No matter what our starting point, the more often we do something, the more proficient we become. As adults, we recognise the importance of practice in order to improve performance and we encourage the children in our care to take this on board when it comes to learning academic and sporting endeavours, including spellings, times tables, musical instruments and the range of sports on offer at SVPS. That which initially causes great difficulty, with time, becomes easier and children’s confidence can build with the success that inevitably follows. I am not sure that any of us would disagree that the time invested in such endeavours is well worth the effort.
A big question that I have been considering lately is how much does this apply to skills outside the academic arena? As a parent, when it comes to more “menial” tasks, such as putting on coats or tying shoelaces, it is so much easier to do it for our children. It is certainly quicker and we don’t like to see them struggling. We worry that our children will hurt themselves with scissors, or make a mess in the kitchen. They might get covered in mud, or scratch themselves whilst climbing a tree. This instinct to keep our children safe is natural and completely understandable, but if we want our children to truly become independent, we need to give them opportunities to do things for themselves, learning to persevere, to experiment, to fail and to keep on going.
At SVPS, we endeavour to give children space and time to practise some of these skills. Whether it is tying their own shoelaces, particularly when it comes to football boots and trainers, or children in the Pre-Prep learning a whole range of independent skills in Forest School, it is vital that we see all of these activities as opportunities to learn the life skills that we, as adults, so often take for granted.
Children are encouraged to be independent and show initiative from the youngest members of our School community in Nursery learning to share, through to our Year 6 prefects, who took such pride in giving Open Morning tours to prospective parents this week.
When these skills are coupled with the breadth of experiences available across the curriculum at SVPS, in lessons, trips, competitions and workshops, we are confident that the children in our care are given the best possible start to their educational journeys.