In honour of Shakespeare I found appropriate quotes for my grandchildren. They are my treasures, full of life, fun, personality and potential. But what are their prospects?
Thankfully, they are too young for school yet. They are busy enjoying whatever experiences their family can offer. They are soaking up knowledge, developing skills, growing in understanding, and learning a rich vocabulary, as they play. They don’t have a target in sight except to have as much fun as they can with people they love and trust.
“O this learning, what a thing it is!”
With all the furore in UK over proposals to turn all schools into academies over the next few years, I do worry for their future.
I am so concerned that I wrote to my MP and we continue to have a very rational debate about the issue. But it is always on my mind. That and the educational methods employed these days.
While wallowing in the peace of Kew gardens, I observed the various stages of development of the different trees and wished that one day we could have a Minister for Education who truly understands child development.
As the bard said~
“No profit grows where no pleasure is taken In brief, sir, study what you most affect”
But sadly we often seem to be saddled with pompous people who, as in the present case, have never studied either education or child development. And, as the bard knew~
“A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool”
As Shakespeare knew, it is so much easier to tell teachers what to do, than to train, gain experience, develop your skills, complete further study and work night and day for the good of your pupils~
“It is a good divine that follows his own instructions I can easier teach twenty what were good to be done, than be one of the twenty to follow mine own teaching.”
I believe that each and every person, of whatever age and ability, has the right to an education which equips them with the knowledge, skills and understanding they need, to discover and learn from the past, to experience, explore and enjoy the present fully, and to enrich the future.
For this they need stimulating experiences and active learning to trigger their interest;. They need a variety of ways to express themselves (poetry, art, music, drama). And they need enthusiastic, knowledgeable facilitators/teachers/mentors/carers to work alongside them, enabling their learning.
They do not need arbitrary targets to aim for, endless tick sheets and multiple choice questions to answer, and pointless tests at the end of every learning opportunity. Having watched my older grandchildren doing homework I can say that these methods kill any potential excitement in learning and discovering.
What was, What is, and What will be! 3 Trees on the same day, all beautiful, all allowed to develop at their own pace. Would that children were! Shakespeare knew it, even Solomon knew it! Pete Seeger, the influential folk singer and activist of the 60s paraphrased Solomon’s words from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 in his song released by the Byrds in 1965 ~ Turn, Turn, Turn. You can hear the song by clicking on ‘when they are ready’ at the end of this post!
“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven”
London Plane Tree not yet blooming
Tree in full bloom April
Magnolia Tree in full flower
I believe children need to learn about the past, enjoy the present, and enrich the future and they will ~ given the opportunities ~ when they are ready!