I don't tend to rant on my blog, possibly a little bit on twitter, definitely in real life. My blog, however, tends to stay nice and safe. Therefore, please excuse this mini-rant.
Last week, I was sent a press release from CBeebies about their new and upcoming programmes, and a few changes to the schedule. I've been meaning to blog it since I had it, but you know how it is, other things happen and suddenly it was the Monday morning when the 'Love to Learn' block started.
At 9 o'clock.
When Show Me, Show Me should have been on.
I'll just give you a moment to allow that to sink in shall I? ….
… sorted? Right, good. See in this household, and I'm pretty sure in hundreds of thousands of others nationwide, Show Me, Show Me is an institution and a matter of routine. CBeebies don't really demarcate the passing of time throughout the day, apart from luncthime and the bedtime hour, so Show Me, Show Me is one of those natural timings for the children. They know it's the start of the day proper.
That's aside from the wonderful educational content of the programme, the old-fashioned or traditional play style, the songs, the acting, the interaction from children, the slight innuendoes planted for parents. I have compared Show Me, Show Me in the past as being like Playschool but for our children's generation. And we all know how that ended when they stopped showing that.
Now, I know that CBeebies have merely reshuffled the schedule to accommodate this new learning block, and not taken Show Me, Show Me off the air for good, but that brings me to my next point.
My son is two years old and he won't start school until September 2013, therefore I do not want him to experience a 'lesson' until then. Even then he won't because of the introduction of the Foundation Phase, which promotes learning through play and experience. I've watched the new 'Love to Learn' block for two days in a row, and it doesn't sit comfortably with me; it feels like forced learning. Someone said to me (earlier on twitter), "Well, turn it off then!" but really that's not the point is it? Of course I can, but surely a television company don't want you to do that? They want you to stay tuned? Keep the schedule as it is, and I won't be.
I don't have a problem with any of the programmes: Numtums seems a little simplistic but that's just me; I'm not a personal fan of The Numberjacks but The Boy loves it; and you can't go wrong with Alphablocks or Abadas as far as I'm concerned. Each of these programmes is good, however combined together into a 35 minute block I think has been a wrong decision. I think they have more effect when they are interspersed with the other programmes; more of a drip-drip gentle learning than 'here are letters and numbers: learn them'.
And yes, I'm a teacher. And yes, my son knows his colours, shapes, recognises single digit numbers and can count to 39 (40 is 30-10 according to him). And yes, he typed his name on the laptop the other day. However, this has all happened through gradual play activities and learning through play. Not through 'here, you must learn' activities or television programmes.
Now, anyone who knows my blog will know that I adore CBeebies and feel that they never get it wrong.
However, CBeebies, you've got it wrong: put Show Me, Show Me back on at 9 o'clock and lose the 'Love to Learn' block please. It's not helping the channel or our children's education.