I have lost count of the amount of times my husband and I have been asked if we have thought about what secondary school we are going to send our daughter to. This may seem like a normal question to you, but the thing is, our daughter is not in 6th class, nor is she in 4th or 5th class. She has just started first class!
We are only getting used to the primary education system yet the system is forcing us to think about secondary school!
We are facing the same questions, and looks of horror, when people find out that we have not registered our one year old son for secondary school. You can imagine the reaction when we tell people he is not even down for a primary school yet!
Why is the system designed in such a way that forces us to make decisions about something that we are not ready to even think about, let alone comprehend yet? Instead of focussing on the joy of my son being a newborn or an infant, people are putting on the pressure to sign him up for secondary school! Neither myself or his father are in the frame of mind to think of what is best for our son in 4 years time, let alone 11 years time, we are just trying to get through and enjoy the moment we are in, and see what is best for him (and my daughter) right now.
Why are we constantly forced to look forward? To try and predict the future? Why can’t we just enjoy the milestones our kids are going through right now? Why do we have to rush ahead to the next moment?
I know the systems don’t help. The fact that when we finally put our daughter’s name down at primary schools (when she had just turned 3) – most schools’ lists were at maximum capacity and then some. Just as some secondary schools are for kids starting in 2025/2026 – that’s just plain mad!
The thing is, we don’t know what our kids are going to love at school; what their passions are going to be; their strengths; their weaknesses. How can we make a decision about the right secondary schools for them when one has only started her primary education, and the other has only started walking?! Shouldn’t they also be consulted about their education?
These constant questions about the future are a reflection of where we are at as a society right now. Always rushing ahead, planning for the next big thing and not appreciating and enjoying the big thing that is in our presence right now!
I am not saying that we should register our children for schools as late as the year before they’re attending (the schools have to be able to plan for the foreseeable future) but years out is crazy. It is not even a realistic gauge for schools, as this system does not allow for change.
This system assumes that life is a constant and we can control what lies ahead. Who knows where we are going to be tomorrow, let alone in 11 years time? Will we be in the same place – physically, emotionally, mentally?
If we are not in the same place, our kids’ needs have changed, how do these rigid systems ensure that our children can get into the school that best meets their needs and gives them every opportunity to excel? After all, isn’t that what education is supposed to be all about?
The saying goes “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail”. While it’s great to have a plan, I think we sometimes take this saying too literally and in overpreparing, we lose sight of the amazing possibilities and experiences that are right in front of us!
So, isn’t it time that we start to question who these systems are really for and have them change to suit our children’s needs – not the other way around?