This week we have been delighted to welcome so many of you to the Parent Consultation evenings. It has been lovely to explore with you how well your children are doing and to discuss their progress and achievements. As always such occasions make me very proud to be Headmistress at Heathcote.
Last week I was fortunate to attend the ISA Autumn Study Conference in Coventry. These events are always a great opportunity to discuss and share ideas with colleagues from further afield but they also serve as a means to compare our little Heathcote world to others. My colleagues always remark how happy I seem – clearly the joy of working in such a great environment is written all over my face!
At the conference it was also the venue for the ISA Schools National Art Exhibition. Heathcote was able to take forward two pieces to these National finals from our regional entries and I am very pleased to announce that Emily’s textiles piece on ‘Elizabeth I’ achieved runner up in the Early Years and Key Stage 1 textiles final. This is an incredible achievement – so well done Emily!
One of the things that has always astounded me about Heathcote is the sheer volume of talent our children possess. Whether they are fantastic at maths and enter a regional maths quiz, paint their way to success in a national art competition or write a superb 500 word story, Heathcote children’s talents abound. This week I would like to draw your attention to thriving talents outside of school namely Zak with his latest success as the British 128cm champion 2017 and Daisy with her latest worldwide modelling campaign (see http://www2.hm.com/en_gb/kids.html) How very apt that the slogan for the latter is ‘Time to Shine’!
But I wonder whether talent is born or made? Many experts suggest that talent is solely in our genes. The dictionary says talent is a “natural ability, quality or endowment” suggesting we are born with our talents. Yet I would disagree. During my conference I heard about an artist named David Manners whose story is quite remarkable and an inspiration to us all. David began his career as a teacher, then went on to work for the RNLI and later the Navy Reserves. Some 19 years after serving in Bosnia, he suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and he felt his life was over. Then someone suggested he took up painting. He hadn’t done any art since his time at school and yet, not only did this help him overcome his depression, he has gone on to be an amazing artist.
Inside of us all are the seeds of a hidden talent, even if we haven’t’ found them…yet. It’s up to us to grow and develop our talents. We are not always very good at identifying what they are by ourselves. In fact, our best talents can be right in front of us but we might overlook them.
So how can you discover your child’s talent? There are many skills that a child may develop from opportunities around them. Playing a team sport enhances physical fitness as well as motor, social and leadership skills. Playing a musical instrument is associated with improved attention and fine motor skills. Drama improves confidence, language and public speaking. Research shows that children involved in extra-curricular activities have better time management skills and higher self-esteem. Children will be exposed to a variety of teaching and learning experiences, which will make them able learners.
Furthermore, children are often influenced by parents with strong interests in particular sports or hobbies. Involving your child in your hobby is one of the most natural ways of introducing an activity. Active parental participation has been shown to contribute to a child’s success in both academic and extra-curricular activities.
Opportunity and exposure to a variety of activities are important in order to find out where your child’s talents lie. If left to themselves, many children may be happy to sit in front of the television or play Minecraft the whole day!
Don’t be discouraged if it takes some time to find your child’s interest or skill. Some children need to experiment with several different activities before finding one they are interested in and at which they excel. Teaching children that talent is built, not born, allows them to look at failure in a completely new way. Failure is not a verdict—it’s a path forward. And mistakes are not something to be embarrassed about. They are steps on the path to success. Without them, greatness is not possible.
Top Tips For Nurturing Your Child’s Talents
Watch for tiny, powerful moments of ignition: Just a tiny trigger can motivate!
Understand that all practice is not created equal—not by a long shot: Mistakes aren’t verdicts instead we should use them to build fast, fluent skill circuits of knowledge.
Recognise that slow practice is productive practice. When we go slow, we can sense and fix more errors, coaching ourselves to build better skills.
Praise effort, not natural ability. When we praise effort, children are more inclined to take risks, make mistakes and learn from them.
Encourage mimicry: Vividly imagining yourself perfecting a skill is a great first step to actually doing it.
Stand back: The work and effort has to come from your child. Take time to pay attention to the finer details and then praise your child for what they do.