A Random DiaBlog from a concerned Mum and Primary School Teacher.
“We don’t know the children like we used to Jane, we simply have too much to do.”
Ten years after the introduction of the 1988 National Curriculum, I stepped into teaching, aged 26. My lessons were as creative as possible, and school culture was mostly enjoyable, sociable and fun.
Today, the school system seems so out of touch with 21st-century educational research and thinking.
My experiences and conversations with teachers, reinforce that it’s constant lesson after lesson with little space and intense, time-wasting form filling in and marking.
The word ‘wellbeing’ is also higher on the agenda, why?
Nowadays, I do a little supply work here and there, the kids call me Mrs T and I weave in as much creativity and opportunity to be imaginative as possible:
“Let’s just STOP and breathe, you might like to close your eyes and have a rest or maybe get off your chair to move and stretch before the next test.
Now which of my 3 stories would you like me to tell you today… The Jewel in the Well, The Tiger and The Goats or The Boy Who Followed His Dreams?”
“What’s That Box, Mrs T?”
“It’s a What Box”
“What’s A What Box?”
That’s if there is time, very often there’s not.
Would there be so many children struggling with mental health problems if the system placed more value on time for play, creativity, innovation? This is Well BEing.
In some schools I still see kids sitting in corridors missing playtimes for being ‘naughty’.
Kids are playing up more I feel because they are so systemised and controlled, like robots, I feel like a robot too. Many also arrive at school tired and wired.
From nursery age, cameras are uploading photos of them to add to a personal statement, judgements made about their performance on tick sheets. Constant comparison.
They are quite happy learning and engaging with each other, put the clipboard away they would love you to get down and play.
I was once advised by a forward thinking rebellious Headteacher, never to disturb a child when they were concentrating.
Yet our children’s day is full of adult interventions, content cramming and things to do.
A few schools have outdoor learning provision for Year 1 (age 5-6), but it’s rare to see a dressing up box, role play area or golden time box valued after Year 2, ‘we haven’t got time.’
What do kids do when they go home, do they catch up on this lost play?
As we know, the majority of our kids aren’t playing out in the street or cycling to play with friends in the park.
Most parents I speak to say they have to schedule activities for their children, else they are sitting on technology from the moment they arrive home.
Children aren’t bored enough. It’s good to do nothing, from nothing comes creativity.
My son was in a detention a while back, and I remember asking his teacher if anyone had taken the time to listen to him and offer him some guidance and to think about how he might have handled it differently.
‘Oh we haven’t got time for all that’.
It’s not the teacher’s fault. They made us do it.
Why not create a reflection space – a safe place and time out zone for children. Where they can cool off and work things out if necessary with older kids or adults on hand.
This is probably a different blog, got distracted…
It’s my ADHD see. it’s why I went into it, passionate about the misfits, the different thinkers, the ones who ‘fail’.
They don’t fit in the box or even want a box.
Why not trial a no rewards system? No stickers or house points or, ‘good boy/girl’ judgements to work and behave well.
Instead foster a playful, self directed community where children are excited, engaged and intrinsically motivated to learn.
Playtime, Downtime, Be Time – it’s our kid’s natural state.
They have much to teach us, we need to slow down too.
By the way, I’m writing a book titled ‘The Wisdom of Children’.
There is always hope – a rebel alliance