To my daughter’s school – what I’d like you to teach her

I’ve been reading a lot lately about the foundations of different education systems. In Finland, formal education doesn’t start until the age of seven. Prior to that children are in daycare, where they learn entirely through play.

In Japan, they learn manners and life skills before embarking on formal education. Few schools hire cleaners. Instead the children clean the school themselves to teach them to respect their environment.

I don’t necessarily agree with all the principles of any particular education system. It’s all about balance and finding the right fit for the child. But these are the things I’d like my daughter to learn at school.

1. Happiness

When we break it down to the most fundamental level, all we really want for our children is for them to be happy isn’t it? I want her to learn that even when she isn’t the best at something, she’s good enough. It’s important too that she learns to appreciate what she’s got and remembers to laugh, smile and have fun. Because a life of happiness is the greatest indicator of success.A family holiday to the Elan Valley

2. Kindness

Please teach my daughter every day that kindness is everything. Remind her of the effect her actions and words can have on others and the damage that bullying causes. Teach her to embrace difference and love people for who they are. Empower her to help others and never be the one to walk on by.

3. Confidence

Let my daughter know that it’s okay to be self-assured. She’s not being bossy, arrogant or overbearing by knowing her own mind. Give her the tools she needs to stand up for herself and do what she believes is right. Teach her that mistakes are life’s greatest lessons and give her the self-belief to always try her best.

4. Creativity

Allow her learn through play so that her imagination can develop. Enable her to draw, paint and make things to show her the power of her amazing mind. Encourage her excited questions because they are crucial to her development. One day she will become a great thinker if you let her.The day we found Dory at Sea Life Birmingham

5. Academia

Please don’t teach my daughter to read because it ticks a box. Don’t give her the information she needs to pass exams. Enlighten her about the joy of reading so that she picks up a book because it is such a wonderful pastime. Educate her in the joy of learning so she seeks out opportunities to master new skills and finds out which of them she is good at.

6. Treat her as if she were your own child

Most of all, I need you to know that I’m trusting you with my whole world. I know you love children because you’re a teacher – the most important job imaginable. So please love my little girl and teach her the things you would like your own child to learn. Because I can’t always be with her now, but I take comfort in knowing that you want the same things for her as I do.

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9 Comments

  1. msedollyp
    October 12, 2016 / 1:30 pm

    aww what a lovely article hun, and rings so true with me. We are lucky, our village school embraces all of these things. My boy has gone from a timid shy boy to a tackle anything and be friends with everyone boy. The greatest joy at parents evening is when they tell me who he is not what he can do, i glow with pride to know he is a great friend, innovator, questioning caring sharing boy. Let them be children and grow in all areas of life not just by results.

  2. October 12, 2016 / 3:02 pm

    Well, after 11 years as a school mum, I’d say you’ll get three out of six. Primary schools are pretty big on pastoral care, particularly in the early years – so you’ll get the happiness and the kindness and the teachers and TAs will treat your child as well as they’d treat your own.
    I think the other elements you hope for will be there, but probably not as much as you’d like. Neither of my younger kids really have the confidence to speak up for themselves, because they see it as a bit ‘impolite’, even when I’m encouraging to do it and telling them that it’s OK. Kids do learn through play in reception, but they’re still following the national curriculum and sometimes play or creativity don’t just fit in with what the curriculum is demanding teachers teach. Sadly, to get everything you want from school, you probably have to go to a private school 🙁
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  3. October 12, 2016 / 6:44 pm

    All such important things for children to learn. By all means encourage things they enjoy learning but don’t force things.

  4. Suzanne
    October 12, 2016 / 6:59 pm

    I absolutely believe that teaching is a vocation. I can honestly say that all of my children encountered these kind of teachers in primary school, I think my secondary most teachers have lost the will to live a little 🙁 I absolutely agree with every one of these, especially about reading – books have SO much to give a person, not least encouraging imagination. Lovely post. x

  5. October 13, 2016 / 9:31 am

    Oh I love this post and I couldn’t agree more. Kindness, confidence, happiness is so so important. I don’t want my girls school experience to be all about ticking boxes (which I think it may be) I want her to flourish and grow and find what she enjoys. xx

  6. October 13, 2016 / 9:29 pm

    Love this Natalie. I would love this to be Alice’s experience at school. I can but hope that we choose the right school and they will give her all of this. X
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  7. October 15, 2016 / 6:21 pm

    This is lovely, kustvwhat you would want from any caregiver, from a childminder to teacher. I really hope her teacher is good and can help with all of these. Even if they aren’t she clearly has a fantastic mother who can teach a lot of this at home too. Xxx
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