A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about education called ‘No, Mr Cameron, No‘. It was my reaction to the growing feeling amongst parents, teachers and education experts that governmental educational policy is WRONG. That our kids are put under too much pressure, expectations are too high and they are tested too young, in a way that is making it harder and harder for our teachers to teach the way they know is best. The fun and the joy is being stripped out of learning and the long-term negative consequences of this could be vast.
I wanted to support our schools and our fabulous teachers and suggested we use our power as parents and not send our kids into school on SATs day in favour of a ‘learning is fun’ day where we would collectively show the government what real learning looks like.
The response the post received was amazing. Support flooded in from teachers and parents alike. It was amazing and moving and just, WOW!
“Yes!” I thought “Let’s do this! Let’s start a revolution!”
A couple of days later a new campaign was launched by a group of concerned Year Two parents, called ‘Let Our Kids Be Kids‘. They are proposing a kids strike on May 3rd (which is not a test day) in favour of a day of fun learning to show the government that parents want an end to year 2 SATs and the current educational pressures.
“Yes!” I thought “the revolution has begun!”
So I got my thinking cap on and I had conversations with other online friends. We all felt there was more we could do as bloggers to help the ‘Let Our Kids Be Kids’ campaign and to really make a difference.
Now, I’ll admit, I had a wobble. As a naturally non-revolutionary, law-abiding type who doesn’t like to draw much attention to myself, I wondered if I could really do it. Could I break the rules, keep my kids off school and encourage others to do so? Could I really? Really?
One (self-inflicted) big kick in the rear later and the answer is YES, ARE YOU KIDDING?! OF COURSE I CAN!
More importantly of course WE can!
So, having chatted to Let Our Kids Be Kids, my friend and fellow blogger Sophie and I have decided to launch a parallel campaign to support theirs. It’s called #THISislearning and is focussed not just on keeping our kids off school on 3rd May but on doing something on that day to show the government what great learning looks like.
We also want to widen the focus beyond Year 2 SATs and make it about over-assessment in schools in general (we know plenty of people feel that Year 6 SATs too, are appalling!). We really want to send a powerful, positive message that we hope our government will listen to, and the more of you who join in (parents of school kids or pre-schoolers, homeschoolers, teachers, bloggers, non-bloggers, social media gurus or newbies, anyone who works with kids in fact, anyone at all who supports our aim!) the louder our voice will be!
Here, in brief, is the plan (more details to follow soon!):
On Tuesday 3rd May we will be keeping our kids off school. For me this means not only my six-year-old (whom the Year 2 SATs directly affect,) but also my eight-year-old. I’ll be downloading letters from the Let Our Kids Be Kids website which I will use to let my boys’ school know our plans and so they know this is action against governmental policy and not them or my sons’ great teachers!
We will be spending the day with our kids (and perhaps other friends with kids too), learning lots about the world in a fun way and sharing it on social media with the hashtag #THISislearning. I haven’t decided quite what I’m going to do yet but watch this space because:
Over the next (nearly) three weeks I will be sharing various ideas with you for fun learning activities. They might be anything – messing with mud, experimenting with liquids, creating, constructing, exploring… the options are endless.
Sophie and I will be setting up a linky (UPDATE: it’s now live!) across both our blogs for people to link up posts about their thoughts and feelings on education and/or about any plans they have for May 3rd – it would be great if it could become a resource for fun learning activities so that we’re all full of inspiration by the day!
Then, on May 3rd we want set social media feeds abuzz with photos, tweets, messages and stories (from as many of you as possible) about children learning in a way that is fun. No formality, no stuffiness, no tests or unreachable targets or overwhelming pressure. We want to shower the government – no, deluge them – with examples of learning that is creative and engaging, learning which sparks childrens’ imaginations and which sets them up for a lifetime of curiosity and passion. Because that’s what education should be about.
Because THIS is learning, Mr Cameron.
Come and join us!
We have set up a facebook group for people to share thoughts, plans and support. Anyone who wants to support #THISislearning in any way is welcome to come and join it!
We also have a badge which we’d love you to display on your blog (if you have one). Just copy and past the code below. Thank you!
Together, we CAN!
I’m linking this post with The Prompt at Mum Turned Mom. This week the word is ‘jump’ which seems apt since this campaign feels like a leap both into the unknown and out of my comfort zone!