'May you live in interesting times' is purported to be an ancient Chinese curse, and although there is some argument about its actual providence, the saying rings true at this moment in history.
The events of the world unsettling, alarming even for adults, but when viewed through the eyes of a primary school child, the world right now can seem strange, frightening and incomprehensible. As much as parents try to shield their children from media and adult discussion on these topics, a certain amount, inevitably filters through. One of our jobs, as educators, is to assist children to not only live in, but also to flourish in these 'interesting times' by giving them a healthy framework in which to place their concerns.
Last week, one of our students in Class 5, came to school very upset about the treatment of George Floyd and the ensuing riots in the USA. She explained to her friends and teacher that she felt sad, afraid and helpless. Brendan Strobl (her Class Teacher), talked with her and assisted in transforming her distress into positive local action. You can see the resulting petition/statement and smiles in the photo below. Allowing children to voice their concerns while not adding further distressing detail or research can be a transformative and age-appropriate response; one which encourages the feeling that positive and creative local action in the here and now are possible and meaningful.
At a time like this, educators the world over are putting the ancient curse aside, and for me, there's another great saying that comes to my mind: "Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay." Gandalf
Deputy Head of School (Kindergarten-Class 6)