Poetry: that’ll teach ’em
Michael Gove wants children to get the poetry beat, perhaps with the emphasis on beating if they’re too terrified to succeed:
From Year 1, at the age of five, children will be read poems by their teacher as well as starting to learn simple poems by heart and practise recitals.
The programme of study for Year 2 will state that pupils should continue “to build up a repertoire of poems learnt by heart and recite some of these, with appropriate intonation to make the meaning clear”.
That’ll teach ’em. Much more effective, I’m sure, than the goal set out in the current Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (i.e. for 3-5 year olds), which includes the lily-livered concept of enjoyment:
Listen with enjoyment, and respond to stories, songs and other music, rhymes and poems and make up their own stories, songs, rhymes and poems.
I’m director of a social enterprise nursery. I just do the money and the grass-cutting, as I’m not competent to do the real work, but I’m in the nursery three or four times a week, and can assure Gove that poetry, songs and rhymes are a big part of what the children do.
I’ll wait for the formal consultation on what Gove is proposing, but the prospect already fills me with slight dread.