After having a nice day off yesterday, we were back at the usual grind today. Today, we went and visited Ladywood Family Center in Smethwick. While we were there, we got a tour of the facility and viewed what a normal day was like there. Afterwards, we walked back to BCU while getting lunch on the way back. Once we got to BCU, we had a lecture about social workers in the UK with an expert by experience. It was very interesting to hear their story on how they became an expert by experience.
While at the Ladywood Family Center and listening to the lecture today, I had some thoughts about what I saw and heard. Starting with the Ladywood Family Center, the kids here looked and seemed so cheerful and happy. I point this out because there are many kids there who’s families live in high rise apartments. This is something important because we were told that during the Covid lockdown in the UK, the kids who lived in those high rise apartments could not run around outside or plant anything in a garden. Those kids had to deal with being in the same apartment for a very long time without being able to stretch out their legs or run around and play like kids usually do. Yet, these kids seemed so cheerful and happy as if Covid never happened in the first place. Something else that caught my attention is that they are understaffed. It is not a surprising story like many other jobs in different sectors, but this is the type of job that I believe people should go into if given the chance. From what I saw, the workers at Ladywood Family Center truly cared about each and every child they were working with. And, as lovely as it is, they are only human and they do need help. So, please go into early childhood education if you are given the chance. Not only would you get to work with energetic kids, but also help a job sector that is truly struggling with being understaffed.
While listening to the lecture today with the expert by experience, she told us that two of her children have learning disabilities. She told us that she experienced a wave of emotions when she first found out when her first child was diagnosed. But, she showed us a poem. The poem talks about someone planning a trip to Italy. When you land, you are told you have landed in Holland. You have to stay in Holland. While you still wanted to go to Italy, you slowly were shown the beauties of Holland even though you were not in Italy. The entire poem, to me, was a metaphor saying that even if you were never planning to have a child with a learning disability, they are still as bright and as wonderful as any other child. And I think that is something a lot of people forget. Although society has progressed to a point where students with special needs get the help they need, there still seems to be a stigma in the air surrounding them. Not only do we of course need to help these children, but we also need to remember that they are children too. While they may not always be able to do the same as others, they can still do things that are unique and amazing in their own way. Not only in the UK or back at home in the US, but around the world. There are still some places that may persecute the children or see them as “lesser people.” To me, and to everyone else that reads this, we need to make sure that this persecution of children needs to stop. Let children enjoy themselves and have fun. We do not need to punish them for something that they did not even have any control over either. We need to simply do better as humankind and raise each other up, no matter what.
Well, tomorrow will be our final day in class at BCU. In the afternoon, we will give our final presentations to everyone that has been a part of this wonderful, exciting, and all around amazing journey here in Birmingham! I am nervous and hoping the final presentation goes well, but I will just have to wait and see how it goes tomorrow!