and control the young?
The new state government "promised" that all children in the state would soon be at preschool for fifteen hours a week. They promised this as if it was not just a desirable thing but an essential thing. It would get mothers back into the work force and it would teach children what they needed to know in order to start school.
There are now jabs from the Opposition because it is going to take a while to implement this promise. Money has apparently been put aside for a "Royal Commission" into the matter and introducing it could take as much as ten years - or so we are told.
We need a Royal Commission into this? What will that uncover or recommend?
As a small kitten I went to what was then known as "kindergarten". It was held in a house further along the road in the small country town where I was born. I suppose there must have been, at most, about a dozen children. There were singing games, craft activities, a story, and pieces of apple or orange for afternoon tea.
I didn't think much of it, indeed objected rather strongly to going at all. That might have had something to do with the fact that the woman who ran it was called away to the phone one afternoon just as story time had started. I picked up the book and went on reading it to everyone else. The result was a firmly smacked hand and being told I was not to touch the books. That everyone else had sat fairly quietly and listened seemed to be entirely beside the point.
I suppose I had ruined whatever plans the teacher had but it was sufficient to make me loathe the place. This was probably unfair because we did not have to put up with the sort of activities that now seem to be commonplace in preschools and daycare.
Now they seem to be much more about making sure children know their letters and numbers, can read their name, sort by size and shape, and much more. Someone puts their hand in paint and puts it on a large sheet of paper along with the hands of everyone else and they are given a lesson in "reconciliation". They get a story about getting electricity from the sun and another about how dinosaurs died out. They are told boys and girls are the same. They are taught about the Dreaming but Christmas is not mentioned. Muslim and other religious holidays get celebrated but don't breathe a word about Passover or Easter. Stories are read to them but they are stories designed to teach correct ways of thinking about race, sexuality, gender, and "equality" in occupation and opportunity.
It seems to me that what is happening in preschool is less about educating the child and more about indoctrinating the child. I have been in and out of four local preschools. I have talked to the teachers in those places. It is clear they believe their role is to ensure children know how to think about certain topics. They don't see it as any sort of indoctrination. It is simply what they are expected to teach the children.
We might want very young children to know about some of these things but I wonder if they will learn about the really important things that come from being given other freedoms. I am sorry they don't have the freedom to play and use their imagination as we did. I am sorry they can't go riding their tricycles around a small country town and learning about adult activities by watching and listening. Most of all I am sorry they are no longer allowed to be children and what should be a magical world. The world might be a better place if they simply learned to love the world around them instead of fear it.