You, Your Child and School, Sir Ken Robinson

You, Your Child and School is the most recent publication by Creativity Speaker, Sir Ken Robinson. Now how do I, a wee Donegal gal, know of, or have even heard of, Sir Ken Robinson and his work. As the saying goes, ‘behind every great man, there has to be a, great woman’. And Sir Ken Robinson is NO exception. I found Ken Robinson’s work after meeting his amazing wife, Terry.
Terry was at Little Acorns Bookstore Derry, launching her debut novel, Indis’s Summer in the spring of 2012, and meeting her was an inspiration in itself. Her passion for life left a lasting impression on myself and it was from this meeting that I learned about Sir Ken and his work. I immediately went home and watched his Ted Talk on ‘Do Schools Kill Creativity?’ Ken Robinson Ted Talk Creativity This was to change my life completely and gave me the motivation and encouragement I needed to embark on some serious life changes – I started my own business encouraging creativity in children and today that business is growing daily as The WRITE STUFF Kids Club.

So just who is Sir Ken Robinson and what is this new book all about?

Sir Ken Robinson works with governments, education systems, international agencies, global corporations and some of the world’s leading cultural organizations to unlock the creative energy of people and organizations. He has led national and international projects on creative and cultural education in the UK, Europe, Asia and the United States. The embodiment of the prestigious TED Conference and its commitment to spreading new ideas, Sir Ken Robinson is the most watched speaker in TED’s history. His 2006 talk, “Do Schools Kill Creativity” has been viewed online over 40 million times and seen by an estimated 350 million people in 160 countries.

You, Your Child and School:
“[Robinson] offers an honest view of all the options available, giving adults the tools and insights they need to find schooling that is the best fit for each individual child. For adults who are looking for ways to use schooling to help their children achieve happy, constructive lives.” — Library Journal
Parenting is a lifetime assignment. It can be hard work at times and the hours are dreadful, but it’s also one of the most rewarding and gratifying experiences on Earth. Being the custodian of a child’s education is the most important role a parent has outside of providing food and shelter. Making the right choices regarding school and education is daunting and is sometimes filled with misgivings and second-guessing. In New York Times bestselling author Sir Ken Robinson’s new book, YOU, YOUR CHILD, AND SCHOOL: Navigating Your Way to the Best Education (Viking; On-sale: March 13, 2018), co-authored with Lou Aronica, Robinson guides parents with practical and sometimes surprising advice on how to help their children get the education they need and deserve.

As a parent to three grown up sons, this book is not particularly relevant to me as a mother as my children are through the education system, but I still found it intriguing. I found that it offered me information that I can pass to parents of the modern day, and encourage them with their children and their quest for the best education for those children. 

The book offers wide advice on navigating yourself as a parent through the minefield that is school and education in the modern world. It offers parents the opportunity to question their child’s education and supportive of such questioning. It enables parents to challenge education and to guide their child in what’s right for them. 

You, Your Child and School allows parents the opportunity to realise what they should look for in their child’s education and what is right for their individual child. We need to be aware that every child is different and that they all have different needs.

I found that this book gave me hope in that it gave me confidence to trust my own judgement. Education and the school system today is all about getting results and getting points. But education is about so much more. Education is about preparing our children for their future in the world. And trying to find the right place for our children in this very world. Striving for results is not for everyone. Not everyone is capable of getting the so called results. Results are different for every child and we need to focus on what the correct end result is for our child. And that child is our focus. 
Robinson argues that there are many roads to success and our education system might not be the right route for everyone. So choosing the right school for your child is paramount. It’s important to know your child and know the schools that are available to support their needs.

Some tips which Robinson gives to parents in this book include:

1.  Know what to look for in choosing the right school.

2.  Know the qualities of a great teacher.
3.  Advocate for change to improve quality of your child’s education.
4. Volunteer  your time and resources at school to be a part of the transformation.
5.  Have a close relationship with your kids’ teachers but don’t be a ‘helicopter parent.’
6.  Join the PTA to influence school policy.
7.  Treat your children fairly but not the same.
8.  Schedule meetings and go to school workshops.
9.  Know the amount and type of homework your child is assigned and take action if it’s too much.
10. If your child is being bullied, contact the school immediately.

All of the above are encouraging one thing: GET INVOLVED. Don’t be the parent who sits at home and complains about the school or the teaching. Be actively involved and use your voice as a parent. Too often we are all quick to judge and yet do nothing about it. Robinson is advocating the active involvement of parents within the school system. Advice every parent should take on board. 

But above all Sir Ken Robinson advocates the importance of creativity in our children. Allowing children to express their creative side is of paramount importance in their growing up. In my own work experience I find that children are losing the ability to use their imagination. They are forgetting that they have an imagination. It’s so important for us, as parents, to nurture and fuel that ever important imagination and stimulate it to it’s fullest. Robinson has said that, “Creativity is as important as literacy.” I for one, fully support this belief. Albert Einstein wrote that, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Never stop fueling those little imaginations. 

You, Your Child and School from Penguin is available online now and in all good bookshops.


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