who likes to dress up as a Tiger. That's what childhood should be about.

It has been a busy few weeks for us as J has been going swimming with the school three times this week and will be going three times next week as well. She has also been having swimming lessons each week after school as well this term. So she has been rapidly turning into my own little mermaid.

The way our school has handled the swimming has brought home to me some of the differences between schools in New Zealand and the UK. J's amazing teacher (for the purposes of this blog we will call him Mr X) has developed a class blog which he updates daily describing what the class has been doing. He has put pictures of the kids at the swimming pool this week which is great not only can we see what J has been up to but so can her Grandparents in the UK.

This would just not happen at a school in the UK. Taking pictures of other peoples children and then publishing them on the net would not be allowed. The ubiquitous and media hyped fear of the wrong type of person taking advantage of our children in the UK has meant that things that would have at one time been thought of as perfectly normal have now become unacceptable and dangerous. One dad in the UK was questioned by police after he was taking photos of his own children on the swings in the park. Another parent had reported him as she felt that he shouldn't be taking photos of children in a public place. I find this so sad. I hope New Zealand does not go down this route.

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