South Woodford’s Young Writers Club is nurturing the creativity of local budding authors, under the guidance of the group’s teacher Shameem Aziz, who knows to never underestimate a child’s potential.
The Young Writers Club was the brainchild of Agnieszka Kazmierczak, a friend of mine who was looking for a club that would encourage her son’s love of writing. There were no such clubs already in existence, so being the determined person she is, she set one up herself!
Prospective attendees submitted samples of their writing and were picked from these submissions. What was the criteria? Excellent grammar? Sentence structure? High-level vocabulary? All of these elements had a bearing, of course, but the real requirement was a passion for creativity, ideas and a love of writing. The children’s ages range from seven to 10. Very young, you may think, for potential talented writers…my mantra, however, having worked in both primary and secondary schools for 16 years, is never, ever, underestimate the potential of a child.
My enthusiasm for writing, words, communication and utilising the power of language to inspire children remains unabated. This passion has found a natural home in the Young Writers Club.
Of course, I subtly check for accuracy, but much more important is that their interest in writing is nurtured, encouraged and inspired. Call me biased but I think articulacy and confidence in writing and communication is so important, and not just in an academic sense. It is a life skill. What better way to encourage this than through the children’s creativity? This puts them firmly in the driving seat when it comes to the form and shape the sessions take.
Do we analyse the components that make a good story? Frequently. Do we explore ways to produce effective writing? Regularly. Do we laugh? Always. Do the children leave the session feeling empowered and confident? Of course. Am I left with the feeling that children’s potential is limitless? As ever.
In today’s society, so much emphasis is placed on exams and league tables, but it is no bad thing to place importance on skills that advance and champion a child’s inherent sense of wonder and exploration.
This initiative set up by my friend is also a wonderful testament to the ability of one individual to contribute to the local community. Perhaps it will motivate others to start a project they are inspired by.
To paraphrase William Butler Yates, learning is not just about the “filling of a pail but the igniting of a fire”. Learning about, understanding and utilising potential is perhaps the most potent skill a child can possess. It is the portal through which a whole new world opens up to an individual. Every Wednesday, we journey through this portal.