I’ve often thought, and said, that one size does not fit all – particular when talking about education. All children, and adults for that matter, are so different with varying styles of learning, abilities and backgrounds that having a system that pushes people down one path is narrow and inadequate.
I still believe that’s true BUT there may be a different perspective on this.
Coming up is Umbrella Day (what??) yes there is actually a day set aside in our calendar to appreciate umbrellas!
What’s the link? I hear you cry. Bare with.
- What if in our schools we had an approach that covered all our children’s needs?
- What if we could widen the path we’re pushing children down to incorporate individuality and difference?
- What if one size COULD fit all?
What on earth am I talking about this week?
Well I see so often our schools trying desperately to adapt an inflexible system (such as behaviour modification techniques like zone boards) to meet the individual needs of our complex children. We struggle to make these systems work for those children who’ve had no adverse childhood experiences to speak of, against those who have.
BUT what if instead of squeezing everyone into a size 10 dress we actually extended the dress to fit ALL shapes and sizes?
Imagine a school where the approach was so all encompassing that the children themselves might learn about tolerance, diversity, compromise and community?
I know this might seem like a pipe dream, and educators reading this might you be tutting and rolling your eyes at my naivety. But I would challenge you to look again at those children sat in front of you.
They are all so individual – backgrounds, personalities, strengths and weaknesses. The way they respond is so different. We need to stop using these standard systems that try to cookie cut our children and start using an umbrella approach.
What is an umbrella approach then? What would encompass ALL children – what size would fit ALL?
- An approach built on individuality
- An approach built on strengths
- An approach built on compassion
- An approach built on understanding
- An approach built on meeting needs
- An approach built on relationship
Instead of bringing in another programme what about going back to the basics of relationship?
The umbrella we can all fit under is one of relationship. The dress size that fits all is one of relationship.
We need to stop seeing children as little adults who should behave in appropriate ways, but see them as growing, developing, imperfect children who need nurture, love and compassion in order to thrive.