Readers Blog: Children need a good old primary education

Recent announcements, re changes being proposed — and some already implemented — to the primary school curriculum prompts me to ask you to publicise my cry of anguish in the sheer foolishness of it all?

Who on earth is advising the Department of Education on this matter?

Please let an Oireachtas committee be formed — just like the one for repealing the Eighth Amendment— but with more clout, to fight this nonsense tooth and nail.

“Cultivate good working habits in the children from the first day they come to school.”

Do you remember it, my Carysfort classmates?

Nowadays, I believe, the infants are being taught to play.

Please correct me firmly if the following isn’t true. As well as good moral training, the purpose of primary school is to give the children a sound foundation in language and numbers, to carry them forward to the second level and beyond.

How on earth could that have changed?

Language — and we have two — means reading, writing, vocabulary, grammar, comprehension, spelling, and fluency.

Other subjects on the curriculum depend on an extension of language.

Numbers deals with the basics, tables, the four rules of number, the traditional programme as they go up through the classes.

Above all developing the reason through the age-old use of problem solving. The children won’t learn all this in their sleep.

Whatever has happened to nature study — recognition of birds, trees, wayside flowers? The memory so elastic when young, is now so sadly neglected.

I am almost afraid to mention the Vineyard of The Lord.

Will they soon be allowed into it anymore? The school day is very short.

Please be ruthless in banishing as far as possible anything that cuts into the precious time so sorely needed for the above.

Of course, there will be a singing class, but surely, mastering a musical instrument is much too time-consuming to be done during school hours. Let the parents see to it.

Distractions as in queries from the office, discussions on individual children, etc, should be kept for an after-hours period one evening a week.

As for the modern scourge called administration, will someone please riddle the cinders and get rid of most of it before it drives all the principals insane. I do not exaggerate. Ask a few of them.

Please, let our mantra be: “Back to basics.”

Sheila Griffin


Co Kerry

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