Monday, 18 June 2018

30 Days Wild - Day 17

This morning, my six-year-old was set on making clay models of his favourite creatures: a shark, a jellyfish, a dolphin, a whale, a gulper eel, a butterfly, a duck-billed platypus. There is an oceans theme underlying much of his play and learning at the moment …

In the garden, the first flower appeared on my beautiful passiflora …

And this afternoon, smallest son and I sat down to watch a documentary about orang-utans: Red Ape - Saving the Orangutan. My son has loved orangutans from babyhood, and wanted to watch this although I said some scenes might be upsetting. They were. It reminded us again about the reckless destruction of Borneo's rainforests, and the relentless onslaught of palm oil plantations, row upon row of palm trees, from horizon to horizon, as far as the eye can see. Homeless and orphaned orangutans in their hundreds. And still the global market demands more, more of this madness. Please watch the programme. Please check your supermarket products for palm oil, and refuse it or demand sustainably sourced. It is in most margarines, and most snack and processed foods. It is in some breads. It is in Cadbury chocolate, much to my dismay. It is in many cosmetics and beauty products. Be warned. Awareness of this product could seriously change your shopping habits!


"Y1 should be like early years, not vice versa."

I've been saying this for years … Yet the DfE still seems to be going in the wrong direction …

"Y1 should be like early years, not vice versa."
"It shouldn't be about children being ready for school, but schools being ready for children," writes Aidan Severs.

Read the full article HERE.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Tougher Maths GCSE is calculated to multiply stress and failure

Revamped exams for 15-year-olds are retrograde and will hurt less able students, argues Kenneth Baker (Conservative peer and former Education Secretary) in The Financial Times

Read the full article HERE.

30 Days Wild - Day 16

There was a Wildfest event at one of our local Wildlife Trusts today, so my six-year-old and I went along this morning.

We had a busy day today, so couldn't stay long, but he got to bash out some leaves and flowers on to a piece of cloth to create a unique art work, and to craft a clay hedgehog, which he enjoyed.


Friday, 15 June 2018

30 Days Wild - Day 15

We have been involved for some time in a community allotment. It is a great way to learn from others and to enjoy the pleasures of an allotment without the full responsibility, which I would find overwhelming.

It is good to be part of a team, to learn more about growing things from folks more knowledgeable than I, to enjoy tilling the earth and observing the turn of the seasons.

I have found it to be a wonderful space for reflection and prayer, and for friendship to grow. And my boys enjoy it. We haven't had as much time to give recently, but today's random act of wildness involved going up to water the allotment, and to gather ripe strawberries …

There are several community allotments in our city, so if you have thought of getting an allotment, but worried you'd be taking on more than you could manage, maybe you can find a similar project near you.

30 Days Wild - Day 14

Elderflower Cordial
Recipe from River Cottage

Makes about 2 litres
About 25 elderflower heads
Finely grated zest of 3 unwaxed lemons and 1 orange, plus their juice (about 150ml in total)
1kg sugar
1 heaped tsp citric acid (optional)

Inspect the elderflower heads carefully and remove any insects. Place the flower heads in a large bowl together with the orange and lemon zest. Bring 1.5 litres water to the boil and pour over the elderflowers and citrus zest. Cover and leave overnight to infuse.

Strain the liquid and pour into a saucepan. Add the sugar, the lemon and orange juice and the citric acid (if using). Heat gently to dissolve the sugar, then bring to a simmer and cook for a couple of minutes. Use a funnel to pour the hot syrup into sterilised bottles. Seal the bottles with swing-top lids, sterilised screw-tops or corks.

Enjoy diluted with sparkling spring water. Or add a splash or two, undiluted, to fruit salads or anything with gooseberries. Or dilute one part cordial to two parts water for fragrant ice lollies.


Trauma Informed Teaching: A Whole School Approach

"What we should be measuring and comparing is not our children but the quality of the learning environments we provide for them." (Carol Black)

A Nashville elementary school takes a comprehensive approach to trauma-informed practices, creating a space where students feel known and supported. It is interesting as a whole-school transformation, recognising the need to change completely the environments in which we expect children to learn. Emphasizing social and emotional learning and trauma-informed practices is a path to improving students’ academic outcomes. Natalie Vadas, a special education teacher, says that when students “know they can trust you and they talk to you, their academics start to blossom.”

Many of these strategies can and do happen in a home education context, which is why our state education system has such a lot it can learn from alternative educational settings. I wish they would sit up and take notice.

Read, watch and learn more about trauma informed practice at Fall-Hamilton Elementary, in Nashville, by clicking HERE. Interesting for anyone who believes the transformation of our institutions is not possible.