Now that I have blogged my first experience as a young, struggling teacher discovering the power of children's innate curiosity, I think it would be appropriate to reflect on my childhood. Where did my lifelong insatiable curiosity about the natural world - and how children learn best - come from?
Again, I'm going to use an extract from my recent book, Through My Eyes: On becoming a teacher, to explain where my curiosity was encouraged and celebrated.p>
Looking for Wishing Rocks
Family walks, either to the country lanes or down the steep hill to the nearby seaside, in the spring, summer, and autumn, were the highlight of my childhood. Sometimes, after the Sunday meat and potato pasty dinner, washed down with a cup of hot, steaming tea, the family would put on its wellies and head for Lariggan Beach. If the tide was out, we’d first look to see what had been washed up on the beach, then stare into the rock pools, hoping to see a bullcod or a tiny red and blue crab scuttling under the rocks.
Then, we’d collect pebbles.
We’d look for those shaped like hearts, or, even better, those with a vein of milky-white quartz running through them.
They were special.
Mum said they were special because they were wishing rocks.
Finding a wishing rock that sat comfortably in the palm of your hand made you feel good. You’d pick it up, hold it in your hand, and slowly wrap your fingers around it. When the pebble felt warm, you closed your eyes and thought about someone very dear to you…………and then send that person a very special wish.
Then, slowly, with a smile, you uncurled your fingers, knowing that somebody, somewhere, suddenly felt a warm shiver down the spine, just as he or she got your loving thoughts.
I always sent my very best wishes to my Mum and to my Dad.
Mum kept the best wishing rocks in a old, cracked green glass jar.
I kept the first one I ever found in an old oxo tin.
As I grew up, as opportunities and challenges came my way, I have wished and wished and wished – always clutching my favorite wishing rock from Lariggan Beach.
Sometimes it works…………….
Your wishing rock
Finding your own wishing rock makes you feel good.
You pick it up and rest it comfortably
in the palm of your hand.
Slowly wrap your fingers around it
and squeeze really tight.
When your fingers warm the pebble, close your eyes.
Now send a wish to someone very special in your life.
Relax, open your fingers and let your wish go.
Someone, somewhere, then feels
a warm shiver down the spine,
Just as that lucky person gets your wish.
When the wish had been sent, put your wishing rock into a wishing rock tin and keep it safe.