Is our school ready for children?

Boy holding a chick

A head teacher related this story to me:

“We had a severely dyslexic child in our school some years ago. Remedial help only alienated him further, until he had a new SEN teacher with a different approach: she brought an incubator and some chicken eggs! Nine-year-old Warren was fascinated. He monitored temperature and humidity and designed charts to document them. He asked questions and signed out books from the library, something he had never done. When the chicks hatched he cared for them, and the project expanded. Now a young man, Warren has found fulfilling work in two fields: product design and caring for people with disabilities.”

The real question is not “are the children ready for school?” but “is our school ready for children?” Wise teachers understand that their main task is to discover what turns each child on. Once we connect with that inner motivation, there is almost no limit to a child’s eagerness to learn. As Yeats said, “Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.”

Click here to download Lighting the Fire, our booklet on hands-on investigation, play and outdoor learning in primary education.

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