If a 5 year old can do it…

I’m probably going to alienate myself from many people with this blog, and lose several FB friends should they read it, but here goes…

My five year old daughter was writing her ‘shopping list’ this morning before school. It consisted of one item – Sun cream for Mum and Dad. What I have written there, is exactly how she wrote it. A simple enough sentence you would think, yes? I didn’t think anything of it at all, and only commented on how neat her hand writing was getting now that she was willing to practise. And then she said something that, as a writer, I am truly proud of: “I have used a capital letter for the start of the sentence, and capital letters for ‘Mum’ and ‘Dad’ because they are names. You should always use capital letters for names. If they weren’t names, if I was saying ‘my mummy’, I wouldn’t use a capital letter because I am describing you, not naming you.” Yes, my five year old has an understanding of basic grammar, something that seems to be lost on a lot of adults I know.

I’ve read on FB and heard a couple of parents questioning why children at the age of 4, 5, and 6 should be learning the difference between nouns and verbs, and what a connective and preposition are. Are they too young to understand grammar? In my opinion, the answer is a firm and resounding NO. They should learn how to create and form sentences correctly. I get so frustrated when I read emails and status updates using incorrect wording. Grammatical errors I can forgive. Not everyone is as anal as me regarding the correct use of a semi-colon, and I have been known to overuse commas. But the basics of spelling and grammar should be ingrained at an early age.

My daughter knows the difference between their, there and they’re. She knows the difference between your and you’re. She knows how to use a capital letter correctly. So I ask again, if a five year old can grasp the concept of forming a sentence, then why can’t some fully grown adults?

I blame mobile phones and social media. We’re all becoming lazy. Perhaps I’ll write my next book entirely in txt spk…

Teddy’s Day at Playgroup

Today I was asked by my son’s playgroup to take our rabbit, Teddy, in so that I could talk to the children about pet care.  Here is what Teddy has to say about his exciting trip:

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“Hello everyone!  My name is Teddy, and I am a three-year-old bunny.  Today, my Mum took me to playgroup to see William and all of his friends.  I was a little frightened at first, but once Mum took me out of my box and started giving me cuddles, I settled down.  The children wanted to know all about me.  They were told that they all had to be quiet and still because my long ears mean I can hear even the slightest of sounds, which can scare me, and with my big feet I could easily hop away!  But I was a good boy and nearly fell asleep on Mum’s knee.

We took in a bag of my food as well, and showed the children what I ate.  Mum explained that I like to eat lots of vegetables including carrots and cabbage, and fruits like apples and bananas.  She also told them that it’s important for me to have lots of grass and hay to eat so that my teeth are kept healthy and strong, and don’t overgrow.  William helped by showing everyone the cereal that I eat for my breakfast.  It’s made up of grains, corn, peas and carrot.

We also talked about where I live.  Mum told the children that I live in a hutch outside and that it is cleaned out every week.  But sometimes I do have to come inside, especially when it is very cold or very wet.

Afterwards, all the children came up to stroke me.  I stayed very still, and the children were all nice and gentle.  They all said what soft and warm fur I have.

It was fun visiting the playgroup, and I hope I can go back again one day.

Love Teddy.”