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Respect the uniqueness of every child

My son’s final parents’ evening and my final one as a parent, was on Wednesday night. Fingers crossed for university next year. Ro didn’t attend and decided to go to a ‘drum & bass’ concert with his mates! Yes, on a school night! Ooh, to be young!

I fed back to Ro what the lecturers said. They also shorten his name – just like we do! Shows that they know him!!

“100% he’ll have a successful career in the creative industries. His thinking is unique… original ideas… lovely son… great student. Great sense of humour…witty… academic… no complaints… you should be proud… reflective student… his work is outstanding!”

Ro wants to work in interactive media, in the film industry.

However, since the age of four, it’s always been the same area for improvement from his teachers: “He needs to speak up more.”

Ro said to me. “Hmm, yes, but if I do that I’ll be the same as everyone else!”

“Indeed, sonny boy, you will! Be yourself, people will admire you for being yourself! Quiet and reflective!”

*Switches on work hat* Unique child and unique adult! Original!

On another note, it made me think of the pressure at times that is put on children to ‘master skills and attributes.’ Think early learning goals? Is it necessary that we require every child to have achieved everything? Bear in mind that I still can’t spell and my handwriting is like a spider!

In addition, in a conversation that I had with a colleague recently, he stated: “Every year I had the same action to develop within my performance management review, which is why we should focus on talents and strengths.”

As the singer Pharell Williams states: ‘The individuality makes life better!’

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8 Comments

  • Penny Webb

    Great post Laura – and so true.

    We do not all need to be the same, we do not all need to tick the same boxes, at the same time and in the same way.

    As is my way, I have reflected on your comments in relation to my work with early years children, and indeed with my foster children – each one is an unique individual. I have always thought this but admit that at times I have been swept along with the general enthusiasm for whatever the current ‘in thing’ was. In more recent years, I have been able to justify my own ethos and principles – and this has led to Principled Non Compliance in my practice as a childminder and as a foster carer – why should I implement things that I know are not in the best interests of a particular child?

    I wish Ro every success in the future – and he might be interested to know that all my school reports also said Penny must speak up more – however as you know, when I found a reason to express my opinion,I found my voice and expressed my views in my own individual way

  • Libby

    Thank you for sharing. I enjoyed reading it. There’s a new group started in worcs called ‘what makes you different makes you beautiful’ . Its a mouthful but a good description of all the children they support. Different doesnt mean less!

  • Nathan Archer

    Thanks for posting Laura – made me think of ‘Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking’
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Quiet-Power-Introverts-World-Talking/dp/0141029196

  • Catherine Lyon

    I wish we could get away also from the three r’s + science, crowd control type curriculum delivery and implement plans for individuals based upon their strengths, using these as strategies to improve self-esteem and if absolutely necessary, develop to achieve the three r’s + science that society focuses upon.

    We have a small training centre that gets outstanding results for qualifications (on the QCF) in Early Years while pupils remain at school. Next year, because Ofsted doesn’t recognise these in their inspections, wanting GCSE’s, we probably won’t have any students from school at all. Each being forced onto a GCSE course or if the school can do nothing with them – they are all going into construction as one school has told us. I would have been one of those students who would have thrived on a course in our training centre. My spelling is also terrible Laura.

    Then as a nursery provider, I can’t find enough qualified staff who are passionate about what they do. As an employer, I want staff who have grown in the profession, been eager to become qualified and find they are dedicated vocational practitioners who are inspiring, creative and rounded, rather than those who have dipped into a college/university course and need to be helped to do more than the theory, when they arrive in proper work, although we provide on the job, for them too.

    Please find me vocationally qualified or college/university trained people, that are passionate, inspiring, creative and rounded who want to embrace everything Early Years to give the children the best ‘all round’ experiences – where are they in North East Essex? I have to have staff to have a nursery business!

    Ofsted requirement to have at least 50% qualified – yet Ofsted not encouraging vocational route, where traditionally, I have ALWAYS found the best recruits.

    Sorry about the rant – it is all connected – nobody fits and everybody is good at many things! We have some wonderful SMART posters on our staff and training centre walls but I can’t find the link of where I bought them; number smart, people smart, nature smart, word smart, body smart, music smart, environment smart …… think there are 9 but I can’t recall the others!

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