Junior Dragons was born from my experience as a former counsellor and Young Enterprise trainer. I am also the mother of two boisterous and beautiful little boys, Finn and Zach and, as a parent, I have thought a great deal about what I really want for my children and how to best encourage them.
I have taught thousands of primary school aged children over the past few years on enterprise and entrepreneurship programmes. My belief is that children are born with an individual sense of who they are and an inner-directedness, which they can soon begin to lose in our culture where such a high value is placed on ‘being just like everyone else’ and ‘fitting in’. The loss of this inner (let’s call it) dragon, can leave us feeling unfulfilled, at sea, as though something is missing.
My mission is to encourage children to hang on to their own ways of thinking, celebrate their uniqueness while also being able to appreciate and work well with others. Children gain confidence from being allowed to try new things, from receiving praise, from being given chances to take risks and from being encouraged to practice self-reliance and responsibility and enjoy their present moments.
My experience has also convinced me of the value of entrepreneurship education for young children, something which is not currently part of the NI primary school curriculum. Children need to be equipped with the skills to help them thrive as they reach maturity and so I have designed a programme made up of a lot of really good fun activities to help teach them about business, money management, leadership, presenting themselves and the value of team work, as well as giving them practical techniques to deal with worries and pressures.
Ellie Irving, Junior Dragons