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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.