Louisa Wall misses the mark

Louisa Wall, MP for Maurewa, has pushed her marriage equality bill to a first reading and is now remaining current in the news:
 http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/7641487/Call-to-lower-school-age-to-four
 
 Good girl for keeping the balls in the air. In some ways this is not difficult for Wall . She has the potential to be a media darling with the likes of TV personalities Patrick Gower and John Campbell who both loath conventional politics and conventional politicians. But there is a lesson to be learned from her. Straight chicks in parliament take note: Get out there on the controversial issues. Have the ideas and push them through despite the misogynist culture in Parliament.
This applies particularly within National. National women get told exactly what they can and cannot say by the Board and the Prime Ministers office. This culture will have to be changed from the inside out by the women so that National can resonate more with the Latte Liberals.

¬†With regards to Louisa’s proposal:
“The move would see 4-year-olds included on school rolls and would take early childhood education away from private operators and into public hands. The compulsory school age is six, although most schools take children at five.”
First the good:
Four year old’s cope well with school type preschool education. I can remember some raised eyebrows when I booked my oldest son to start at a private preschool¬† at the age of two. He started at 9am, finished at 3pm and he thrived. He was able to burn off all that energy and be part of a classroom setting. A classroom setting is important for all ages because there is so much learning done by observing ones’ peers. My son was up to attending five days by the age of four and I would adjust the number of days depending on the needs of the other children and how much time we needed together.
¬†There is no one type of preschool education that suits every family. Mine have always gone to a mix of private preschools and parent co-operatives. I believe that it is important to view yourself as your child’s primary teacher; my family loved our time in our local PlayCentre co-operative.
Brickbats for Wall:
1: I absolutely concede that one woman can have an opinion on what might help another woman, no matter how different her situation might be.
 But childless women politicians are tits when it comes to the welfare or education of children. God forbid one should suggest that is the case Рlook at the furor over the Arden/Barry childless snipe.
¬†Why? Women are not expected to know about male reproductive affairs, but somehow it is the height of political incorrectness to suggest that Ardern and Wall might not be the experts on children’s affairs.
It’s not a criticism, it’s just pointing out the bleeding obvious.
Once upon a time I had no real working knowledge of children. I dare say that will be the case again when the nest empties, leaving me, my husband and my xbox360. Some women struggle even after having kids Рwhy else would there be such a need for food in schools and reading recovery. Being a carer is specialist knowledge.  
2: Who is going to pay for the policy change?
Anyone who has ever delved into the arcane studies of preschool education knows that there is¬† a world of difference between a four year old and a new entrant. (Year zero, in NZ primary school speak) If you put a four year old into a classroom with six year old’s, the differences are far more than the similarities. The number of four year old’s that are not toilet trained would indicate that the practicalities of Wall’s proposals haven’t been well thought out. It’s not just a matter of banging up an extra classroom for four year olds in each school. You would need to set up a new school culture.
It would be bleeding expensive. And it’s unnecessary. Four year old’s are still learning basic life skills such as wiping their bums and taking turns. This is the domain of parents not the unions.
This is my main objection:
 Why the bloody heck should taxpayers fork out for the massive infrastructure and personal changes that the introduction of a policy like this would demand. The private sector is excellent in providing for late Early Childhood Education. Louisa should modify her idea to allow for vouchers to be provided to all four year olds to take to an ECE provider of their choice. I can imagine that would go down like a ton of the proverbial but a voucher system would be the only cost effective way to get our four year olds into formal learning.
I’ll address how successful our school age start policies are: ¬†
In most countries around the world, the accepted age for formal education to be effective isn’t until six. In the United States, children start in the year they turn five, all on the same date in August. In New Zealand, kids straggle into school on the day they turn five. In the States, those born between September and December are now seen as disadvantaged so they have introduced Transitional Kindergarten to bridge this gap. Theoretically we are ahead in this regard. ¬†
 The benefits of transitioning through an ECE until the age of five:
It’s helpful for four year olds to have that experience of getting to be the oldest in the early childhood center They help younger kids and gain the confidence to foot it with the big bunga second years in the primary school playground.
What about Mum’s? That last year before school is an absolute treasure. I am counting down to the fifth birthday for my third sendoff of a child to school. My third boy has just turned four and I love watching him turn from a dependent three year old into a cheeky comedian.
And if you’re ever going to see yourself as a Yummy Mummy, it is in care of a four year old. Forget about oozing sex appeal when you’re pregnant or carting an infant, or the staggeringly impractical twins. You’re nothing but an accessory for your child to cling on to until they have learned basic life skills.
When your kids hit four you’ve regained your confidence and have eyes in the back of your head. It’s feasible¬† you get to stroll casually down the street with your child in tow and looking like an attractive member of the human race. Female and sexy, even.You want as much time with your older preschooler as possible.

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