If you go to the nursery to buy plants, you will find that there are clear instructions in all the pots about where that plant will thrive. Does it like sun or shade? How much water does it need? Does it need space to grow tall or space to spread wide?

So why would we think, when we go to the other kind of nursery and look at all those little children (on potties rather than in pots!), that they will all thrive equally if placed in the same setting? Yet we simply plant them in Kindergarten (a German word meaning 'Garden for little children') and their schooling begins.

They will spend the next 12 or 13 years planted in the same classroom soil as their peers (though we know that some plants do well in sandy, others in loamy soils). They will receive the same instruction (though we know that young plants need varying kinds of fertilizers) in the same lessons (though we know that different plants will be stunted in their development by too much sun or shade). If no two plants are alike in their needs, why would we assume a cookie-cutter approach to education will ever succeed with these young seedlings?

As we have seen, each child has a unique destiny. In order to flourish and bear fruit as God has planned, they each need a specific kind of environment in which to grow. Educational strategies must be highly personal. The Bible exhorts us to train up a child in THE way that HE should go. Intentionality in relation to desired outcomes for each individual child is a key to educational success.

So often our classroom are filled with difficult children who don't want to be there. Little Mary, who, despite the teachers great lessons plans, remains obstinately contrary. Mary, Mary, quite contrary. Perhaps we should ask her, "How does the garden grow?" - for silver bells and cockle shells all thrive in different settings even if some pretty maids do quite well all seated in a row of desks. Plants have a way of letting you know if they don't want to be in a particular flower bed, and wilting children to the same.

This is the backdrop for what we explore in Chapter 6 of "Pupils who can see" - a book that helps us build our educational programs with children in mind as it takes a look at a biblical view of the child as a student. We develop the theme with a personal case study looking at how my wife and I needed to have entirely different strategies for our two daughters whose gifts and callings were and are entirely different.

Pupils who can see is now available in all e-book formats through a variety of outlets at $1.99. 

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