This week’s topic for discussion is the education of pre-school children. An important subject for many of us that are parents and want the best for our kids.

I myself have a two and a half year old who is a “question asker”. Being the involved parents that my wife and I are, we always try to answer all his questions in an educational way to help him to understand at his level the answer we give him to his question. This is a reasonable thing to do I hear you all say. Yes you I would agree with you but you then get told by the “professionals” and by that I mean health visitors that you shouldn’t be teaching your children too many things before school age for fear of them becoming “disruptive” in class when they get to school at the age of 5.

Now I don’t know about you, but what are you supposed to do when your child shows an interest in something? – just say “no son, I can’t tell you that because its going to cause problems for you when you go to school”; a concept about which he has no idea. Now of course, we don’t have to take their advice and indeed we don’t. We are of the belief that if Xander asks us a question, hes going to get an answer that will help him understand, whether hes at school age or not.

My other argument is this. Why, if we are not supposed to teach our children colours, letters and numbers before school age, are there so many programmes designed specifically for pre-school children and made for channels such as CBeebies that have just these subjects in them. Alphablocks is a prime example. In my opinion one of the best pre-school television programmes made today. It teaches children the alphabet in a simple, fun and colourful way and I know that it has helped my son learn his letters to such an extent that he can look at this very keyboard I’m typing on and go through it telling us what each letter is and what word it is for like “S for Snake” etc.

CBeebies also has number programmes in its schedule like Numberjacks and in between shows, they have “number raps” where the presenters sing about a certain number in a rap style to demonstrate what that number can represent. So I ask you, if we are not supposed to teach our children these things, why are these programmes made?

Colours and shapes are an unavoidable subject in my opinion. Its how a child learns to distinguish things from a very young age. They learn what their sippy cup looks like by its colour and shape, the same with food, I could go on but I won’t. I seem to think that the health system believes that all our children should be thick until they go to school and thats when they start learning things. How wrong could that be? Parents shouldn’t be patronised in this way and I for one actively encourage my child’s education whether he be at school or not.

Every child should be given the best preparation possible before they go to school if they are interested in learning and I’m glad that Xander has shown a keen desire to be taught. Hopefully it will stand him in very good stead by the time he actually does go to school. I’d be interested to hear your views.

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