Right now, 420 educators including 50+ from the UK, are encountering the optimistic and determined work of the city of Reggio Emilia to build an education which is founded on celebrating children's learning potential. The determination and enthusiasm of everyone here fuels optimism and example that things can be different for children and for schools - in the UK and worldwide -even when we experience the 'brick wall' of governments which seem determined to build warehouses of instruction in place of the creative learning which children deserve.
In the UK , whilst working imaginatively and persistently to bring life to education, we also have to confront those who are keen on turning it into an unhappy place of testing and passive instruction.
Government has announced a new testing plan for young children, which it would like to extend.
Go here to join the petition against it. Below are extracts from recent articles highlighting the situation, and suggestions of other actions you can take to convince MPs and government to reconsider their wisdom, and instead, support intelligent and humane education. (And you can read more in our last week's diary item.)
'Compulsory national curriculum tests taken by primary school pupils are too closely linked to school performance, the House of Commons Education Committee has said, and are having a negative impact on children's education and wellbeing.
In a new report on primary assessment, the committee found pupils are being taught a narrower curriculum, with staff neglecting arts and humanities subjects by focusing too heavily on maths and English to ensure pupils pass the controversial exams.'
'Thousands of parents consider withdrawing primary school children from Sats exams over mental health concerns.'
'More than 700 academics, early years experts and teachers sign open letter opposing new national test for four-year-olds
Hundreds of academics are among those who are signing an open letter urging the government to scrap plans to create a baseline assessment test of four- and five-year-olds, which they say will be both pointless and damaging to pupils.'
'Increasingly parents are asking what they can do to protect children from the high stakes testing in primary schools. There's a mainstream awareness that the system is not fit for purpose and that the pressure children face in primary school is damaging.
It's hard for parents to know what to do for the best. Parents are very respectful of teachers and headteachers and trust them with the well-being of their children. However, parents are also aware that the teaching profession is speaking out against SATs and being ignored.
- This Question Time clip shows the strength of public opinion against the high stakes testing and the frustration felt by the profession.
- This article shows that MPs are aware of the link between SATs and mental health.
- This report shows the severe impact high pressured testing can have on young children.'
LetKidsBeKids are promoting a parent-led 'withdrawal from SATs' campaign -
Read More here. (Let Kids Be Kids)Children do not live in the future - they live today. We can change their present.