Politics OnLine UK
Uploaded: 09 November 2005
Labour plans to educate toddlers
The government plans to introduce standardised education for toddlers, 0 - 5 years olds.
The children and families minister, Beverley Hughes, said the scheme, the "early years foundation stage", would "establish a coherent framework that defines progression for young children from nought to five ... We are not talking about sitting very young children in chairs and making them learn numbers and letters where that is inappropriate" Guardian.
My views on the issue of becoming an ever more watched society are dotted all over this site so I see no need to elaborate them further here, other than to say, we should allow this at our very great peril.
The state is of necessity conservative, its interests are social cohesion, conformity and order. So far so good, but human beings are not simply good citizens, and nor should they be so constrained as to have no other focus.
The plan to introduce standardised education for toddlers is a very dangerous one, not least because the government is not trustworthy, but there must be space for a child to develop its own character, nature and its own individual predilection/s in life. This personal development can only occur within the family and very young children should not be forced into social development before they are ready for it. For example, a baby between 0 and 2 years old cannot grasp the concept of sharing, it is developmentally incapable of achieving such a concept and sharing must be introduced in an age appropriate way. The current ideas of getting both parents back into the market and children into nurseries is as wrong headed as it is developmentally wrong for the child.
We have to decide whether children are an optional extra in life, or are a commitment to the child itself. As Kahlil Gibran put it in the Prophet: You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. Having children isn't just about getting bums on seats in the work place or keeping society going, or even to satisfy a desire to have a child. A child is a life unto itself, and though we are very slow to learn this, it is of the utmost importance.
As a society we are not child focussed, nor are we developmentally focussed. We do not even ask the questions whether we are educated to work or to live, or whether we work to live or live to work? Presently the focus is on living to work and education for work. If we want to produce socially cohesive and considerate people, we may need to rethink that in the very near future.
If we want the best for out children and want them to develop into inspired and motivated people, we may have to face some hard decisions for which the state is not a suitable developmental guardian or decision maker in the best interests of our children.
© Keith Lindsay-Cameron 2005