Today’s guest blog is from Nick Corston from KidCrafters who wants to tell you about a very special event they are organising with a key message at it’s core:
Parenting – don’t blink or you’ll miss it, but don’t worry we’ve bottled some for you.
Dad, Nick Corston describes an event he’s holding for other parents and the inspiration, experiences and amazing people that made him do it.
Unlike many other tough jobs, time doesn’t drag or stand still for a parent or carer. It flies.
In fact, if you blink you could miss it and regret it forever, still picking up nuggets you wish you’d known earlier, knowing there won’t be a next time.
I came close to feeling that as my eldest son was on the verge of going to secondary school. I had a redundancy which is rarely well timed, but this one was well timed as it gave me time to stop and look at parenting and education and our family and to take stock of what I’d learned and what I needed to learn. Who I’d met and who I still wanted to meet.
I’d already had something of a parenting journey initially inspired by Sir Ken Robinson (ex UK head master, now based in LA) and his wonderful TED talk film where he describes how our education system teaches creativity out of children, yet that creativity today is as important as literacy for our children’s tomorrows.
Serendipity then dumped me in a field full of artists that were engaging children in a range of off the wall creative thinking and doing activities at the amazing family experience that is Camp Bestival.
A few months later, with my wife and another school mum, we’d convinced Ms Woodford, our head teacher at St Saviour’s C of E Primary in Paddington to literally let us have the school for the day and we brought a bunch of those creatives into the school.
Together with over 60 parents, the teaching staff and with the financial support of the local community we gave the 240 primary children a school day like no other, an inspirational adrenaline shot of creativity across the spectrum of STEAM subjects (that’s Science, Technology, Engineering, ART and Maths) – all essential to their future employability.
In the last three years on this day we’ve taught every one of the 4-11 year old children to write the code for a £20 Raspberry Pi computer to make a Lego robot crocodile bite their finger. We’ve been UK launch site for the global cardboard challenge with a million children around the world and Ford sponsored the purchase of a kit from which year 6 pupils built an electric car and that they’ll be racing at Goodwood later in the year.
We’ve been on BBC Breakfast, Brazilian newspapers and global Al Jazeera news bulletins took us to millions. You can’t make it up but what really surprised me was both how little of all this stuff other parents knew and how interested they were when I told them about, it so I decided to run an event.
Kidcrafters: a day of talks, inspiration and shared experiences by parents for parents to help us bring up generation tomorrow, because we only get one chance.
Think of it as a rapid fire series of twenty five talks – four twenty minute keynotes and over twenty short talks across education, creativity, tech and skills. We also have a creative crèche with activities including coding, cartooning, Lego, Minecraft and electronics making.
We have some great speakers including the awesome Prof Guy Claxton – creative educationalist and author of over 20 books including ‘what’s the point of school?’ His talk will discuss why it’s not happiness or well-being that children need, it’s finding out what they want to be great at, and how to pursue that dream. Other speakers will discuss schools they are starting themselves.
We also have the teenage tech editor of The Observer newspaper answering the tech/gaming questions parents daren’t ask their kids and we’ll be asking ‘Minecraft: creative or crack’. Our screen time debate will pitch two parents against each other from opposite ends of the scale – a mum who tries to keep technology out of her house and a dad who gives his kids unfettered screen access. A child psychologist will moderate that debate!
We also have global best selling author Noel Janis-Norton who will give our skills keynote with an introduction to ‘Descriptive Praise’, an essential technique from her best selling book ”Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting” that she says parents can use to guide children to become more cooperative, confident, motivated, self-reliant and considerate.
One session will show everyone how easy it is to teach their kids to code, another will show animation apps and we have the creative director of Google who will talk about how he was inspired in his humble childhood to embark on a creative career. We even have a dad who built an 8 foot robot to make his children pay attention when he reads to them.
We’ve got the prestigious lecture theatre of the Royal Institution, in the heart of London’s Mayfair on Sunday 11th May 10.00-4.30pm and 450 seats to fill with tickets from £10 for early birds or free to no/lo income and out of London families.
Do come. You won’t regret it and will surely pick up some tips, make some friends and have plenty of inspiration to take home to your family for the weeks and months to come.
See www.kidcrafters.org.uk for more information and to book tickets.