This photograph and reflection of Aimee's is from a project which we'll discuss at our day in March, in which early childhood educators will be introducing some of their struggles, questions and successes in developing an education which sincerely listens to children's enthusiasms and intelligences.
Suddenly the words of Loris Malaguzzi came to mind: "Children show us that they know how to walk along the path to understanding."
We - grown-up educators and parents - certainly benefit from being reminded of this, and encouraged to keep thinking and working for our children and for education.
I had earlier today been dumped in spirit, having read a recent statement on education policy by a UK Chartered Accountant: "It is imperative that pupils are taught a knowledge-rich curriculum. And the body of evidence on effective teaching practice is now overwhelming. The PISA results from last year serve to confirm the ever-growing body of international evidence on this point, that teacher-led instruction is more effective than child-centred, enquiry-based approaches." Why did this 'dump my spirit'? Because this was not just a 'man in a white-collar pub', this accountant is the current UK Schools Minister, Nick Gibb, in a high profile presentation to the Education World Forum a few days ago.
Here is Loris Maluguzzi again to remind us educators and parents to work for our children: "Once children are helped to perceive themselves as authors or inventors, once they are helped to discover the pleasure of enquiry, their motivation and interest explode. To disappoint the children deprives them of possibilities that no exhortation can arouse in late years."
I think we are all trying to 'walk the path of understanding': Aimee, Loris Malaguzzi, all of us who are listening, enquiring, making places of education for enquiry, joy and knowledge. (Primary educators, do come join us on our discussion day at the 'outstanding' - and creative - Trimdon/Bluebell Meadows school, and meet one such remarkable place, embedded and treasured by children and the community.)
Mr. Gibb, I find your words utterly chilling, dark and even sinister. Would they provide inspiration in Aimee's world, I wonder? I am more than sorry that you are against us. However, I am convinced that you cannot crush the spirit of enquiry.