Is it just me or are you noticing this too? Loads of new ‘toys’ all aimed at improving the performance of our children, to make them just that little bit better. And it all sounds terribly nurturing, doesn’t it? It’s helping them to ‘fulfill their potential’, and what caring parent wouldn’t want to do that?
But the underlying message is still there. Our children aren’t good enough. And if we don’t get involved in tweaking their performance, rather as you would with a racing car, then we’re at fault. Could do better – the phrase that strikes fear into the very soul of the conscientious parent. It’s a part of our culture of relentless self-improvement with the fundamental agenda (yes, that creaking sound was me getting on my high horse again) of creating dissatisfaction and anxiety as a means of creating consumer desire.
So anyway, I found a new product (new is good) mentioned in a few newspapers and I thought I’d have a look. You’ve got to read the copy – it had me quaking (and gnashing my teeth too – which is quite tricky to do all at the same time) even though I don’t have children in the target market. And it’s only one of, I suspect, thousands of products out there that manage to scare you senseless while simultaneously offering reassurance – provided you buy them, of course. This system comes in at a little over £30 quid, which means it’ll be bought by the worried-well of parents – and there are plenty of us. The children who, arguably, have the greatest need probably won’t get a look in.
Maybe it really works. If it does work, then it should be made available to every child in the land at nursery (once these free nursery places eventually materialise – and I’m not holding my breath here). If it doesn’t work, then we should just ignore it and hope it goes away. But who’s going to be brave enough to ignore copy like this (even though the grammar is a bit off in places). I’ve highlighted the best bits, for your reading delight.
“Just over half of 5 year olds have failed to reach the Government’s new targets for what children should know, understand and be able to do by the end of their first year in primary school.”
Telegraph 7th Feb 2006.
As any parent will know, their child’s education and development is one of the most worrying aspects of parenting. On the one hand, parents feel very opinionated on what is best for their children but at the same time at a loss as to how to have an effect on their children’s development. Dr ………… has designed a programme whereby giftedness can be taught by developing children’s thinking skills, enabling them to work out challenges for themselves.
Children, even when they are in full-time education are only in school for 13% of their time. Relationships that parents share with their children, which is established during the Early Years, are fundamental in determining the adults their children will grow up to be. This programme equips parents with all of the tools they need, not only to develop thinking skills but form positive relationships with their children through a whole range of interactive experiences.
The pack contains the equipment an instructional manual and DVD with activities that cover the whole range of Early-Years development. The DVD, (which is for the parent and not the child), together with the manual shows how to assess their child’s current skill level and then use these emerging skills to accelerate learning.
Perception and number
Parents who have had access to the programme are astonished at the progress their children have made with their skills well above the expected level for their chronological age. This programme does not teach reading or mathematics in the traditional sense, but it does give the child the conceptual framework. Children as young as four are able to understand Pythagoras’s theorem, because they have been taught to understand how the shapes fit together to form squares on the hypotenuse. The children’s use of language is extended because they are encouraged to observe details in their environment and use fantastic words to describe them.
So often, parents are encouraged to buy ‘educational toys’ where a button is pressed, a reaction follows, and the child loses interest. Early Years development is all about interaction and parents using the programme will be able to utilise their skills and decide which activities, toys and experiences will really make a difference.
The programme is unique because it is based around child development not curriculum targets. It teaches thinking skills rather than rote learning. …..
Giftedness can be taught! Did you get that? Or should that read ‘bought’? Children are only at school 13% of the time – that’s one below the belt for working parents. Are you feeling terrified yet? Do you realise how you’ve failed? Do you understand Pythagoras’ theorem? And if not, why not? Shame on you! Quick – where’s your credit card.
If you come across any more beauties of this ilk, do share …