The New Zealand government has a philosophy that all kids should be catered to in the school environment.
“The New Zealand School Trustees Association describes school policy as a framework that integrates culture and practice, values and actions. Inclusive schools ensure that the principles of inclusion are embedded in their policies, plans, and actions. They develop specific policies for the inclusion of students with special education needs…”
Which is great, right?
So Squish’s school has approached me to ask if I might consider helping out as a teachers aide for a few weeks while they get a more permanent person in to work with a new kid. I’ve started back at uni, so I don’t know if I’ll be able to juggle work and uni and family in the longer term.
The new kid has a global developmental delay, and he needs an aide with him the whole time while he is at school. I did my first shift today.
And it was fine. He’s a lovely kid, responsive and keen to try new things, and he has loads of energy and enthusiasm. It was hard work, but I can see that working with him has the potential to be quite rewarding in the long term.
But yesterday, a teacher in the same school told me that there simply wasn’t enough resources to be able to give my kid the differentiation and attention that he needs in order to be integrated into exactly the same school. That he would need to be home schooled if I wanted his learning to be tailored to his needs.
So much as I hate the whole “my kid is a precious snowflake” syndrome, it is rather a double standard to claim that the school can be all things to all kids – except the ones at the wrong end of the bell curve.
At the Mind Plus information session we went to last week, I asked about emerging research and best practice in the field of teaching gifted kids. Internationally, more countries are starting to have classes just for gifted kids, and that these classes give kids the best opportunity to develop their strengths and work on their weaknesses.
NZ policy is to cater to everyone, and giving extra support where it is required within the school setting – just not to kids like Squish, who struggle at the other end of the spectrum.