The classroom isn’t for all children.
I just finished watching a programme called ‘The Tiny Tots Talent Agency’ and was blown away by the enthusiasm one of the children had for Musical Theatre. The young boy had ADHD and Autism which prevented him from going to mainstream school which resulted in his mother home schooling him. The mother explained how if she made her lessons active her son would be engaged but, as soon as a lesson involved picking up a pen and writing, he had no interest. What fascinated me was how much potential the boy had in dance. Instead of being cooped up in a classroom, the mother followed her sons dream to perform and enrolled him in part time dance lessons. Unlike in school, the boy excelled. He was praised. He was aloud to be loud. He was aloud to dance whenever he wanted. He was happy.
The programme follows him as he attends an audition at the prestigious London dance school – Pineapple Dance Studios. It is evident that he loves what he is doing and is happy to be there so it’s no surprise he is awarded a place. The theatre school focuses purely on Musical Theatre with no formal academic lesson given.
What particularly captured me about this story was that in school the boy was seen as a failure and unwilling to learn but as soon as he was dancing and being active, all the troubles went away. It made me think how many children out there are simply misunderstood. Yes, education is important but, for some children being active holds more importance. I’m not saying that children shouldn’t be taught to read and write but what I am saying is that more children need to be given the chance to excel in non – academic areas. If schools were to place more of an emphasis on sports, physical education, music, drama and dance then I feel that more children would feel as though they are achieving highly in something. Some are good at maths whilst others are good at drama. Too much of an emphasis is placed on academic skills but there is more to life than times tables. Let children be active. Classes don’t need to be restricted to sitting at a desk, take children outside, let them run free and see what they discover in the environment around them.
It saddens me how children are being deprived of outdoor play, breaks and recess. There is so much of an emphasis placed on following an unrealistic curriculum that teachers are keeping their students in the classroom for longer amounts of time in order to make sure their children meet the set targets and goals put in place by the Government. Whilst it does appear our children are getting “brighter”, they are suffering from a lack of outdoor time, some more so than others. Those with behavioural problems and ADHD are the groups most effected by this. Outdoor play is some what portrayed as a privilege for children, teachers often say statements such as “if you don’t finish your work now you will have to stay in at break time”. Those with ADHD struggle to sit down for long periods of time and therefore require outdoor play opportunities more than most. The classroom setting for this group of children is a daily struggle made no easier by limiting and restricting access to the outside world. Recess and break time should not be viewed as a privilege but rather a chance for children to simply be free, be themselves and explore. As the word suggests it’s time for a break!
Teachers and playground supervisors should supervise children during this period but not simply tell them what to do or stop them from exploring. If children want to sit on the dusty ground and watch ants climb up sticks then so be it. Outdoor play and recess are beneficial to children in more ways than one including academic benefits and physical movement.
Break time needs to be taken more seriously, children should not be deprived of their childhood.