Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Why everyone should unbunch their pants

Firstly, I want to thank the person who I shamefully stole that phrase from, it really is such a fabulous way of putting things - I'm going to use it a lot more in the future.  I think I saw it somewhere on Facebook but as I don't know who you are I can't thank you or credit you directly, but thanks.

What was this person talking about?

World Book Day costumes of course.

Now I'm not going to go over all the ins and outs of the debates I've seen either on Facebook or Twitter since then, but if you've had your head under a rock since last Thursday then you've had a lucky escape in a nutshell some people think that shop bought Elsa and Superhero costumes are OK as children's attire for this event and some think us parents should make more of an effort to produce homemade costumes so our kids can look like proper characters from real books.

But, I don't really want to talk about that.

Kind of.

You might be forgiven for thinking that as I'm such a stay at home Earth Mother type *snort* that I might be in the camp that believes everyone should pull their finger out and do their bit when it comes to things like WBD attire.

I'm not*.

But the whole idea of what is right and wrong with regard to how we allow our children to learn and what constitutes proper learning (that's what I believe this is all really about) has made me take a step back and look at something that happened a few weeks ago with fresh eyes.

Just before half term ended we had our usual email from the reception team at primary school detailing what the twins would be learning during the next half term.  The book that had been chosen for their learning to be based around was to be The Disgusting Sandwich by Gareth Edwards, and as part of the topic one of the children in the class had suggested that they visit somewhere that makes sandwiches.

The teacher had in light of this, arranged a trip to a branch of Subway - I suspect mainly because it is local to school.

I was appalled.

A trip to what is ostensibly a fast food restaurant.  I wondered how this fitted in with the healthy eating topic area that the school are always so keen to promote.  Because of this I saw it as a poor choice of venue.

Owing to the fact that we had already prevented the twins from attending a different trip (because we deemed it to be completely unsuitable for them - another story for another day) earlier in the term I decided on balance to let them attend this one anyway.  I didn't want them feeling left out again purely because of my views and as we rarely let the children eat takeaways with us I didn't think it would do them much harm to go along on the trip.

Yesterday DS3 and a handful of his classmates were one of the first groups to make the trip to our local Subway branch.

If I am honest I didn't think it would be much of a learning experience.  How wrong I was.

The children were all allowed to help make dough into bread rolls and sprinkle yellow cheese on them with a lady called Collette (DS3s words).  They made a sandwich and got to see how all the food is stored.

The highlight of the trip

They were able to take their bread home with them and a balloon too (the highlight).  The children all seemed genuinely thrilled as they came out of the classroom at home time clutching their bread.

DS3 had his for his tea.

The trip has helped reinforce some of the areas in the story - food hygiene, making sandwiches and some further areas for learning like money.

DD2 will go today and is really looking forward to it.

For something which I was less than happy about and which I criticised their teacher for because I thought that it was a pretty easy option for her and her team, I can now see that there were benefits for my children in increasing their understanding of the world.

As a parent I sometimes feel like I'm supposed to know what's best and what's right for my children, but the truth is that I don't know everything.  Nobody does.

This time I was wrong, because I didn't see the bigger picture.  I jumped to a conclusion.

Kind of like the WBD costume debacle, when you think about it.

*Unbunches pants and twangs knicker elastic*

That's better :)

*  For the record, I actually don't care what anybody else does


  1. I had a similar reaction when my 5yo said he was going to Pizza Hut with school.

    The cynic in me thought it was all about brand awareness (which I'm sure it partly was), but he came home enthused by making his own dough and choosing healthy toppings.

    Since then we've been making our own pizza, and what was always just pepperoni has become an assortment of vegetables he'd never have entertained before his trip.

    1. So glad it isn't just me then! I must admit it was a new thing on me as my eldest two children never had opportunities like this offered to them. I liked the way that the trip fitted in with the book they are reading too. Credit where credit is due - their teacher deserves some for thinking on her feet!

  2. Maybe... Just maybe ... the problem really is that the teacher didn't fully explain how beneficial the little jolly to Subway would really be rather than your pre-judgement of the situation! I would have been horrified. Also if I had arranged the trip, I'd make damn sure the parents understood how great it would be to prevent some saying "no"!

    1. Maybe, she does rather concentrate on the whole idea of child led activities and I think that somethimes the nitty gritty can be missed as a result. it's hard when you are a fourth/fifth time parent - I find myself picking holes in everything! (All the other parents say yes at the drop of a hat which doesn't help).


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