Once he got round to talking Edward developed a thirst for information and knowledge.
From a very young age he would ask me, “tell me something that I don’t already know” at least once a day. I think I had run out of things I was prepared to tell a child, by the time he was 5 or 6. Nick, who has a mind that can hold factual information incredibly well, has outdone my performance by several years, but even he is almost barren of unshared facts. I am so glad the internet exists. It provides a steady never ending stream of information to Edward which is received like manna from heaven.
Edward likes his facts and he likes things to be accurate and true.
This can cause problems.
In reception he was taught by a lovely young chap who was a newly qualified teacher. This teacher had set up two trays in the class room as animal habitats. One was filled with sand and had plastic snakes, camels, lizards and other animals that live in very hot climates. The other was full of cotton wool, presumably representing snow, and had plastic polar bears and penguins dotted around it.
Edward went mental. He started discarding the penguins, hurling them out of the tray.
He couldn’t really verbalise exactly what was wrong at the time and I think the poor teacher was completely confused by his odd behaviour. Once he got home and was calm he explained. Polar bears live in the Arctic. Penguins live in the Antarctic. They do not live in the same place. They should not be in the same tray.
I tried to explain that the teacher just wanted the children to learn about whether animals lived in hot or cold places but Edward couldn’t cope with what he perceived to be a stupid and avoidable error.
I noticed that the trays had been removed on my next visit to the classroom.
In year 1 Edward had a wonderful teacher who was working her final year before retirement. She understood Edward really well. The class were doing an assembly and they all had to pretend to be butterflies. In practice they all ran around the room waving their arms up and down at their sides being “graceful” butterflies. Edward was not happy. Butterfly wings do not go up and down, they do not bend. He insisted on demonstrating the correct wing movement. Arms straight and at shoulder height, moving backwards and then forwards in relation to his torso. He was trying to mimic, as closely as he could, the wing movement of a butterfly. His teacher took his suggestion seriously and on the day of the assembly the whole class performed the butterfly dance with more accurate wing motion than one would normally expect from a year 1 class. It was a little stiff and less fluid than the original version undoubtedly, but it was more accurate which for Edward that was the main thing.
Edward had a good year with his year 1 teacher. She was a safe person who understood him and for that I was very grateful.
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