Sunday, 28 January 2018

On Rainforests, Palm Oil & Caring ......

To envisage the devastation of the world's rainforests, the extent of palm oil production and the effect of both on native people, Chris Packham's documentary is worth a watch .....

Chris' connection with this photograph resonated with me. I wrote the following on this blog in November (See A Road Trip) following a visit to the Eden Project .....

"The stories of the peoples of the rainforest, depicted in wonderful photographs around the Biome were particularly moving. Some of these tribes have had no contact with the outside world, and are endangered by the destruction of their native forests. I was particularly touched by this one extraordinary photograph of a young girl, taken the year I was born. She was described as being as at home in the forest as any child in a modern playground, and already knowledgeable about the flora and fauna around her. I look at this picture, and wonder if the girl is still alive; she would be older than me. And I think about the arrogance with which we condescend to native peoples, thinking we have so much to teach them, about civilisation. And as I gaze around me at this immersive rainforest experience, and think about all the riches of our planets' forests, all the resources they hold, many of which we have yet to discover, I wonder who really has more to teach. Do we not have so much to learn from native peoples in these majestic places?"

I always wanted to walk in a rainforest, sleep out in a rainforest ... And I did once, in my youth, when I was travelling around Australia. I slept one night in a hammock slung between two majestic trees - and it was noisy, and alive, and lonely - and wonderfully wild and remote and vast ... It felt so far from anywhere. Untouchable. Yet we are destroying it. The lungs of our planet. Beautiful wilderness, treasure trove of medicines and flora and fauna we haven't even discovered ....

Another post on this blog is relevant here: The Cultural Imperialism of Schooling. We should not educate our young people out of touch with the wild places, out of touch with the earth and the wilderness. "The question is not - How much does the youth know when he has finished his education - but how much does he care?" (Charlotte Mason)

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Ofsted's Bold Beginnings

If Ofsted's Bold Beginnings report is driven by concern that transition to Year 1 is difficult because the Early Learning goals are not aligned with the year 1 national curriculum, then why not make Year 1 more play-based rather than narrowing the curriculum in reception? If research and the experience of Nordic countries (and others) teach us that children are better equipped for learning if they start at age 7 after several years of learning negotiation, communication and risk-taking through play, particularly outdoors, why not extend learning-through-play further up our infant schools rather than pushing formal learning ever younger? Why do the powers-that-be continually fail to understand that children learn through play, it is their learning media? We could argue that all of us need more playtime in our lives to awaken and facilitate our creativity and problem-solving faculties. How vital this is for the youngest in our society.

Read more about Ofsted's Bold Beginnings report HERE.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

IF ...

If I can
ask my own questions,
try out my ideas,
experience what's around me,
share what I find;

If I have
plenty of time for
my special pace,
a nourishing space,
things to transform;

If you'll be
my patient friend,
my trusted guide,
fellow investigator,
partner in learning;

Then I will
explore the world,
discover my voice
and tell you what I know
in a hundred languages.

This poem was written by Pamela Houk with valuabel suggestions from Lella Gandini and the late Loris Malaguzzi.