Have you ever seen something in the news that made you want to put your head in your hands and weep for the world that you’re living in? The kind of thing that makes you think ‘how the hell did we get to this point?’. I read a report this morning that did exactly that. It was about a nursery school (for children of 4 years and under) that had been downgraded by the Government body that monitors such things because it isn’t doing enough to monitor which of the children could be radicalised by ISIS! Now don’t get me wrong, I realise that terrorism is a serious issue but we are talking about little more than babies here!?!??!
It used to be that the worst thing nursery school teachers had to worry about was how to get Playdoh out of little Johnny’s hair but now they are supposed to be aware of the subtle signs of burgeoning extremism which may evade specialists from MI5? Are you kidding me with this??? Apparently they receive ‘training’ that will teach them how to identify and also protect children who could be at risk of radicalisation; I wonder, do they also receive training on how to finger paint and make little bunnies out of old socks?
The children start at this school from the age of 2 and yet the Government feels that Little Ducklings nursery has a duty under Section 26 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 to have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”. I realise I may be showing my ignorance here but how exactly is a child that can’t tie it’s own shoelaces going to be ‘drawn into terrorism’?
Apparently, these are some of the things that the teachers should be looking out for:
- General changes of mood, patterns of behaviour, secrecy;
- Changes of friends and mode of dress;
- Use of inappropriate language;
- Possession of violent extremist literature;
- The expression of extremist views;
- Advocating violent actions and means;
- Association with known extremists;
- Seeking to recruit others to an extremist ideology.
So, if little Johnny starts throwing a paddy at nap time and hides his teddy behind the coat rack, is he showing signs that he is being radicalised? What about if he decides that Harry is a poopy head and he wants to wear the weather boa from the dress up box?
From my limited experience with sub 5 year olds, language tends to be limited to ‘mine’, ‘shan’t’, ‘mummy’, ‘poopy head’ and that kind of thing. I am not sure that their linguistic capabilities extend to anything that an adult would consider ‘inappropriate’, unless you count them yelling ‘fat lady Mummy’ at the top of their voice in the supermarket checkout.
Possession of violent extremist literature…hmmmmmm…does the Gruffalo count??? I suppose a 4 year old could just about manage to read that. As for the 2 year olds, well they’re really not going to be reading much of anything are they? I suppose if ‘possession’ is the only consideration then holding onto a book and sucking the corners could count but personally I can’t see the risk, can you?
As for extremist views, I can’t imagine your average toddler coming up with anything more radical than ‘but there’s nuffin in my cup’ during the toy’s tea party! What about violent actions then? Does pulling Molly’s hair and pushing Tommy in a puddle count?
I’m sorry if it seems that I’m taking this lightly but the alternative is to sit down and cry for the children who are growing up in a World where Governments are looking for potential terrorists in the toddler population.
Not only that but teachers at pre-school are having to look out for signs of drugs, abuse both sexual and physical, gender identity crisis etc. etc. etc. Please can someone tell me when we took away the innocence of childhood?
I’ve never had kids so maybe I’m the wrong person to be commenting on all this; what do the WP parents think? I’d love to hear from you