Golden Seed Moments
My Easter holiday involved three things (mostly): painting our new home, listening to podcasts, and eating too much chocolate. While up a ladder painstakingly trying to keep the lines straight, The High Performance podcast was my companion. It’s a favourite of mine in which inspirational figures from all industries talk about their life journeys and the ways in which they have achieved success – I’m sure many of you already listen.
It struck me while I was ‘cutting-in’ that most of the guests referred to their time in school when explaining their journeys of success. Even years on they still remembered someone in school making them feel valued.
An episode with Dame Kelly Holmes emphasised the importance of identity and knowing each child as an individual. It’s true to say that a conversation we have with a child today can have a direct correlation twenty years later. It might not be about winning Olympic Gold, but it is about making someone feel like they have a place, and they belong.
Interestingly, Sigmund Freud talks about the golden seed moments in which everyone who succeeds in some way in their life recognises that moment when a teacher or parent sows a golden seed. A teacher, for example, may recognise a strength or skill that the child might not have known that helps them to form an identity to live up to. This could be telling a child that they have great determination, kindness, or resilience and then witnessing the seed growing, in school or even in later life.
In contrast, we can also plant negative ‘seeds’ and form identity models that are less productive. An episode with Lewis Morgan, co-founder of GymShark highlighted how important it was to him that teachers listened, removed judgement and allowed him to explain his thought process. Providing the time and space for children to talk about their learning, their ideas and being flexible in terms of outcomes are key principles we follow.
Dame Evelyn Glennie, a highly successful solo percussionist was interviewed for one of the podcasts and spoke about the importance of innovation in schools. As a deaf pupil she retells the story of her music teacher placing her hands on the wall to get her to feel the music and how this led to her very successful career. A truly remarkable story and one that made me reflect on how important it is for us in schools to innovate and understand every child in our classrooms so that we can recognise their talents and build their future journeys. The question is not: how clever are you? It is: how are you clever?
Like me, I am sure that you can remember someone from your childhood who inspired you and developed your identity. For me, along with my parents, it was my football coach who gave me the determination to never give-up, to work hard and to enjoy myself. This has not yet led to a career playing for Man United (jokes aside), but it has helped to shape who I am today.
With a super busy term ahead of us, we feel extremely privileged to be working with your children to hopefully provide the golden seed moments which will make a difference to their lives.
Mr Andy Bartlett
Senior Deputy Head