Shonette recently was a guest speaker at the NAHT Cpnference 2013. Below is a copy of the article written about her on Susan Young's NAHT education conference blog
Why learning you have two hands is fundamental
Not sure if it’s something in the Bradford water, but this conference included two of the highest-octane workshops I’ve ever attended. And I’ve never seen people leave the rooms physically weeping with laughter, as NAHT Treasurer Stephen Watkins found himself doing.
Sadly, the demands of the job meant your blogger had to attend both of the sessions simultaneously, so I’m not claiming full knowledge of either. But what I did see and hear – and the gales of laughter coming through the walls to more sedate workshops demonstrated they were pretty good, and just what the doctor ordered for school leaders.
Shonette Bason-Wood was easily the most recognisable person at the conference. An early-years specialist, her almost cartoon-like swirly red dress and knee high, high-heeled, incredibly shiny boots set her aside from the crowd even before you clock the lipstick. Frankly, though, with the personality she’s got she could stand out from the crowd dressed in a sack.
Her selling point was how to send your Early Years Foundation Stage soaring, and what followed was a mix of stream-of-consciousness anecdote mixed with hard-headed and practical explanations of managing data and paperwork.
Railing against the Veras of the early years classroom, who’ve worked the same way for 20 years and force everyone in the classroom to dodge “dangly bits” from the ceiling, Shonette takes a research-based but lively and practical approach to the job.
“I teach outside because research says socially deprived children’s learning accelerates outside,” she said, joking about the Ofsted inspector who only rated her good with some outstanding because she didn’t make the children wash their muddy hands often enough when they’d played outside.
Moving on, she explained that the last thing children’s brains learn about is their fingers. “I remember saying show us your other hand... and they didn’t know they’d got one. You could see them looking at both just like this. How can you write if you don’t know you’ve got two hands?”.
Abby Huggins of St Andrew's Benn C of E primary was enthusing with colleagues about the Shonette Bason-Wood sessions. "Every school needs a Shonette," she said.
Mark Middlemiss from Palmerston Primary in Cardiff had come with colleagues from a cluster of Barry primaries. "We thought the early years session with Shonette was fantastic and we were really impressed by her.
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