Tuesday, May 15, 2012

When Mummy has a tanty at kinder

I dont complain much at creche (maybe about the fees) but after five years and three creches I know the issues to worry about. Decent staff and appropriate play spaces are what I care about.

Except for my latest issue.

FM Radio and inappropriate music.

It has been going on for nearly a year. Since 2 year old Immy had a tantrum on stage at an engagement party when Beyonce was playing on the duke box and some Gen Y groover moved it to the next song. Little Immy was mid way through a hip thrust of "if ya like it then ya shoulda put a ring on it'" and was not impressed with the next song choice at all.

My complaint was responded to with the comment that Beyonce is played in the Alvin and the Chipmunks film, which is rated G and therefore anything associated with it is also rated G and deemed appropriate for 2 year olds.

Let's not get me started on the fact that children's movies focus on children usually at school age, NOT toddlers and preschoolers.

But now the carers have decided to just play FM radio stations instead. My thoughts are:

1) Advertising for nasal spray for people who can not get erections is not required in an Early Learning Centre

2) When writing the marketing strategy each year the team at most FM stations do not write down
"2-5 year olds" when they fill in the section on their target audience

3) FM Radio is entirely for the benefit of the staff. How about they play it in the staff room?

4) If staff need additional entertainment when looking after 12 three year olds in a room, perhaps they could consider setting up a new activity, reading a book, dancing to age appropriate music.

5) If staff hate the wiggles and Justine Clarke, then they are in the wrong job.

If you think that kids don't listen to what is played in the background or can't understand the words of the songs, how do you think they learn the other nursery rhymes? Remember that thing about children being like sponges - they soak in everything within their environment, this includes sounds.

As for advertising, it is designed, by experts, to ensure it is easy to remember, easy to pick up and easy to understand. Small people don't have an 'appropriate filter'. They hear the jingle and go with it.

If you think it is cute for a three year old to walk around singing  "I am sexy and I know it", then you are a total bogan.

According to the centre management I am the only parent out of around 100 families that has an issue with their children listening to advertising and adult themed music.

My fourth complaint was made on Friday. Stay tuned for next week, because Mummy may just lose her shit (note that shit is no longer deemed a swear word and is considered generally acceptable language on FM radio, not beeped in comments or songs - thus appropriate I guess for me to use when speaking to the staff??)

End Note: I don't mind what you and your family listen to at home. Your place, your choice but at our creche we don't celebrate Mothers Day, Easter, Christmas in case it offends a child. I am fine with this, we celebrate enough at home. I just expect my personal (and I believe some other parents) wishes to also be considered.

Wednesday 16 May
EDITED TO ADD IN: Issue Solved


  1. Totally agree, and would do exactly the same in your position.
    I was shocked when my 4 year old came home singing Beyonce 'if you want, better put a ring on it', turns out it was part of the christmas concert, so not appropriate, and I let them know it.
    Looking forward to next week's update.

  2. Oh I would be so pissed off!!!!! I bet more people have complained. It has nothing to do with the children and all to do with the carers. If they are bored and need a bit of FM in their life at work, they are in the wrong job. I recently posted about my toddlers day care centre in Sweden that is focussed on music. If I find out that just means puttting on FM radio in the background, I'm gonna freak...

  3. Oh I would lose my shit too! Time and a place for everything - and preschool is not the place for FM radio. I actually think that FM radio isn't the place for erectile dysfunction ads either but hey, maybe I'm just getting old? x

  4. Ugh yuk. I don't listen to commercial radio at the best of times. I think that this is grounds to complain to the education dept, who regulates childcares. Kids shouldn't be listening to this sort of stuff.

  5. I totally agree entirely inappropriate to play commercial stations.

  6. Centre Fail :( Sounds like you need a new centre, or a new centre manager. Hope someone listens to you soon. I think you should complainto the education dept too.

  7. That's disgusting. I turn the ads off when we are in the car as they're offensive. Mind you I listen to either dance music or 'classics' so none of that 'shake your booty' stuff. IMO there should be no TV, movies or radio at daycare/childcare. Only music should be kid specific songs. Also who doesn't love Justine Clarke?

  8. I can't stand commercial radio for myself and my kids are not exposed at home so I would be pissed too. I reckon I would be using a few stronger words than shit! There is a plethora of good children's music available these days - lift your game Clairey's daycare!

  9. This is just ridiculous. I was surprised and somewhat disappointed to realise our carer watched morning telly when the kids were there, let alone FM radio. It's certainly not what you would expect a child to be listening to and you're so right about them picking everything up, just tonight Ellie asked me "What's the dish?" ala Master Chef - it's been on, what? A week?
    Have you asked any of the other parents their thoughts? I find it very unlikely that you would be the only parent to have ever raised the concern.
    I am with Ames, TV, radio and movies don't have a place in day care.

  10. Yep - I would be losing my shit over it too!

    We listen to FM radio in the car and I still find myself switching the stations to avoid things like the "diary of a call girl" piece that Fox is currently running with. Who wants to listen to that at 8am with a 7 year old in the car? Not me!! I think I have to go back to my iPod choices...

    Anyway - back to your issue - at least we have the option to switch stations to avoid these things - my fingers are only a millimetre away from the steering controls. How do they control things like that in the centre? I guess they don't... :(

  11. I would be livid too. Absolutely not acceptable.

  12. I'd have a tanty too on this one! It's wrong on so many levels and completely unnecessary - they are there to work, not listen to THEIR favourite tunes at your expense! I don't like their attitude towards your concerns one bit either. Will be interested to see what happens next week. Go Clairey!!

  13. Absolutely not acceptable, I couldn't agree with you more! I hope they make some changes! I'm on the management committee at my son's daycare centre and I know there's no chance any of the staff would try to do such a thing and that if someone who thought that was OK slipped through the net they wouldn't last five minutes! Looking forward to hearing the resolution ...

  14. I'm with you: completely inappropriate.
    Take it up with management committe. They should be writing up Quality Improvemnt plans as we speak: this is all part of the service they offer. Good luck!

  15. I'm as irritated by their reaction as I am that they think this is appropriate in the first place!

    A million years ago I worked in after school care, and we had a radio set to a classical station in the background. There is no way the parents would have stood for standard FM fare, and that was way back when shit was still a swearword :s

    Will be watching out for their reaction.

  16. These Carers do not sound well their field I mean. Am currently working in an 8 group Long Day Centre consortium in Sydney and under the RULES of all Early Learning Centres...pre schools, family daycare and chreches this would not be an acceptable aspect of the curriculum.
    I am telling you now, these people are pulling the stunt of "you are the only one out of 100" because they cannot see this matter is important. Oh Clairey.. What is wrong with people and their levels of appropriate behaviour. And as for the retort about a movie & soundtracks..I can see no valid point there either. Please don't tell me that this is another way they are "educating" via DvDs.
    Email me if you want to know more about the National QualitynLearning Framework for Early Childhood Years.

    1. Thanks Denise.
      In every other aspect this is a pretty great ELC. There are certainly no DVDs or TVs played and the staff in Immy's room, when they are the perm staff are really fabulous. They are older and until recently it was always ABC CDs being played and classical stuff at rest time. Thanks for the info on the QLF!

  17. I totally agree. In fact, even though my kids are 12 and 8, I won't put morning or afternoon FM on in the car at school run time due to the incredibly inappropriate subject matter the DJs prattle on about. Let alone the ads for longer love making (what's an erection?) and the ads in the ACT for our adult stores. There are conversations I've had in the car as a result that I felt were happening way too early in their little lives ...

  18. Grrr...totally with you on this. The other 100 families probably don't know/ haven't noticed, but would object if they were aware. And totally agree with Denyse- we (early childhood services) are now goverened by very clear, national regulations, and should be meeting National Quality Regulations. that's the link, the download for the standards guideline took me a little while, but ask them at your next 'discussion', how they are meeting standard 6.1.2 (families have opportunities to be involved in the service and contribute to service decisions), or 6.2 (families are supported in their parenting role and their values about child rearing are respected). Not to mention the educational fail. If they are actually implementing Being, Belonging, Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework, there isn't any time for white noise radio and mass media (unless they are engaging the children in a discussion about critically analysing media messages, which I'm going to wager, they aren't.) If they are a group of services, complain to the next level up, if it's a single, privately operated place, speak with the director and/or the owner. Good luck!

    1. Thank you for your support. It is Council run and another reader has given me the name of the direct contact. I will try a bit more to sort it with the centre and then I am off up the ladder!

  19. I agree with you Claire - keep pushing it. I'm going to check if they listen to the radio at our childcare centre. I don't think so, but it's worth checking!

    1. Thanks Laney, you know I didn't actually know for a really long time. Found out by accident at a little kids party when I was just chatting to the lady beside me - the only thing we had in common was our kids both went to the creche. She did pick up at a different time then me so got to hear it in action!

  20. I continue to feel like such a stalwart with my stance on inappropriate music lyrics for children to be exposed to and then to sing along with. Not just at daycare, but anywhere. Can't believe some parents think it's cute that their 3 and 4 year olds sing these and shake "their booty" as they do.

    I guess everyone is entitled to their world view, but I'm with you, totally not OK at daycare.


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