In my professional experience both these articles are based on urban myths but the most worrying part of both is that they are based on either hearsay from Headteachers or a survey of teachers.
|Parenting & teaching should be a collaborative process - building upon layers of experience.|
Most if not all of the children in my class also have daily access to some sort of tablet device & yet not one of them struggles to engage with & enjoy playing with traditional resources, like blocks, lego, sticks or mud.
I feel very strongly that parents are under more pressure than ever to get everything right with less support than ever before. More & more parents don't have an older relative to call upon for advice on parenting issues. Many are not living nearby their own families anymore or their parents are still young enough to be working full time so aren't there to give that support that previous generations enjoyed.
Many are also working full-time so their children are in daycare, I am not a parent but I know from my nieces & nephews that toilet training usually means being house bound for at least a week. Working parents who use their time off to go on a family holiday aren't going to have the luxury of more time off to remain at home to toilet train a child, it may have to be unpaid leave.
In June when I hold an information night for the new parents there are always a few who confess that their child is not yet toilet trained, this is usually told in hushed, embarrassed, apologetic tones. I hate to stereotype but it is normally boys, under our system, we can't refuse to take children who aren't yet toilet trained but would obviously prefer that they were. I normally reassure these parents that 2 months is long time in child development & that their child will probably be toilet trained by the time September rolls round. Many plan to take a week off in the summer just for this purpose, forgoing a week of holidays.
I am also always very aware that for many parents, I am the first teacher they have come into contact with since their own school days - and they may not have positive memories of this time. It is vital that we build a good relationship from the start, they have been the primary educators of their child for the past 3-4 years & it is therefore very important that we work together to ensure their child has the best possible nursery experience before embarking on their long formal schooling experience. There needs to be communication both ways if their child is going to flourish & if parents feel that as a teacher I am judging their parenting skills this will never happen. The fact that I am not a parent can be a bonus, as I explain to them that I am a teacher not a parent & so I rely on them to help me gain a full picture of their child. I need to know if they didn't sleep the night before, have a fear of balloons etc. Parents need to know that we are in a partnership.
That's why I approach articles as mentioned above with a certain scepticism, they only serve to berate parents & make them feel under attack & as anyone knows, this will then put them on the defensive.
The old proverb 'It takes a village to raise a child' is still as relevant today but sadly probably not as common, parents are more isolated than before with fewer opportunities to tap into older more experienced adults for support.