Driving to school this morning, I heard the governments new proposals about keeping schools open for an extra 2 hours to provide after school childcare. These after school facilities would enable children to complete their homework and then do another activity such as sport, music or drama. The after school care would be provided by teachers. This last point astonished me.
“Keeping the schools open would form part of talks on reversing pay cuts introduced during the economic collapse.” Independent.ie
First of all, many teachers already co-ordinate after school or lunch time activities. From basketball to drama, most teachers are involved in some way. Many teachers also take on extra responsibilities for different subject areas – R.E. in Catholic schools for example requires a huge amount of preparation for masses during the school year. Communion/ Confirmation is a whole school effort with many teachers involved in music, art, organisation and setting up of the church etc.
I agree that school buildings could be used in the afternoons to provide low cost afterschool childcare. Every year countless people graduate from colleges across the country with degrees in early childhood care – the majority of whom cannot get work in this field. These people should be given the opportunity to set up these after school facilities.
Most teachers, even those with many years of experience spend time before and after school organising their classroom, photocopying, making resources, planning, marking, and assessing. When would this essential work be completed if teachers are to provide after school childcare too?
Homework – the whole point of it is to allow children to practice the skills they learned in school independently at home. It also helps the parents to understand and see what is being taught in the classroom – cementing the home school link.
Overall, I feel that low cost after school care should be provided but teachers are not the ones who should provide the service!