We don't invite the parents to these events because they aren't necessarily polished; they are very spontaneous. They are a chance for children to marvel at other children and wish that they had done something too. One little boy in Reception was clearly regretting having decided not to do something because he decided at the very end that he was going to do something. He didn't know what until he reached the stage. At this point he said 'I can stand on one leg.' and proceeded to wobble around on one leg. For this he was applauded and awarded with a sticker.
As a child my siblings and I were expected to perform to older relatives, while standing on a raised fire-place as a stage when we visited my grandparents. This has no doubt stood me in good stead as I have a love of performing now and am very happy in front of an audience, singing or acting.This is a clear factor in what we expect from the children at St.Helen's College. All of you who saw the Year 1 and 2 plays or the production of Alice by the Year 6's will note that the children are natural performers and really enjoy communicating and performing to an audience. The social skills that come from this are invaluable; they will not be fazed when asked to do a presentation in front of colleagues as adults, because they have been presenting themselves from the age of 3, in class assemblies, poetry recitations/competitions and productions.
Of course, talents are not just acting or singing as the myriad of performers showed. But all the children who demonstrated their talents had to use a hefty amount of confidence to get on the stage and present their talent, and this is as useful to their own development as it is to us as teachers to see what lights that particular child's fire.
There are many talents that can't be demonstrated in front of an audience. I was called to take photographs yesterday of the gardening club who had successfully grown very healthy-looking beetroots and rhubarb. On my way I passed children dealing masterfully with the rabbits and knowing just how to handle them. In the Zen Garden were children sitting quietly with their friends - not meditating, but valuing the quiet nature of the garden; this might not normally be considered as a talent but in fact the ability to be still when all around is chaotic is very much needed in our world today, and if the children can master this ability it will have an effect on those around them for the better. We do want to help nurture rounded, well-balanced children who can turn their hand to whatever needs are presented to them.
Your children are multi-talented. Whether their talents are sports-related, artistic, musical, dramatic or in any other field, we just need to discover in what particular direction each child's talents lie so that we can help to draw them out and develop them. With the many extra-curricular opportunities at St.Helen's as well as those activities that are part of the curriculum, we should discover fairly early on in their school career how to develop and direct them to shine in their own way. We have no 'bushels' for them to hide their talents under here - in the words of the Bible:
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle,
and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let
your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in