Don't pigeon-hole children too early... | Portsmouth High School

Don’t pigeon-hole children too early…

Variety is important. I think this is particularly the case for young children but it also applies to all of us. Linked to this and as essential is the ability to embrace change and learn to enjoy new things.

By way of example I will use myself. As a boy and through my twenties my life revolved around sport to the point where any job I applied for had to give me the opportunity to play hockey matches on a Saturday. When it wasn’t hockey I was on the golf course or playing football, rugby or cricket. Sport is still a huge part of my life but as I have grown older other interests have come to the fore. In my early thirties I learned to draw and paint and since then, amongst other things, I have rediscovered playing the cello. I have discovered a deep joy in teaching mathematics and computing.

The reason I am sharing this with you is that we must all be very careful that we don’t pigeon-hole children too early. They go through periods of change and development far more rapidly than us as adults and they can change by the year or even within a term. Certain members of the

current Year 6 told me they were no good at sport a couple of years ago and have since proved to be very capable runners, swimmers and hockey players. More importantly they enjoy it and that is the start of something that could last a lifetime. I have lost count of the amount of people who have told me that they can’t do maths and then discovered exactly the opposite when that certain something clicked in their brains.

The girls in this school continually amaze and delight me with their attitudes and the positive way they approach life.  We work very hard to help them to face up to challenges and take calculated risks. You will all have heard stories of high profile people who were told they wouldn’t amount to anything when they were at school. We must all make sure we never, ever dismiss our children too quickly.