With a Mum of two children sitting for their SATS this year, I have been following the news closely about the ‘Let the Kids be kids’ campaign. My oldest is in Year 6 and my son is in Year 2 – Double Whammy!
Am I letting my kids be kids? Yes, to a certain extent.
I haven’t really been after them to study nor have I put the pressure on (well, not much) as I have been repeatedly been told that the SATS is for the school.
NOT the students.
And this is something that has been reiterated to my daughter by her school.
Luckily, the school that my children attend have not really put the pressure on the them too. They are very student -centred. Kudos to them.
Sometimes though I get caught up in the RAT RACE and panic and make my daughter do some practice papers and yes, it has helped her to get more confident and competitive. Which is what we need in the world today, right?
Personally, I don’t think so.
While I would like my children to have a great career and be successful, I am also well aware that they need to enjoy their childhood. They’ll have enough time to compete when they go out into the real world.
While I would like them to strive to be better, I would like them to also strive to be better human beings.
To learn manners.
To learn table manners.
To learn to swim.
To learn through play.
To take joy in the simple things.
To experience new things.
To play and interact with their siblings.
Realistically speaking how much time do children really have to play? They are cooped up in crowded classrooms, as schools try and accommodate more pupils, for 5 hours a day. I’m not counting the 1 hour of play time that they have where again they can’t really ‘play’ due to lack of space.
At the end of the day, my children are tired of learning, tired of sitting in a cramped class and just generally TIRED. Throw in the British weather that keeps us in at home for the better part of the year and you have very disgruntled children.
There can be a learning overload and this ends up with them either too tired to LEARN anything or hating learning.
I think making the children sit for examinations at age 6/7 is way too early for them to handle the pressure because let’s face it – there is bound to be some.
Even for Year 6 to be sitting National examinations is way too early. School testing should be enough. I didn’t give a national examination until Year 10 and that was in India where the emphasis on excelling in academics is really high.
Children should be playing – they should be learning but they should also be given the freedom to be children. The very word ‘TEST’ causes stress no matter how chilled out one may be and children should not be put into a situation like this.
I do make my children do follow up work at home but if I know that they are just too tired, I just let them play because as a teacher, I know that forcing them to study will not achieve any learning.
My children attended school today not because I agree with the SATS but because I don’t think taking them out of school for a day is going to change things. It’s the system that needs changing and I quite like the idea of the Finnish School System in the video below –