“We are failing our kids”
So wrote Harold Mitchell in the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ of 3 Nov. 2017. He quoted “… a report by the Mitchell Institute, a specialist education research facility at Victoria University …”
“Its key findings were devastating – a quarter of all Australians miss out on key education milestones: they are not prepared for school when they arrive, do not meet minimum literacy and numeracy levels in year 7, do not finish year 12 by age 19, and are not working or studying full time by age 24. Life for these kids is an unfolding disaster.”
“The latest research makes it clear that our most critical learning capacities develop before children start school. If we don’t get appropriate learning at that time, we are behind for the rest of our lives.”
“Language is the foundation for almost everything, but many Australian children are not getting what they need in their early childhood. The research shows that language skills are first formed through verbal engagement and if the young child is exposed to less than an average of 11 words per minute during their waking hours, they will struggle to catch up for the rest of their lives.
Those receiving 40 words per minute get an advantage that lasts a lifetime.”
“The Mitchell Institute makes it clear that our education system needs to recognise and include early childhood development as essential.
We also need to take the professional development of our teachers, at all levels, much more seriously.”
“… we need to know what really matters if we want to succeed. In education, this means we need inspiring high-quality professional educators at every level and we need them engaged with children much earlier.
Out global rankings in education keep slipping …”
“We must open our minds to the critical importance of high-quality early childhood development.”
Comment: How is this to be achieved? Only through placing little children into ‘educational institutions’? Or through enabling mothers to spend time with their little ones? The necessary verbal engagement of a child with the mother (and siblings) will automatically follow with the latter approach.
(The above are extracts from the SMH article. The emphasis is mine.)