Thursday, April 18, 2013

Ratuj maluchy

I’ve changed my mind about this “Ratuj maluchy” campaign. This is the campaign of parents against the latest education reform in which children will start 1st grade at 6 instead of 7 (among other things). Oh, it’s not what you think. I still think it’s a good idea for kids to start 1st grade at 6. That hasn’t changed.

What I have changed my mind about is the parents who support a campaign called “Save the children”. I would better understand a campaign that was fighting to give parents more leeway in choosing when to start school something like “Give us a say”  but “Save the children”? Save the children from what? School as the enemy? What an odd name for the campaign.  I will stop trying to persuade those parents that 1st grade is cool, that kids can learn to read and write at 6 and that 6 is a great age to start, that 1st grade is not stealing their childhood, that 1st graders can do math, that the stairs are not too steep and that the 2nd and 3rd graders are not beating the 1st graders up in the halls and that the kids get to play inside and outside every single day.

Here’s my proposition to the “Ratuj maluchy” parents:

Save your children. Don’t send them to school at 6. Maybe not even at 7 if you don’t want to. I’m sending my kids and they will thrive with or without your children.

Lizzie is an awesome 1st grader. She can write cursive already which even surprised me, the education optimist. She can add and subtract double digit numbers. She still has a bit of a problem telling time but who can blame her, the bell just rings and she’s knows if she is on time or late. She’s started to learn multiplication not in 1st grade, but at świetlica (the day room) where they have a chart on the wall that interested her. It called the tabliczka mnożenia. For fun I call it the tabliczka mrożenia (frozen table). I think I am very clever, the kids not so much.

PS If you want a reason not to send your children to school, here’s one. Kids like puzzles, right? History and geography made fun.

A quote from the article:

Układanka przeznaczona jest dla dzieci od szóstego roku życia, ma 58 elementów. Na jednym z nich znajdują się Smoleńsk i Katyń, a pod nimi adnotacja: "Mord polskich oficerów w 1940 r. Śmierć Prezydenta Lecha Kaczyńskiego w prawdopodobnym zamachu 2010 r."


This 58-piece puzzle is for children from age 6. On one of them there is Smoleńsk and Katyń with the captions: “Massacre of Polish officers 1940. Death of President Lech Kaczyński in an alleged assassination in 2010.”



Northern.Sky said...

I couldn't agree with you more, Chris. I think the kids at 6 are ready to start school. My daughter has started when she was nearly 5 (4 year and 8 months). She was ready, she loved it. Still loves it, she's 7 (primary 3).
I believe it's more of a problem of schools not being prepared, rather then kids, at the age of 6, not being able to learn to write/read etc.
The campaign sounds quite dramatic with the title Ratuj Maluchy and probably it was aiming at this dramatic effect. Dajcie nam wybór would sound much better, I think.

Stardust said...

At age 4.5 years I knew how to read and write.
I did it on my own watching older brother.
Should I sue my parents for not saving me?
My granddaughter knew how to count to 20 and sing the whole ABC, I think we as grandparents have right to sue our children, the bad parents of this poor child.

Herr Julien said...

The map in that puzzle is strongly reminiscent of maps I've seen of Europe published in 1930's Germany, detailing where German minorities in neighboring countries were allegedly badly maltreated and detailed what maltreatment they were allegedly suffering. Just sayin'.

Chris said...

Northern Sky - I agree with you that a lot of parents are worried about the school being ready for the kids, not so much the kids being ready for school. I hear it a lot from friends, acquaintances and moms in my neighborhood. Not one of those people that I have talked to has visited the actual school that terrifies them so much ("terrified" was used by one mother). They are so ready to condemn the school and their children to failure but sometimes are not even sure what street the school is on. Go to the school, talk to the teachers, talk to the other parents.

Star- I see your good American blood is coming out ;) Sue!

Herr Julien - Our acquaintance, a German teacher from Germany, showed us her history textbook from middle school. There was one map of Europe in which half of Poland was labeled as German territory unlawfully Poland. She's about 30 so that book isn't even that old. And for me, a map outlining mistreatment is fine if that mistreatment actually took place. We know what we know about Katyń but to declare that Smoleńsk was probably an assassination??

It is highly unlikely that a history or geography textbook would include the information about an assassination that is on this puzzle. Textbooks are reviewed by the ministry of education. However, this puzzle has made its way into some schools as an educational aid purchased with discretionary funds. For sure clever teachers and parents will clear up any confusion. Right?

BasiaB said...

Ja uważam ,że problemem nie jest pójście 6latka do pierwszej klasy, problem tkwi w beznadziejnie dopasowanym do wieku programie nauczania oraz sposobie podejścia nauczycieli do tego,że każde dziecko na poczatku nauki ma swój własny rytm- dopiero po 3 klasie jakoś się poziom wyrównuje i przydałoby się tu indywidualne podejście do każdego ucznia. O historii i geografii polski nawet nie wspomnę ,bo to drażniący temat...

Chris said...

Ale skąd wiemy że program nauczania i podejścia nauczyciel do tego są beznadziejnie dopasowane?

Jest prawda że program teraz dla 1-klasa jest niemal identyczne do program przed reforma. Ale...ja byłam w szokowana jak miałam lekcji z 7-latek (prawie 8 lat i w 1-klasa była) ktore jeszcze nie "poznała" wszystkie litery. Może program na dziś nie jest za ambitna. Może poprzedni program była mała ambitna??

Ingwen said...

I have totally different perspective on this. In my hometown small, efficient and children-friendly schools are being closed in favor of creating this huge institutions, where you have preschool, ground school, gimnazjum and high school, which are poorly organized and really to big to be effective, not to mention safety factor in whole this. This is done against parents (taxpayer=sponsors) expressed will. That policy and schools of that sort are enemies of said parents. So it's perfectly understandable that those parents fight to "save" their children and their money from being spend against their wishes.
Like Stardust I have older brother, so I could read and write around the age of 4 year. And it's not relevant to the whole campaign.
I agree that parents should check schools, teachers, material taught and such. But I never met a parent that complain, who did not do that. And it is pretty annoying when you pick a perfect school and then it's being closed, despite working fine, just because some totalitarian at the city council prefers having one/two big educational conglomerats than variety of small/medium places.
For something completely different: I re-read your "So you wanna have a baby in Poland" series to prepare myself for giving birth, it sets in the right mood, I would love to have your wit :D

Chris said...

Ingwen-I'd be angry too if I sent my child to a school that the child loved and that we the parents loved too and it got closed down or gobbled up by a bigger one. We are keeping our eyes on our village school here to see what's going to happen to it. (we go to school in the city) It's preschool and primary only. As for administration (accounting, etc) it falls under the larger school district 7 kms away which is a huge savings. Not only is it a school, a lot of local events take place there. We'll see.

About the complaining parents, and I mean the loudest ones...Not a single one that has asked me about our decision to send Lizzie (and Rosie) to school "early" as they call it has visited the school inside. I asked them. I invited them to a recent open house in which Misiu represented 1st grade. We are lucky that the teacher is great and that the building is tailor made for the kids. I mean that they younger primary kids are in one part of the building while the older kids are in another.

Congratulations! I don't know if the "Baby" series is so good to read before having a baby. I hope it didn't panic you. What I learned is that I had to keep my head while giving birth and that how I was treated depended a lot on me. I hear they give drugs now too. Fingers crossed for you and baby :)

czarownica said...

The same parents have no objections to giving their children mobile phones to entertain them (the commonest thing used to keep a child quiet in my consulting room nowadays) or buying them tablets and computers pre-school. If the child is clever enough to learn how to use them, is clever enough to learn how to read and write, but this requires parents' time, attention and effort - may be, that's the problem!

Kasia said...

Maybe it is just that people have to complain because it is something new - a change and they don't like it. But then, I hear that that the Ministerstwo Edukacji changes something constantly. Here - we have the issues with the standardized tests - everybody complains about those.
I am so tired of the Smolensk drama, Polish church against in vitro, and the gun control opposition here - you would think these people could use their energy to do something good instead of constant My blood pressure goes up every time I read gazeta or cnn online.
And I agree with Czarownica's post!

Chris said...

Czar - I agree with you that some parents (some, not all, not even most) want an extra year of care. Kindergarten at pre-school provides longer care than 1st grade and świetlica.

Kasia - It is definitely something to complain about because it's new and nobody wants their kid to be in the "double" class. Lizzie's class was meant to be the last year of the reform but it was pushed back to Rosie's year. Maybe they'll push it again or open up the choice for parents a little more.

So complaining is an international pasttime I see ;)

BasiaB said...

Możliwe.Ale właśnie w tym rzecz- ciężko jest stwierdzić ile dzieci z jednego przedszkola trafi do tej samej klasy 1 i będą na wyrównanym poziomie po ukończeniu wspólnie zerówki. To do zespołu nauczycieli oraz nauczyciela każdego indywidualnie należy znalezienie sposobu na integrację programową klasy i indywidualne podejście do uczniów.Wiem jedno - za moich szkolnych czasów było łatwiej. Teraz jak patrzę na książki, zadania matematyczne, wypracowania i lektury szkolne dostaję bólu głowy- przerasta to mnie , a co dopiero dzieciaki!

Chris said...

Lizzie ma w klasie książki "Oto ja" (all subjects) i na angielski "Footprints". Kupimy cała seria razem i możemy zobaczyć jakby plan na cały rok. Jak zobaczyłam pudełko, jajku tyle książek, ale poszło easy peasy naprawdę. And most of Lizzie's homework involves coloring something.

I just remembered a joke:

REFORMA EDUKACJI W POLSCE na przykładzie zadania z matematyki:

1950 r.
Drwal sprzedał drewno za 100 zł. Wycięcie drzewa na to drewno kosztowało go 4/5 tej kwoty. Ile zarobił drwal?

1980 r.
Drwal sprzedał drewno za 100 zł. Wycięcie drzewa na to drewno kosztowało go 4/5 tej kwoty - czyli 80 zł. Ile zarobił drwal?

2000 r.
Drwal sprzedał drewno za 100 zł. Wycięcie drzewa na to drewno kosztowało go 4/5 tej kwoty, czyli 80 zł. Drwal zarobił 20 zł. Zakreśl liczbę 20.

2010 r. (tylko dla zainteresowanych)
Drwal sprzedał drewno za 100 zł. W tym celu musiał wyciąć kilka starych drzew. Podzielcie się na grupy i odegrajcie krótkie przedstawienie, w którym postarajcie się przedstawić, jak w tej sytuacji czuły się biedne zwierzątka leśne i rośliny. Przekonajcie widza, jak bardzo niekorzystne dla środowiska jest wycinanie starych drzew.

2013 r.
Drwal sprzedał drewno za 100 zł. Pokoloruj drwala.

Chris said...

"...przepisy prawa pozwalają rodzicom odroczyć obowiązek szkolny. Nikt rodzicom takiego prawa nie zabiera."

quote from Ligia Krajewska

Even if the reform is carried out, parents maintain the right to delay sending their children to 1st grade. I didn't know it was so easy.

Chris said...

When I say that I support 1st grade for 6 year olds, parents often huff at me and say, "ya, that's because you're not a parent of rocznik 2008". Well, I am a parent of rocznik 2006 and 2008. 2008 is the final year of the reform. So all the kids from 2007 whose parents don't send them to 1st grade this coming September at 6 will be going with Rosie to 1st grade when they are 7 in 2014.

Nobody wants their kid to be in the "double class". I know I certainly don't. I wish the reform started later, with children who are starting their education, thus no problems with a double class. I honestly don't know why they didn't do it that way. Barring that, I implore parents from 2007 to re-consider 1st grade at 6.

Anyhow for next year, zerówka here we come :)

Anonymous said...

I think kids should go to shool at 4, 5 or 6 and for full hours not every day other hours... I totally do not get this 'ratujmy maluchy'. But on the other side the school system is also just pathetic and unprofessional in Poland.

tranikowa said...

You may find this funny too:

Chris said...

Cool. But if school is reserved only for plemniki, my daughters would have no chance ;)

Słoiki gotowe!