Pre-school education

The Herald reports:

Many 5-year-olds are starting school unable to count or complete the alphabet, despite years of pre-school . …

Rosemary Vivien, head of Edendale School in Sandringham, Auckland, said the Ministry of Education had outlined general expectations of what children should know when they started school. These included being able to count to 20, knowing the alphabet, recognising colours and being able to write their own name.

More than half the children who started at Edendale, a decile 5 school, could not do that. …

Ms Vivien and Ms Procter both said the problem was not the result of poverty or families who spoke English only as a second language.

This is pretty disturbing stuff. Education should start in the home, not just once they turn five. The sad thing is that while some kids will quickly close the gap, at present a fair chunk go through school not meeting even basic literacy and numeracy standards. And this has major consequences for them as individuals, but also for our overall economy and our crime rate.

My niece turned five late last year and could proudly count to 100 and back – both in English and Maori.  I sort of assumed that counting to 100 was pretty standard for pre-school. Certainly counting to 20 should have occurred.

I have said many many times I would take money from tertiary education and stick it into pre-school or early childhood education. The cost of Labour’s bribes (now maintained by National) of interest free student loans is in the hundreds of millions and you could do so much by spending it on kids before they reach five so they don’t struggle for the rest of their lives.

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