18 June: Clothkits hat

18 June: Clothkits hat

Originally uploaded by Sladey

Here’s the monkey wearing her new sun hat on the bus home from school. It’s a Clothkits pattern that took me a very enjoyable evening to make up. It even drew a compliment from my mother, the sewing genius.

Our school recently balloted parents on whether or not the the school uniform (grey bottoms, white tops, turquoise sweatshirt) should be made compulsory. Right now, it’s an option for parents. You can put your kid in full uniform, or just wear the sweatshirt. Most kids opt not to wear the uniform.

I’m not convinced by the arguments for school uniform. I don’t think it stops bullying because bullies will find any excuse, however small, to pick on a kid.

I speak from experience: Sylvan had a pretty strict uniform policy and it never stopped the bullies and their little friends from having a pop at me for being short, bespectacled, nosy and odd. Terry F wore the regulation navy blue Farahs, and still felt the need to kick my arse on a regular basis.

Ok…breathe…it was over 25 years ago…they’ve gone now…

There’s also the argument about social cohesion and the children feeling part of a community. Well, I also believe that a good school doesn’t need uniform to create a community, and Ceej’s school is a great little community that really tries hard for all its pupils. Ceej is doing really well, in a creative, caring atmosphere that encourages her to be bright and to learn as much as she can: not to pass tests and tick boxes, but because learning is fun.

OK, so that’s why I don’t care for uniforms. On the other hand, a uniform means I don’t have to spend 15 minutes sorting through her clothes, trying to find something that

  1. She will wear
  2. Is warm and comfortable
  3. Will withstand several hours of monkey business, including painting, school dinners and rough-housing and chicken chasing

If uniform is compulsory, I can just plonk her in the standard polo shirt, sweatshirt and trousers, and not hear any arguments. And her nice clothes are saved for weekends and holidays.

I don’t think that uniform dampens creativity. Creative kids are creative, whatever they’re wearing, as anybody watching teenage girls outside a strict Catholic school can testify. Uniforms also reduce the possibilities for competitive dressing, which I can see even now in primary schools.

So anyway, I’m pretty neutral-to-anti uniform. I voted against the compulsory uniform, but the anti vote was outnumbered 2:1 by the compulsory uniform voters.

So, uniform it is. The majority of the parents want uniform, so Ceej will have to wear uniform next term. She won’t like it, and many of the antis are unhappy about the way the ballot was conducted, but maybe it’s a lesson of democracy that you can’t always get what you want…


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