All posts filed under: Education

To Whom It May Concern…

Dear Whoever Obviously, this letter is to anyone who should happen to read it. But it is particularly to those nameless, faceless oafs that dictate how and when and, precisely, what my children learn.  This does not include their beloved teachers, who know them well, but a heap of people they will never meet.  Yes, I’m talking to you, and I have a few questions. What do you hope to achieve, exactly? Why must you focus so rigidly on  attainment?  Why do levels and scores matter to you oh so much?   Are you ever curious about the lives behind the names on your precious test papers?  Here is one such life – one face, one name.   This is my daughter and she is seven years old. When I put her to bed this evening she cried because she cannot recall all of her times tables. As an aside, I cannot recall them all and I am 28 years old. This is the same child who, at the age of four years and eleven …

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The Outdoors Project

I always feel that there is something so magical about being outdoors with children. Of course, I cannot speak for all children, but mine certainly come alive. Their movements are bigger and bolder, their language becomes richer, they are coworkers like never before, loyal, trusting and fearless, they dash up trees and build forts; above all, their smiles are broader.    You really do get a sense that they are fulfilled and enriched by such experiences, whether they be by the sea, in the woods, up a hill, or just at the local park. One of our favourite places to play is in a forest or woods. We took a trip to the Forest of Dean last summer and it remains one of our very favourite holidays. There is always something to do when surrounded by trees and wood and nature; and if you’re ever stuck for ideas, just ask a child! Their imaginative play is packed full of more creativity than ever before when captivated by nature. They explore new sensory and messy play …

Our Reading Nook

I love books. Actual books; I’m less keen on the digital variety. Kids books are a particular weakness. We have far more than we probably ever needed, but I cannot resist them. For years, I’ve scoured Pinterest for the perfect reading area, convinced that we had the space somewhere. In a two bed flat with two children, space for anything is actually at a premium, therefore space for something that isn’t vital (even something as wonderful as a reading area) has been difficult to come by. Earlier this year, we stacked the kids in bunk beds, freeing up half of their room for wardrobe and drawer space, meaning that the inbuilt cupboard in the corner, the one that had been home to Miss J’s clothes, was suddenly beautifully empty. So we did this with it. We’ll gloss over the fact that my children are in fact using it as a gaming cupboard in the above photo… It is actually a reading nook; I finally have one and am ridiculously excited by it. No, it’s not …

Let’s Cookalong with Tesco

Cooking with Miss J is something we both enjoy.  I like to teach her new skills and she likes to have a little responsibility and independence in the kitchen, to stretch her culinary wings.  In order to give her greater independence, I have been looking at tutorial videos.  Utilising these would mean that she could follow the instructions and need a lot less input from me when cooking.  Of course, she would still be completely supervised but I think it is something that would give her a lot of confidence in her ability to create meals and master the necessary skills involved. With the summer holidays upon us, and the weather (hopefully) being perfect for picnics, now is the time to get cooking with Tesco’s Let’s Cookalong.  These picnic-friendly video recipe tutorials look brilliant and offer some great features such as the pause button, meaning little ones can keep up with method being shown.  Part of the Eat Happy Project, the Let’s Cookalong segment also provides recipe details, cookery skill videos, and skill mastery certificates that can …

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Messy Play, Nature, and Education

I believe, wholeheartedly, in hands-on learning being the best form of education.  You wouldn’t learn to drive by reading about it in a book, or copying text about the mechanical procedures involved from a white board, so why do we expect our children to learn in this way?  To flourish in classroom environments with so few kinaesthetic learning opportunities?  It makes little sense to me.  When we stayed with Forest Holidays in May, it was with great pleasure that we found their beliefs to be in tune with our own. Prior to our holiday, we were offered the chance to enjoy a ranger activity at the Forest of Dean site in which we stayed. When we eventually arrived, we chose the Young Explorers activity session for Miss J and the boy and didn’t think much more about it until the next day.  To be totally honest, I hadn’t expected much from the session.  Perhaps a short walk through the forest and then making a collage.  I am pleased to say it was way more than that. We met up …