[blockquote] Mat time at kindy will help him prepare to sit still at school, listening to ECE teachers will prepare him to listen to school teachers, routines will help him learn to fit into routines at school. ECE will help him learn all these things but surely as a parent I can help him do these things myself.[/blockquote]
Arwen Hann is a stay-at-home mum to one son. They have recently enrolled at Playcentre but have never used any other form of formal ECE.
Choosing not to use formal ECE especially when my son was younger has been a conscious decision. I was bought up by a stay-at-home mother and have fond memories of that time. Despite once being very career orientated when I became a mother I felt I wanted to give my son a similar experience to my childhood.
I consider myself lucky that it is financially possible for me to stay-at-home and work part-time, but as my son gets older I find people are more surprised that he does not attend ECE or Kindergarten.
Even I, after reading so much about how ECE benefits children and helps them to get ready for school, and with policies such as the 20 hours subsidy making it easier to choose ECE, wonder sometimes whether I am doing the best for my son by keeping him at home.
I have nothing against ECE in general. It is the only option for many parents for a number of reasons and high quality ECE can no doubt help a child’s development.
But I do feel sometimes that parents are made to feel like they aren’t doing the best by their child if they choose to stay-at-home.
I hear all kinds of things that ECE will help my son to learn. Mat time at kindy will help him prepare to sit still at school, listening to ECE teachers will prepare him to listen to school teachers, routines will help him learn to fit into routines at school.
ECE will help him learn all these things but surely as a parent I can help him do these things myself.
Our day has a routine, he knows we sit at a table to eat meals, he knows when we come indoors he takes off his shoes and coat and puts them in his cubby hole. He can sit still for extended periods of time to read books or take part in an activity and he has learnt to follow instruction from adults through things like our regular music group. Is this any different to what he would learn in formal ECE?
As an only child I worry sometimes about socialisation which is one of the reasons I chose to enrol at Playcentre. This allows him to get used to being with a group of children on a regular basis while still allowing me to have a hand in what he does and what he learns.
Where being a parent does get hard is knowing what I should be teaching my son and whether I am doing it right.
Simply being a parent does not compare with several years of studying child development and an in-depth knowledge of the early childhood curriculum. I feel like a capable parent and do feel that I can teach my son but I would welcome the opportunity to get more guidance in this role as I am sure many parents would whether they use ECE or not.
I appreciate it would be hard to educate every parent to this standard, but I think better parent education should be considered – for all parents not just those considered at high risk.
Perhaps it is something that ECE as a sector could think about and look at ways in which they could work with their communities and local parents, both those whose children who are enrolled with them and those who aren’t.
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