The right to joy

As a new school year starts in North America it is time to consider the hopes and wishes for the year ahead. My wish is for children to have fun and enjoy their learning.

Today, as I sat in a doctor’s surgery waiting to have my regular blood pressure check, I saw a young mother with two small children. From the moment that they walked in the children were lively, inquisitive and smiling. Their actions made everyone in the surgery waiting room smile.

Looking at these children I wondered what they might be like in a few years time. Would they still be smiling and happy? Would their inquisitiveness still be there? Hopefully, yes… but more than likely they will have but a dim memory of the days where they felt free to explore anything and everything, to ask questions about everything in the seemingly never-ending need to know.

Unfortunately it seems that schools, rather than taking this youthful enthusiasm and natural desire to learn, manage to squash it and turn “learning” into drudgery. That is certainly the way that it has played out for so many children for so many years.

There will though, be some children returning to schools which have understood their natural inclinations to learn, to explore, to move, to discuss and to do all of this in a great spirit of joy. These are the fortunate few whose schools do not just exist to test and teach a narrow body of mostly useless information but realise that school is a learning community and that the students within them are not empty vessels to be filled but human beings who need to develop into the person that they have the potential to be

It is sad that this may be only a minority of the children returning to school.

To slightly change a very famous quotation:

All children are created equal and have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit  of happiness. I would especially like to lay emphasis on that last phrase and change it just a bit to……. an entitlement to happiness.

I wish my colleagues well in the new year and hope that they and their charges have a great learning experience which is full of joy and happiness.



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