How children and young people feel about themselves has a significant bearing on every aspect of their lives. The more they feel valued, the more likely they are to enjoy their schooldays and be able to succeed in reaching the highest level of their personal achievement.
Schools are expected to offer a stimulating, broad, balanced, relevant and, when appropriate, differentiated curriculum and have high expectations for every single one of their children so that they can achieve success and ultimately, as many of them as possible, have real options open to them when it comes to choosing pathways into their adult lives.
Please imagine the scene: two proud Year 2 pupils showing me Oatlands Infant School in Surrey. Head teacher, Pat Beechy had asked them to talk to me about what the school was doing to show its values. I was taken to the entrance hall to look at a fabulous display depicting the school's values as part of a beautiful tree. I asked them to explain to me what values are and was told by Sam, “Values help us to be happy and keep you out of trouble.” Sophie added, “They help you throughout your life…when you are angry they help you to come into a better mood.” I asked her which value she would think about if she felt angry and after a moment’s reflection she said, “Um…Peace!“
Such a discussion with children is powerful evidence as to why, increasingly, teachers and schools are teaching and modeling positive human values such as respect, trust, tolerance and responsibility.
Andy Mouncey uses his experience as a professional sports coach and father of two young boys to explore the relationship between sport, endurance and how this impacts us as we grow older.
Children, young people and endurance – yeah, that ole chestnut: How young and how far is enough? How to judge it? What’s the evidence? And what are the implications for later life?
This is not a review of the pile of scientific literature out there, not least because I suspect plenty of people have been there, done that. This is an evidence-based piece though, it’s just that the evidence in question is my experience as a parent to two small boys and as a professional coach who has worked with children and young people for the last 25 years.
The Human Values Foundation explores how values literacy is such a rewarding curriculum ingredient.
As teachers in England continue to plan for the implementation of their new, inspiring and expansive curricula to take effect from September 2014, now could be an appropriate time to consider a curriculum ingredient found to have widespread, rewarding impacts on children, young people, teachers and other adults making up school communities, along with parents and carers.
A school’s curriculum is designed to meet the various needs of its pupils and, through different, tailored, appropriate, formal learning pathways and informal opportunities, empower them to reach their full potential and prepare them for life. It is recognised that modern curricula need to be more open and flexible than in the past. The challenge is to craft them so as to raise aspirations, deliver tangible improvements in teaching and learning, and lay the foundations to enable learners to successfully manage whatever the future may bring and its dynamic effects on all aspects of their daily living.
The visions of our highest-achieving schools today are not only concerned with academic attainment but also promoting an integrated, whole-person approach to their pupils’ development, particularly in emotional and social skills.
Going to school is a journey of discovery about oneself, other people and the world we inhabit. As children mature, they take more and more responsibility for reaching their potential. To help them progress, they need:
Education is an investment in children and our collective future. The more informed and joined up our approach to this vital aspect of a child’s development, the more likely the emotional, social, financial, spiritual and physical investments will benefit the individuals, their families, society, communities, nations – indeed the world.
There is a growing emphasis and focus on ensuring that young children are 'school ready' and those progressing from their primary school are 'secondary ready'. When a young person’s compulsory education draws to a close, he or she needs to feel ready to go out into the world.
At this stage, young people are faced with decisions that will significantly impact the rest of their lives, including whether to continue with tertiary education or venture into the workplace.
We are living in an increasingly enlightened time when the understanding of the roles of teachers, parents and the power of 'values literacy', as an integral part of a school’s curriculum, are coalescing. The prospects are exciting.
Children and young people need to be empowered with values literacy. The inspirational process engenders a rewarding sense of purpose and motivates participants so that they take more responsibility for their learning and behaviour.
Pupils, teachers and parents notice how standards, behaviour and performance all improve and together they enjoy the enhanced outcomes.
What can help children and young people develop consistency in their thinking, decision-making and behaviour, especially when they consider and then try to put into practice the range of important topics that are raised during Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education, Citizenship lessons and in connection with their Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) development?
A simple answer – simultaneously learning to understand and apply VALUES in everyday life, because these are principles that establish standards, act as reference points and empower.
It means coaching children and young people, as an integral part of the school curriculum, so that, in conjunction with their parents and carers at home, they are constantly learning to identify values that are important to:
Is there a key to enhancing pupils’ development, elevating their performance and engaging parents and carers in their children’s education? Yes – and it’s superb for promoting best practices and integrating and cementing PSHE education, Citizenship, SEAL and pupils’ SMSC development.
The education of a child is a shared responsibility and effective partnerships - between key adults in children’s home environments (whatever their roles) and members of staff in school environments (whatever their roles) – are invaluable for all concerned. Informed, active collaboration can make a world of difference to children’s successful development.
Teachers have one of the most important roles in society today because of the profound and lasting effects their work has, individually and collectively, on influencing and shaping the lives of young citizens in the making.
Along with parents and carers, teachers are significant role models for children and young people. When youngsters look around and out into the world beyond their school gates, they cannot help but become aware of scandals rocking the fabric of society - to the extent that they wonder what they are eating. High-profile cases make clear how the lives and relationships of some people have disintegrated because they have been tarnished by behaviour based upon undesirable values. For example: