At HKFA, we like to take risks and we welcome mistakes. How else are you going to learn anything? When I used to work at Hong Kong schools, coming from a European background, what struck me the most was the use of an eraser.
Hong Kong children would fill in their worksheets and books using a pencil, and if they did any mistakes, they would make the paper clear-white again using their eraser, and make things right.
When they get older, the teenagers don’t have the eraser anymore. They have a correction tape pen. They are able to “correct” the entire page and start over! Every single extra strike of a pen is fixed with the correction pen.
To make everything perfect.
Cut. Hong Kong Forest Adventures.
We don’t like correction tapes and erasers. We in fact love mistakes and errors.
There was a girl, let’s call her Jane, and she loved building the playground. Our playground is movable, it consists of loose parts that can be composed in any way and Jane loved building the playground for the younger kids in her group.
One day Jane had a project.
She wanted to build a ladder reaching to the sky.
You see, not a ladder leaning to a box or a wall. No, it was supposed to go straight up from the ground.
To test such an idea, she wanted to climb the ladder every time to see if it is working or not. In order to protect her, one of our instructors was a “danger-marker”, how they called it, and hold the ladder in place or simply said: “This is not safe to climb, see how it’s moving here?”
Jane at first put a tire on the ground and with the help of her danger-marker, they stuck the bottom of the ladder into the tire. It didn’t work very well.
Next, she tried two tires at once. And so the story goes, with Jane thinking of other ways of how to make a sky-climbing ladder.
In the end, she didn’t succeed.
But don’t be sad! She wasn’t either. We gave her the space to explore and experiment, and we enjoyed every “mistake” with her. No eraser needed.
Jane didn’t build this amazing climb, but went home with ideas in her head about what else she could build next time. And with comfort in her heart that her danger-marker will be ready!