November 9, 2005

UK National Toddler Curriculum: 'No Latin Until Age 3 '

The British government is proposing a national curriculum for kids ages "naught to five." I looked that up; it means zero. Obviously, I was not the beneficiary of a nationally standardized curriculum which every type of professional caregiver was responsible to follow.

"We are not talking about sitting very young children in chairs and making them learn numbers and letters where that is inappropriate," says Beverly Hughes, the children and families minister, which means it is appropriate somewhere in the 0-5 range [age 3, actually. Existing standards for ages 3-5 would remain largely unchanged.] And with the pre-school alliance not able to promise "rote learning Latin by two-and-a-half,"--which they say probably won't happen--then what's the point?

No scientifical precision, either, just "common-sense ways of observing and encouraging a young child's development through play, songs, reading stories, drawing etc taking into account their age and stage of development".

Supporters say the curriculum would help define expectations for all categories of professional caregivers. But not parents, who would be free to start teaching their kid Latin as soon as he's born.

Labour's plan to educate toddlers [guardian]


Here is my first crack at an appropriate curriculum for 0 to 5 year olds...

1. Be a good listener
2. Share
3. Wash your hands
4. Never say bad things about other people

I'm sure I'm missing some important ones, but this seems like a good start (now that I look back over the list I'm wondering if I shouldn't share it with our current administration?).

Ironically, it's "nought", not "naught". Hoist by your own sarcastic petard ;)

Now the constructive, value-adding bit. Although it sounds like a stupid idea (and will probably have no actual effect) I guess this is aimed at providing guidance for childminders - where a few children are cared for in the childminder's own home. I imagine the standard of care varies pretty widely in this sector at the moment.

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