Kitty is now into the second week of her final term in Reception, and while she seems to be doing well at school, nothing has yet convinced me that setting up our Early Years education system to push children away from play based child-led learning and into formal academics was a good thing. It’s in complete opposition to everything recommended by research which suggests that the three Rs should be brought in later, and to most parents’ experience of worn out little people. Beth at Twinderelmo wrote this week about the amount of homework her little boy brought home for the Easter holidays and you have to wonder when the poor boy was supposed to rest and play and be inventive and creative and just have fun in between all the worksheets. He’s 7.
So what do we do about it? Well if you haven’t read it yet, Maddy at Writing Bubble has a brilliant plan that I would definitely go along with – on SATs day, why don’t we all just take our children out of school? I know they’d just reschedule the tests for another day but wouldn’t that send a wonderfully powerful message to the powers that be that we want our little children to be taught not tested? It turns out she’s not the only one with the clever ideas because a group of parents has got together to do exactly that. Their website has all the details and even though this isn’t SATs year for us (and I’d love to hope that time will never come) I hope they pull it off.
In lieu of that, there are two petitions gathering speed to be put before parliament, both petitioning for the Early Years stage to be extended from 5 to 7, one on Change.org and the other on the UK petitions site which send the biggest message we can manage short of the balance box, that while our teachers are doing the very best they can with what they’ve got; the dictats they’re getting from on high need to change.
Right then, minor rant over, I shall now descend from the lofty heights of my soapbox.
On to food. This article from The Guardian about the history of the relationship between sugar and science is fascinating (and also long, you may need a few minutes to have a good read). It looks at the way in which sugar is now being widely considered the biggest cause of the worldwide obesity crisis, rather than fat; in contrast to popular and supposedly scientific thinking for the last few decades. But this isn’t new science; John Yudkin had exactly the same hypothesis back in 1972, could point out exactly the same flaws in the ‘fat is the root of all evil’ arguments and yet his work was rubbished, poorly discredited and he himself was subjected to condemnation from his peers, many of whom appear to have been in the pockets of some of the major food manufacturers, especially in the US.
The discussion of the operation of sugar vs fat in our bodies is interesting in its own right but what really gripped me was the manipulation of science over the years, both in terms of people and in terms of facts. There’s a theory put to proof in this area of work as to how theories can become accepted facts because the years pass and either the challenger dies and is not replaced, or the promoter dies and his theory is taken up as fact by his followers, and it’s incredible seeing how it worked in practice.
More food! This time in the form of a brilliantly thought-provoking post from Jess at Along Came Cherry about the story behind our food and facing up to the realities of our food production, especially when it comes to meat, eggs and dairy. It’s worth a read and worth a think, and now I want to go and watch all the documentaries she mentioned.
Well that’s all been a bit heavy so far so how about something lighter – let’s talk little boy clothes. Well little boy and little girl.
Our nearest Mothercare restocked their Little Bird range for summer recently so we nipped in for a quick visit and they have yellow and they have boats and I was sunk! I find I need to see Little Bird clothes in person, their colours don’t show quite true on my computer screen and so for example, a fish t-shirt that I thought I loved when I saw it online, I thought was a bit garish in person. The yellow shirt with a boat on and the grey with lots of boats on are absolutely perfect and came homfor Pip, along with a yellow flowery sundress for Elma and a sad face from Kitty who at age 5 is now far too tall for even the size 7-8. Mothercare’s own range for little boys this summer is full of turquoise and yellow too – that middle shirt is just ordinary Mothercare as part of a three pack and I love it.
In terms of sizing, I’ve bought the 3-4 for Pip. He’s currently wearing Elma’s hand-me-down age 2-3 Little Bird shirts without much room for growing so by the summer these will be a perfect fit. I find Little Bird run a little small on sizing anyway but they’re not that small – our little Pip Squeak is just extraordinarily tall!
And for Kitty all is not lost. Frugi’s summer collection is a thing of great beauty, and my biggest challenge is going to be trying to decide between the Porthcurno dresses – they’re both so lovely. As is everything else. I’ve hidden my credit card, it’s the only way!
And last but by no means least, to Blogtacular, now rapidly approaching at the end of June (yay!) but more importantly, to the Blogtacular Podcast . Kat has just finished the first series of twelve episodes and I’ve loved every single one of them, even if she’s talking to someone whose blogging niche is a million miles away from my own. I listened to them while binge sewing up the Fishing Net quilt and just like the real conference I’ve come away with a hundred and one ideas of things I want to do – all I need to do now is choose which one first!