Matilda: Everyone Extraordinary
Why Matilda is special to us!
As part of the end of year celebrations we performed our version of Roald Dahl’s Matilda. I was then very fortunate to be able to take my wonderful class to see Matilda the Musical whilst on a three day residential in London. The story really does resonate with me. Firstly on a personal level, because I loved the story as a child and remember being taken to a local production of Matilda (long before Matilda the Musical had ever been thought of). I love the idea that one person can make a difference - however small they are. I also love that despite being part of a self-centred, egocentric and uncompassionate family - Matilda chooses to be good.
However, the main reason is how the story resonates with me as the headteacher of our special school. It is the story of an extra-ordinary little girl who does extraordinary things. She is smaller than the other children and often underestimated. As a school we can relate to this - we are smaller than most and we are most definitely underestimated. We are capable of extra-ordinary things because we recognise that every single child is extraordinary. As I watch the children in lessons, on the playground, in the forest, I often ponder over the extraordinary things each child is or will be capable of.
I love the word extraordinary. I love that it contains the word ordinary - how often do we fail to see the extraordinary in the ordinary. To me that is a huge part of a teachers job - seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary. I love that at Grayrigg, we take time to marvel at the ordinary and realise how extraordinary it is. A simple rainbow, fresh poo in the forest. This is not to say we spend hours just sat looking at these things, but we do embrace them - exploring creating our own rainbows with prisms as part of our science work on light, exploring animal poo as a fuel in our survival lessons or tracking which animals they belong to. Sometimes it is the simplest things that are extraordinary - if you just dare to open your mind.
The other reason I feel that story relates to us is a song from the musical - NAUGHTY. With lyrics such as:
“even if you’re little you can do a lot, you mustn’t let a little thing like little stop you”
It is inevitably going to touch a chord for us, however I love the idea of children being naughty - not naughty as in mean or even mischievous, but more in relation to being a rebel. I love the idea of children seeing themselves as rebels for goodness or rebels of righteousness. It is important that our children learn to stand up for what is right, not just to do as they are told or as others do when they know it’s wrong. My aim to give children the skills through our values to make “right” decision for themselves - way beyond their primary years. We want them to be fearless. Understanding that changing the world starts with looking at us. That every BIG thing starts with someone daring to think BIGâ€¦
“A storm can begin, with the flap of a wing.
The tiniest mite packs the mightiest sting!
Every day starts with the tick of a clock.
All escapes start with the click of a lock!
If you’re stuck in your story and want to get out
You don’t have to cry, you don’t have to shout!
‘Cause if you’re little you can do a lot, you
Mustn’t let a little thing like, ‘little’ stop you
If you sit around and let them get on top, you
Won’t change a thing!
Just because you find that life’s not fair it
Doesn’t mean that you just have to grin and bare it!
If you always take it on the chin and wear it
You might as well be saying
You think that it’s okay
And that’s not right!
And if it’s not right!
You have to put it right!
But nobody else is gonna put it right for me
nobody but me is gonna change my story
sometimes you have to be a little bit naughty.”
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