My jaw dropped this morning when I read this information posted by a friend this morning on facebook.
Primary schools have been told that art, PE and science are to take a back seat to the three Rs.
The Ministry of Education has told schools they will get no extra help next year to teach subjects other than reading, writing and mathematics.
The ministry says support services for schools that it funds through various advisors will now focus on a smaller number of critical priorities, including literacy and numeracy, as well as help implement the Government’s national standards policy.
Teaching groups say the move is short-sighted, and the first sign of how national standards will affect schools and children.
This move is going to a major affect on the intelligence of our young people. Yes you need Reading, Writing, and Mathematics they are fundamental skills in being able to engage with the world. For instance you are currently reading a blog, that I have written, and when you go to the shops later today you will need mathematics to know how much money you can afford to spend. You use these three primary skills in every situation of every day.
However, you also use PE, Science, and Art just as much. And they are equally as important to a child’s intellectual development. PE lets students explore the world, learn how to run, catch, and have fun, it promotes good exercise and living a balanced healthy life. In the process it gets much needed oxygen into the body, and the poisons from the foods we eat out so that we can focus better and all round be a lot healthier. Without PE we are not going to learn inside the classroom very well.
Art. One of the defining characteristics of our generation is our individuality. And we primarily express that through art. Art is not about painting, drawing or scribbling, it is about expression and gaining a cultural understanding of the world around us. Through art our society changes and improves. Art allows us to photograph the past so we can learn from our mistakes, it allows us to plan, think, and see things before we actually have them in real life, like plans for a building. Art is a key part of a child’s development it enables them to mature. Forget about writing for a second, if a picture is worth a thousand words we should be able to read that to.
Finally science. Where do I start, science is the key to the world. Mathematics may be the fundamental language of the universe. But without science mathematics is simply numbers with no meaning or context. Science gives numbers meaning it explains how things are related. It explains how we came to be, why things are the way they are, and can even predict the future. For instance if I know a car is traveling at a certain speed and it needs to stop at a certain point, and its brakes are not powerful enough to stop it from that speed in that time then I can tell you now through science, physics, and the use of maths that it will not be able to stop.
Reading, Writing, and Mathematics are primary skills our children need to learn, but there is no point in giving child the skills and the tools to do things, without the context within to use them. What is the point of learning algebra if you are not going to be given any real life situation (through science) of its application.
The majority of people learn best through example, demonstration, and hands on learning. The government is sending us back to the dark ages where what is said is absolute truth, you rote learn everything, and never challenge the absolute truth. This is a sad day for New Zealand education.