Charlotte really enjoys Kindi. She’s grown in confidence and independence. She’s making friends. She’s learning how to get along in a group environment.
She would have done all of this, I strongly believe, with or without Kindi. She isn’t actually learning anything substantial at Kindi. Often she’s left to ‘play’ without enough adults to guide appropriate communication. Her Kindi teacher’s are brilliant – don’t get me wrong – but they are understaffed. With a ratio of plus 10 children to one teacher it is an incredibly tough ask to do all that’s required in laying the foundation stones – however they do a great job.
When she asks the question, ‘Why do I have to go to Kindi?’ she doesn’t ask because she’s unhappy, she asks out of genuine interest and a need to understand why.
What do I tell her?
I say Kindi is a way to prepare her for school. To get used to learning in a team environment. A stepping stone to independence. To learn patience and listening skills. To work in a team environment. To learn punctuality… but I don’t feel as though I am saying this from the heart and, if I’m honest, I don’t believe I’m being 100% genuine.
Today, she had the onset of a mild cold. I knew she needed a ‘mental health’ day – call it what you will. We spent the morning at the beach. She introduced herself to a number of children and played happily in nature’s freedom. She handled starfish. Spotted a little blue penguin swimming in the harbour. Marveled at jelly-fish. She interacted confidently with adults. Took great interest in children younger than herself. She learned more in one morning out in the ‘real-world’ than she would have done in a week of ‘the system’.
At Kindi she would have been forced to sit on a mat – in a crowded environment – maybe chosen to help clean a table – or else sit for twenty minutes being told to sit still and wait till the cleaning had been finished and she’d be ‘rewarded’ with a story. She would have sat at a morning tea table with a group of her peers and be told, ‘We don’t share food,’ (health and safety) – what happened to communal eating and learning the pleasure of sharing food and conversation together.
My daughter starts school in July. I’m dreading it. I really hope all my fears are ill-founded. I’ve read a lot about home-schooling and really appreciate the virtues, but don’t think I’d be cut out for it. However, if my daughter came to a point in her school ‘career’ where her free-spirit, sense of self and creativity was suffering I would consider it. I feel for the young children in the UK, where constant testing has driven learning from one of joy to one of a chore to make the grade (read this article from the Independent – a leading UK newspaper).
I’m just glad we can enjoy nature’s wonderland and ‘mental health’ days when we all need it! Often, so vital in today’s crazy world!