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Are We as a Nation Failing The Youngest of Our Community?

Are we as a nation failing the youngest of our community?

The last 24 hours have been a whirlwind for me. It all started with a Facebook post from a friend who was worried as she didn’t feel her twins were ready to start Prep in 2017. In summary as a parent, she is not being given the choice to hold her twins back a year. If she chooses to hold them back and they don’t have Prep spots available, her twins will be sent straight to grade one, missing out on the beginning of their education.

After reading her post I thought it was time to sort out what would be happening with my own three year old next year. You see the last couple of weeks have been quite stressful in our house. Our three year old has been playing up at Kindy and having epic tantrums as she does not want to look the teacher in the eye to say hello. Now as her mum, I know that she is hard work, she is quite opinionated and she has a strong will. But so far she has loved kindy. The last couple of weeks have set alarms bell’s off in my head. Our eldest is repeating prep this year, and she is thriving. She is the most wonderful, sweet, caring child you will ever meet. But if you rewind to kindy and prep take 1, it was clear that she was not ready. I experienced epic meltdowns, meetings with teachers (apparently she was a term behind her grade at the end of term one) and a child who went from super sweet to an absolute mess as the pressure of prep was too much. The whole time I was told that she will be fine, don’t worry one day it will just CLICK! But do you know what? It didn’t! It took changing schools and committing to 10K a year in fees to get someone to pay attention to what was going on with her and agree that repeating prep was in her best interest.

So back to today. It’s quite simple actually. Last night I emailed our head of junior learning about concerns around my 3 years old’s behaviour and expressed the fact that I would like her to repeat Kindy next year. Her reply “simple.” DD1 is a perfect example of how repeating a grade can lead to an increase in confidence and prep readiness. SO ESSENTIALLY because I pay for my child’s education I am given a choice. So for me second time around this was easy. Her kindy teacher expressed that she was happy with the CHOICE as this gave her more time to get DD2 prep ready.

But it did leave me thinking, Money talks, but should it? Why should my children be given an advantage when hundreds of other parents are fighting a losing battle to make choices about their children’s education?

And then this happened. Clearly I spend too much time on Facebook and as I was scrolling this article popped up. In summary the article expresses how we are failing the youngest members of our community by not giving them access to quality early learning at the time that they are ready to take advantage of it. Did you know that 30% of prep aged students are entering prep without any exposure at kindy? Or that 1 in 3 children that grow up in a low socio-economic environment are being set up for a damaging start to their education.

So as a private school parent I leave you with this. Why is it that I am able to make choices while my friend down the road cannot? Is the future of all of our youngsters not equally important?

If we have the right to choose a home birth, or not to vaccinate our children, why is it that unless we pay the big bucks our parenting choices are nil and void?


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