“First of all there’s silence. There’s a still calm” she says. She tells me this helps her think. It’s easier to concentrate if all the kids are quiet. She tells me the teacher left the classroom for five minutes and all the children just continued with their work.
“I want to be challenged mum. I don’t want to simply sit down, do as I’m told and learn what everyone else learns. I want more.” That’s what she said after her first taster day up at The Moray Steiner School.
“I don’t want to spend the next six years learning to be a sheep, just doing whatever everyone else does. I don’t want to have to put up with crap.”
She is twelve years old.
“I want to read the books I’m not supposed to read. I want to understand the world. Can I study the stuff I’m interested in?”
The Steiner teacher describes her as “a joy”. She can’t wait to get her hands on her, can’t wait to find out what her passions are, test her knowledge, her perceived boundaries, stretch her beyond her limits and help her discover the world.
We all know mainstream education has issues. The topic is up for discussion in Holyrood this week. It’s no secret that teachers are limited in what they can teach, that the curriculum has little wiggle room for the independent mind, that resources are dwindling. It’s common knowledge that the brightest kids are often overlooked and learn only to keep quiet and do as they are told.
I have a new job. It’s not well paid, but it’s a start. I’ve offered to clean the school, cut the grass, help in any way I can in order to off-set the Steiner school fees. I’ve even asked my estranged parents if they could possibly help us out. This next year will be financially very tough on me. I have to establish myself in a new area. If you can help me out at all, I would really really appreciate it. A fiver, a tenner, anything, please. She deserves it.
After two taster days she began to change. At breakfast time I was told about chemistry experiments and the difference between acids and bases. I was instructed how to write convincing dialogue. I was even taught how to safely build and light a bonfire. At dinner time my education continued with detailed rules of the ball games she had previously avoided. My participation was compulsory.
“I am just me, mum. I am happy about me. I don’t fit in in mainstream school because I am an individual.”
I am trying to raise the money to get her through the next year. I need two thousand pounds. Please talk about this, please tweet and retweet, please tell your friends.