TALKING HEADS How can we keep children engaged with and informed about current affairs, without confusing or alarming them? Christopher Wilson
Lockers Park, Herts
Woodlands Schools Great
At Lockers Park, we regularly discuss current events with our pupils. All boarders start their day by watching the news with the Housemaster, and teachers often select news items to form the basis of discussions. Understanding what’s going on and how to cope with complex news is important in today’s “always-on” society. One way we have found of giving pupils some control is by encouraging them to consider ways they can help. When one pupil spoke of his despair at seeing refugees fleeing while on holiday, out sprang our Syria Appeal, which resulted in donated items for Syrian refugees and raised awareness of the issue.
Children are more resilient than we give them credit for, so we must fight the temptation to wrap them up in cotton wool and address issues head on. Having taught Upper Junior children for much of my career, I can testify that when children have questions about the “big scary world out there”, they are mature and thoughtful – often a world away from the kneejerk reactions of some adults. In an age of coverage of terrorism, Brexit and Trump, we might actually find that some of the most rational voices come from within our own classrooms, if we are open-minded enough to accept the answers.
Prep School boys at Lockers Park, Herts
independentschoolparent.com | SPRING 2018
Below, pupils at Woodlands School Great Warley, Brentwood, Essex
Kate Millichamp Shrewsbury High Prep School
After a year of events that have caused uncertainty and insecurity, I think that we would all like to shield our children away from worldwide atrocities. However, that is probably the least effective form of action. Providing factual, easy to digest and non-judgmental information, avoiding conjecture and being honest empowers children to effectively risk assess their own part in today’s society. What they really need is a safe environment in which to ask questions, lead conversations, confront their worries and challenge their thoughts in order to effectively process them.