Thursday, March 29, 2007

Performance targets for our primary schools

I've just been sorting through some old papers and came across a newspaper cutting from about 1990. I've googled the author and found him to be an American poet/philosopher called Robert Fulghum. If the government is serious about tackling the growing antisocial behaviour of our youth, they could do worse than scrap all the performance targets and indicators they have put in place over the last decade and let teachers get on with what they used to do so well to produce results like these:

All I ever really needed to know I learned in Kindergarten
By Robert Fulghum

Most of what I really need to know about how to live, and what to do, and how to be, I learned in Kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in a sandbox at nursery school.

These are the things that I learned: Share everything. Play fair. Don’t hit people. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess. Don’t take things that aren’t yours. Say you’re sorry when you hurt someone. Wash your hands before you eat. Flush. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. Live a balanced life. Learn some and sing and dance and play and work every day some.

Take a nap every afternoon. When you go out into the world, watch for traffic, hold hands and stick together. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the plastic cup. The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.

Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the plastic cup – they all die. So do we.

And then remember the book about Dick and Jane and the first word you learned – the biggest word of all: LOOK. Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and sane living.

Think of what a better world it would be if we all…. the whole world…. had milk and cookies about 3 o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankets for a nap. Or if we had a basic policy in our nation and in the other nations to always put things back where we found them, and cleaned up our own messes. And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.


  1. Thanks for the invite.

    We girls really do need to stick together. I read Fulghum's book when it came out and couldn't agree more

    I don't stun easily, but I was stunned to read your comment at Duck's blog because I've had that feeling for quite awhile and I'm glad it wasn't paranois.

    Kinda reminded me of the club house in the Calvin and Hobbes cartoons.

    I'll stop by and say hello once in a while and you're invited to email me at if you like.

  2. I never got the knack of that putting things back where I found them rule. Usually I can't remember where I found them to begin with.

  3. erp:
    Welcome. I'll email you and look forward to a bit of female chatter!

    That's funny, my husband and children have always suffered from that complaint. They can always find what they want but never know where to put it afterwards!

  4. It's even worse than that with me. I've been without my glasses for two months now. I put them down somewhere in my house, I'm convinced, but I've yet to come across them. Hard target searches haven't produced them. This is only unusual in the length of time that I've been without them. They usually turn up when I randomly find them, in the most unusual places.

  5. 'Maturity' brings worse problems. It won't just be the glasses, wait until you can't remember names of people and everyday objects!

  6. I've always thought that senility and memory loss was nature (God)'s way to make sure seniors got their exercise.

  7. erp
    I'll try to console myself with that next time I get to the top of the stairs and don't know why I'm there, go back to the kitchen and remember what I needed and have to go back again!

    I've started writing out shopping lists but I forget to take them to the shops. I heard recently that the Japanese have started to embed electronic devices into their wrists; if they produce a small memory aid perhaps that's something to consider for the future.


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