You have to ask just how self important the people responsible for running Dutch primary schools’ after-school clubs think they are.
In today’s AD newspaper, they make a bizarre plea for the school day to be changed to run from 8am to 2pm so that they can have an easier job of organising after-school activities.
The MOgroep, which represents pre-school créches and after-school clubs, also says the new hours would make it easier to recruit staff. Since the government made it compulsory for primary schools to provide official after-school care this summer, all the informal arrangements which schools and parents used to operate seem to have disappeared.
After-school care has become a business and, as in any other business, staff need to be properly employed. And who in their right mind wants to work a couple of hours for minimum wage? But four hours from 2pm to 6pm, well, now you are talking.
What the MOgroep seems to have forgotten is that the job of after-school clubs is to make life easier for parents. A mad early morning panic to deliver the kids to primary school before 8am – especially in the pitch-black of midwinter – is not exactly going to help to achieve that.
And while it is very nice of the MOgroep to plan all sorts of activities, after a whole six hours at school, most children are just happy to run around a playground or build space stations with Lego rather than be organised into doing something ‘nice’.
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