14/08/2014 16:49 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Let Children Be Children And Learn From Their Mistakes, Says Headteacher

Leading education expert will tell teachers conference to let kids be kids

An education expert will say today that youngsters should be encouraged to make their own mistakes and take risks while they are still young enough to learn from them.

Christian Heinrich, chairman of the Boarding Schools' Association and headmaster of Cumnor House preparatory school, will tell teachers that children should not be hurried 'into the rest of their lives' and that they should be given the time to play games, drive go-karts and climb trees.

The BBC reports that in an address to his association's annual conference, Mr Heinrich will tell delegates that there is more to school than classrooms and exams, and that children should be given time to develop life skills and enjoy their childhood as well as study.

Speaking in Brighton, Mr Heinrich is set to tell the conference that 'childhood may only be a 16th or 17th Century invention in terms of European literature' and that 'it may be peopled by the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny and Cabbage Patch dolls' but that it can also be non-existent.

"Sadly, even tragically, in much of the rest of the world it seems to be only a partially existent state, or a non-existent one. We are blessed in our schools with the ability to nurture it and to extend it," he will say. "Remember, childhood, once lost, never regained. Let us not hurry children into the rest of their lives."

Mr Heinrich will tell delegates that he has placards stating 'Fewer tests, more childhood' ready to march with along the seafront.

"So I exhort children at my school, 'Climb trees! Cook your own lunch! Drive a go-kart around the car park (cordoned off!). Even play poker!," he will tell the meeting.

"There's more to school than classrooms and exams. Make mistakes whilst the consequences can be managed and the lessons learned."

More on Parentdish: Should we let our children take more risks?

Do you think he's right, that our children are stressed and corralled too much?