Thursday, November 18, 2010

Being a Recycled Baby Alien Plum

A lot has changed at my school in the 25 years since I left.  And I know this because my daughter now goes there so I can make constant forensic and slightly obsessive comparisons.   

To whit, check out these differences:

  • they learn Mandarin, not French.
  • they have a philosophy class where they learn to ask things like 'If 7/11s are open 24 hours a day why do they need to have locks on the door?' 
  • they have values, which include respect and kindness and bullying is frowned upon.
  • every week there is a gold coin day for an unheard of but worthy charity.
  • they go on interesting excursions to places like the Footscray Market to buy Vietnamese vegetables and fruit which they then learn about, cook and eat.
  • there are no winners in the house sports competitions.  There are 'finishers' and people who 'competed'.
  • maths is studied on line at home and school by logging on to Mathletics which treats maths as a game.
  • they have a market garden where they make compost, breed butterflies and harvest cauliflower.
  • they have 'Nude Food' days where you have to rip the wrappers off the bars before they go into the lunchbox because everyone's lunch waste is weighed and tallied.
  • they have groovy teachers who ride red scooters to school and wear leggings. 
  • they are taught to give presentations to large numbers from an early age (I didn't have to do this until I was 25 which gave me a crippling case of the red and blushies).
  • they have to wear their hats everywhere and noone has a suntan.
  • the maintenance workers and gardeners are young surfie types not slightly creepy \ mad older men.
And nowhere are these differences more apparent than in the annual Christmas Concert,    which was held this week. Quite a long time before Christmas, you may say.  Well it may as well be, because the concert has nothing to do with Christmas. Instead, it is a Celebration of Learning.   This week's concert was about a baby alien who landed in my daughter's school and was amazed by all the things the girls had done.   Since starting school, my daughter has dressed up in a bewildering array of non Christmassy characters for her Christmas Concert:

  • a plum
  • a star
  • a farmer
  • the rain
  • Autumn
I loved the concert.  It was touching and cute.  They were all so nervous, and so excited.  The dancing was sweet and slightly imperfect, and my reticent little girl stood up and spoke her line loudly and proudly, which I know was not easy for her. 

And like the last 5 concerts,  recycling and the environment were prominentlyy mentioned.   Maybe recycling is the new religion.   

But, and I say this as a largely non denominational person,  just a teeny tiny little bit of me would like to see either:

  • a Christmas concert with Christmas Carols, and two children inappropriately dressed as Mary and Joseph with a local screaming baby as Jesus in the manger and the Three Kings in the background or
  • a concert which looks at the way other cultures celebrate their key festivals or religious days..............
Is it just me?

(All images via Sarah Kaye)


brismod said...

No, it's not just you. The world is too PC. In my mind, you can't take the "Christ" out of Christmas and there should be nothing wrong with celebrating the richness of other religions either. Avoidance and not mentioning religion does not equal religious tolerance. You've touched a nerve, Jane!

Ann said...

Beliefs aside, the Christmas story is such a ripping yarn too... seems silly to ignore it.

What worries me the most is the "finishers" and competitors... heavens, we'll have no gold medals in 2024. Perhaps I should go and have a gaze in the hall of mirrors and take a good hard look at myself and my overly competitive approach!

Amanda said...

Wow, sounds like lots of great things are happening in your daughter's school. Not so sure about the end of year concert, I'd like a more Christmas feel to it too. Also as Ann said above, the lack of 'winners' in the carnival is not really indicative of the real world. It's amazing how things have changed so drastically from the days when we were there :)

Paula said...

A funny, witty and insightful post Jane. Where to start - the nude lunchbox or Christmas celebration minus the something-always-goes-wrong nativity scene. I was gobsmacked ..but at least now I'm prepared. PS I can still remember primary school days: Shelly Harmer reciting the line "Mary came into Bethlehem riding on a (nervous pause) BMX". It brought the house down.

Mise said...

My daughter is being a chicken for Christmas, if that's any consolation. The school sounds absolutely wonderful. Perhaps a wee bit PC, as in the lack of the cultural figures of Mary and Joseph and screaming Jesus, but that's more than outweighed by all that super education that's going on. When the house next door to you comes up for sale, please let me know and I'll arrange for myself and the family to emigrate. We could do with a spot of Mandarin too.

Charlotta Ward said...

Jane, what a lovely post. I enjoyed and nodded in agreement to every word you say about school.
My schooling (all of childhood) was in Sweden and there are vast differences. I am amazed at the turn education is taking and how our little ones are prepared to walk a much wider path of life in our modern world.

Also, thank you for visiting and commenting on my blog. I am so glad you did and that you allowed me to back-trace you.
I am off to read your next post now.

xx Charlotta

Maxabella said...

I totally agree - I'm not especially religious, but I appreciate the fact that Christmas is a Christian holiday and I EXPECT lovely Chrissy carols and nativity scenes and all the trimmings. I think it's ridiculous when we make everything generic. It's just dullsville. x

Maxabella said...

PS - I love the images!! x

Millie said...

You are not the only one Jane. A school Christmas Concert without the little Shepherds with their rolled beach towels on their heads is like a scone without jam & cream, totally superfluous. I cannnot abide political correctness in any form, so I'll say no more.
Millie ^_^

Slim Paley said...

Christ no (I just had to put the "Christ" in to be politically incorrect) You are NOT the only one Jane!!
OMG- you should try living with my husband! Well, maybe that's not such a good idea, but all of this stuff drives him bleeding bonkers. Especially, as Ann & Amanda mentioned, the sense of healthy competition and "winning" being removed from school sports and events- so not indicative of what awaits them in the real world. It's utterly preposterous and is slowly whittling away the "Strive" gene, I'm afraid. And one more thing, while I'm on a rant; In our school's production of Peter Pan they replaced the Indians with HIPPIES (they felt the Indians were too "politically incorrect") Aaargh! Where's your bow & arrow when you need it?!

24 Corners said...

You are most definitely NOT I'm sure you've gathered now by all of your very wise commenters! I was getting riled up at just about every line of explanation. Don't you think it's the parents job to teach the kids about recycling and the schools - reading, writing and the wonder they have to learn math through an online game...there's no room it seems for a propoer math class. The basics please...leave the rest to the parents.
And Christmas is matter how they try to change that fact...maybe the baby alien play could be done another time of year. It's okay to want that also...I feel sorry for the children who will never experience the holidays as we did when we were young.

I did like that they are staying on top of kindness, respect and no bullying...that should be the norm and that they are learning to give presentations...that's kind of cool.

Great post!!
xo J~

MFAMB said...

LOVED this.

Siobhan said...

In philosophy class I'd be asking why 7/11 isn't called 24/7.

Littlemissairgap said...

I really like the idea of a celebration of learning ... and yes, I'm a teacher ... but I still love Christmas. I just think these kind of performances mean so much more to the children as it's something they've been actively engaged in and unlike what some people may think, reading, writing, maths, science and other curriculum concepts are covered and learnt through these investigations. I like a good Christmas carol, kids dressed up in reindeer costumes & the Nativity, but hey, I know how those stories go. I'd like to see, hear & learn the story that my child has been involved in through the year.

Related Posts with Thumbnails