Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


It’s worth noting the odd tributary when I pass it. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was one.


Reading the Little Princegave me permission to be childish again. As a young adult it broke me out of the urgent teenage years of self importance and over-philosophising.


To be honest, I can’t remember the story too well – I had two copies one in English and one in French, but I lost my English copy. I do remember the point made at the start of the book that children are taught out of drawing – out of being creative by self-imprtant adults – the picture of the hat


(or not the hat as the author points out) is a graphic illustration of adults ‘not getting it’.


It’s a point that Sir Ken Robinson echoes in his well known TED talk of a couple of years ago. Click here, if you haven’t seen it.


It’s also something I reflect on when I think of my own children’s creativity. When my daughter was three she was painting pictures like this one.


I predicted that someone at her school would teach her out of painting what she sees and start teaching how to draw an outline. Now I’m no expect on the development of observational art and it may well be that when she was three that was just a step she was going through. But the warnings of both Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and Sir Ken Robinson tell me that I need to protect their creativity. I need to keep their learning enoyable, help them work co-constructively with peers and adults, and teach them how to be reflective.


All these are fundamentals to our change school programme at Paganel.


It’s only a small tributary on the river, but seems significant today – thank you to Google for marking his 110th anniversary.


As a footnote, the other thing about Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is that I always planned to turn one of his quotes into a song. He said “Aimer, ce n’est pas se regarder l’un l’autre, c’est regarder ensemble dans la même direction.” This means (roughly, as my French is not too good) “Love is not looking at each other, it’s looking together in the same direction.”I have some chords (well 2 of them – G and D) and a tune and also the idea to get people singing the line in different languages. Maybe that could become a Year 6 project for the future…

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