Parent Voice 6

Sam Evans – Parent and Advocate for Progressive Education

Sam is mum to a six year old girl in Year 2 at school. She is interested in progressive education because it’s important to her that children are placed at the centre of the approach to learning.

Sam has been saddened by her daughter’s experiences of school and hopes to set up her own school one day.

What type of school would you like to set up and what approach to education would it follow?

A democratic school where children and adults will learn collaboratively together, building on the Reggio Emilia inspired approach. It is early days for us yet but we are at the beginning of a research project where we will be looking at different schools and their approaches as well as different theorists, in order to build a curriculum that fits with our values and sets children up for life, as well as acknowledging and fostering their childhood.

We want to go back to basics and look at our innate drive to learn – how did nature intend us to learn?

In your opinion what are the main challenges of our school system?

Our current schooling system is so much driven by results, and teachers are under so much pressure that the children are not given the best opportunities and their wellbeing is not being catered for. Children are prepared for tests, not real life.

I feel so sad when my daughter tells me she hates herself because she keeps getting in trouble for talking in class because other children distract her. She’s been punished by missing out on break time. Why must we create a school environment where children talking is bad? – I have in fact been told by her teacher about this talking problem and apparently most of the time she is talking about the work they are doing. Puzzled!

There is too large a volume of children in one place with a low staff to child ratio.

Creativity, imagination and play are not fostered and considered important.

If you could make changes to the state education system, what would be your top priorities?

I would allow for more freedom, child led opportunities that present real life challenges and quality play time. Effectively meet children’s wellbeing needs.

Children need to be allowed to be children, and learn things naturally rather than force-fed information that is often useless for general life and forgotten once the test has been taken.