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In this blog we are posting news from around the network, reflections on general news items and other broad-ranging items of interest. Current contributors are Sightlines Initiative directors Robin Duckett, Liz Elders, Debi Keyte Hartland and Chris Merrick.
We have a Library View (see left column) to help you find past articles.

Nurturing the basics; being the change: Your move!

We are way past mid-winter; new shoots are growing; gardeners are thinking about tending their gardens. Coming back from the mid-winter break, we're all in different ways turning our attention to new growth. For educators and settings attending to new development in 2016, here is a distillation from Ken Robinson's excellent and cogent 'Creative Schools':

"  Richard Gerver (Head Teacher of the Year 2005) : the basics I'm talking about are the biological gifts we're born with that thrust us into the world as incredible learning organisms. We are born with all the skills – all the basics – we need. Babies and very young children are incredibly intuitive, naturally creative, and deeply curious.'

People will achieve miracles if they are motivated by a driving vision and sense of purpose. That vision has to connect with them personally. I can't imagine that many children wake up in the morning wondering what they can do to raise their state's reading standards. But countless children do want to read and write and calculate for their own purposes and to sing and dance and explore and experiment. Countless teachers and parents want to support them. 

There is not a simple line from vision to change. It is a constant process of action, improvisation, evaluation, and reorientation in light of experience and circumstances. 

As Gandhi said, if you want to change the world, you must be the change you want to see.  "

Ken's book is a cogent call for change. He's setting the ground for what and why, and how: the chart above is from Tim Brighouse. 

Looking forward to our change discussions and consultancies in 2016, we've added to our resource papers an extract from Ken's closing chapter. We think it is an excellent and encouraging grounding for all those engaged on the quest of creating decent education: it is here for you to download.

Happy new year, and rewarding re-orientations!

Robin Duckett

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A song to remember ...

​"Your children are not your children; They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself" : these lines from Kahlil Gibran's 'on children' in his book The Prophet sprung into my head, being sung by Sweet Honey in the Rock. Perhaps because I'd been reflecting on Jacqui Cousins' comments recently? And then I remembered that a group of us sung it at the close of the Study Week 1998 in Reggio Emilia: the first group to visit Reggio after the Hundred Languages of Children exhibits in Newcastle and London. It seemed a suitable valediction to a wonderful 'first encounter' with ourselves and with a place which really seeks to celebrate children: a great song for educators and parents celebrating children.

'Read more' for 'Sweet Honey's version of the poem: Glad Tidings for the New Year!

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More than ever, we need to communicate

Last week, we received a very thoughtful greeting from Dr. Jacqui Cousins, who'd been browsing our Diary articles, and she's kindly agreed for us to share it.

"In the year 2015 should we really need to explain why young children have many different voices and need to play to develop at a very variable and individual pace? They need to be given ample time and opportunities to find their own confident voices ... we need to guide them creatively and thoughtfully so that the foundations for their life long learning are firmly set. In a Refocus Journal article 'On an education for being' written seven years ago, I quoted Ghandi who emphasised the need for adults to give children a good start in life because 'children are the change!' In our very troubled world it has become increasingly clear how we adults need to link even more with each other in order to be able to solve some of the problems. The Sightlines Movement and all your creative time and energy is very important in that process. Have a very Happy Christmas, Robin, and all at Sightlines!"

Her full reflection follows:

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