Monday, 6 April 2015

Bang on Target (Adventures of L-Plate Gran)



Little G has now been in nursery for six weeks. Enough time to generate her first report, or EYFS Progress Check. (No, I don't know what it means. Don't ask). As a renegade student all my life who frequently got reports that began 'Carol has made an inauspicious start to the term' my amazement knows no bounds.

That a baby has to be assessed for 'Personal Social & Emotional Development' is beyond my comprehension. And then there are the Targets. Not only ''In the setting'' but also at home, there are Targets. I am supposed to be singing 'Heads,Shoulders, Knees & Toes' to her to help her name parts of the body. So that's my attempt to teach her the Alabama Song from Mahagonny out of the window for a start.

There are all sorts of other things that I/You must be mad are supposed to be doing. Yes, I'm sure her lovely nursery is only obeying orders, but I have no intention of spending my days with my granddaughter checking that I am working towards a set of arbitrary targets imposed by some misguided educational wonk who needs to go out and get a life.

Instead I shall continue to play, potter round with her, ride on buses with her and share illicit picnics on You must be mad's newly tiled kitchen floor. Until such time as I am assessed as part of her 'Primary care-giving team'. Given my academic record the result, sadly, is a foregone conclusion.


To be continued ... ....

16 comments:

  1. I have several friends who are childminders, and they are so bogged down by paperwork (target reports!) that they have lost all passion for their job. Such a shame. I don't think it did us any harm to wait until our secondary years before the 'talks too much' messages began!

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    1. I'm seriously waiting for some vile education minister to decide family members must be tested for suitability. Not joking!

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  2. Millie & I must be over-achievers as we've been singing Heads, Shoulders etc almost since she was born, but that's because we have the book with pictures. I have, however, been reprimanded for teaching her to say, "Ta," instead of using signing.

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    1. we sing it..and a lot of other things. I tend to make up my own songs as we go. It;s the ''obligation' to do it that's wrong. Caught D 'placing objects of interest on the table'' for LG. Backfired as she left some little easter eggs out and LG snaffled 4 of them! See..that's what happens!

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    2. Am I right in thinking that "Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" is sung to the tune of "There is a Tavern in the Town"? Perhaps you could try teaching Little G the words to that, and see how long it takes before the MEWWNTGOAGAL notices the difference.

      When our boys were small we used to make up our own verses to the "The Wheels on the Bus". Everyone's favourites were "The nutter on the bus goes [pull silly face and make silly noise]..." and later "The drunks on the bus go [sound of noisy throwing up] x3..."

      To be serious for a moment, though, when I was working in the bookshop we used to get a steady stream of pushy parents coming in to buy books to help their little darlings with the Eleven-Plus (yes, we still have that in our area) and the entrance exams for the local independent secondary schools. I'll never forget the following conversation between one such parent and one of my colleagues:

      PARENT: Hello. We've just moved to the area because we've heard you have very good schools. Do you have any books to help a child prepare for the Eleven-Plus?

      COLLEAGUE: Yes, of course. How old is the child?

      PARENT: Two.

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    3. Oh excellent! We had something on similar lines... my daughter was sided up to on the Junior playground by a pupil and asked: ''when does your church Crusaders group meet. My mum's going to put down that I go to it'' (for a local secondary school with church links)

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    4. Oh I remember making up all sorts of new riders on the bus with my kids, we could make the song last for ages on a journey that way. So much more fun than paperwork.

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  3. The world has truly gone crazy (or is it just here in the UK?) I left teaching because of the mindless targets and paperwork. I don't blame you for choosing to ignore it all and just have a good time with your lovely little GD.

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  4. Oh when did they rename 'milestones' with 'targets'? When I was working children who consistently missed milestones were flagged up, and assessed - was it generalised delay, neglect etc? Which assumes that children with good-enough parenting (all anyone can dream of!) means they all get there eventually and those who seem to be 'left behind' get attention.

    But by defining them as 'targets' nurseries are now driving towards them, meaning that children whose neglect is hidden by the efforts of the nursery nursed (who are generally wonderful) risk being missed by the authorities who might help them.

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  5. I have no words other than keep being the wonderful grandmother you clearly are! I accept there is a logic to this somewhere, there has to be, but….

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  6. Love this Carol: a set of arbitrary targets imposed by some misguided educational wonk who needs to go out and get a life.
    That's true at every level of institutionalized 'education'!

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  7. This is absolutely bloody bonkers. I understand caregivers need some sort of benchmark so that they can tell if a child needs a little extra help or perhaps has learning disabilities - but to be setting targets and sending a one year old home with homework is just crazy. What do we hope to achieve with all of this? It makes me so angry that we're not allowed to let our own children just be children any more. It feels like the government has tried to force as many mothers back to work as possible so that the children will be in childcare with providers who are up to their necks in pointless paperwork, setting targets to do stuff the rest of us just managed to do while we were at home with our mums being normal kids a generation ago.

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  8. Astonishing!! The pressure never lets up on the little darlings does it? I think as a grandmother though all rules are out of the window anyway aren't they? You are surely there for play and funtimes! That's going to be my plan when/if that day arrives :-)

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    1. There is that side... tho the responsibilty NOT to run amok is quite high.

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  9. Quite! We are far too formal about our education, targets and testing of young children, despite the numerous studies and educational comparisons that show children perform better in the long run when they are not subjected to formal education & testing until they are much older. This government seems intent on making the situation even worse. It's good that nursery and day cares try to do stimulating activities with children, but the reality is that children will actually learn from all play and interactions you have with them. Formal targets & attempts to dictate what play should be done at home are just silly.

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    1. you should probably never have attempted that chocolate easter nest w/out proper risk assessment and filling in 6 page report on what you achieved!

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