BABIES, toddlers and preschoolers across the country are set to become political activists under controversial new Federal Government guidelines.
The April 2009 draft Early Years Learning Framework wants teachers to make under-fives:
* Contribute in a meaningful way to reconciliation, including flying the Aboriginal flag and inviting elders to give talks.
* Use “social inclusion puppets” and “persona dolls” to explore exclusion and ethical issues.
* Challenge and resist bias and discrimination.
* Take action in unfair situations and learn to act when injustice occurs.
* Assess and act on power dynamics as they get older.
The political emphasis of the guidelines has divided early learning experts.
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Some, such as leading Melbourne educational consultant Kathy Walker, have questioned the merits of such issues being “rammed down the throats” of two, three and four-year olds.
“Although I welcome the emphasis on play-based learning, there is an air of political correctness about the document overall,” she said.
Others, such as Kindergarten Parents Victoria CEO Meredith Carter, believe it is merely an attempt to “include and welcome all families to join in preschool and kinder”.