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By Jools Logan at Evergreen Outdoor Education
So this is a passion which rattles my inner being - One Childhood.
Be warned I may get a little bossy in this one!
We are not playing games, they really do only get one childhood, we must be doing everything in our power to ensure this is not consumed or overly subscribed with tick boxes, expectations, rules and political constraints.
This Ted Talk from Peter Gray captured me today and is a must watch for those who know in their knower* that something has gone wrong with early years and primary education both in the UK as well as the USA. We owe it to our youngsters to stop this ridiculous obsession with data, results and teaching to tests. These items have their place but they are way too high on the childhood agenda.
The solution starts by accepting we have messed up the method and purpose of education and be big enough and confident enough to reapproach education from a viewpoint which is for the child and not politicians - not sure what on earth they are to do with education anyway. Suppose you wanted to buy a new car, you wouldn't take advice from a baker on which model has the best performance? (just saying).
We have to agree and establish that the child's psychological wellbeing is first and foremost, this in turn must be reflected in our policies and everyday practice. It will take whole school agreements and a significant culture change to place children first, I mean really first. First as in no matter what the politicians say, we believe through to our inner being that every child is unique and every child has value beyond data.
The education of children has far too long been a political football, this practice must stop.
Let's hope our most recent education minister considers how best to let children be little. Let's hope they support learning within the contexts of play and take counsel from those who know. There is a vast wealth of knowledge out there, if we just pool it.
Einstein said, 'play is the highest form of learning.' He wasn't second guessing!
Play is the most natural and neurological pathway for meaningful human development. Our little people need and deserve more play, more free social interaction, more self risk management, less formalised schooling, less homework and less demands to perform - after all they only get one childhood.
*knower, that funny little feeling you get inside when you heart disagrees with your words and actions!