‘Mummy, here’s my gherkin for you –and I haven’t licked it…’

This blog had the reserve title of, ‘…and so I walked into the playroom to see Oliver sitting watching telly with his pants on his head…’ but either really shows how unique my eldest son is. When I was describing him to people I noticed I concentrated on his achievements, the things he could do rather than actually describing what makes Oliver well, Oliver. I’m not sure if it was a competitive streak that came out, ‘Yes Oliver’s very good at reading’, ‘Yes he’s fabulous at swimming’ it’s not really surprising in this target driven society where we have mapped out childhood in terms of development milestones and stages. We want to know as soon as our child walks through the door at school, ‘How are they doing, what are they achieving??’ when perhaps we should just be asking ‘Are they happy to be here?’ and ‘Can they raise their hand to ask if their worried?’

So I sat down, put pen to paper and wrote about Oliver without mentioning what he could do.


Your smile makes my heart sing

I love your passion and energy for life,

Your enthusiasm for things you want to know more of.

Your sense of humour is quirky and I lovely how you love to tell jokes.

You are a fantastic big brother to Toby and you can see he loves you when he laughs and smiles when you play with him.

You have a mind of your own and while that can sometimes be difficult for me

I know you think about things deeply and I will try to respect the decisions you make.


Whilst it’s never going to win any writing competitions it does prove a point that there are many parts that make up Oliver not just the measurable, targeted assessed ones that school is concerned with. I wonder what you would write down to describe your child? What makes them the individual they are? You may want to try it. (After you’ve finished reading though!) Our society places huge emphasis on academic qualifications but seems not to care about personality, character and difference just look at primary education where every child needs to be the same level and we almost right off those children that aren’t. We must try to remember that whilst qualifications will get your CV looked at, it’s everything that makes you, you that will get you the job.


About littlewhitecottage

Emma is a qualified teacher with 14 years of teaching in many different settings. From teaching adults and children at a music school to choosing to work in a demanding primary school that was failing (which meant moving from an outstanding school – her colleagues were aghast!) to running her own sewing business for the last 5 ½ years teaching all ages how to sew: Emma loves to teach.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to ‘Mummy, here’s my gherkin for you –and I haven’t licked it…’

  1. Sara Whiley says:

    I SOOOO agree with you. I HATE the word “target”. At my school the NURSERY teacher has children taking home reading books to learn. That was why my two go to a private day nursery where the emphasis is on learning through play rather than hitting bloody targets. All I want to know is are they making progress? Are they enjoying thermselves? FFS they are THREE!
    Having twins it’s easy to see the differences in children of the same age. Jules is imaginative, creative, often in a world of her own and very visual. Rachel is more physical and constantly asking questions, It’s fascinating watching them develop.
    This culture that makes children conform to the levels and doesn’t take into account skills in areas other than Literacy and Numeracy (so they can be an accomplished artist or musician, but a failure in target terms) makes me MAD.
    OK, off my high horse now!

  2. phrogmom says:

    as the mom of a kid with suspected autism, i also cringe every time someone gets out the form that measures where you stand compared to all the kids. my squirm is a sweet, vivacious kiddo, who is chock full of personality and i wouldn’t trade him for the world!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s