As parents today protest against new tests in the UK for 6 and 7 year olds, it seems appropriate to discuss the Share a Story initiative taking place throughout May. With testing taking place from an earlier and earlier age, are our schools taking the joy out of learning for our children?
I can completely understand why parents have said no to their children taking these tests. I used to get stressed out in tests at school but the worst thing of all was the feeling of humiliation if you didn't do well. This competitiveness towards classmates surely shouldn't be encouraged earlier than necessary? Kids should encourage and help their peers in the classroom and teachers should instead be using time to inspire kids to want to learn. Surely the younger you start to test children, the younger you're putting them school altogether, and more importantly hindering their thirst for learning?
Although I was never the fastest or most advanced reader growing up, I always loved listening to stories, either read from a book made up by some complying adult. National Share a Story Month is an annual initiative to get kids reading and sharing stories with their families and classmates. The theme for NSSM this year is 'A Place for Stories' encouraging the telling of stories in usual places, allowing stories to really come alive.
On school camping trips I always remember our headmaster, an amazing storyteller, gathering us around the camp fire for ghost stories. So vivid are these memories that I have been able to pass these stories on to my nieces and nephews all these years later, an example of how powerful this concept can be.
So if you have children of your own, or know kids you may visit this month, use the time to get creative, tell a story and inspire these youngsters.
For more information on events taking place over National Share a story Month visit www.fcbg.org.uk/national-share-a-story-month
Some of our favourite books and authors for children:
The Complete Adventures of Peter Rabbit; Beatrix Potter (age 5-10 years)
Just William; Richmal Cromptom (age 5-10 years)
The Railway Children, Edith Nesbit (age 7 + years)
George's Marvellous Medicine, Roald Dahl (age 10 + years)
The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett (age 10 + years)