What If our children ruled the world…..

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What If our children ruled the world?

We have lived in our smallish town house, in our quiet, safe suburb for three years now. In that three years we have added two beautiful boys to our family and have seen some fairly memorable neighbours come and go (you can read more about them in my October 2013 post titled ‘Noisy Neighbours…including how one of them got the nickname ‘sheets’). We have also had many neighbours who have been here living just  metres away from us since the very beginning whom I still wouldn’t recognize from a bar of soap if I saw them in them at the shops. This was until last week. I cannot take credit for this, this didn’t happen because of me the ‘adult’ but because of the actions of my two little boys, ‘The Children’. The ones we say have a lot to learn from us ‘The Adults’.

Isn’t it terrible that after three years of living literally next door it has taken until now to have a proper  chat with our neighbours? Not that I haven’t tried. When we first moved in I would regularly try and befriend our immediate next door neighbour, who still to this day will unashamedly pretend she hasn’t seen me when we pass on the path and who I have caught quickly running into the house when we pull up the driveway (Yes crazy lady…I have seen you and know what you are up to!) who knows why?  Maybe my husband is right and she has heard me calling her by her nickname ‘sheets’. So I sort of just gave up, If they couldn’t be bothered then I wouldn’t keep trying either.

The shame of all this was that the neighbours had children too. When we first moved in my boys were little, but now they are old enough to stand at the fence, peeking through the gaps as the neighbourhood kids ride up and down the driveway shouting out in excitement. They are still that little bit too young to go outside without me, so last week I turned to my eldest and said ‘ do you want to go out?’ He was so excited, and ran to the gate. He is a shy child and I guess in new social situations, I am shy too, but luckily his little baby brother was there to break the ice.

Within minutes he was running up and down the street squealing with laughter. The older girl from a few doors down was walking around with my youngest on her hip and later asked if she could take the boys in  to meet her mum, who apparently loved babies. Feeling a little bit awkward I said yes….. and there you have it, it was that simple, of course it is normal to take a random child inside your home to meet your mum!………No over thinking, no over analysing- after 3 years we were talking to the neighbours. For the record she was lovely. She shared lots about herself in just a few short minutes and you could tell she was a good, loving and proud mum.

My eldest hasn’t stopped talking about our meeting since and keeps asking when we are going to play with our friends again. I must admit I am a little embarrassed that we hadn’t done it sooner and that it took children to break down our barriers. You see children look at the world simply. They don’t see the awkwardness that we see, they don’t hold grudges, they forgive freely, and  they make friends easily…because through the eyes of a child….if we talk and play nicely just once, then we are best friends.

This got me to thinking about how when it comes to living and being part of society, maybe the kids have this stuff right, and we have it all wrong? It is only when adults start to interfere with their pure, untainted ideologies that things start to fall apart for them.

So If our children ruled the world then maybe ……………………………

Friends could be made with just a smile and a shared ride on a scooter.

After a big tantrum, we could just have a nap and all the mean words that were shared would be forgotten when we both woke up.

Any injury or hurt feeling ever caused in the world could be fixed with a Peppa Pig Band Aid and a magic kiss.

Hugs and I love you’s are all we would need to start  the day, not 6 strong lattes before lunchtime.

Self esteem would be based on who had the best Thomas the Tank Engine Tshirt…not on who was the skinniest or more most beautiful on the playground.

If someone took too long at the ATM we could just push them out of the way and say ‘ My Turn’.

When food was absolute rubbish at our favourite restaurants we could just throw it on the floor in disgust and then a new option would magically appear in front of us- no questions asked.

When we’d had a big day, someone would just pick us up while we were kicking and screaming and put us to bed.

We would talk to more strangers, and smile back when someone noticed our beautiful puffy cheeks.

We would also be a hell of a lot more honest. If someone farted, we would have more people claiming them proudly and cheering after.

When we noticed a loved one putting on weight we could just slap them on the belly and say ‘baby?’

I think If kids ruled the world, we could just learn a thing or two.

P.s ‘Sheets’ still lives next door……..and still continues to hide, maybe I should send the boys over!

 

 

 

 

 

In other words…..best ‘net’ words of the week

I can’t seem to find my words lately. I know they are in there somewhere, but when the world gets messy they are usually the first casualty. So instead of my usual rants I thought I would steal the words of others. Despite loathing many of the cliche’, self promoting texts and meme’s that float through social media,  Every now and then someone will send me one that will make me genuinely belly laugh, or strongly resonate with me. These are some of the recent ones that have made the famous ‘so funny I will screenshot them’ collection.

 

Enjoy!

 

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I love this one…….I do wonder sometimes if the ‘excessive’ status updater’s are trying hardest to convince others of something they don’t quite believe themselves?

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mmmmm…..I am very guilty of this one, perhaps why I laughed so hard on reading it.

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enough said……….Sadly I am sure you could all think of someone this could apply too.

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Beautiful…not too sure if it was actually Shakespeare, but worthy all the same. The sad thing about this one is those playing the game are often too self absorbed to notice that no one else is playing any more.

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Okay I know….this one is very juvenile but I am constantly listening out for strange sounds in night, as my husband is often away working. I can soooooooo imagine this happening in my house! I am thinking I’d go with the laugh……..

 

 

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I am so SICK TO DEATH of people saying ‘everything happens for a reason’ after something has gone wrong. Yes…thankyou for stating the obvious…but sometimes shit things just happen, and not because of some divine intervention but because of sometimes people just do shitty things to each other!

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LOVE THIS ONE ……..You have officially entered parenthood when you do this at 4am on the way to the toilet. You get back into bed hopping around on one leg wondering how the bloody hell the Lego even got into your room. Usually a few choice words to go along with this one.

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Ha! Pure brilliance…………that is all.

 

 

Anyway….hope you enjoyed my ‘cheat’ post for the week. If you have any that will make me laugh…please forward:)

Have a great weekend!

 

 

 

When inclusivity becomes exclusion

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Despite legislation mandating that students with disabilities receive an education equal to that of any other student (Disability Discrimination Act 1992) the inclusion of students with Special Needs into the mainstream classroom is still a controversial debate in many staffrooms and school car parks.

Whilst such conversations are generally only had behind closed doors, as any opinion against ‘inclusivity’ would carry heavy consequences, those on the front lines are not always confident in their ability to best cater for our most vulnerable learners, resulting in a negative culture of exclusion developing in our schools.

A school close to home is currently struggling to accommodate for a spike in the enrolment of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). From a peer point of view it seems that teacher attitude towards these types of learners is fast becoming the greatest hurdle in achieving true inclusivity.

‘He shouldn’t be here’,

‘This isn’t the place for him’

‘It’s not fair on him’

These are among the more positive comments to be heard from the mouths of teachers and Teacher Aids in the past few months.

One particular child who lives with a co-morbid diagnosis, presents with a range of violent and unsafe behaviours and is struggling to ‘fit in’ to his first year of Prep. He currently attends school for just two hours a day, and last week within an hour of being in the classroom has struck a fellow student directly in the face, bitten two teachers, threatened to kill two classmates and kicked and punched the teacher aids.

The school appears to be doing all of the ‘right’ things to promote inclusivity for this child, but I do wonder if the lack of teacher training, paired with escalation of negative teacher attitudes is contributing in some way to this declining situation.

Parents are starting to whisper in the car park, teachers are up in arms at having to be subjected to such dangerous conditions and staff are losing patience. The requirement to ‘include’ this child without the proper training, and evidence based programs in place is fast becoming the reason for this child’s ‘exclusion’ from our school environment. By pretending to ‘include’ this child, we have ultimately contributed to his exclusion. Parents have already turned their backs on him, students are scared of him and despite their best intentions, teachers are fearful.

Who is to blame here? You see the problem cannot be that the child is just ‘not fitting in’, or ‘it isn’t the right place’, but more that the school has not genuinely adapted and properly prepared to accommodate for the arrival of the child. The school was reactive instead of proactive and action plans were being made as situations came to a head. A lack of current knowledge and evidence based practice is to blame.

When I hear people say, ‘This isn’t the place for him’ it drives me wild.

Where do they suggest ‘is’ the place for him? At home? Should he stay at Kindy until he reaches an age at which he is mentally able to cope with the demands of the school environment? He could be shaving before he makes it to Year 1!

Special school programs when they are available and within a reasonable proximity to the family, are limited in space and are often only able to consider Intellectual Disabilities as criteria for entry.

Students with ASD are being left out in the cold. Too left of centre for the mainstream, but to ‘normal’ for special settings. With the prevalence rate of ASD currently sitting at around 1 in 80 students, isn’t it about time teacher attitudes got a kick up the bum, and teacher training programs and systemic funding be modified to reflect this need in our classrooms?

Why Rooms Get Smaller and Heroes Must Fade Away

 

 

Last week at school was our Sports Carnival. It is always a fantastic day for the children and for the staff. It is one of those days when the barriers between students and teachers dissolve, it becomes house team against house team and for a small moment in time we are our student’s peers. Our Academically weak shine on the sports field, and for that one  day of the year they become ‘Top Of The Class’. It is also a day that proud mums and dads line the sidelines to catch a glimpse of their son or daughter, most taking time off from a busy day at work, to support their little person as they run what seems like the longest race in the world. 

One older sibling had come to support his brother, after having left primary school several years ago he as enjoying his trip down memory lane. He approached us teachers in the tents for a chat and a catch up. One thing he said has remained in my thoughts every day since we spoke.

 ‘I remember my last sports day here, but the oval seemed so much bigger than it is today’. Of course in reality the oval had never changed, but the young boy who once ran here had turned into a man. His body had matured, his perceptions had changed and his ‘present’ had become reflective of his current circumstance, he was now an adult.

It got me to thinking about how as children we must experience growth and change in order for us to move forward as well adjusted adults and with this change, comes an acceptance of adult truth.  Yeah sure it was warm there, it was safe there in our minds while looking at aspects of our life through a child- like lens, but this lens is not reality, it is not what is ‘real’. We protect our children from the evils around us by allowing them to use this ‘lens’, because without it, people are just a bunch of pretty shit adults who practice little of what they preach, and for at least 18 years we want to help shield them from the truth. The Tooth Fairy, Santa, fake phone calls to the police when you try and con your son into owning up to a petty theft,  it is all part of this rite of passage.

I look back on my childhood and how lucky I was to have many heroes in my life. As a little girl I remember looking to these people as the light on my garden path, I looked to them for truths and in the most part modelled my own adolescent morality on what I was ‘taught’ was the right way to think and believe. At the time, through my ‘lens’ they were one hundred percent an authority on life and living. Sadly, as age and maturity would have it, with each birthday I clocked, a little more of the lens became cloudy. Each year a little more hurt, a little more let down, a little more tired of waiting, a little more ‘used’. The invisible cloaks that those close had held up to protect us slowly but steadily fell to the floor, what we thought were our foundations had become complete bullshit and replaced with not so nice things and not so nice people. There will always be those in our childhoods who claim high morality,  who are quick to condemn those not living up to the high standard they are faking for themselves, but soon enough  ‘reality’  has to step out of the shadows. Rooms become darker, days become longer, school ovals became smaller and heroes must fade away to nothing. 

There are of course those who for whatever reason choose to stay living as ‘children’ and ignore this passage of truth. Blaming others as a child would, feeling a sense of entitlement, manipulating loved ones around them as a child would,  throwing their toys from the pram as a child does and making choices with no regard for consequences- as a child does. For these people you can only hope that in their lucid hours, they can still remember what is real, what is the truth, for it is only when we are truly alone that we are left with what is ‘truly’ right. You can lie to others, but you can never successfully lie to yourself.  Maybe in those hours when the consequences of the ‘victim’ mentality’ are the loudest thoughts in their minds, they can see that it is actually an impossibility in life – that on every occasion it was always  someone else’s fault, maybe just one or twice being ‘right’ should have come second….and yet because of all of this they choose not to see that they are still loved, because it easier this way. 

If you are lucky, losing this childhood perception is hopefully your first real encounter with grief. Once you learn to accept that it isn’t really ‘anything you have really lost’ but more ‘what never really was’ you can move forward and try be the best adult and parent you can be.

To my dear boys, whilst I can never promise to keep you from the truth, I can always promise you this:

As a mum now I know that it should never be my child’s job to carry and protect me, but always my job to carry and protect my children. It doesn’t matter how old I get, or where life takes us……my love for you is paramount. There will never be anyone more important in a mother’s life than her own children, and nor should there be, for the intentions of those not in blood, can never be as pure. You will never have to wonder if I choose ‘you’, for the answer will always be…..yes.

 

 

Better late than never…VBA Award Post

 

 

It has taken me a week or two but have finally found some free time to respond to an ever so thoughtful nomination for a VBA or Versatile Bloggers Award (yes, I know..sounds suspiciously like an acronym for a visible underwear warning or dirty disease) . I am not claiming to be ultra busy or anything, just that Reality TV is so good at the moment, I just couldn’t pull myself away from The Box. Why must they start EVERY good show in the same month at the same time! (yes I realize I am sounding very much the 14 year old right now) 

I must be completely honest and admit in the past I have failed miserably when nominated for any of the Blogging awards. The cut and past part just seems to be so much bother (..lazy right?) and then before you know it, weeks have past and you’ve forgotten to do it. So last week a little birdy tweeted a VBA nomination my way, and there was nowhere to run. This little birdy was the ultra talented writer/ mummy/ wife and knower of all things wine mammasvida.com.au. Head over to her page for some good, honest observations on life, wine, food, parenthood and the world game.

So the conditions of this grand prize require me to share seven things that you might not know about me, and despite my tendency to over share, this part was really tricky, So Here goes.

1. I am a terrible, terrible, terrible  nail biter. Yes I hear you…I may as well lick a toilet bowl- sadly this doesn’t turn me off it, nothing could. This addiction gets so bad that I will sometimes have  false nails put on to give my actual nails a break from the abuse. Worse still is that I also make it my nights mission to chew the Acrylic ones off too. I even had falsies put on the day before I was due to give birth, and managed to chew them all off  and spit them around the labour ward like little pink bullets, all within the first hour of arriving at the hospital. 

2. I once had a romantic dream about ‘Ridge’ from the Bold and The Beautiful. Yes that’s right ..the original Big Man of Forrester Creations, Ron Moss. I was even embarrassed for myself when I recalled this horrid event the next day. I don’t even find him attractive in real life, so I really don’t now how this occurred. Come to think of it, I’m still a little embarrassed now. 

3. Candles, candles and more candles. I just looooooooove them. Don’t care from where, what, how much, the smell, the colour, the vessel, whatever….just light them up baby! This was even going to be my ‘failed’ business idea no.3 ‘ making and selling soy candles’ but as you may have read in my last post…..my business sense is not my greatest asset. 

4. I use to lick the flavouring from Chicken Crimpy’s and BBQ shapes and put them back in the box. …can’t really defend this revolting revelation, the more details given, the more incriminated I will become.

5. I am a socially awkward idiot. Despite previously enjoying a busy social lifestyle and occupation, I have always experienced a great deal of anxiety in social situations. I am usually nervous for days leading up to events involving meeting new people and then end up trying to over compensate, saying something unintentionally offensive and spend the following week in a shame spiral wishing I could rewind and take my foot from my mouth. My awkwardness I am sure has at times been misinterpreted as standoffishness…when inside I am really shitting myself with nerves. However, after countless school assemblies, am totally okay speaking in front of hundreds of strangers, particularly about topics such as 1. toilet paper on the roof of boys toilets, sandwiches hidden in toilets and children looking under toilet doors. Seems I’m your ‘go to girl’ for all things toilety.

6. I have a burning desire to visit Pompeii. Since my Year 9 teacher showed me pictures of this amazing place as a teenager, I have always longed to visit. There is just something so amazing about a civilization frozen in time, with little warning. A little childhood obsession, that I hope will come to fruition one day. Actually as they say, youth is wasted on the young. Why is it when you travelled as a teenager, the pub was a more attractive option than the Vatican? I would love to travel again through ‘adult’ eyes. There is so much of the world that I wished I had of experienced with my husband, I guess our time will come again in a few years.

7. I have NEVER seen the movie ‘Dirty Dancing’. This one is truly horrific. Apparently it is up there with the the worst sins against women born in the 70’s /  80’s. Most people can not believe this and are actually driven into a rage of disbelief upon me revealing this secret.  It is now my life’s goal to avoid seeing this movie for as long as humanly possible. There is no real explanation either, I just haven’t. 

So there you have it, I am sure some of these are more of a surprise than others. 

Now, as I have been bouncing around in Blogger’s World avoiding these awards for some time, I am too embarrassed to nominate fellow Blogger’s in case I nominate someone who I have forgotten to respond to. Apologies.

So instead, Now that I have exposed myself…it is your turn. Come on and share the one thing about you that many people would not know?

Have a great week!

 

 

Gold Coast Marathon (well almost)

My nerves are gone (just for now) and the excitement has come to town. Today I collected my race number for the Gold Coast Marathon. Yes I hear the shock, well take back some of your gasp, I am only running the half marathon but to me it is the ‘Big One’.

After years of wanting to do it, this past January I finally plucked up the courage to enter. It was actually one of my new year’s resolutions but despite paying the entry fee months ago, (much to husband’s disgust ‘what do you mean you pay to run on the road? Do it the weekend after for free’) up until today it wasn’t really tangible, it was just another distant idea mixed up with all the other really great ideas I’ve had in the past such as:
No 1. Selling bathers (togs for you northerners) at Cararra Markets. This was a momentous flop. We sold two pairs, one to a friend of mine who was obviously embarrassed for us and another lady who I am certain was still drunk from the night before. We actually came out at a loss because we spent our profit on 79 coffees and a dodgy bacon and egg roll. Needless to say I still have a bag full of ‘girls’ bathers in my cupboard, and as luck would have it, I have two boys.
One of my dear friends: ‘Why does she buy Sienna bathers for her birthday and Christmas and Easter every year? Weirdo!
No. 2. This one more recent (as in right now) so I can’t even mock myself. Buying cushion covers from Chinese supplier who promised to get hold of any design you sent her. Unfortunately none of the 743 designs she had resembled anything slightly worth buying, so because I felt sorry for her bought ten of the least ‘Chinese New Year’ looking covers available. We had 5 Views on Ebay in 4 weeks, 4 of which were actually my husband and I checking the listing. FYI there auction is still open on Ebay, so hop on, don’t be shy, plenty left to choose from.

So my goal of running the half is almost here, no longer an idea but an actual event. The timing has never been right, between pregnancy, recovery, breast feeding, lazy, lazy, scared, pregnancy, fat again and recovery, there was always something standing in my way. Isn’t it the strangest feeling when that ‘something’ you have been working towards, training for, saving for or wishing for finally comes within reach. After Seven months of training and many more years of just wanting to do it, On Sunday I can finally tick my ‘something’ off my list.

Since being a chubby little 13 year old who turned up one Saturday morning to try Little Athletics, so started my love of running. For a small moment in time, no one can get to you, it is just you and your thoughts. When you leave the house in a shitty mood, you return home with all of the answers you’ve been looking for. I will still run most days when this race is over but I’m feeling a little sadness almost as if I’m about to lose a friend. I also feel a little lost. Where do you go once you’ve achieved your goal? Of course I have many more on the go (travel, study, work, life and family) but for a runner, the half / marathon is the ultimate. Maybe the London marathon? NYC Marathon? I really have always looked at full marathon runners and thought ‘why would you do that? It’s actually ?%$@# outrageous that you would want to run that far’. But who knows how I will feel after crossing the line, where to from here?

So what is your personal goal? What did you do when you finally ticked it off that big list?
Can’t wait! See you on the other side :)

Public Vs Private (and then there is Catholic)

 

 

It is hard to believe that in just a few short months my first baby will be turning four. With another year disappearing fast, and the last remnants of my baby slowly morphing into a boy, it is time to start considering where this little man will be spending his waking hours for the next thirteen years. I am talking schools!

I know some of you are already freaking out. Yes, he is almost four and I am only just beginning to think about his schooling.  I know that being a teacher I should have this covered by now, but maybe this is also the reason why I have left it so late to make this important decision. Sometimes there is such a thing as having too much information.

Last week’s encounter with ‘Freak Out Mum’ has called me to action with this school business. Those with toddlers will be familiar with the ‘Freak Out Mum’. Freak Out Mum attends every ‘Mumsy’ type gathering within a 100km radius just to prove she is a good mum.  Freak out mum also takes it upon herself to initiate controversial ‘no go’ topics (or as I like to call them…arguments) such as Breast is Best, Dummies or No Dummies and Natural Births vs C-sections and my personal favourite Private school Vs Public school.

Our conversation went a little like this:

Freak Out Mum: ‘So, which school will your little one be going to?’ (translation; I have my child enrolled at a swanky, overpriced school that accepts the enrolment of a child in the womb and I would love you to ask me about this. Your thrilled reaction will also help me re-affirm that I have made the right decision here, even though I will not be able to afford to eat for the next 15 or so years. I hear the ‘no food’ diet is trendy these days anyway)

 

Me: ‘awww….yeah I’m not too sure yet, am waiting as long as I can to see which setting suits his personality’ Translation: What the hell? Actually no……what day is it? I hope I have my pants on the right way? He’s three right? Didn’t I just see him on an ultrasound?

 

I couldn’t believe my ears. Freak Out Mum was deadly serious. She had in fact attended a pre-enrolment interview for her daughter whilst still pregnant with her.

The battle of opinions on Public Versus Private schooling that followed amongst the other mums bordered on disgraceful, and the more and more unsubstantiated rubbish that I heard pouring from their mouths, the more I backed away from the conversation, Until…..

 

‘You’re a teacher, what do you think? Public or Private?’

 

‘Oh no, I hate this question…Don’t ask me’. To be honest, it would have made little difference anyway, they were a pack of wolves.Some people will go to ridiculous lengths to justify their personal choices.

From someone who has worked in the Catholic Education system for 14 years, what I wanted to say was:

Every child is unique. There is no such thing as a super school that will be a ‘best fit’ for every child in the universe. Each school setting, whether it be public or private will be able to offer a unique gift to your child’s learning. Look for their learning style and choose a school that fosters this, not one that highlights a weakness. It drives my wild when a student is diagnosed with a Learning Difficulty and the parent make the assumption that sending them to a Private / Catholic school will be the best option. This is NOT always the case. As a result of reliable state funding, government schools can often provide greater access to other professional services such as Occupational Therapists, Speech therapists and Psychologists. Some of the best Special Education Units in Queensland and South Australia are based and funded by the state governments. If my child was learning with a disability, I would most definitely be sending them to a state school.

Expensive school fees, do not necessarily equal a high quality curriculum and quality teaching methodologies. It may give a good indication as to how well resourced a school is but research indicates (Hattie, John. 2009) that it is what the ‘teacher’ does that matters most in terms of student achievement. In short- There are good teachers at every school, and yes there are also the lemons…I have certainly encountered some big, fat juicy lemons in my time. Expensive schools do however offer that ‘boys club, wink, wink, nudge, nudge’ old scholar aspect to education. They do say it is who you know not what you know that is the key to gaining that perfect opportunity.

Then there is the religious aspect. I believe you should choose a school that will support and reflect the morality and values you plan to instil in your own home. For me personally, this may mean a Catholic School for my boys because I am Catholic, and because I know I am not fighting a different agenda or set of values outside my own. However this is not to say that a religious school will be the correct setting for all children….because it will not be. As a public school student myself, I know that a Catholic School Education is not the ‘essential’ ingredient to being a ‘good’ person.

A good school is one that sets high expectations for all students, not just the ones who are academically inclined. A good school has happy teachers and happy students. A good school is inclusive. A good school is a safe school where there is zero tolerance for bullying. A good school is one helps your child fulfil their own unique potential not one set out by a standardized test. A good school can be State, Catholic, Christian or Muslim School or even a shed in the middle of the Northern Territory.

I wanted these mums to stop trying to keep up with the Jones’ and to think about what is best for their child. It is not about that fancy college sticker that you can place on the back of your 4WD like a badge of honour.

So my decision for my own little man? I enrolled him at three different schools and will figure this out later! Instead of rushing my 3 year old off to school, I want to enjoy the time I have left with him at home instead of wishing away the next year.

where do you stand, Public? Private or are you in the who really cares camp?

For those of you interested, have a look at John Hattie’s ‘Visible Learning’. This book will really change any ideas you have about improving student outcomes. Amazing Research!