Dr. Irene was tellling us that when she visited one of the childcare centres in Toowoomba, the centres used cloth nappies. This was about 10 years ago. That said, she mentioned that this centre was very environmentally aware that instead of using plastic nappies (like Pampers!), which is not bio-degradable and expensive, the cloth nappies would be sent to a service centre to be washed and desterilized.
(That also provides a vocation to provide jobs and saving the environment at the same time!).
This was also the case in 1977, at the creches at her UK uni. Her first son was born, and the creche nurses did the same. Very environmentally aware. This is among the things that Asian societies have yet to catch up with.
Convenience Vs Care. What do you choose?
I was just discussing this with Soo Yee who had gone to USQ for a semester of studies, and refused to stay there after that cause life there was just too *dull* for her. Toowomba is too much in the outskirts for her!
Anyway, this discussion had taken place after our class with Dr.Irene. According to her, in Towoomba, the centre where she did her practicuum employed a fully play based approach in the kindergarten where she was based. (5 & 6 years). The disadvantage was (to Asians, that would be!), the 6 years could barely even count orally.
The primary school settings, Grade 1 and 2 also employed play based approach, however, with more structured activities. The reason they can do that in kindergarten, is because it leads up to a primary school curriculum which also adopts the same kind of approach.
However, she feels that Australians (the ones that she had met), were lacking when it came to dealing with math. They were good in the non-academics, the confidence, the creativity the less assessable areas. For example, she said that when she had gone up to the bus, she had paid the bus fare an Au5 dollars for a 1.20 fare and expected a AUD 3.80 change in return, however, instead, she got 7 dollars back!!
Another was, at the bar, where her classmate had interned for her Tourism degree. When the bar closed operations for the day, they had to do calculations. It seems the OZ staff had trouble with mental counting, and had to rely on concrete counting (touching the coins).
In terms of sexual knowledge & intellectual pace, children as young as the age of nine years of age are already conversing like mini-adults, and by the time they are 12/13, if the children go to the school toilets for a long time and never return, you can already guess what they are doing! (Apparently, some were caught having sex in the toilet!).
Hmmmm...btw, did you not read the case of the 13 year old boy who sodomised the other boys in The STAR recently? If there are others who would like to add to this perspective, please do so. It would be enlightening to see what others have to say about the children in context of growing up in Australia.