John Catt's Preparatory Schools 2021

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‘I can and I will’ Nick Tucker, Headteacher of Forest Park, says we learn as much from our failures as we do from our success Can I tie your shoelaces for you? Are you sure you don’t want me to cut out that picture? Leave that, I’ll do that for you! As parents, we ask our children lots of questions each day in the hope of avoiding mistakes, or being late out of the house and because we don’t have the time or patience to let the child try instead. But here’s a question we should be asking ourselves instead: should I let my child fail? It’s a rather scary concept. As parents, and as educators, we want to see our children succeed in everything they do, whether it’s full marks in a spelling test, making the swimming team or simply making a sandwich without smearing peanut butter all over the kitchen (call me a big kid, but I do love a peanut butter sandwich!). And often, we try to push our children towards success with constant reminders, pointers, advice and prodding. We quickly jump in to rescue a child when we see a risk of failure, so that they don’t get hurt or suffer heartache.

But, especially in the long term, is that more detrimental in the long term? All parents want to see their children succeed, but it’s just as important to teach them how to fail. That is something we cherish at Forest Park, preparing our pupils for failure as it helps them to succeed and foster a resilient character for the future. Failing can be reframed as trying, practising, and putting in effort — and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. After all, it’s unrealistic to be good at everything on your first attempt, so at my school we actively encourage numerous attempts utilising different methods instilling an ‘I Can and I Will’ attitude. Notably ‘I Can and I Will’ is our school motto. Children who can’t tolerate failure are vulnerable to anxiety and it can lead to bigger problems when they do finally, inevitably, fail. There is so much pressure placed on children today to be the best that it’s important that we, at Forest Park, let children know that failing will happen and that it is okay.


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