Excerpt: Qld Education Minister, MP Kate Jones seems to have a good understanding of the over-crowding of the curriculum and genuine desire to help and teachers are very grateful for this. The review of the curriculum, however, does not address the developmentally inappropriate “benchmarks or standards” at all grade levels. These “expectations” place undue stress on children and teachers, to achieve a 1-2 year leap in expectations since as recently as 5 years ago.
“Children have not changed, only the demands placed on them. We are rushing children through harder and faster.”
Our understanding is that the amount of autonomy is often dependent on the leadership of the school and that some proactive principals do say “we’re throwing away the C2C” (Queensland’s prescriptive curriculum), though others insist on following the C2C meticulously. Kathy told of how she retired early, not because she doesn’t love teaching, but because what she had been required to do, did not sit well with her personal philosophy of education.
“We have hundreds of parents and teachers contacting us, that’s why I’ve continued. Many teachers have reached out saying ‘please don’t stop talking’ and parents are telling us their heartbreaking stories. In Prep in term 4, I’ve been told that in geography, 5 year-olds have to compare and contrast two holiday destinations and write four lines of rhyming prose. That’s unrealistic.”
Children of that age are deeply in the concrete stage of development. That means they are not yet ready to think abstractly. Children that age should not be expected to compare and contrast two places they have not experienced directly.