Not so long ago, I spoke with a child who had left our centre at the end of last year…… she came in after school with family friends. And she made the choice to hang out with me while the pickup was happening. My special fairy table may or may not have had something to do with that………
I took note of how much I miss our little people when they head off to school. After a big cuddle, and a mental note as to how much she had grown, I started asking her all those obligatory type of questions……. and the one of course popped up – “How is school going?”.
Her little face turned to me, as she said “I’m learning writing, and lots of reading.” I made some comment about how wonderful that was and it was then that my heart died……
“It’s boring. I wish I was back at Kindy………”
Just like that, just as matter of fact as you like……. and then back to playing with the fairies.
My mind flooded with the memories of this little one…….. such a beautiful imagination……. always floating around the playground, often dressed in princess attire, engrossed in another world……. exactly where every child deserves to be. Sometimes engrossed in the wonder of messy play – coating that beautiful attire (you’ve never seen a quite such a muddy princess!). Drawn to the art area where many of her imaginings were given substance – in particular she loved to draw, and would capture her play scenes in vibrant colours and tell all the stories that went along. I recalled the books that she began creating towards the end of the year – starting to add language herself, and having an adult scribe sometimes too. Taking joy in reading her stories back to others……. a strong relationship between reading and writing. But boring? NEVER!
I remember a child who drew on her desires, and was in those beginning stages of reading and writing. Building her
understanding through her own explorations – drawing in adult guidance as she needed for herself. And she was learning to read and write – not because somebody put a pencil in her hand and told her she needed to learn to write letters…….. not because she was given some boring repetitive readers to take home and pour over…….. but because she loved to imagine, and her exposure to books had shown her a way to capture her stories.
WHY??? Why do schools kill that intensity? They stole a princess who shone like the sun when she was in her play. And turned her into a drone……… who rather than build her knowledge with the zeal she once showed…… had transformed her natural desires and predilection into mundane and boring “tasks”. Required to be completed in a way to get somewhere else……..
I wonder where she might have taken herself by now? If her disposition for learning had been nurtured as it was…….
They turned out the light……… they killed individuality…….. they transformed creativity………. they stopped learning dead in it’s tracks……… all in the name of ‘education’. Now she can “read and write”, I’m sure very competently………. and she is just a shell of the person that she was becoming.
If we are trying to create a world where children can solve problems, where they can make a difference, where they can shine their light…….. we need to move over and let them think, create, discover and build their knowledge in a way that matters. We need to challenge and disrupt this institution of schooling and academic learning…….
How do we view children? As an empty vessel? One that we need to fill with linear and pre-determined information?………
Or as a capable and competent human being…….. who was born with an innate desire to learn……. who has their own thoughts and desires……… and who will thrive beyond any imaging – to become whoever it is that they are destined to become…….