The Power of Number 11

31 December 2010 · 5 comments

in General Commentary

2011 is just about to arrive with the usual celebrations in Scotland. And I have to suffer my husband’s annual joke about looking for a man with as many heads as there are days left in the year.

However a couple of days ago, I received a rather interesting New Year message from a Twitter friend, Andy Stalman. I use the term “friend” quite deliberately as we occasionally find ourselves exchanging tweets rather than being silent, latent followers.

Happy New Year 2011 Post-It Stop Motion Animation from Cato Partners Europe on Vimeo.

I’m sure that numerologists, astrologers and various other “ologists” and “ologers” can give us a much more complex and deep explanation, but I rather liked the simplicity of the ideas…and their transferability to playing and learning outdoors. So from the world of business design and branding to primary and pre-school worlds, we give you…


In a real world, those who have ideals are often accused of having unrealistic expectations. Yet how many of us would like to live in a peaceful world, free from poverty, environmental degradation and misery? Idealism is about hope. If we don’t have hope, we have very little to live for.

In my ideal world, every child will have free and equal access to outdoor and indoor environments for play and learning on a daily basis. No more “You can’t go outside because it’s raining/snowing/sun shining too much, etc.” I know I’m not being unrealistic. Many education establishments do this already.

Tasting snow is a core experience in Scotland this winter! N.B. Never eat yellow snow!


Developing empathy for others is a form of understanding that is frequently overlooked in an education system that still values knowledge and skills above all else. Anyone know how to empathy-test a child or set an empathy exam? No? Great! It’s not something that can be acquired through rote-learning of empathetic facts or or multiple-choice statements. We learn empathy from socialising and interacting with others.

This is my friend, Linda. A truly empathetic teacher who takes time to know every child in her nursery.


This ability is so necessary when it comes to survival. We need to instinctively know when something is not right or dangerous and when to take necessary action. If we wrap children in cotton wool, their intuition – a form of knowledge about the world around them, becomes limited. How can we understand how slippy ice can be if we have never been allowed to step on it? Adults who work with children often underestimate their power of intuition to dynamically risk assess a situation and take immediate action to prevent harm happening to a child.

This child fell banged his head just after this photo was taken. He got up, cried and continued on the walk. The next time I saw him on ice a few weeks later, he was much more careful and savvy.


In an ideal world, what would your education establishment look like? Where would it be situated? How would children and adults behave? What would everyone say and do? Dreams are free … so free your dreams. More importantly, share your dreams and do this collectively. As Dom Helda Camara stated:

“When we are dreaming alone, it is only a dream. When we are dreaming with others, it is the beginning of a reality.”

I love seeing good ideas grow and take off. Here, making snow angels was the good idea that spread!


The act of creation is powerful. By bringing something into existence, we feel empowered and enabled. Our confidence grows and develops. Children love to create, make and invent. Let’s give children this power and enjoy the benefits it brings everyone. As adults, what can we create or do that gives us a sense of liberation and freedom within our work with children?

Perhaps this is why making snowmen is so popular!
These are our wishes to you in 2011.

PS The maker of the animation, Kelly Larbes, kindly got in touch with me. She has blogged about this project on her Pondjumpers blog. It turns out that the animation is made entirely from Post-It notes. Her husband kindly coloured in 250 Post-It’s black! I’m quite amazed at the time and effort she put into the message.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Juliet Robertson January 1, 2011 at 12:03

And today is a palindrome of sorts! 1/1/11


kellycrystal January 3, 2011 at 11:19

I work with Andy. I love your interpretation of the video and the meaning of the number 11 – so great! I hadn’t thought about how it relates to children, but it does so perfectly. Seeing it through your eyes makes it feel even more relevant. Thanks.

I thought a little explanation of the making of the video might interest you too:


Steven January 3, 2011 at 15:55

Fantastic Juliet (Punctuate the phrase as you see fit)

Apart from being a beautiful framework for working with children, I just realised that if you substituted Marketer (ie, my ilk) instead of children, we would actually have a better and more hopeful framework within which to pursue our business and our client’s business!


Steven January 3, 2011 at 15:56

Juliet – The date also works upside down!


Sherry and Donna January 3, 2011 at 22:26

Everything about this post is beautiful Juliet – Andy’s message as well as your own! Have a very happy 2011 Juliet.
Donna 🙂 🙂


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