Let Kids Be Kids

by Tracey Samuel on May 03, 2016

Alice has been experiencing a lot of unnecessary stress on the run up to her year 6 SAT exams, the change in the curriculum, means that she has to sit an exam on a new curriculum that she has not been taught, the result is what looks and feels like 'cramming', with all the emphasis on teaching to pass a test. I don’t blame the teachers, they are doing a brilliant job and trying their best in a very difficult situation.

So today I found myself doing something I have never done before, I’m normally a bit of a 'don’t rock the boat' type of person, but today Gareth, the children and myself made our placards and went to Preston Park in Brighton to join the let kids be kids #‎KidsStrike3rdMay. We went on strike, in protest of the Department for education and their current policies!

Kids strike for SATS in brighton 2016
everyone enjoyed making their banners and placards!

We had a wonderful morning, listening to speakers, talking to other kids and parents, the atmosphere was very upbeat and fun, with lots of interesting speakers.  I hope the message my children took from the day was that they have a voice, that they can ask for change, that they have a right to question the system that they are involved in.

Alice also had a chance to meet her literary hero Chris Riddell, the current children's laureate ( Author of the Ottoline series and Goth girl), he drew her and Rhys a lovely little illustration and when Alice asked him what a ‘fronted adverbial’ was he said; “I have no idea, it sounds like a small hairy animal, best avoided!!” This quote alone made the day worth it, I’ve been struggling to explain to Alice that I don’t understand a lot of the things she is being expected to learn, so hearing it from Chris made us all feel just a little bit more normal! (see note below on some of the terms for year 6 SAT tests* )

Chris Riddell hand drawn sketch at let kids be kids strike
Chris Riddell illustration

Riddell ridiculed claims by the education secretary, Nicky Morgan, that taking part in the strike would harm children’s education, arguing instead that teaching them to question government policy was “an important lesson”.

So we took on board Chris Riddell’s words and made the rest of the day an ‘important lesson’........

I took Alice and her friend Maddie to our Bonnie Mob studio for the afternoon to learn some of the basics of Adobe illustrator, a lesson they would never receive at school and one that sounds very creative but also surprisingly used a lot of maths!

Working on Chris Riddell's sketch in illustrator

We were so inspired by the little illustration Chris Riddell made us that we scanned it and used it as the inspiration for some drawings eventually turning them into repeat prints for a t shirt design.

turning Chris Riddell's sketch into a t-shirt design

repeat design of chris riddell's sketch let kids be kids
Alice's repeat design
repeat design on illustrator of chris riddell sketch
Maddie's repeat design

To find out a bit more about the day, have a look at some of the press

* (A few of the ridiculous grammar and language terms that a 10 year old is expected to know for the SAT test next week include; Subordinate clauses, relative clauses, fronted adverbials, phoneme’s.)