07 Aug August Issue of CHILD Magazines
Say hello to our August education issue of CHILD magazines. We take a look at how kids with disabilities are treated by schools and we chat to iconic Aussie children’s book author Jackie French.
That storm of getting the kids off to school each morning can seem titanic. Shin pads! Bags packed! Bento!
But for some families – those with the 469,000 Australian kids with a disability needing funding, to be exact – just getting a school to take them in and educate their children is a much bigger storm. Take a look at the 2016 Federal Senate report, Access to real learning: the impact of policy, funding and culture on students with disability, and you’ll see what they’re going through.
Schools try to block kids with disabilities from enrolling, some kids can only go to school two days a week due to funding shortfalls for learning support so they fall even more behind, teachers are often not trained, supported or staffed to handle the many disabilities they may encounter in the class, and school facilities need adjustments that aren’t made. A big part of the problem is funding; and a bigger part of the problem is our culture.
Our lead story this month takes a look at this topic from many points of view – the teacher, the school, the support organisation, but most importantly, from the families themselves. It might seem to some of us that kids with disabilities would be better off in a segregated setting, but research overwhelmingly shows that kids with disabilities do best in the mainstream system. Kids with disabilities want what everyone else wants – a good education, inclusion, friends and a chance to contribute. Disability is normal. It’s who we are. It’s all around us, even when it’s not always visible. Education is for everyone, not just those of us who are able-bodied and challenge-free.
Speaking of the place challenge plays in our lives, we profile children’s writer, garden goddess and grandmother, Jackie French. She’s had her own problems to overcome, like dyslexia. But don’t let challenges stop you feeling joy, she says: “At the wombat conference on the weekend, the speaker was telling us about this enrichment for wombat life. They’ve got grass to eat, dirt to dig and things they can climb over. And they were really describing kindergarten for wombats.
Wombats in fact live very sophisticated lives, but I won’t start talking about wombats’ intelligence. But I realised that a lot of humans get stuck in the equivalent of kindergarten where you’re having people tell you what to do…it’s a life without challenges. Walking up a mountain is not an easy thing to do but once you get there, the view is fabulous and I think that is really the way to live your life. Don’t just say on the tracks. Don’t just stay on the boring parts. Head for the mountains and climb up it. Yes, your muscles will ache and you will feel a bit tired and there will be moments when you think;
‘I don’t know if I can make it or not’, but every time you feel like that, just turn around and see how far you have come and see how beautiful the view is.”
Also in the August issue we are sharing our fave podcasts for creatives as well as one family’s story and their around the world experince attending different schools and education systems – plus much more.
Psst. Don’t forget to enter our big August book giveaway!!
Words by Natalie Ritchie / Still-life Flat-lay Photography by Jenna Templeton / Cover Photography by Michelle Young / Cover Styling by Barbara O’Reilly