Unsuitable Girl

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  1. Meeting of minds

    I was making a classroom visit in my local school. The children are delightful and avid for whatever is on offer in their bright new classroom.

    Two minutes into entering the classroom on Thursday 14th November, a small boy, Robbie, aged five, having heard this visitor being called ‘the maths governor’, invited me to sit next to him as they were all had having their snacks after playtime outside.   After ‘What’s your name?   and ‘Have you come to help?’ He launched his profound inquiry,

                ‘Do you know about infinity?’

                 ‘Yes I know about infinity,’ I answered, recognizing a miniature Sheldon Cooper (from the Big Bang Theory) with his dark eyes in a still cherubic face.

     His companion for snack time, Julie, joined in to tell me,

                  ’It’s bigger than the whole school,’ eyes expanding to encompass this thought, and inviting my contribution.

                    ‘Yes, I know, bigger than the whole world even!’  My eyes mirroring hers. 

                     ‘Yes,’ chipped in Robbie. ‘Can you count to infinity?’

     Julie sitting on the other side of me asked,

                      ‘Is it bigger than the sun?’

                      ‘Well, yes, it is really, bigger than the whole universe!’ I said.

     Their eyes now like saucers, and munching away on their carrots and apple snacks, there was a small silence.

                       ‘But can you count to infinity?’ asked Robbie again.

     Maybe he thought maths governors have special powers.

                      ‘Well, if you just did counting all day, every day and night, all the time from when you were born, you still wouldn’t get to infinity,’ I said.

     Robbie looked at me, eyes so shiny and intelligent, biting his lower lip.

                      ‘Yes, and even if you kept on counting when you’re dead you still wouldn’t get to infinity,’ he said, crunching  his carrot.

                       ‘That’s right,’ I said.

     

    Who knew that a five year old could grasp such a concept, and be excited by it?    I think sometimes we unknowingly limit children by our own short sighted view of what they can perceive.  

    NB: The children's names have been changed for obvious reasons.                   

 


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