What Our Head Directress has to Say

As with most of the world today, everyone is placed in a box and labelled by others, but what many don’t see is that it is up to us to break that box and rip the label off because we are whom we want to be, not what others label us as. At SMARTT Cottage school we equip each student with the tools and guidance to allow them the freedom to find themselves.

Imagine picking up a good book and getting told you are only allowed to read the first chapter. How will you feel? If you are enjoying a book and do not want to put it down, find you cannot stop reading. If you are told that you are only able to continue with the next chapter, next year, it natural to feel disappointed, disinterested, or frustrated. The same applies to learning and that is why, when a child finds a passion, we guide as far along the path of learning as they are comfortable.

One of our students had previously been placed in a boxed, with an ADD label across it from the previous teacher. With the right nurturing environment, only a few months later the child was off the medication and bloomed into an accomplished child of which is able to self-assign projects of interest such as the 13(hand written) pages on Dunkirk and world war 2, as well as the fourth state of matter, Plasma, to name a few. He has matured both physically and mentally.

Patterns, functions and algebra, space and shape, numbers, operations and relationships. When it comes to maths there is nothing this maths wiz won’t try and concur. A student that according to the “education system” is meant to be in grade 4 is completing maths, far above his “grade” and exploring other avenues of Maths on his journey. Often while giving a lesson to the other students our maths wiz will pique an interest and be able to give an answer to the equation at hand. This interest is nurtured, and the lesson is presented when the time is right, allowing him to excel in a subject that he has a passion and keep that love for learning alive. Maths can be brought into all subjects, including art. Art was a subject in which he frowned upon yet now with his horizons been broadened into the possibilities of how maths and art come together, he is fascinated and enjoys 3d art, optical illusions and architecture.

“As quiet as a mouse” would be the perfect simile to describe a student, when she first started at our school. Understanding of words is so important in our day to day life that it is part of our philosophy. Once she was a shy girl who played a small roll in the school play but that all changed when one day, she decided to pick up a dictionary and study it. Not only the words but she found a little secret section in the middle of the dictionary that gave everything from ‘The history of English’ to ‘Parts of speech’, on her own she then summarised and wrote down everything she enjoyed and from that day her affair with English boomed.   Time and time again she surprise us with her growth and independence. Being in the right environment has stimulated and enabled her to develop into an amazing well-spoken individual. From being a child that had only started to read and find her passion in language, to being able to write stories of her own. A student that felt she was hopeless at maths to one that can spend a WEEK at a time using the materials and having fun focusing on multiple areas of maths (independently chosen work). She has found many activities that she enjoys and really blossomed into an amazing, well-spoken lady.

People always ask me how the children get through all the different subjects, if they are able to select their work. The answer is easy, being there to assist and guide the child enables the directress to see what work they enjoy and bring fields of other areas and subjects into the area of enjoyment. One of our students is extremely artistic and has a love for all things extinct, therefore we bring in Maths by looking at angles and shapes in his drawings, design objects on Tinker Cad to be printed on the 3D printer and set up projects, history and English activities around prehistoric times. This ensures that he covers all his subjects, but in a way that is aligned to his unique areas of interest. This approach keeps him engaged and truly passionate about what he does each day in school.

They say some people have a way with words, well that is an understatement with this student! From a young age she has had an understanding for the English language and been able to absorb information and turn it into a work of art, with stories that will knock your socks off and leave you believing it was the work of a person with a English degree under their name.

Mainstream schools teach you how to put words in the correct manner but never give the freedom (or time) to let the child’s imagination come to life and figure out what works best for them as every human being is different and so is their thought process. The best time to teach is when they are interested. When an interested such as this is shown in a subject, we will travel the 7 seas and explore all aspects of the subject to help them find the answers they seek and have fun on the journey. Ever been in a test and asked to find the “noun” yet when you write the answer its wrong because they “meant” a common noun instead of a proper or abstract? It may seem small, but it is instances such as these that can dampen a child’s enthusiasm and spirit.

Watch this space as soon I believe we will have a famous author coming to you.

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