When I grow up

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I am an avid musical theatre fan and love nothing more than a trip to see a musical. I know you shouldn’t have favourites but for the past 5 years Matilda the Musical has been my number 1. I have seen the show 4 times at the Cambridge theatre in London (soon to be 5) as well as the performance on the TV programme “Surprise, Surprise” and numerous times at West End Live. There’s a sort of magic in the show that I feel applies to all ages, the story is beautifully written by Roald Dahl and adapted well by Dennis Kelly but most of all the music has so much meaning behind it, something I feel many modern musicals lack nowadays. Each song is so pure and clever and expresses so much emotion. You will laugh and cry and no doubt you’ll want to go back and see it again!

One song I like in particular is entitled “When I grow Up” written by Tim Minchin.

Please find below a YouTube video of the song being performed:

The song highlights children’s desire to grow up and become adults. We constantly tell children that they are a “big girl” and that “you’re so grown up” which perhaps encourages children to grow up too fast. The song however shows what children think it means to be a grown up for example, being tall, smart, eating sweets whenever you want, going to bed late and being brave and strong. It’s interesting to see what children think adulthood is really like and how exciting the concept of growing up appears to them. Maybe we should take a step back and enjoy adulthood. Sometimes the stresses of everyday life take over and stop us from enjoying our freedom to do what we want, eat what we want and go to bed late every night. So, my advice to you is to remember that children have some great ideas so listen to them more and enjoy being an adult because when you were a child it’s all you ever dreamed of.

Lyrics to When I grow up:

When I grow up
I will be tall enough to reach the branches
that I need to reach to climb the trees
you get to climb when you’re grown up.

And when I grow up
I will be smart enough to answer all
the questions that you need to know
the answers to before you’re grown up.

And when I grow up
I will eat sweets every day
on the way to work and I
will go to bed late every night!

And I will wake up
when the sun comes up and I
will watch cartoons until my eyes go square

and I won’t care ’cause I’ll be all grown up!

When I grow up!

When I grow up, when I grow up
(When I grow up)
I will be strong enough to carry all
the heavy things you have to haul
around with you when you’re a grown-up!

And when I grow up, when I grow up
(When I grow up)
I will be brave enough to fight the creatures
that you have to fight beneath the bed
each night to be a grown-up!

And when I grow up
(When I grow up)
I will have treats every day.
And I’ll play with things that mum pretends
that mums don’t think are fun.

And I will wake up
when the sun comes up and I
will spend all day just lying in the sun
and I won’t burn ’cause I’ll be all grown-up!

When I grow up!

When I grow up. I will be brave enough to fight the creatures that you have to fight beneath the bed each night to be a grown-up.
(When I grow up)

Speech and Language

Yesterday I attended a guest lecture regarding speech and language development. The lecture was interesting and informative and provided me with an insight on practitioners views of a speech and language therapist. It was interesting to see how strongly practitioners felt about having speech and language therapists in preschool settings.

The lecture itself focused on the lecturers research project in which a band 5 speech and language therapist was invited to attend weekly workshops with groups of preschool children at 4 preschools in a county in the UK. She discussed the reason behind the research – the reason being that the speech and language skills in school are not quite as good as they were 2 to 3 years ago. The change has been significant and therefore something needs to be done before it is too late. The target was therefore on preschool children that were about to begin school. The idea was that if speech and language skills are improved at a young age then it’ll cost the government less in the future.

The research, like most, wasn’t without its problems. Speech and language therapists are trained in clinical settings on a one on one basis with the child. However, this research required a speech and language therapist to work with a group of preschool children, in 4 different, diverse and challenging preschool settings rather than a nice, quiet, pleasant room. Evidently, the newly qualified speech and language therapist struggled greatly and quit the research project within a month, delaying the speech and language intervention process. There was also poor parental response, commitment and engagement from parents which made the study challenging. However, there a ways this could be improved. Social media is very prominent in today’s society. Although I am still very much on the fence about the idea of children using technology I am all for parents getting involved in the online community. The internet is a great way to share and view ideas and educate yourself. Facebook, in particular, is a very popular site. Why not post videos on a secured, private Facebook page for adults to view whilst their flicking through their timeline in the evening, or private message them, post on their wall reminding them to attend a meeting tomorrow. Alternatively, send them a text. Most adults (and adolescents) are glued to their phones 24/7. Hold meeting straight after schools or school events so that parents are already at school and don’t have the chance to run away. What I am trying to say is that there are ways to overcome parental disengagement.

However, one of the possibilities for the lack of parental support of the speech and language study was due to the stigma surrounding speech and language therapists. Many parents are under the assumption that speech and language therapists are only for children who have definite problems. However, in the case of this study the focus was on ALL preschool children. Not just those with problems. There are a lack of speech and language therapists in the UK which leads to them being in high demand, but, the results of this study show the importance of having speech and language therapists for ALL children. The results were incredibly positive. All the children in all the 4 preschools showed improved language ability by the end of the study after having weekly sessions in a group environment with the therapist. If we are serious about targeting speech and language problems from a young age then group speech and language sessions within preschool settings seems to be the way forward. Perhaps a consideration of how speech and language therapists are trained also needs to be taken into account. For example, they should be trained in dealing with children in groups situations as well as in different environments such as churches where the acoustics are different to everyday life, or outside or simply within a classroom setting.

It is evident that something needs to be done sooner rather than later in order to prevent more speech and language problems in the future. The question is however when will these changes take place and when will the Government listen to expert research that shows something extraordinary.

The 6 c’s of physical activity

I’m currently working as an intern on a research project regarding physical activity with children aged 0 – 5. The researchers, Dr Kristy Howells and Dr Catherine Meehan have been working hard to come up with a list of the 6 areas they believe are of importance when children are taking part in physical activity.

The 6 c’s are listed below:

  1. Control
  2. Coordination
  3. Confidence
  4. Concentration
  5. Competence
  6. Challenge

We are using an online questionnaire to collect data in regards to how physical activity is currently viewed in schools. The results from this will then be analysed and used to produce a set of guidelines for practitioners to follow in order to improve the levels of physical activity in schools and other settings.

The National Curriculum in the UK states that children should complete sustained physical activity and the NHS guidelines 2013 proposed at least 180 minutes of physical activity a day for young children. This is something many settings are falling short on which is why we feel that something needs to be done.

I spent the first week of my internship focused on conducting a literature review of the 6 c’s. 15, 000 words later it was clear that there was a lot of research out there. However, there was more research for some of the 6c’s in comparison to the others. My general findings were that research tended to focus on older children aged 6+ as well as little focus being placed on research into confidence, concentration and competence.

If you yourself are a practitioner or work with children in a school or activity setting then please get in touch as I would love to hear your views.

Below is a link to the online questionnaire which takes approximately 10 to 20 minutes to fill in:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1B3R4KxVcVjXQkyp6B5G1Sbl9Y0Trx_6pHTk9vOmsQmc/viewform

Also, why not follow us on our Twitter page:

@Heldresearch1

 

 

 

 

A* in creativity

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Yes, education is important. We have an internal drive to learn, a desire to do well in life and prosper.

At school I can remember having weekly spelling and writing tests, SATs, GCSEs and A levels. I was always average at school, I never did badly yet I was never the top of the class. This didn’t bother me much when I was younger but as soon as grades mattered I felt as though I was trailing behind my academically intelligent peers. I always tried my best, worked hard at school and still to this day spend a large amount of time on my University assignments and revision. Despite this, I’m still not the highest achiever, and I have accepted that I never will be. There is always someone better than you no matter how hard you try, but this shouldn’t stop you. I continue to power through and put my all into everything I do in the hope that one day I will feel that I have succeeded and made myself proud. I blame the emphasis on getting good grades on my lack of ‘proudness’ of myself. Unless I get an A*, 100% or a first, I feel as though I haven’t done well enough.

I’d like to draw your attention to the picture at the top of the page. It shows qualities not measured by most tests. Of course for some children academic tests produce no fear or anxiety, yet for others the daunting prospect of failure always hangs over them. I believe that more or an emphasis needs to be placed on qualities such as empathy, motivation, leadship, enthusiasm and creativity. By focusing on these traits, more children and teenagers will feel as though they are doing well and are succeeding. Not everyone is academically gifted but may be gifted in terms of other traits such as humour. They may simply walk into a room and brighten up someone’s day with their presence. Every child is unique and special and therefore should be respected in terms of qualities rather than grades. If qualities such as those listed in the picture above were as highly respected as academic grades then I feel as though many children and teenagers would be in a much happier place. Over the years the numbers of children being diagnosed with mental health disorders such as anxiety has drastically increased, due to what I believe is from the pressure placed on them to do well academically at school. It’s not all about numbers and letters but rather about developing the skills needed in life to help you succeed.

Remember to never give up on your dreams. Academia is important but grades do not define you. You are amazing.

Patch Adams

It’s not often a movie inspires me but last night I watched the film ‘Patch Adams’ for the first time. All I can say is WOW.

The film is about a man named Patch who inspires to be a doctor in order to help others, yet he isn’t the average doctor. Instead he focuses on the nature of treating patients as people rather than as part of the system. Whilst at medical school Patch visits the local hospital and enters the children’s ward. The sick children are all laying down in their beds, sad faced, pale and dying. As soon as Patch enters the room it’s almost as if a breath of fresh air appears. He jokes around and introduces a bit of humour into the lives of these ill children. He brings a smile to their faces, and clowns around. He doesn’t look at the children as though they are dying, but instead as people.

As the film progresses Patch sets up his own clinic in which he treats patients from his own home – this was known as The Gesundheit Institute.

Adam’s philosophy of humour is ground breaking. He has changed the lives of so many people and made life more enjoyable for so many people. Oh and one other thing… Patch Adams is a real person. Whilst i’m sure his story was adapted slightly for the film, many of the ethos present throughout are very much true. Gesundheit institute is now in it’s 45th year with projects running all over the world. Adams is still clowning around and bringing a smile to children’s faces.

The main thing I gathered from Patch Adams is his genuine love of life and helping others. Something I feel more people need to aspire to do. He has made me realise that life isn’t all about education but rather happiness, joy, fun and laughter. It’s ok to be a little bit crazy! Let children explore and experience the world around them. Learning occurs through seeing and doing so let children be children!