This is Florence – she’s almost five, almost school age. If she started alongside other children her age she’d be in a classroom environment most days from next year through to the end of 2032.
Two thousand and thirty two.
That is a very, very long time (about 2,340 school days, for most) to have her primary learning space restricted to a handful of rooms.
It’s also a very, very long time to invest in building what is really a basic set of knowledge and skills across a pretty narrow set of subject areas. Skills that may or may not be useful and empowering when she leaves that sheltered environment and finally enters the world in the year 2033.
And it’s an agonisingly long time to not spend the majority of her hours and days on things that make her soul dance.
2,340 days through her formative years as a person spent doing work someone else, largely, has decided for her. Being tested against measures that may or may not be important to her, in a format that may or may not suit her.
2,340 days absorbing feedback – good and bad – on her academic performance, whether she’s an academically-oriented person or not.
2,340 days spent raising or lowering her self-worth against all that, whether any of it is actually meaningful to her or not.
I wonder…what will Florence do with those 2,340 days, those 13 long years, instead? Who will she spend them with? Who will she be as she heads into the year 2033, and what will she be doing with her time?
I have no idea how it’s going to play out from here, but I can guarantee it’s going to be a very different version of life than if she lived it according to someone else’s set plan.