First I read an article talking about how meditation can help children with sleep anxiety problems. I”ve heard of this before, and while I prefer meditation to the alternative – medication, I still ponder on why children have become so anxious. When I was a kid, none of my friends complained of insomnia from lying awake at night worrying about the pressing issues in their lives. Is it the lack of creative free play in their over scheduled lives or is it that as parents we are too busy to really listen to our children? Whatever the cause I feel for those kids and hope that they can get the help they need to manage their stress before they reach adulthood.
A few pages on I stumbled on an article on all-day kindergarten (I can”t find the link for it). It started off as a bit of a scan read as my personal opinion is that all-day kindergarten could be great or it could be terrible – I believe it has more to do with the curriculum and amount of free play time the child has than the amount of time the kid spends in school. In fact, it”s probably better for a kid to spend the day in one place than be shuttled off to half a day of day care after kindergarten has finished.
I was brought up short in my internal monologue/rant when I read that all day kindergarten was being proposed for the 3-5 yr age group. Yes, you read that right – they are actually proposing that it would be a good idea to have 3 year olds attend full day kindergarten. Amongst many thoughts that began flying through my mind, I wondered if this would also involve the toddlers being sent out into the playground with all the rest of the older kids at break time?!? Incidentally the picture accompanying the article showed a math teacher sat in front of a class of regular kindergarten aged kids teaching them math by pointing to a black board – so much for experiential education.
The article was debating the convenience factor for the parents vs how much it would cost the tax payers. It seemed to miss the part where it discussed what would be best for the children.
So on one page we have anxious children who can”t sleep at night and on the next page we are proposing sending toddlers to school full time. Later on in the day I checked my blog feeds and found an article by British journalist Graeme Patton “Four-year-olds given therapy to improve behaviour” which talks about techniques used in schools to control unruly children and reduce suspensions in the 4-7 age groups. (What on earth are four-year-olds doing that requires suspension!?!) My “favourite” part of the article is that schools have been putting on evening classes to teach parents how to handle their children”s bad behaviour!
So here”s my solution – take the tax money that would be spent on full day kindergarten for 3-5 year olds and create tax breaks for parents who stay at home with their kids. Let”s turn parenting into something that everyone can do like it has been throughout history.