Wednesday, March 14, 2007


From: Is your baby playing with its toes yet? If not the government wants to know why (Lucy Ward, The Guardian, March 14th, 2007)

Babies will be assessed on their gurgling, babbling and toe-playing abilities when they are a few months old under a legally enforced national curriculum for children from birth to five published by the government yesterday.

Every nursery, childminder and reception class in Britain will have to monitor children's progress towards a set of 69 government-set "early learning goals", recording them against more than 500 development milestones as they go.

At five, each child will be assessed against 13 scales based on the learning goals and their score, called an early years profile, must be passed to the Department for Education and Skills.

When children enter compulsory schooling, they should be able to read simple sentences using a phonics-based approach, count reliably up to 10 and sing simple songs from memory, as well as respecting others' beliefs and learning to share and take turns.

We can’t shake this horrific vision of a whole generation of British five-year olds being trained in secret to drop whatever they are doing the second the Government inspector arrives and start all playing with their toes while belting out a lusty rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone.


Oroborous said...

Wow. What a tour de force of intention substituting for results - which even the measure's supporters recognize:

Beverley Hughes, the children's minister, denied the goals would lead to a "tickbox approach" to assessing children, though she acknowledged this had happened under the previous system.

Sure, childcare providers have nothing else to do but fill out ridiculously over-detailed and ultimately ignored reports.

[Beverley Hughes] rejected suggestions that a 92-page set of practice guidance featuring 513 skills and attitudes children should acquire which accompanies the framework was excessively detailed.

Thus proving that Ms Hughes is, er, "slow to develop".

Childcare groups broadly welcomed the framework but warned that [it's rubbished] by government rules stating that one member of staff can look after up to 13 children aged three and over.

Thus leading to the "tickbox" approach.

Duck said...

This is what happens when we "think of the children!"

When I was a preschooler, I was learning about the world by sticking a screwdriver into an electrical socket. I built a can catapult with a board and a rock - unfortunately the can catapulted right into my forehead. I still have the scar.

So where are these learning goals on your stupid checklist?

David said...

You too, Duck?

One of my earliest memories is of wanting my toy truck (a yellow dump truck) to be an electric truck. As near as I could tell, the difference between my plain old truck and an electric truck was that electric trucks had a cord. So, I found a length of wire somewhere, twisted one end to the truck and stuck the other end in an outlet.

Thank G-d for circuit breakers.

I can date this event perfectly because I was being watched by a neighbor while my mother was in the hospital giving birth to my sister. My parents nearly had a golden opportunity to give the expression "easy come, easy go" a real workout.

Mike Beversluis said...

I put a .22 bullet in a vice and hit the back with a hammer to "shoot" it into the wall.

Lord Grattan said...

For several months around the time of my 1st birthday both my feet were in casts. I learned quickly how to make and identify "snow" by rubbing my feet together. This activity also brought me increased attention.