3rd November 2019
When you are involved in Primary Education the list of responsibilities that you must cover appears to be endless. We are dealing with the youngest pupils as they begin their educational journey and the experiences that they receive will shape their view of education forever. In order to begin this exciting adventure we need to build a bridge from ‘home life’ to ‘school life’ to create a secure start where the child makes sense of their own young life experiences and the history of their family and uses that understanding to begin to make sense of the new set of experiences and histories that they will encounter at school. Accordingly we are used to looking backwards at recent historical events as well as ancient historical events for when you understand the complexities of family life and human strengths and weaknesses you can use this as a platform to understand the Greek Myths, how wars start and why people battled across the years with potential successions to the throne. Children like to make sense of life. You cannot throw them a list of information that you would like them to remember without creating a story of how and why things happened which of course sheds a logical light on why the next event in history was triggered.
I think that we do this with increased success in schools today. I have watched Teaching Assistants every bit as transfixed as the children as history has been explained by an experienced teacher weaving a colourful story including comparisons of emotions we feel today to place an historical event in context. You would be astounded at the amount of information our young children retain.
One glance at the news will also list the other responsibilities as well as academic success that society increasingly places on schools. We need to educate our children about justice, about tolerance, about respect about old and new scientific discoveries. But we mustn’t dictate, we must open not close doors to the possible explanations of the intricacies of life and respecting one set of values must not be at the price of reducing the value of the beliefs of others. As I mentioned above the list can appear to be endless but that is part of the challenge.
What about time to consider the future? Children are masters at using their imagination when considering the possibilities of the future and if you think back (depending on your age) you will remember that it was entertaining to imagine living on the moon or under the sea, eating futuristic meals in sachets, travelling in flying cars etc. Our electronic world is moving at such a pace that it will be increasingly difficult to accurately predict what next.
We took our Year 2s to a wonderful STEM Lab last week. STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating children in four specific disciplines- Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Whilst they were there they heard about drones in the Middle East that can now act as taxis and carry a person. They heard about how exciting it is to be an engineer and they learnt about the extraordinary breadth of this career. During their visit the children used VR (Virtual Reality) headsets to give them an immersive 3D experience and this brought new visionary possibilities connected with engineering and design to life. Suffice it to say when we have our annual career investigation session in February the popularity of the ‘engineer’ has just received a considerable boost! We don’t know what the future holds but we continue to treasure our responsibility to discuss and consider it with delight!