Our school focuses on the development of the whole child and in doing so, we celebrate children – the way they develop, their social and emotional well being, and the way they thrive and learn through play.
A book entitled SEARCHING FOR VALUES IN A COMPETITIVE AGE really drives this message home as it is truer today than ever before. We are all searching for the elusive values in others that we think would make our World a better place. A school becomes a microcosm of society. It should reflect and engage with the community it serves. Diverse in its philosophies and rich in its tolerance for all. This school journey is therefore a collective partnership – If we are to be successful in creating real change for children and have a better understanding of modern childhood, then the responsibility rests with all of us, not just a select few.
Every decade brings new developments and changes to society, but the pace of change today is unprecedented. In my 28 years in education, things have certainly changed.
The fundamentals of happy children however remain the same, and the book that I referred to earlier explores the main influences to which every child is exposed – family, friends, youth culture, values, and schooling.
No matter the stage or age of your children, we want them to flourish.
To flourish, children need to live in harmony with others and with themselves. They need to be resilient and able to adapt to the curveballs that life will throw at them. So, what do our children need to flourish?
They need LOVING families where they observe and experience love and thus learn how to love others. An important part of our work at school is to build a relationship with each child who comes into our school, deep and real relationships in which love is an essential ingredient. TEACHER LOVE IS DIFFERENT FROM PARENT LOVE AND HAS ITS OWN LIMITS AND BOUNDARIES. TEACHER LOVE SAYS TO A CHILD: I SEE YOU AND I DELIGHT IN WHO YOU ARE TODAY, AND I TAKE JOY IN THE CHANCE TO HELP YOU GROW INTO THE PERSON WHO YOU WILL BE TOMORROW, EVEN THOUGH I MAY NEVER HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO KNOW THAT PERSON.
Out of that love comes boundaries set by these loving families/parents and of course boundaries at school (better known as school rules). These structures are shaped to enable the desired outcome – not only now at age 4 or 5 or 6, but the desired outcome for adulthood. Start now with the end in mind.
Children need FRIENDS. From developing friendships, they learn many of the basic lessons of living. Our school promotes collaboration and celebrating the social aspects of learning. Children delight in running around. Our bodies are made for that, and if we do not do enough of it, we are unlikely to flourish in body or in soul. Hence our extensive and inclusive offering in our Academic day of unstructured and structured play and our comprehensive physical education programme.
Children need a positive LIFESTYLE in which they develop interests which satisfy them and thereby avoid the enticements of excessive commercialism and unhealthy living. Yet another reason why our school promotes outdoor education, healthy eating and an appreciation for bringing the environment into the classroom. It is important for children to bond with the natural world and to learn to love it, before being asked to heal its wounds.
Such a lifestyle can only be built on solid VALUES which give meaning to life and are first and foremost acquired from parents who have the biggest influence on their children’s values.
Children need good SCHOOLS, where they can acquire both fundamental skills and competence. The competence at Somerset College Pre-Prep starts with a relevant curriculum and essential 21st century core skills which integrate into the curriculum in a seamless way. The core skills we focus on are THINKING SKILLS, RESEARCH SKILLS, COMMUNICATION SKILLS, SOCIAL SKILLS, AND SELF-MANAGEMENT SKILLS.
I believe that schools must act as values-based communities promoting mutual respect between all members of the school, and involving parents closely.
“Of course, there is no formula for success except perhaps an unconditional acceptance of life and what it brings.”
PREPARATORY SCHOOL HEAD