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'Inflating balloons of self belief'

James Shone, founder of the charity “I can and I am“, came not school to share his story and inspirational presentation “Inflating balloons of self-belief” with Year 5 and Year 6 pupils.

Following a 16-year teaching career, and having been offered a job as Headmaster in 2012, James was diagnosed with a brain tumour which left him with very little sight. Although his medical condition changed his life drastically and continues to present him daily challenges, James embodies a positive attitude to life and a determination to turn setbacks into springboards.

He talked to the pupils about “inflating their balloons of self-belief” by stressing the 4 pillars of his charity “I can and I am” :

Pillar 1 is belonging: He talked about the need to belong to a group or a place. He explained how children can make others feel that they belonged by collaborating rather than competing, by mutual encouragement and by celebrating individuality.

Pillar 2 is moving forward: taking small steps to make progress and improve their confidence. He compared self belief with a balloon inside us. When the balloon is full of air we feel good about ourselves and it is easier to bounce back and deal with setbacks. He reinforced the Growth Mindset: I can't do it…. YET!

Pillar 3 is that we are all uniquely made: Every child has “gold” within him or her. James encouraged the children to discover what they are passionate about and good at.

Pillar 4 is hope: Hope gives us energy to work hard and try new things, it helps us combat negative thoughts and to see opportunities. It fills the self belief balloon with air!

The children thoroughly enjoyed his very inspiring presentation. As did a number of parents who came into school later in the evening to hear him speak.