Sunday 17 December 2017

Brave little warriors

schoolchildren line up to get into school in the first day
schoolchildren line up to get into school in the first day

Sir -- As my two grandsons start school, I look back with a touch of nostalgia to that day 50 years ago, when I faced my first class of four-year-old boys -- 52 of them -- and all that I learned from them.

First and foremost -- don't ever underestimate these brave warriors. Remember that they have mastered more skills before ever entering the classroom than they will for the rest of their lives. That spark within them has enabled them to demand food and attention; innately they discover the magic worked by a smile. They creep, they crawl, they stumble, they fall, but they get up again until one day, there they are, standing on their own two feet. They learn a language and can easily master a second, so treat them with respect.

Above all, nurture, train and provide opportunity to enable that 'spark' to continue growing. Education is not the imparting and cramming of data, but of drawing out the innate strength of each child. Much attention is given to maths and science later but unless the groundwork is done in primary school, there is not a hope for our children. Many opportunities will present to begin solving problems at their level. Don't ever miss out on an opportunity when a child must figure out something for themselves. I look forward to the day when points are not what determines one's career, but the talent and passion for that career. So to every child who begins his or her primary education, I wish that their hopes and dreams be fulfilled.

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