THIS week's community column comes from local minister, Rev Ian Miller.

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MANY years ago, on a visit to Washington DC, I sat in Ford’s Theater - the place where President Abraham Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth in 1865.

I watched a production with a strange name. It was written by Robert Fulghum and entitled All I Ever Needed To Know, I Learned In Kindergarten.

It was fascinating, enjoyable, thought provoking and also challenging. Take the title for example. As well as being long and strange, it was surely daft! The important lessons in life learned in nursery school… surely not? University, perhaps. Senior school, maybe. Or maybe just life experiences.

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But nursery school? How could you ever make a case for that?

Well, the play made its own case by simply asking the question. And when you think about it, you do in fact learn a lot of the basic rules of life in nursery school, or a similar environment.

You learn to play fair, not to cheat, to share things. You learn not to hit other people, to clean up your own mess and put things back where you found them. You learn to say sorry when you hurt someone, and not to take things that don’t belong to you.

Then there is the whole thing of hygiene and healthy living. Washing your hands, milk is good for you, sleep is good for you. You learn to get some balance in your life; to draw, paint, sing and dance.

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When you plant a seed, the roots go down and the plant goes up, and you learn that we are a bit like that. When you are out in that big world, watch out for each other, stick together and even hold hands.

On reflection I thought that maybe the writer has something. Maybe our early years are where we pick up the basic rules of living, through interaction and play.

It is good for children to learn those lessons. We all look forward to the day when regulations gently relax and our children are back in schools and nurseries and parents and grandparents... can breathe a sigh of relief.

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