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The Psychic Life of a Child is a Wonderful Thing

10th April 2019 · 7:30pm - 9:00pm

In person | Virtual event

 The Psychic Life of a Child is a Wonderful Thing

In this lecture Dr Christine Parker reflects on her experience as head-teacher leading, then co-leading, a dynamic ‘Girls’ Chat Group’ of three 10-11-year-old girls:

“S was an 11-year-old girl living in an urban environment in England. She had one special friend and together they attended a large multilingual primary school. S achieved well at school and I was under the impression, that S’s start to her final year at the school, year 6, was a positive experience. I was wrong. S and her friend were not always focussed on their school learning. Both girls were easily distracted. They, and a third companion, in their desperation to be noticed, initiated a racist act against an adult colleague from a different community to their own.

The girls reflected on their actions and were carefully reintroduced to the normal school day. However, their actions had been so concerning that it was decided a new initiative was needed and they became members of the Girls’ Chat Group. In the group, the three girls and myself, shared our stories, experiences and interpretations. The purpose of the group was to talk about any subject the girls chose and to inquire, ‘What is racism?’ ‘What is bullying?’ I was struck by their honesty and candour. The girls facilitated an interview with a member of staff of different heritage. The girls wanted to know more about her perceptions of racism in relation to her personal experiences. The ensuing interview taught the adults involved about the complexity of the girls’ views. As time passed, the enlightened girls led an anti-racism and anti-bullying campaign in their own and other schools.

I find Adler’s explanation that the role of the school is to consider the needs of each child and not to make the child fit the requirements of the school as relevant today, as when these words were written 90 years ago and worthy of consideration within the context of the story I tell.”

Christine Parker was a teacher and head-teacher in primary and nursery schools in England for over 35 years. She is currently working as a tutor at the Pen Green Research Base, Corby, supporting students going into teaching and on the MA course. Pen Green is an Integrated Centre for children aged 9-months to 5-years and their families. Her specialist interests are early childhood, school leadership and multilingual childhoods. Christine spent a number of years working abroad. She studied for her PhD at Pen Green and developed primary school leadership through a systemic approach that was responsive to children’s, families’ and staff needs.

Adler, A. (1930/2011) The Education of Children. Kapaau, Hawaii: Gutenberg Publishers

Tickets £10 (and £5 concessions – available on the door).

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