Why I don’t think we should plan to put 3, 4 and 5 year olds in primary schools in SA...
1. Small 25-30 strong centres employ 3 people and are a good small business opportunity. Also the owner absorbs many costs of building, maintenance and things like lights and water...
2. Why do we think having the 3-5 year olds in Primary school would be so problematic and cost so much? And that government really cannot have thought this through very well...
a) This would mean that in a primary school that has about 120 children in each year they will need to put in:
• Approved child/ teachers space ratio for 3 year olds: 20 to 1/ playroom the size of a double garage/ playground area/ 2 toilets = 6 pre-school teachers and 6 playrooms and 12 toilets
• Approved child/ teachers space ratio for 4-5 year olds: 25 to 1/ playroom the size of a double garage/ playground area/ 2 toilets = 5 pre-school teachers and 5 playrooms and 10 toilets
This means that the government will possibly need to find on average space for:
• 11 double garage sized playrooms,
• 22 more flushing toilets
• 11 teachers plus a principal,
• kitchen (although they may not provide food)
• a large playground
- In every primary school in SA.
Most primary schools are already overfull with little extra land – sports fields are being used now for Grade R – and also don’t have proper classrooms or toilets...
More Good reasons why it’s a bad idea to but pre-schoolers into primary schools:
• Grade R often still really badly taught in many primary schools
• Curriculumis likely to be controlled by primary school teachers who are not trained in pre-school which is very different as children are in a different developmental stage. Children’s confidence and self-esteem will be badly knocked by being made to do things they are not ready for. This means that they will be both not school ready but also be likely to hate school and learning...
• The Grade R classrooms already taking up sports fields and playgrounds - soon none left.
• Grade 1's will be taking 3 year olds home (bad enough that Grade R's and 1's all too often going home on their own...)
• The 3 year olds will have to travel much further to go to school.
• The 3-5/6 year olds will be more likely to be unsupervised at home from 1-4 pm and even later.
• The 3-5 year olds will be unlikely to have a nutritious lunch.
• The 3-5/6 yr olds will be at risk from older children's bullying and abuse ect.
• The classes are likely to be too big – just like some Grade R classes have 50 children to one teacher in them...
Good home based ECD’s provide a small, secure environment and for 25 children 3 people are employed – good for everyone – but need to be properly supported by government.
I believe there should be a proper department of ECD in the government Education Department ...and ECD should become the province of the Education Dept.