The Children Verses Derek Jeter

OK so I never intended to spend my life working with children. Yes I did the childcare degree in the UK but that was because I wanted to travel.  I thought if I got that degree I could become a nanny which was a great way to travel the world for cheap, and I was right…it was.  And then when I came to the USA and my children were born, I wanted them with me so working as a preschool teacher was a win win…But I NEVER expected it would become my career…But it did…And the funny thing is, I was really good at it. I moved up from being Assistant, to Teacher, to Lead Teacher, to Assistant Director, to Director,  and I really enjoyed it.

But do you know what I did not enjoy, do you know what really really  p##*@ed me off the most?  It was the fact that what I did was seen by society as not  very valuable, I mean I can only draw that conclusion as we here in the USA value things with a dollar amount, and as the dollar amount placed on me was $7 to $9 an hour,  what other conclusion can I draw?

Part of my job as Lead Teacher was to teach children to read. Now I may be a bit naive but I think that this is THE most important job on the planet,  I mean think about it…. If children cannot read, there will be no doctors, no lawyers, no scientist, no teachers or professors, no….., well, you get the picture.

I really don’t understand it,  as a licensed family daycare provider, I saw parents wince when I told them my cost for taking care of their child for a week from 7am to 6pm was $150.00 (this worked out at $3.75 an hour)  And yet these same parents don’t think anything of paying much much more for other services..Here are some examples…..

Piano tuner. $70 an hour

Dog grooming $70 to $90 an hour

Computer hard drive install $199.00

Plumber $150 an hour

So why is anything related to children valued so low?  This speaks to our Public School Teachers also but that is another post. These days many qualifications are required to be a preschool teacher and yet the pay remains low .

But you know what, that is really not what bothers me the most, even though I truly think we should be paying these people much much more.  No,  what bothers me the most is when I open my MSN news and the first thing I see is that Derek Jeter just signed a new contract with the Yankees for…wait for it….$51 million !!!! Yes you read it correct $51 million for 3 years

So based on this, I can only draw the conclusion that this is what we consider valuable…..

Teaching a child to read…………………………………………………………………….. $51 thousand over 3 years

Throwing a ball, catching a ball, hitting a ball, running in a circle………………. $51 million  over 3 years

Seriously, I have to ask..what is wrong with this picture?  Why is it that we place so little value in the care and education of what is obviously our most important “resource” for the future and yet so much on our ‘entertainment”

What needs to be done for this to change? What can WE as individuals do to let society know that this is unacceptable and that we HAVE to invest more money in both early childhood and our Public education system and NOT be making the damaging cuts that are happening right now all over the country.  But more important, how can we, as a society start placing less emphasis on movie stars, rock stars, people in sports and stop idolizing them.

And not being outraged when someone gets paid $5 million per episode for starring in a show about nothing!

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Your Baby Can Read

So I was watching TV last week and I saw a commercial that showed a man with a baby and the baby was reading! Yes, reading from flashcards, big words too,…a little baby…reading!  As the baby continued to read the words on the flashcards, I watched with wonderment and awe and thought to myself…………..

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

When are we going to stop pushing our children to stop being children? Failing children in kindergarten was bad enough but now we have to teach our children to read at 6 months?  Do they really think that a child that can read at 6 months is going to be any further ahead than the child who learns to read in Kindergarten? The bottom line is…by the end of  2nd grade, kids who did learn early and kids who did not are usually at the same level.

Both my children learned to read between the ages of 4 and 5 and they both have an extremely high lexile reading levels. They both love to read and and they both have an extensive vocabulary. Perhaps I am nuts but when my kids were babies, they rolled on the floor and laughed and gurgled

More and more we now expect children to “have it all together” before they are even out of diapers. Get them potty trained ASAP, heck there is even a way to train them in one day! Get them on solid food ASAP.  If they are not talking by a certain age, get them to a speech therapist ASAP.

Go online and Google daycare centers, try to find one called something like  The “let’s just let our children play and have fun ” daycare. You won’t find one.  They are all called names that end with “academy” or “college” or they have the term “learning” or “Einstein” in their names.  What is that? Are we turning out better scholars by teaching our children at a very early age? or even starting them in infancy? according to  a recent Time magazine article, studies show, no we are not. In the latest study on the effects of popular videos such as the “Baby Einstein” and “Brainy Baby” series, researchers find that these products may be doing more harm than good. And they may actually delay language development in toddlers

We are pushing and pushing and pushing because we think that the kids will do better in school. I think we are just robbing them of the most important time in their lives. Leave them alone and allow them to learn the natural way, through sights, sounds, touch, play and human interactions. Sure they have to learn to read and do algebra at some time,  but can’t we allow them to be babies and children for as long as possible

Please, let’s just allow an infant to be an infant, to marvel and the sights and sounds, to enjoy this most precious and innocent of times.  NOT be teaching them to read Tolstoy’s War and Peace!

What is YOUR opinion on this?  Do you believe it is a babies best interest to try to teach them to read before they are even one year old? Do you think that in the long term it makes a difference to that child’s education or learning capabilities?