Top-down depression

I feel completely disillusioned about community decision making at the moment. Today I met with two friends, kindy mums, about the changes which are happening in six weeks' time at our local kindy. We arranged to talk to the head teacher at kindy (who we all like and respect) at pickup time and she listened and responded to our concerns.

The thing that annoys me the most is the acceptance of top down decision making. When I raised the point (the main one for me) that this kindy is a community resource, one which I stumped up raffle money for and committed to sell more tickets at the supermarket later this week on the spot, because after all it is our local kindy, our headteacher said that that is how everything is done nowadays.

Do we have to accept that? I felt a brief moment of disappointment that Playcentre hadn't worked out for us (I see what wonderful things it does for people in other centres, but ours seemed to have, to phrase it gently, a poor fit between stated Playcentre philosophy and actual reality). The romantic thread presented itself: I could have had more children, stayed at home and made Playcentre a central part of our family life. Then reality clunked back in and I yanked myself back to the issue at hand.

One of the great gifts of internet interaction for me has been getting to know a number of fantastic women who have taken on the role of formal education (even if you are unschooling, you are still the avenue for learning to read and write and juggle numbers, hence sticking with the term 'formal education') themselves. And loved it and loving it still. I considered it seriously when Fionn was about to start school and more than once during that first year.

The autonomy is attractive.

Isolation is a challenge in almost all activities on the West Coast. I wanted community for us and the home educating community wasn't large enough to meet the ravenous desire for interaction Fionn and I possess. I am increasingly happy with our decision to send Fionn to school and early signs are that Brighid will be one of the lucky ones in our education system and fit into classroom life and learning easily.

This is a roundabout way of saying that if I don't/can't create community in informal ways myself sufficient to meet our needs, then we need to utilise formal community through places like kindergarten and school. Which appears to mean that I have to put up with Kidsfirst Kindergartens radically changing our local kindy at short notice because really the top-down model is all we can expect these days.

I need to transform my rage into a powerful polemic sufficient to make those Kidsfirst people sit up and notice. I'm currently so flattened by the acceptance of top-down autocracy that I haven't the words right now.

At least it is a break from thinking about bloody food. Which I could carry on about as well, given the time I spent with some very hungry and rather unwell people today (poverty and lack of cooking skills respectively). I won't elaborate as I don't think it is appropriate to plunder the lives of people I know through work in order to add impact to my blog posts. The debate continues on The Hand Mirror and I have yet to clarify in my own head the issues around choice and lack of choice. Given our goal as a humane society is that no one should be hungry (dieting is completely mental), then we must act with hope that everyone can not just eat, but be aware of foods which will help them to feel better (which may be ice cream for some people, but I was gunning for deeper health rather than always instant gratification). I have been talking about vegetables for over a decade now, mostly to young people keen on passing exams. It's often the first time anyone has made such a connection.

Comments

Anonymous said…
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Corrine said…
I hear what you are saying, and have total sympathy. The "one shoe fits all" model that gets lumped onto small communities makes me spit. It doesn't get any easy as you work your way up the education system either. It is so frustrating. The worse thing is that no one (In a position to count) seems to listen.

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