Buttons … None of them are like the other

Today, I have been working on a very delayed project of making our wedding album. Being very awkward and not wanting someone to create it for me, it went into a very long list of things to do, travelling to Abu Dhabi with us, unfinished.

So what has my craft-a-noon got to do with education and children?

Well, as I glue down a random assortment of buttons into the pages of the album, I began to muse about how beautiful each button was, and now none of them is the same at all—a little bit like our classrooms.

Why do I think this? OK buttons to me are extraordinary; it was part of the “theme” of my wedding; buttons all have a history, a past and a future. They were sprinkled everywhere as a homage to my grandma’s, who collected buttons in special boxes (like many grandparents of their time, I am sure). As a child, I adored looking through them. Everyone my grandma could tell me a story about where it had been or why she had kept it. I inherited the button boxes, which I keep with me. I ordered and trawled charity shops for the buttons making bouquets and decorations for tables with 100’s of them.

So I digress.


Each button, like a child, tells a story. So when I look at the somewhat random selection of green, blue, ivory, mother of pearl, ornate and circular buttons, I am reminded as an educator how much buttons are like those beautiful people who sit in our classes every day and ask us to support them, teach them, nurture them and grow them into people skilled to take on the world.

As a button, we may not know the full extent of where a child has come from, how many tops or cardigans a button has belonged to, or homes and carers.

We may look at a button and think it is the same as all the others, just like a child standing in front of us, who reminds us of another we have taught, or even their sibling, but we may not see the loose threads which hold it together or the quirky style which makes them individual.

We may, at first glance, think a button is bright and shiny, but when we come to thread it to the garment, we may find that it is layered, making it difficult to fix, just like a child hiding behind their bravado. Shouting out or being the joker, hiding what is really inside.

We may think a button is dull and serious, but as a child, this is no reason to disregard and believe it is ok to get on their own; this button can hold together, strengthening situations, show them what makes them special.

You may see a broken button, consider that it has no value or worth, but every button has its power, worth and ability to be the best.

Every child deserves the best.

Your classroom is full of buttons; every child will experience different things, sees the world from a different perspective. Our job is to make every button shine brightly, find the garment that suits them, nurture them and help them thrive, sewing them into the fabric of life, which are strong enough to take on the world.

Published by

Philippa Wraithmell

Educator K-12, Co-founder if Wii_Edu, BETT MEA Advisory Board Member, Apple Distinguished Educator, Apple Professional Learning Specialist. Education Technology Specialist. Working in the UAE.

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