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Learn from nature and animals

I was at a friend’s family celebration at the weekend, sitting chatting away to her mother, who was full of words of wisdom, as ever.

I watched a child moving in and out of the kitchen and into the garden. I then observed her interacting with my friend’s cat, she was talking to him and stroking him.


Of course, I had to take a photograph! I showed her mum and asked for permission to use it in a blog and during my training. She told me that her daughter is three years and four months and that they have no pets at home. This made me reflect on how quickly she was  able to connect with the cat, based on trust and natural instinct.

What an awesome observation of a child in her natural state of calmness. My message to educators would be to observe and assess children for who they are, rather than observe to tick boxes. Getting to know the child is far more important and there are some observations that don’t fit into a box. These wonder and awe moments tell us more about the child, rather than continuously looking at Development Matters and/or Progress Matters.

My friend’s mother, who is a legend (I always learn so much from connecting with elderly people, who have sensible advice and great stories), discussed the observation of the child. She then asked her daughter to show me a photograph of one of her flowers that she grew from a seed. She said to me: “We have so much to learn from nature and animals.”


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  • Mike Ollerton

    Lovely, lovely anecdotes; causing me to think about a number of things: learner curiosity, instinct, trust and your friend’s mother’s wisdom. My next thought or question was – how can we use these powerful human characteristics in the classroom, in my case, to support the learning of mathematics?

    The more I read of people’s blogs, the more I wish they could be turned into pieces of writing for Mathematics Teaching (MT), the journal of the Association of Teachers of Mathematics (ATM)

  • Julie Moinet

    Lovely message, words of wisdom (as usual!) Thanks Laura….

  • Jutta Hepworth

    Sadly, I think most practitioners only observe to tick boxes because they are forced to by our education system……….left to our own devices, we much rather just observe children to enjoy those moments and share in their moments of joy and wonder and look at the time they are with us as a journey to be shared, during which we support and scaffold as and when necessary – a joint adventure into the world!

  • Ann Marie Christian

    Laura, Lovely blog. I’m glad you enjoyed the event and connected with my elderly Mummy. She is amazing. She is now 82 and has lots of wisdom to share. She worked in early years from the 60’s to the mid 90’s. She worked in ‘welfare’ and dealt with pastoral care matters. Children love her as she always sees the positives and believes in them as individuals. She was also fostering for 20 years and continued to share her emotional warmth with lots of other children. She has 18 grand children and 4 great grand children #special #lucky #wisdom #thankful

    • Laura Henry

      Anne Marie, your mum is a legend!! Need to get mum to write her memoirs, important to pass on to the next generation, her words of wisdom… 🙂 x

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