After the recent daycare incident, I vowed not to send the girls back there on the days that NDP was there. As it turns out, NDP is there every day, so I decided it was time to check out a more 'alternative' (similar to Steiner) childcare centre with the girls.
As far as first impressions go, this centre was fabulous. We were greeted by one of the teachers as soon as we walked in. She talked to me about their 'child directed' approach to learning, told me about their programs and showed us around the building. Very impressive.
The girls were drawn to the 'library', which was a cute little corner space with lots of book shelves and posters on the walls. Miss F pointed to a poster titled "My Body", with a picture of a boy in boxer shorts and words with arrows pointing to different body parts. The teacher sat down to read the poster with her and helped her work out the words by identifying which body part the arrow was leading to. Again, very impressive.
When they'd been through all the words Miss F asked, "Is that a boy?". The teacher answered yes and then Miss F asked, "Why doesn't he have a penis?"
I was hoping the teacher would follow my "child's direction" and talk to her about public and private body parts. She could have even just acknowledged that Miss F had a point and moved on. Instead she replied "Excuse me, Miss - We don't talk like that here." Miss F was puzzled and asked, "Why not?". The teacher said, "Because it is rude."
Just as I was about to intervene, Miss F said, "No - Touching is rude. Talking is good."
We left not long after that when the teacher confirmed that they did not cover, or even acknowledge sexuality in any way, shape or form.
After this experience today I am seeing the whole daycare situation in a completely different light.
I am disappointed that a teacher at such an open minded and supposedly 'alternative' centre, has such closed and ignorant views on sexuality education. I am also enormously proud of Miss F and her super kewl line, "Touching is rude. Talking is good."
Seeing the the kewl girls grow into empowered little people, with active minds and BIG voices is exciting and rewarding beyond anything I ever imagined. It is a fantastic feeling, knowing that they are taking on the sexuality education and self protection skills I value so much.
But even though I love that the girls have these skills - they should not need to have them to protect themselves from carers at daycare. Their carers should be teaching them about sexuality and self protection, not the other way around.
I could talk forever about the reasons I place such a high value on sexuality education, but that's not the point of this post.
The point is that I think sexuality is one of the most important areas of the girls' development - But no matter which daycare they go to I will never be able ensure that their carers have or appreciate sexuality education.
And I've realised that this is not good enough for me.
I am no longer prepared to let other people be responsible for my children if they do not have the sexuality knowledge I think is necessary.
So as of today, we are going to be home learners!
I've always intended to give the girls the option of homeschooling. Daycare (then kinder) was going to be our way of deciding whether this would suit us or not. Well, we have decided a little earlier than planned! The girls already go to a home learning group once a week and it is here that they really thrive, not daycare. They might be too young for 'schooling', but they love learning and I don't believe daycare is the right place for them to learn any more.
I'm excited about this decision, about what it will mean for the girls and for us as a family. No doubt things will get a little crazy while we work out a new routine, but we like a little crazy and I think we do it pretty well!
Of course, changes in the kewl house will mean changes for the kewl blog, and I'm looking forward to sharing the stories and the kewl home learning moments that we're bound to have. I hope that they don't put you kewl people out there to sleep and that you all want to stick with us, because I really do love sharing our moments!
Finally, I want to thank a few kewl bloggers in particular, who's posts have helped me with this decision...
Paula wrote about choosing to be with her son instead of advancing career. She said “No other time in my life will I have this opportunity....to raise my son as I see fit 24 hours a day. I am tired of leaving him with someone else. There is plenty of time for that later on." Although meant in a slightly different context, these words prompted me to reassess my own priorities and made me realise what a once in a lifetime thing this whole child raising gig is.
PreSchool Mama always has brilliant ideas and activities that are both fun and educational. I'll be using this blog for inspiration!
Montessori Free Fall is a recent discovery and one that has already taught me so much about home learning with toddlers. Upon reading this blog, home learning somehow seemed easy to see as a reality, rather than an ideal.
Megan posted about achieving a work / life balance. In order to home learn with the girls I will need to cut back on my work commitments and say goodbye to some people and places that I love. This post made me again reassess my priorities and also offered me a better perspective - I now see work as a hobby and home life as my job.
Now I'm off to print out some activities for our first ever "preschool time" tomorrow...
Wish me luck!!!