"More than a quarter of Australian fifth graders believe yogurt is grown on trees and three out of four of them think cotton is an animal product, according to a study from the Australian Council of Education Research."
Little Emily (4) was taking me on a guided tour; "That is Spring up there, THEY told us, that is my lamb, oh, maybe not that one, I forgot which one. THEY gave us a paper and there was a lamb on it and then we had to put that white glue on and then that white stuff THEY call cotton wool. It was really hard, it was very sticky and I did it wrong and THEY came and changed it, THEY said the tail was wrong. I did one of those flowers too but we had to make yellow flowers and had to paint a bit of egg box with yellow and green sticks. I wanted a pink flower but THEY said these ones are not pink. Pink is my favourite."
|Celebrating individuality and creativity?|
"This is where the dinosaurs go. We made that volcano! We take newspaper and then THEY put it in watery stuff and then you have to wait and wait for it to go hard. THEY make a hole in the middle....... mmmm I think mountains have a hole in the middle? Then THEY put some white powder in, like my baby's powder, and then some water stuff but it smells bad and you have to hold your nose and then the bubbles came out the top. THEY say that's a volcano. I don't know who put the white powder and smelly stuff in the hole at the top of the big mountain when the dinosaurs came, maybe a giant cause mountains are very big. My dad says the red stuff that comes out is lava and is very hot and burns but our volcanoes just had bubbles and it wasn't hot."
|Bubbles from volcanoes - is that really what we want children to learn?|
|Real fire - mesmerizing,an opportunity to be together and share while learning.|
"That's our tools, they're pretend! THEY say real ones are dangerous. The yellow saw doesn't hurt, look you can saw your hand! The hammer, we have a red hammer but THEY say you can't use it to hammer nails because the hammer breaks....THEY say just tap the blue block and then it is safe. Jason's grandad got him a saw that really cuts wood and he brought it but They said it was too dangerous and took it away and put it on the high place. Jason says tools here are really boring cause they don't even work."
"Our coats, that pink one is mine, THEY tell us we have to put them on, THEY say it is cold when the clouds come or the wind is there. I run and run and run and go red and my heart goes boom, boom very fast. I tell them I want to take my coat off but THEY say it is too cold and cross their arms like this and make shivery faces when THEY stand by the door. When it rains THEY say we can't go out, sometimes it doesn't rain and THEY say we can't go out. I love to play in the rain and splash in the puddles, THEY say keep away cause you will get wet!"
|Trusting children to self risk assess leads to competent, confident and able children.|
"The trees - they are not for climbing THEY say it is too dangerous. My mummy lets me climb to the top of the tree in our garden, to my big brother's tree-house. She says are you feeling safe and I nod my head like this. My tree looks the same but THEY say these are too dangerous. I don't know why. I like to climb and THEY say I can go on the little slide but I have to slide down on my bottom, THEY say it's too dangerous on my tummy. Sometime we quickly climb up and we jump from the top, that is best fun! THEY keep saying be careful but I don't know why?"
"Those are vegetables but we can't go in there, THEY say the tomatoes are poisonous and can kill us. My dad lets me help to plant tomatoes and then I eat them when they are red but I don't die, my tomatoes are not the same, I love tomatoes but not these ones, THEY say they are too dangerous."
|Experiencing the delight of growth - the time it takes for tomatoes to change colour - another valuable learning experience|
"You see there by the fence. All those sticks. THEY say sticks are dangerous and when THEY see one fallen off the tree THEY throw it over the fence. When we find one we hide it, sometimes the boys make guns but THEY say that is bad and we can't make guns. They are just pretend and can't really shoot but THEY say guns are bad. My daddy has a real gun and he is good, I love my daddy, he is a policeman!"
"These are beans, well not the white stuff but THEY say you need the white stuff and THEY call it cotton wool and THEY say you put this hard bean on it, close it with more soft stuff and then THEY say put water on, water every day, not blue water, just water like the bath. When THEY say you can open it then some green and white bits are coming out! I like beans. I know, sheep make cotton wool so we can grow beans on the plate and clouds are made of cotton-wool, THEY say so!! I love coming to Kindergarten, THEY know everything and when I am big I want to be like THEM"
I wonder how many adults are brave enough to admit that THEY might have been responsible for generations of children with these or similar misconceptions? I have to admit to the volcano 'experiment' - sorry children!!
|Exploring the properties of real materials - natural stones and water.|