Filling the box


On Tuesday I spent a day in our Reception classes; expecting a big jump from the Year 4s I have been teaching for nearly two years. What struck me most was not the differences, but the similarities and I was left with a sense that whatever the age, in the right environment learners are just learners.

During the afternoon a girl came to proudly show me something she had made; a cardboard biscuit box she had stuck a piece of paper to and written her name on. I asked her what it was and she replied, “A box!”. Asking her what it was for, she immediately got really excited and replied:

“It could be for anything… I could start a collection of pretty things.. keep food… I know, I’m going on a minibeast hunt…”

A simple cardboard box, not even given deeper significance through make believe, yet the possibilities were constrained only by it’s size. Perhaps not, I am pretty sure that if she felt constrained she would have just found a bigger box…

Those of us in the business of learning are lucky to be able to help learners fill those boxes, let’s just make sure we are as open to the wealth of possibilities as this 5 year old is.



8 responses to “Filling the box”

  1. Kevin McLaughlin Avatar

    Earlier today I came across two year 3 boys who were transfixed whilst designing their box into a spaceship. One got inside, the flaps were folded down and the other spun the box around. Upon climbing out of ‘the spaceship’ he shouted, “I’ve been to the moon!” This was their lesson time.
    It’s so very easy for teachers, schools to be have their eyes covered by the curriculum, to be blinded by the quest for results and levels. Yet, if we just step back and actually let children play, the learning will happen naturally giving every child the given right to explore their boxes of possibilities.

  2. Hannah Jones Avatar
    Hannah Jones

    Thank you Oliver and Kevin for two lovely images to send me off for another day of learning with a big smile on my face.

  3. Julia Skinner Avatar

    A great reminder that it the people who generate the ideas & imagination in this learning game!

  4. Jessica Mead Avatar
    Jessica Mead

    As some one who is starting out on my PGCE course – what may seem obvious or irrelevant to others, seems to always reflect the core teaching values. So useful, thanks!

    1. oliverquinlan Avatar

      No problem Jessica. All the best for starting your course.

  5. Vicky Harrison Avatar

    Hi Oliver

    It is that kind of “creative” thinking that needs to be encouraged further up the school!

    I love the imagination of the foundation children.

    Thank you for making me smile after a very tricky day!

    1. oliverquinlan Avatar

      Thanks for the comment, I totally agree! I hope today is better for you.

  6. […] I was leaving school, I reflected on the immense possibilities that children see in everything. The end of the academic year saw me packing up my classroom and leaving Robin Hood Primary […]

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