Author: A M Scott
Sorry, we don’t fix kids is likely to be the strongest message any school, even a remedial school should send out. You see kids aren’t ‘broken’ so they don’t need fixing. Restoration, perhaps, is an entirely different matter. All too often a parent’s journey to placement at a remedial school has included someone very well meaning advising that placement at a school like Bellavista for ‘a year or two’, to ‘iron out all the problems’ and ‘sort them out’ is a solution to a developing problem. The referral is likely correct, but the rest is not entirely true. Integrated intervention to support a child with his or her learning needs or difficulty is powerful, very powerful, and there is significant research about that confirms that early intervention is better. So, when a school cannot offer what a child needs in order to be the best version of themselves, then placement that encompasses learning support and therapy may be a wise and excellent decision for a parent to take.
Sorry, we don’t fix kids and neither should a parent or any other significant family member. With all due respect to assertive and positive discipline techniques (as employed at Bellavista School) life isn’t a real time play out of “Nanny McPhee”. Rather, families and adults involved in the life of a child should accept and embrace the child for who he or she is, recognizing the individual’s strengths and interests as much as acknowledging the weaknesses that are bringing the bother. In a stable environment, with clear boundaries and unconditional acceptance, children thrive.
Sorry, we don’t fix kids but we do believe that children with different needs require advocacy to fight for their right to self-actualize. At Bellavista, we are committed to doing all that we know and all that we can to support the child as he or she is guided to approach the weaknesses that prevent participation in the mainstream school environment. This requires that we share strategies to get around the challenges if these are pervasive. We are obligated and compelled to offer each child only tried and tested practices, i.e. techniques and interventions that research has proved effective.
Sorry, we don’t fix kids. Rather, our intention is to build self-esteem and help each child face a feeling of challenge until he or she experiences a feeling of competence. We demand participation in chores along with other actions demonstrating independence, and so should you at home. Meaningful contribution creates belonging and belonging develops self-esteem. If we have an open door, we will, together with the child and parents, set high but not fantastical expectations for him or her. We need to take time to hear what each child has to say about his or her personal aspirations and future hopes, cutting through the thicket of their need to be ‘fixed’. From a young age, we ought to be determined to nurture the high interest of each individual; the world needs experts.
Sorry, we don’t fix kids. We are a school committed to allow our learners a regular childhood where school is an environment for safe play, socialization, adventure, mischief and memories. Life is not all about schoolwork and therapy. It’s about being a kid – the stuff that muddy clothes and grazed knees is made of. Theatre outings, sports days, dress up occasions and picnics in the park are as important as the alphabet arc and the multiplication tables to us.
Sorry, you won’t fix your kid. You can but work on being the best parent you know to be for your child. Increasingly, set your sights on becoming the best expert on your child, making space for your observations and the insight of others walking the child rearing path with you. Allow someone you can trust to hold up the mirror on your parenting for you.
Don’t break a child, yours or any other. Do everything you can, in this imperfect world, to keep adult worries off the shoulders of little ones in their formative years. Believe. Be vigilant. Trust the process. Whilst at Bellavista, we open our hands to say let us partner together to raise your child: this is a hope filled school and your child doesn’t need fixing.