On October 23, our school will once again be hosting our Festival of Talents. The Festival of Talents is the opportunity for our students to share with the rest of the school any gifts or talents that they possess. It’s an opportunity for students to showcase skills or abilities that traditionally may not be valued by the school system.
If we were to be honest, the public school system generally considers a narrow set of skills and knowledge when providing families feedback on students’ skills and abilities. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not being dismissive of our system. I think it is a very good one (but if anyone can figure out a better way to educate an entire population of children for the thousands of post-secondary and career options that exist, I hope you took the time to share with the current Provincial Education Review). As good as our system is we consider knowledge and understanding in only a handful of subject areas. More options become available in Middle Years and High School, but the number of students who are interested and the availability of resources and space can limit options. I truly believe that our school does an excellent job of allowing students to share their skills and abilities outside of the regular classroom. We have a full complement of sports teams for our athletes to shine and be celebrated and our arts programming is very robust for a school our size. Our Talent Development programming also allows students to belong to groups with like-minded students where they can pursue learning on topics of interest to them.
Our Festival of Talents takes this all one-step further by allowing our students to share and highlight their unique talents with their fellow students. In the past, we have had students share their knowledge of fishing, origami, cycling and joke telling just to name a few. Students will have the opportunity to share, as part of an ‘open house’ format, during the day on October 23rd and we will finish the day with student performances in the gym.
It is critically important to celebrate the things that our children do well. Whether that is being a good friend, helping around the house or being a good caregiver to a younger sibling, all of our children have talents and gifts. This is how we should see our children (and ourselves)! The list of things that children can get better at will always be there (I don’t know any perfect adults), and it shouldn’t be ignored. Children should be encouraged to work hard and get better at things they find challenging; this is healthy. However, children should always be acknowledged for what makes them unique and special, no matter what talent or gift this is.