Saturday, February 11, 2012

Kids and success


As you may have picked up I'm normally pretty relaxed about my kid's education.  This came home to me this week as I chatted to a first time mum about an assessment program for kindergarten that they use in NSW schools called 'Best Start'.  Only my younger two have had to go through this program.  Chatting to this mum she told me that she had been practicing with her son for the test.  Her son attends a different school to mine and they were told during the orientation program what they would need to do for the test.  I actually had little idea what the test actually entails and plus, I never knew it was a 'test'.  I thought it was a strategy for assessing kids to see if they had particular special needs that the school needed to address - at either end of the spectrum.

In this kind of a 'test', average is a good outcome.  I like average.  I know that many people who read this blog are struggling with issues at either end of the spectrum.  It is hard work.  So I am thankful for average.

But it is hard to not worry about our children's success in education.  If you're a person who has benefitted positively through your life because of a good education, it is hard to not worry about it.  We want our kids to experience those same outcomes.  But it is so hard to measure.  Success in life is so much more complicated than doing well on an assessment at the start of kindergarten.  It also has a lot to do with your personality, your emotional intelligence, your level of internal drive, how competitive you are, how you relate to others, what food you eat, how much rest you get, how you manage stress, how resilient you are. Very complex.

Which is why at this end of schooling I worry less about my children's academic success and more about how much sleep they get, what food they eat, how much time they have to relax, exercise, time to develop strong relational skills, time for imaginative play.  And finding the right balance can be tricky.

3 comments:

Karen said...

I think both our boys were Best Started before starting Kindergarten. Actually, I'm not sure about the eldest... with our second one, we got a list of suggested activities to do at home but no "score" or anything like that.

I'm not sure what the test entails either, although I think at our school now they let parents sit in on it so maybe I'll get to see it done in the future.

To be honest, I'm a bit shocked at the "coaching" element appearing at such a young age.... and I agree with you that balancing schoolwork with rest, adequate nutrition and play is the most important thing to do.

Anonymous said...

LOVE your last paragraph!!

Motherhugger said...

Wow. Coaching for Best Start. It's an assessment tool. I think when my kids did it the teachers didn't even mention it.
I agree with you, Jenny. Sleep, food, play.
On another forum I read a mum freaking out about the homework grid, thinking that kids had to do cultural activities, sports, household help etc as well as maths and spelling each week. I tried to explain the point is including the stuff you do anyway, as a well rounded person. If you do those things, count them. You don't have to do extra. Some parents ask for lots of homework, and you can find your level.
Child calling...