Opinion

Opinion: An educational approach fit for a future king

Prince George begins his social education at a Montessori nursery school.
Prince George begins his social education at a Montessori nursery school. DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE/HANDOUT

THERE was an interesting reaction to a story by a couple of seasoned journos hosting the ABC breakfast program last week.

The segment itself was one of those royal-watcher, New Idea cutesy milestone moments about Prince George starting nursery school, the English version of our day care it was offered.

The word 'babysitting' was mentioned while discussing ours as talk about the nursery school the future king of England was attending the Montessori system.

But instead of acknowledging what that actually meant, the journos mocked it implying it probably entailed the finger paint stayed on their fingers rather than their clothes (because that's all children that age are capable of extending themselves to), and that kids should be allowed to be kids.

I don't quite know what that last statement means, but it insinuated that sending an infant to a place like that was somehow cruelly depriving them of their childhood because showing an interest in and encouraging their intellectual and social growth at that age was a waste of time.

That seems to be the Australian consensus when it comes to early childhood education, the poorly-paid system we offer here little more than a child minding service, until they get to 'big school', where the extent of stimulation and activities revolves around what grown ups believe toddlers are capable of, like whinging and making a mess.

Education it seems only gets serious during the last few years of a young student's life and thinking about their learning environment at age 2 or 3 is overkill.

So what is this Montessori style of schooling?

It was developed in the early 20th century by the remarkable Dr Maria Montessori, the first woman to graduate with a medical degree from an Italian university.

She became a director of a school for intellectually disabled children in the slums of Rome in 1907 where her approach to teaching saw the students surmount their individual challenges to successfully compete in public examinations. Not bad, Maria, not bad.

After witnessing their astonishing, almost effortless ability to learn, Dr Montessori then wondered what was possible using similar methods in mainstream schooling and so the cornerstone of her life-long dedication to educational reform, where children virtually teach themselves, was born.

Rather than the institutionalised education system we seem to relish here, her way of teaching revolved around an environment that fosters children's love of learning while encouraging independence through certain activities and materials which they use under the own steam.

This effectively builds self-confidence and instils discipline, a sense of self-worth and positive social behaviour, according to its literature, forming the basis for lifelong learning. Wow, what a waste of time for a three-year-old.

Dr Montessori took into account the whole child and his/her place within the community from the get-go, treating them like smaller members of society rather than clueless dribblers, so in other words no babysitting at Prince George's new school.

Most of us know very young kids are sponges. Babies can easily be bilingual if you allow them; in some European countries it is the norm for their first words to be in their homeland tongue and English.

Other countries invest in their early childhood education like its a no brainer. Why wouldn't you get your future generation off to the best possible start as normal (affordable) practice?

At a recent Queensland university graduation ceremony, there was a woman who achieved such outstanding results obtaining her early childhood education degree she won a university medal and was promptly snapped up by Sweden to work in their system. Underestimating what a two-year-old is capable of doesn't seem like the way forward, nor is mocking an approach that encourages better human beings.

Topics:  celebrity education opinion royals



Clarence claims our First Lady of Blues

Catch the incredible Fiona Boyes live at Yamba's Pacific Hotel on Sunday afternoon.

Claiming the First lady of Blues

'Thank you, NSW. It has been an honour'

Mike Baird posted this photo on Facebook after announcing his retirement from politics.

The out-going premier takes to Facebook for his final farewell

Wartime Women's Weeklys discovered under reno lino

RENO RELICS: Pages from the 1938 and 1940 editions of the Australian Women's Weekly Grafton man Rob Osborne found while renovating a house in South Grafton.

Amateur history buff enjoys finding 70+ year-old magazines.

Local Partners

Baird will be 'sorely missed'

Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis says the Clarence Valley has benefited from Mike Baird's time as Premier.


Puppetry of the Penis secrets revealed ahead of show

The famed Puppetry of the Penis is coming to the Sunshine Coast for shows in Noosa and Caloundra.

WARNING: This interview contains adult themes and traces of nuts

Artist program to link to gallery theme

VALUABLE STINT: Indigenous artist Karla Dickens at work in Grafton Regional Gallery's studio during her 2010 artist's residency.

Gallery encouraging indigenous artists to take up residency offer

See the historical heritage horses

OPEN DAY: Enjoy a day out learning or finding your next dream horse from the Guy Fawkes River National Park.

Guy Fawkes Heritage Horse Association Inc. open day.

Conservatorium's petting zoo for musical instruments

Make 2017 the year you learn a new musical instrument. Come along to the Clarence Valley Conservatorium's 'petting zoo' and find your preferred model. All ages are welcome.

Kicking off musical season with petting zoo for instruments

Australians all let us recoil with an evening of mayhem

Paul Fenech aka Franky Falzoni is back in Grafton with his wacky bunch from Fat Pizza and Housos next Wednesday night.

The madcap team from Housos and Fat Pizza back in Grafton

Your chance to drive like Magnum P.I.

Tom Selleck in Magnum P.I. with his trusty 'side-kick' Ferrari.

FERRARI that appeared on classic detective show goes to auction.

Ocean Sleeper discuss being 'Six Feet Down'.

Ocean Sleeper make waves with their new EP. Photo Contributed

Gippsland band shines at Unify

Bowie's final music EP No Plan released

NEW: Artwork for David Bowie's posthumous 2016 EP, No Plan.

David Bowie's 28th and final album

Married At First Sight: Ipswich bachelor seeks love

READY FOR IT: Ipswich man Simon McQuillan will appear on the upcoming new season of Married At First Sight.

Romance would top off recovery for Booval man

Thousands of jobs part of $1b retirement village project

THIS YEAR: An artist impression of the new Aveo retirement village in Springfield.

Aveo Springfield unveiled this month, homes ready by July

Rates safe from land value hike

DRIVING GROWTH: The Pacific Highway upgrade has been linked to improved land values.

Figures up in latest valuer-general report

KNIFE-EDGE: The housing tightrope we now face

Even the smallest interest rate rise will be hard for some to handle.

One if five home owners at risk, according to new analysis

Historical home leaves family's hands after 75 years

SALE CONFIRMED: The Gympie Regional   Realty team which sold the Ramsey property are (back) Mel Gastigar, Dorothy Palmer and Margaret Cochrane, with (front) home seller Terri-Jayne Ramsey.

Ramsey family played a huge role in Gympie's growth.

Pat Rafter's $18m Coast home proves hot property

PAT'S PAD: The Sunshine Beach home of tennis ace Pat rafter is on the market for a record price.

"It's a record for our company and for the Sunshine Coast.''

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!