The nanny state teaches peek-a-boo

Worried about a rise in childhood obesity, British authorities plan to send manuals to parents of newborns on how to play games such as hopscotch and hide-and-seek with their children. The manuals also cover skipping. In Fife, Scotland, the idea already is being tried.

The Play At Home manuals remind parents how to do everything from ring-a-ring-o’-roses to peek-a-boo to the hokey cokey. Parents receive further books, containing new exercises more suited to older children’s development, when their son or daughter turns three and five.

We Americans would say “ring around the rosey” and the “hokey pokey,” which I once helped teach to a group of Bedouin camel drivers in Jordan.

The story contains the word “quango.” A quango is “any administrative body that is nominally independent but relies on government funding.” We live and learn.

But the initiative is likely to spark claims that ministers are resorting to ‘nanny state politics’ by giving parents such detailed guidance about how to bring up their child.

Surely, this is the quintessence of the nanny state.

Via Brian’s Education Blog.

About Joanne

Comments

  1. Mike inTexas says:

    Interestingly enough, the ability to skip has been shown to be tied to the ability to read in young children

  2. Tied, or correlated?  A tie implies a causal relationship.

    I don’t say this to be pedantic.  If we are trying to improve our children’s reading abilities, it makes a world of difference; teaching children to skip would help if A (skipping) develops skills useful to B (reading), but may not help at all if some preceding factor Z leads to both A and B.

  3. Roger Sweeny says:

    An NGO is a non-governmental organization. A quasi-NGO is an NGO that is technically not part of a government but pretty much does what the governement wants because it knows where its bread is buttered. Quango is easier to say than quasi-NGO.

  4. Remember all the money wasted in Georgia on giving newborns Mozart CDs to increase their intelligence?

    We still have ours, although it was years after Eldest was born before we ever got a player that could play it.

    Gosh, as with that Ritalin case, I guess the Nanny State could now sue us for not enhancing Eldest’s IQ.

  5. Thank you, Roger, for explaining the etymology of “quango.” I had a feeling “quasi” was involved but I couldn’t figure out the rest.

  6. Michael says:

    Watch “Yes, Minister” and “Yes, Prime Minister” for more hilarious looks into British government. QUANGOs are mentioned frequently.

  7. Tom West says:

    Colour me confused. Are people actually against the state offering advice in helping children’s development? Should schools stop advising parents to read to their children?

    Nanny state is a politically charged term. Did Joanne mean this as a humourous riff on the term, or does she really object to the state offering advice to parents?

    (u’s added because of the British source.)

  8. Caffeinated Curmudgeon says:

    Joe west wrote:

    “Nanny state is a politically charged term. Did Joanne mean this as a humourous riff on the term, or does she really object to the state offering advice to parents?”

    I think it’s a riff, along the lines of: if only the nanny state limited itself to the essence of nanny-ism, giving advice.

    But I could be wrong. I didn’t listen to Mozart in Utero. But I did listen to Iphegenia in Aulis.

  9. Quango is perhaps derived from: QUAsi-Non-Governmental-Organisation,” yes?

    (British spelling attempted in homage to source)

  10. Urk. NOW I see Roger’s comment. Oops.

  11. “Quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisation” is the full term.

    An example in the US would be Amtrak.

  12. slimedog says:

    Does that make NPR a demi-quango, a pseudoquango, or a cryptoquango?

  13. Walter E. Wallis says:

    I want a Quango. Government money but no government guidance. Sounds like the life to me.

  14. Dell Adams says:

    Walter, it takes two to quango.

  15. Mark Odell says:

    Tom West wrote: Are people actually against the state offering advice in helping children’s development?

    Yes, people are.

    Should schools stop advising parents to read to their children?

    Yes, state schools should stop.

    Nanny state is a politically charged term.

    And for good reason: in our Constitutional republic, the people tell the state what to do, not vice versa.