private verse public schooling

I got chatting to a parent recently who had just enrolled his three-year-old at a Private kinder program. He was quite open about the annual fees, which were substantial, and his intention to educate his child privately for the entirety of their schooling.

The kinder programs on offer at childcare centres, in his opinion, were not educationally adequate – too much fun not enough learning or structure.

Max attends childcare two days a week and starts kinder (aka preschool or prep) next year; he’s very happy there, he gets a break from me, his mates are there, he’s comfortable with the staff and he even has a girlfriend to coo over.

Max being happy, having fun and being a little boy is all I’m interested in. I’m not trying to create a child prodigy, at this stage I’m just after a happy little boy.

The more time he spends on structured educational activities means the less time he has to dig in the sand, play with trucks, build blocks and generally be a two-year-old.

I try to give him the education that I think he needs, one fit for a little boy. It tends to involve reading the books that he’s just thrown at me, answering his “whys”, trying to hit the high notes in Twinkle Twinkle, dancing to Beyoncé videos, digging for worms, baking and consuming cakes that crunch with egg shell and sticking bits of cardboard together in a desperate bid to be crafty.

Childcare is somewhere I want him to go and hang out with his pals – the more time spent having fun and the less time spent engaged in structured learning, the better.

This isn’t a post that is intended to question or pass judgement on Private education or the rights of parents to go down that route. Things are done differently here and I’m just trying to understand it. This is a cultural observation, and possibly an observation that is only relevant to the very small part of Melbourne that I inhabit.

I never knew anyone in England who went to Private school or sent their children to Private school; I never even heard anybody mention it as being an option. Private schools were reserved for Prince Harry and his chums, in my eyes.

“Where are you sending Max to school?” is one of the questions that keep popping up on the parent merry-go-round, and it's one that surprises me every time.
He will unequivocally be going to whatever State primary and secondary school he is zoned for. My bank statements serve as a monthly reminder that this is what will definitely happen.

Whilst other parents I encounter have mapped out their child’s education from the ages of three to 18, I haven’t given it a thought and probably won’t until it’s time to enrol Max at primary school.