I know that I cannot protect Small Z from the world. I know it. But for about four days in the past week she shrieked with worry whenever I put the kettle on. And the barbeque. It took me a little while to figure out that she had had a fire drill at kindergarten.
It’s hard getting information out of a four-year-old, so aside from learning that the children all hold on to a big rope as they leave the building and that ‘you need to shelter under a tree’ – I’m not sure what else they were told.
I am sure that it wasn’t done in the best way it could have. For a kid who has been turning the stove off for me when the kettle whistles for the past year to start freaking out, I am sure that the ‘fire information’ was a bit scary. Maybe she never realised that it was ‘fire’ on the stove heating the kettle.
The children were also taught about endangered species – the platypus. Which is fine. But I don’t think it was necessary to go into detail about platypuses being caught in yabby traps and dying. “Are all platypuses extinct, Dadda?” she asked M as they walked home last week. “Are they all dead from yabby traps?”
M reassured her that hardly any platypuses got caught in traps at all. This made her happier.
I find this so hard. I remember so well being her age and similar things just breaking my four-year-old heart. Some of the kids in her kindergarten are still three-years-old, others, like her, are just four. Do they really need to know this stuff? Isn’t the rest of their life time enough to learn that the world is not always a happy place?
Organised schooling that assumes all kids of a similar age are generally similarly evolved emotionally and intellectually just DRIVES ME INSANE…
UPDATE: Since writing this rant last week I took Small Z’s teacher aside and asked her in strong words about FIRE. And asked why my kid now SCREAMS IN TUNE WITH THE BOILING KETTLE? And RUNS FROM THE BARBECUE? I was somewhat mollified by her answer -which was that they had FORGOTTEN to do the fire drill that week and had not done any fire-ed. They thought she might have read something about it all somewhere….
And the platypus. I asked if it was necessary to go into such detail with such little kids. Apparently no other kids were bothered by the fate of the platypus. So I asked that if they had to persist in telling them sad things could they EXPLAIN it to Small Z afterwards? You know, that Australia is not utterly bereft of platypuses because of yabby traps? There are quite a few left? Because if they don’t, she will continue to refuse to go to kindergarten and I will not make her go.