Torn Earlobe from Participating in Physical Education!

Pic: Pixabay

In my almost two decades of being in childcare education, I have not come across a child having torn earlobe from participating in physical education in the UK. My aim on this topic is to bring a balance equation from both a professional and parent perspective. Research shows no incident or accidents of pupils wearing earrings or studs has occurred during physical activity or swimming. I will be glad to be proven wrong, and the evidence based on a real ratio. The keyword such as ‘Serious accidents have occurred as a result of contact between pupils wearing earrings or studs’are included in school policies and educational establishments., but none on a real accident that occurred. It bothers me that the same swimming pool the public swims is the same pool our children’s activity takes place. The public is not told to take off their earring before swimming, just a thought. In a nursery school setting, I can understand toddlers pulling other toddlers earring, which can result to torn earlobe. However, a more realistic explanation should be provided as to why children in most UK primary schools are being instructed not to wear stud earring.

The Department of Education suggests that ‘Common sense should be used in assessing and managing the risks of any activity.’ Some UK schools have lost common sense when it comes to the health and safety of children activities. The UK Health and Safety website supports this on pages 9-11 of their newsletter.

Pic: Pixabay

Parents are baffled as to why this rule exist and have asked questions on various parenting forums on if a child has being hurt from wearing stud earring. As a parent, I have experienced this too, thou the earring was the tiniest nose stud. I believe it is more unhygienic to keep having the earring taken in and out of the ears due to an infection transferred from day to day hand germs. As a childcare professional I understand rules of risk assessment are put in place to prevent any litigation. However these rules have to be based on common sense, cultural diversity and respect for the choice of parents for their children.

Manufactured Educators

On a particular day, I was on the train going to a meeting in London. A group of primary school children got on the train in Mile End. One of them had a visual impairment and guided by an adult whom I believe is the teacher. Three of the children sat on my left side, and one of them decided to pick the newspaper to read.

educationTo my surprise, the teacher told him to stop reading the paper and to put it down. From his body language/observation, the boy wanted to ask why but said ‘yes Miss’. While I was giving the teacher the cold look of why?; that’s how you make a child display disruptive behaviour, and holding back my tongue. Another adult supervising the children noticed this child putting the paper down but encouraged him to go on reading. The boy said ‘Miss told me to put it down.’ This adult turned to the teacher and asked my thoughtful question, why? Her response, ‘we can not control the content in the newspaper.’ The other adult said, ‘oh’. My thoughts responded, ‘are you kidding me.’ At this time of the morning, 95% of the newspaper in the train carriage is metro. This got me thinking about the political correctness of the education system and wanting to put filters in every area of it. If the children were disruptive with the newspaper, this action by the teacher would be justified. What happened to;

  • Asking the child, what are you reading?
  • Having a look at the newspaper before concluding on the action to take.
  • Directing the child to a more child-friendly page.
  • Engaging the child in educational discussion linked to the curriculum.

What is happening in education? I seem to be getting more dissolution with manufactured educators and the deteriorating of common sense in education. OR am I wrong?

The Act of Skin Discrimination in Children

It is a well-known fact that children do not learn how to discriminate or do they identify with skin colour discrimination. Mostly, children under the age of five doing discriminate based on the colour of the skin. Specifically, children under the age of three years, do not know what colour discrimination is because they do not see the skin colour difference. It can be augured that this is based on a child growing up in a mixed and diverse environment of skin colour. This argument can also be built on a child who has not been groomed or reared to identify skin colour from a very young age.

How do children learn or pick up skin colour discrimination? Having worked with diverse children and families over the years, I can suggest that children learn skin discrimination consciously (directly) or unconsciously (indirectly) from their parents or selected career.

renny adejuwon|children mindChildren learn skin discrimination consciously from their parents/carers through:

  • Words: e.g. ‘why are you playing with that black child?’ ‘Do not play with that child, you are different and do not look like them.’
  • Actions: e.g. not inviting the brown skin children to birthday parties or not going to the white skin children birthday parties.

Children learn skin discrimination unconsciously from their parents/carers through:
Listening to adult conversations; e.g., ‘I do not want to send my child to that school because they have a majority of black children.’ ‘I don’t know why the school is taking in more ethnic minority children. They have come to take over.’ Watching how their parents react to adult with different ethnic background: e.g. excluding them from school events, ignoring them in a group conversation, wanting to shut them up or down during conversations, indicating their contribution is not important or relevant.

A conversation took place between a mother and her 10-year-old son:

SON: my friend told me I was treated badly by my teacher.
MUM: what do you mean?
SON: my friend say’s my teacher was racist towards me because he chooses only the Caucasian children to play for the football team.
MOTHER: that does not mean he is racist. Have you been chosen to play for the school football team before?
SON: Yes
MOTHER: so your teacher is giving other children the opportunity to play for the school team. Of cause, some people will treat you differently, brown skin or Caucasian, but be aware that people are either good or bad not the colour of their skin.
SON: my class teacher is white, and she treats me nice and is fair.
MOTHER: you see, it is the person that matters not the colour of the skin. There are brown skin people, who also badly treat other people.

The conversation above could have been so different between the mother and her son. The mother had the opportunity to teach an entirely different seed of thought into her son, but instead, she gave a balanced approach to human behaviour rather than the colour of the human skin.

skin discriminationIn the movie 42, there was a scene where one of the characters, Pee Wee Reese, thanked the main character, Jackie Robinson, for helping get over his bias of skin colour discrimination. This scene took place in one of the many baseball stadiums used in the movie. However, on this occasion, a boy was sitting in the crowd with his daddy. When the dad and the crowd started chanting racist words towards the main character, who is the only brown skin player of the baseball team, the boy just copied his father. The character Pee Wee went on to hug Jackie Robinson and shook his hands. This action stopped some of the crowd from shouting out racist words. In particular, the boy’s face changed like he was thinking about his actions and why he copied his dad in the first instance.

This sense happens consciously or unconsciously in everyday life between parents and their children. If it is not challenged, it tends to grow and develop, and the seed of skin discriminations continues from one generation to the next. It still baffles me how a person can just be judged based on the colour of their skin; I do not get it. Watch your behaviour and your mouth around your children, as the saying goes, action speaks louder than words.

END NOTE: skin discrimination crosses ethnic, cultural or country boundaries.

What Book Is Your Child Reading?

teddyreadingThis question is not directed to fiction and imaginative books such as Harry Potter, Star Trek, The BFG, Matilda, The Lion the witch and wardrobe. Ofcause fiction books help children expand and develop their imagination of the world. Providing opportunities and realities that they may never be able to imagine. Fiction books help children think outside the box of normal to the abnormal, where anything imaginable is possible. It develops the creative and the what if of any world within the child’s imagination. Fiction ensures that all things are possible and helps to continue with the development of children’s imaginative and creative process. Fiction book can help children develop the understand and ideology that a world might exist outside the realities they know or associate to. Fiction books can help children link with happens around them that they never knew existed, between reality and non-reality experiences.

On the other hand, non-fiction books are about facts. Things that have to do with real occurrences, when fiction comes alive in real life situations that happened to individuals. Non-fiction books are informative to children. It provides history, cultural and educational information facts to children. It should be said, most children are not a big fan of non-fiction books outside the class or educational setting. Most non-fiction books found in homes with children include the dictionary, encyclopaedia and books related to subject specific topics.

The question, what book is your child reading? Focuses on the non-fiction books children are reading. As a parent and childcare consultant, it is a concern when research shows that the number of young children suffering from depression, bullying and self-harm is on the rise. Is it because children are being labelled more easily by the establishment, parents want a named problem for their children’s unappropriate behaviour, or these cases are being detected and recorded better based on research? Whatever the answer, the non-fiction books children read can help have a positive impact on their mental mindset. It contributes to providing them with facts and truthful information on how past circumstances may have improved and gotten better. Non-fiction books can help children solve problems better and equip them to develop a stronger mindset on emotion, relationship and peer pressure. Is it easy to get children to read non-fiction books, obviously not? However, when parents put in the same effort to reading non-fiction books as compared to fiction books to their children from a tender age, it is possible for children to be interested in non-fiction books continually.

It seems strange when parents express they find it difficult discussing certain topics with their children e.g. how babies are made, sex, drugs, alcohol, depression, bullying, pornography, friendship, relationship, etc. Schools are discussing these topics with your children so why not add your parental voice to the discussion. If it is not an easy process for you, start with a non-fiction book on the topic that is age and developmentally appropriate. Whichever way you want your child to read the book, independently or with you, provide your child with the opportunity to ask questions, which helps to start the discussion.

In the very fast and informative world we live in now, it is important to equip our children with the correct information that will help build a positive and balanced mindset. So, what book is your child reading?

Is Home Schooling an Option?

It has been said that home schooling gives parents more control over the influences that affect their children. With home schooling, a parent alone can decide what the child needs to do or learn. Tailoring the teaching program to suit the lifestyle, needs and interests of the child are among the most obvious options for home schooling. A child that is home schooled has the benefit of focusing more hours to the subject that may be difficult without additional pressure. Learning time is spread out based on the needs, abilities and interests of the child. The child receives more quality time in a familiar and homely environment, free from peer pressure and making choices and decisions based on needs.

Competition is great for children, but when it comes to home schooling, this is limited or does not occur. This is also the case of interaction with peer groups. When it comes to teaching style, home schooling is very one way centred. Teaching is always focused on how children learn best, which can be great. However, it reduces the child’s ability to process information in different ways that the child is not used to. A child that learns through moving objects or kinesthetic may find it challenging processing information that may include discussion or social activity.

home schooling| rent adejuwonWhen children are home schooled it allows parents the control over the moral, beliefs and ideologies instilled in their child. From a parent’s standpoint, this ensures there is no confusion in the child’s mind and no variation between what is being taught and what is being practised.

Schools are an excellent environment for children to develop different views, interact and learn something different outside their circle. However, parents that opt for home schooling are disillusioned with the system. They believe that children are being pushed too hard or too little. However, when children are in an excellent school system, they are welcome to try different experiences, activities, discipline and ethics.

There are pros and cons of homeschooling your child. Is it an option? Yes, it is if you have the time, lifestyle, finances, ability and interest to follow through with the education. After all, nobody can understand or appreciate your child as much as you.