Let the Children Sing
Giving Voice to Children's Emotions

By Leonora Langley
August 2004
Book Guild
ISBN: 1857768728
222 pages, Illustrated, 5 " x 8 "
$42.50 Hardcover


Are we failing our children by not being receptive and responsive enough to their feelings? This is the question at the heart of the author's impassioned plea for greater awareness in nurturing emotional well-being in the young. In an argument that encompasses the obligations of parenting as well as the challenges of teaching, the author marshals much of her long years' experience as a teacher, journalist, actress and arts educator in a persuasive critique of the present emphasis of intellectual achievement over sensitivity to the needs of children as whole integrated beings.

The author argues that the competitive, rational, sedentary nature of most modern state schooling - based on a nineteenth-century model which has only been reinforced by the National Curriculum - is of limited use to the majority young people. Her solution is both radical and based on wisdom dating back to Ancient Greece about what children need from their education and how that can best be achieved. The goal of education is self-awareness, and thus awareness of others, and the arts - which engage the body, the emotions and the spirit as well as the mind - are the most holistic way of achieving it.

At a time when arts education is seen as an increasingly marginal activity in mainstream schooling, the author argues that it is only by putting children's innate creativity and curiosity at the heart of our educational mission, that we can hope to re-engage the vast number of children switched off from the current system and avoid the poverty of imagination and the absence of hope which are the root causes of so many contemporary social ills.

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