Tag Archives: school

This is what DD thought her kindergarten teacher did

I wonder how many little kids think their teachers sleep at the school.

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Posted by on April 11, 2012 in School


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School uniform

My latest reading is

Dressed for Success? The Effect of School Uniforms on Student Achievement and Behavior
Elisabetta Gentile, Scott A. Imberman
NBER Working Paper No. 17337
Issued in August 2011

Why am I interested in this working paper? As a child I was forced to endure school uniforms every day at school for 10 long years. Kindergarten and secondary college (Years 11 and 12) did not have a uniform.

I heard the usual reasons for uniform compliance: everyone looks the same, you can tell which school a kid is from, it looks neat, it engenders respect, kids behave better, etc. I was never given hard evidence that kids behaved better in uniform.

I remember the horrible scratchy wool-nylon blend fabric used for our unattractive plaid skirts, the Midford school shirts that never sat correctly on the bust, the horrible shoes, and the rebels who would daringly wear sneakers with their uniforms and claim that their parents couldn’t afford school shoes, though they could afford sneakers that were nearly twice the cost of school shoes.

It was interesting to read what the researchers discovered after examining data from a large urban school district in the south-west United States, which historically has a different approach towards school uniform policies. I recommend that you read the full paper yourself.

[W]e fou nd that uniforms have a positive influence on student attendance in secondary grades. Attendance rates in grades
6 through 12 increase by 0.3 to 0.4 percentage points after a school adopts uniforms. On
the other hand, we fou nd little evidence that uniforms have lasting impacts on achievement,
grade retention, or the likelihood of students switching schools or leaving the district for all
genders and grade levels.

In terms of discipline we also fou nd little evidence of uniform e ffects.

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Posted by on September 5, 2011 in Academia, Article



Bullying’s effects from an adult survivor

I was bullied on and off from kindergarten to Year 12.

I sort of survived but had depression and anxiety all through high school. It affected my marks, my ability to study, and my ability to retain information. Leaving high school and secondary college was the best time of my life. I stuck out. Smart alecs and intelligent kids are not welcome at school. My teachers didn’t care. My parents simply told me to ignore them. That was one of the most useless bits of advice I’ve ever received.

To this day I remember the names and faces of most of my tormentors. It has overshadowed my memories of nice times at school, though I undoubtedly had some enjoyable days and I did have a few friends.

One thing that I got from the experience was the ability to make alliances with other bullied and discriminated people, and my friendship circle, continued after secondary college, was the richer for it. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t recommend this as a way to learn.

It has made me more aware and observant of children’s actions and words in the playground and in the classroom. As a teacher, I was alert to comments that were precursors to bullying actions. Whether my words and actions ever helped anyone, I don’t know. Sometimes all I could offer was safety during lunchtimes, so the vulnerable would be near me while I was on playground duty.

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Posted by on August 30, 2011 in School


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School rules gone mad

I’m in favour of children learning to behave well in all aspects of their lives – it’s an ongoing process and it takes a long, long time.

Nevertheless, I think that a policy to make an entire primary school class go to the toilet when only one wants to go is completely nuts.

One parent said she only became aware of the trial when her daughter wet herself at home and told her she had held on because: “I didn’t want the whole class to have to come with me to the toilet. […]

[The principal] said the “whole class” method of toilet break supervision was “used successfully by some other schools” and was being tested by some classes.

For child psychologists’ take on this nutty policy, see this:


I can’t imagine an adult’s union putting up with this. I don’t remember having to put up with this as a primary or secondary school student. Amazingly, we were expected to to go to the toilet during breaktime, and if there was a need during class, we had to put up our hand and wait for the teacher’s permission. Not hard. A 5-y-o can do this very well.

Thank goodness the policy seems to have stopped and now replaced by a policy where the students go to the toilets in threes.



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Posted by on August 12, 2011 in children, Defies description, School


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Loveys, blankies and other comforts

Now that DD is 5 years old, I was interested to read a short article from BabyCenter .

Just recently I noticed that DD had stopped sucking her fingers at night (yeah, it’s taken long enough). She still wants her stuffed cat toy and finds comfort in having him held tightly, but the accompanying tooth destruction seems to have decreased to almost nothing. One night when she was very distressed about bad dreams, I suggested that she might want to rub the toy and suck her fingers, and she looked at me with a hurt expression. “I don’t suck my fingers anymore” she said. What about rubbing the toy with your hand, I asked. Hmmm. She wasn’t too sure about that.

I am grateful that DD knows Kitty doesn’t come to school or parties or church (though it took a bit of effort sometimes). I’ve seen kids in kindergarten who arrive at the gates with their loveys and have to be peeled away from them by their parents. That must be hard.


Posted by on June 15, 2011 in Child Development, children, School


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The Education and Care Services National Act

Article from The Australian here.

I had to check the date on that article – it is 4 April, not 1 April.

The act has been passed in Victoria, which is the host jurisdiction, and it’ll be rolled out to be passed in other states. Whether it’s done in the Territory, I don’t know. The problem with parts of this is the open-endedness of its directions which will undoubtedly be tested in cases.

Now, this isn’t a toothless law. There are fines in the thousands of dollars for breaches of the Act.

Children cannot be “required to undertake activities that are inappropriate, having regard to each family’s family and cultural values, age and physical and intellectual development”.

I can see that – not forcing children to participate in Christmas celebrations if they are not of the Christian faith, and not making Christmas cards or decorations, or writing a letter to Santa. No Easter bonnet parades, no Easter bunny, and so on. In fact, if one were to go completely potty about this, secular humanists’ and atheists’ children shouldn’t participate in that either. I guess that means my DD wouldn’t get to talk about Purim with Jewish classmates, either. (DD also likes Pesach and Hanukkah, for the record.)

Supervisors must “ensure that a child being educated and cared for by the service is not separated from other children for any reason other than illness or an accident”, the regulations state.

So, would that mean no more naughty corner? Well, at childcare centres where DD has gone, the child is always in sight of a carer, it’s only for a certain number of minutes, and the kid is usually making enough noise that nobody could forget about them. That is sensible – the child is always under supervision but they know they’re in trouble. I see that part of this section as being set up to stop unscrupulous carers from putting a child in a locked room as punishment, or to stop teachers from shoving a kid into the corridor for being disruptive, without ensuring there is supervision of that kid.

I imagine quite a few people see the entire act as political correctness gone mad. They may be right.

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Posted by on April 4, 2011 in children, News, School


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Cotton Wool Kids

I nearly fell out of my seat when I read a recent article about cartwheels being banned in a primary school’s playground. The mother of one child who loves to do cartwheels decided to investigate further.

Ms Buschgens met with school principal Glenn Dickson and was told gymnastics activities were a `medium risk level 2′ that posed a danger to children.

After making her own inquiries, the North Ward mum found that gymnastics was indeed listed as a level 2 risk – when performed in class – along with cricket, soccer, tennis, netball, touch football and other sports.

Those sports have not been banned at lunchtime.

Funny how those organised sports that can bring glory to the school are allowed to continue, whereas the simple fun that happens during recess or lunchtime, sometimes with a bit of competition LOL is banned. This is the nanny state gone mad.

Here’s an opinion piece that says much that I was thinking.

Now it might be that back then we were a little too casual in our attitudes to child safety, but we are swiftly headed towards an equally unacceptable extreme.

That’s why schools and parents need to work together and find a balance between a responsible duty of care and letting kids be kids.

One school I have been told of has put seatbelts across all their swings in case the kids fall out.

Fair enough – but it doesn’t teach them the far more important life lesson of how to hang on.

Hang on, friends, and stand up for the right to do cartwheels. 🙂

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Posted by on September 1, 2008 in Children's Health, Life Matters


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