The education system is destroying the self confidence of young school goers

A lot of people think that teachers have it sweet because they get lots of holidays – but I honestly think they deserve MORE!

Yikes these men and women deserve a medal, not just for putting up with dozens of snotty, cranky, cheeky, shitty, farty kids, but for their dedication to teaching.

Each week I parent help in my daughter’s prep classroom – not just to spy on her but to be involved in her schooling.

I was completely shocked at what these 4.5 to 6 years are having to do during their second term at school.


Yeah yeah I know it’s to make sure the whole country is at the same level blah blah blah bloody blah.

I seriously believe the ridiculously high standards kids have to meet will have a detrimental effect on the self esteem of many.

For example, after just one term my daughter is expected to read a book, a level 2 or 3. This is because kids have a list of sight words they must memorise and lots of these books have SOME of these sights words in.

Every week they get six or so new words and at the end of the week they are tested on them, and if they don’t remember them, NO STAR STAMP!


Talk about devastation for a vulnerable child who is desperate to please her teacher and parents.

If parents don’t sit their kids down and drum these words into them, then their children won’t pass the dozens tests they’re given each term.

They’ll be left behind, feel that they’re not as smart as the others and even begin to feel deflated and not want to go to school.

Thankfully my daughter seems to be okay and getting it – but lots aren’t – I’ve seen them in class struggling and it breaks my heart.

Her first school photo - cute right?

Her first school photo – cute right?

Precious preppies head to school eager, ready to learn and have fun with new friends.

But what they’re expected to do is quite frankly, unreasonable.

Most teachers and teachers aides I have spoken to have said there is no such thing as Prep anymore, Prep is now basically Grade 1 – and I believe it.

They have expressed their angst and frustration at what they have to teach kids in their FIRST year at school.

Today my daughter’s class is being on assessed on retelling a story – simple right???


They have to retell the story, draw some pictures and then WRITE A SENTENCE to describe each picture – WTF

If you’re a mum with young kids, you will know this is not something that comes easily to most 4.5 – 5.5-year-olds.

I’m furious at how much pressure these kids are under.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe in the school system, but not when it puts so much pressure on young ones to know how to read in just a few months.

Or when it makes a child of average/normal intellect feel they are inadequate or thick.

I have seen kids in my daughter’s class just struggling to stay attentive for nearly two hours with no break.

Half of the kids can’t do the task, lots can but then again I’ve seen the top of the class struggle also.

Image source

Image source

Why can’t they send kids outside to play more, to run around the classroom just for five minutes.

I bet teachers YEARN to do this with this young preppies, and some do, but then I’m sure there’s a part of them worrying they have to get 24 kids to write a sentence the next day.

The sad thing is, it’s only going to get harder for kids, and I’m sad to say I believe this approach is going to bite the education system on the bum.

After five or six years of schooling, some will be so far behind or disengaged they’ll lose interest.

I’m so disenchanted with the unrealistic expectations that I no longer stress out about homework. I won’t let her fall behind, but after seeing what they do in her classroom all day I let her just chill out when she gets home.

As for teachers, they do it tough.

If you can spare just an hour once a week they would be SO grateful, it would also give you valuable insight into the workings of your child’s classroom.

You’ll also get to find out who has nits, what kids did on the weekend and your child will ADORE having you take an interest!

Do you parent help? Do you think the government makes it too hard for teachers of young kids to achieve their targets? Am I over-reacting?

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  1. I think they have forgotten all the research out there that says that play based learning in early childhood is whats best. You wouldn’t be the only one shocked to see how much sit down writing children have to do – I’m a trained teacher and I think it must be hard for those kids that aren’t quite there yet.

    • You make a great point Annaleis, it’s gone from play based to full on kids have to learn and read within the first year, I truly think it will make those who aren’t making it turn off. x

  2. I think one of the problems is the huge difference in abilities at Prep age. My oldest was well and truly ready for sight words and reading when she started Prep – my second is a completely different story and would happily just run around in a fairy dress all day if she could! They’re both smart and keen to learn, but one can sit down and concentrate for long periods, whilst the other needs more physical breaks. Unfortunately the education system is a bit ‘one size fits all’ cos teachers need to maintain standards etc. I’m glad our Prep teacher this year seems to give them plenty of chances to stretch and move around. They have ‘dance breaks’ where they jump around to a particular song – they love it! I’d love to do parent help in the classroom but they have a ‘no siblings’ rule and I have nowhere to put my toddler 🙁 Good on you for getting involved though. I agree, it’s the best way to suss out what’s really going on!

    • I am lucky my two pre-school boys are at daycare so I can go otherwise it’s very hard. And I totally agree with different abilities, but we have no choice here in OZ, in NZ you start school when you are 5 and so all kids start at the same age, however, there are pros and cons to that. Thanks for awesome comment Lara xxx

  3. Argh, welcome to my nightmare. I refuse to give me prep students homework, I work them so hard during the day that some of them are so tired by the afternoon they can barely pack their bags. PLAY provides students the opportunity to practice what they have learnt, it is so important. Outside play strengthens students core and shoulders muscles which is needed for them to sit and write. There is research that studied two groups of kids, one group started academics early, the other slowly with a focus on social and emotional. By yr 12 there was NO difference in abilities between the two groups, except the group that took the time to develop good social skills were able to cope better with stress. I want students to learn in my classroom because they are interested and ready, not because I’m cramming curriculum down their throat. I do have to work hard to justify my practice but I have had preps reading at a level 14 by the end of year without ever sending home a home reader or Sight word flash cards. It can be done!

    • I wish you were at my school – I agree teaching is a hard gig but those who do what they believe in and get results are AWESOME! I bet you also have some great experience so can have the confidence to do this, I’m not sure all teachers have this, I REALLY appreciated your honesty M – thanks – Em xx

  4. Ooo don’t get me started – former teacher here! I’ll just say that we pulled our kids out of their private school after I’d complained about the amount of homework / standard expected (ie the parents did it, NOT the kids). “But at least they’ll get better jobs,” Barbie oops the teacher told me. WTF I just wanted to get my son through YEAR 5 at the time!

  5. Elaine W says:

    I teach tertiary students and it’s difficult to get THEM to concentrate for two hours, let alone a primary schooler!

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