Schools continue to navigate their way through this period of turbulence and are continually planning and re-planning to overcome the shifting sands that they face. There is no doubt that the last 6 months have meant that schools have had to think differently and be more creative in delivering a broad and balanced curriculum whilst ensuring that the wellbeing and safety of the children in their care remains at the core of that decision making process.
Here at Holmewood, this creativity has not been confined to discussions surrounding hybrid learning and schools re-opening, it has, quite wonderfully ignited discussions between teachers about how a different approach to learning – a more creative approach – might best meet the needs of our children in these uncertain times, and indeed beyond.
The magic of our EYFS stage, where children are encouraged to take responsibility for themselves and guide their learning, without being overly directed by the adults, sees our pupils brimming with creativity, conflict resolution, empathy, compassion, problem solving and taking increasing ownership of their academic development but also their social and emotional development. We have worked and continue to work incredibly hard to embed these key skills throughout a child’s journey at Holmewood. This develops a child’s creative instinct and their sense of agency, rather than the fascination on the absorption and regurgitation of knowledge. Knowledge is of course important, and fuels a child’s ability to be creative; there are however, other aspects of an excellent education which are of equal importance. Now, perhaps more than ever, leaders in education need to be more creative and even braver in developing an education provision to support children in developing the key skills, which will allow them to take ownership of themselves (emotions) and their learning. In the world in which we now live, educating the hearts of young people is as important as educating their mind and this is something that we wholeheartedly believe in. It cannot not be one or the other, it must be both!
I am in no way suggesting that we need a total reboot of our education system, rather that we reflect and take the learnings from the last 6 months, along with other areas which remain of value, and offer an education which is broad, challenging, exciting and fun and which best meets the needs of the children in our care and prepares them for their world. What we know for certain is a ‘one size fits all’ approach to education does not meet the needs of every child in our care and the individual care and support which we can offer the children sees our pupils thrive. Some children will find it challenging to commit ideas to paper but, as we saw during our ‘[email protected]’ provision, some may be masterful in demonstrating their knowledge and understanding via stop-animation short films. Some children may be daunted by traditional assessments, those same children may be enthused by demonstrating their knowledge and understanding of Shakespeare via a teacher created ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ style quiz!
Every child is different and develops at a different speed and that is what makes our jobs such a privilege and so rewarding. Let us be brave and creative for the sake of our children. They only have one childhood so let us do all we can to ensure it is the very best it can be!
Scott G Carnochan