Read, write, pick up acorns

Tuesday, 15th February 2005
Wild West Yorkshire nature diary

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TessaJill, a friend who works at a local infant school calls. She's out with Tessa (right) so decided she'd call in. How are things at school these days?

drawing by Izzy'Well, they're not the same as they were when I started there. Today every minute of the day is accounted for. There's a literacy hour and a numeracy hour every morning and teachers are encouraged to meet performance targets but there's never time for the more spontaneous things we used to do. Everything has to be structured. Things are planned a year in advance.

Izzy at the pond'One fine afternoon we decided to take the class out for a walk. We weren't supposed to really, it doesn't happen these days, but the children loved it. They were thrilled to be out there, it was such a change and they enjoyed things like picking up acorns. We got so much work out of that walk; writing and drawing.

acorns'At one time if a child brought something they'd found into school, an old nest for example, you'd talk to the children about it, relate it to spring and what's happening in the countryside but today, because things are so structured, there's no time for that.

girl and dog'There's always a new initiative: you learn to use one system then a year later that's all finished and a new one is introduced. Children aren't seen as individuals any more: they're treated like so many little pots that need filling continuously.' Next Page

Richard Bell,

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