A PLACE TO THRIVE
- July 2, 2015
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One of the things I love most about being a headmaster is looking out of my office window and watching the children playing outside. Whilst some ride their ponies in the nearby paddock, others speed around on go-karts or just run freely in the woods. To me a wonderful education is all about the ability to let children be children without any pressure or worries.
As heads of schools we give our facilities a lot of attention and thought, always seeking to enhance and develop them to offer the very best for the children.
Marketing literature nowadays is full of glossy pictures of brand new buildings and cutting-edge technology, and given fee levels at independent schools, this is understandably what parents expect. However, what is as important as wonderful facilities is the environment in which the child learns. The soul of the school is something that does not gleam and shine, but something that hits you instantly when you enter the front door and meet the children.
In an age where technology and screens now play a big part in a child’s life, it is more important than ever to ensure children remember how to communicate and interact. At Sandroyd, manners and some of the more traditional values are paramount. We teach children how to learn and play together and engage with friends and adults. They are taught to look people in the eye, open a door, say grace before meals, stand up to greet an adult and above all, smile.
They are also taught how to fill time without relying on technology and cutting- edge facilities to entertain them. We all know how tempting it is to reach for a device when we have a spare minute, just as a child reaches for a console if they have the opportunity. Sandroyd sits in over 400 acres of parkland so the children are encouraged to go outside as much as possible and use their imagination. Weekends are full of outdoor activities such as biking in the woods, camping, feeding school pets, horse riding or walking in the parkland with friends. These activities are so crucial in teaching children how to enjoy their natural surroundings and provide their own entertainment in such a free spirited way.
Many of us will have experienced the time when a small child enjoys playing with the shiny wrapping paper or a box more than the special present inside at Christmas. This is somewhat the same with facilities.
When a child looks back on their school life what will they remember most? It may not be the music facilities, the art department or the new astro turf pitch. It is more likely to be their friends, teachers and the experiences they shared together. So when I look out of my office window each day I am constantly reminded that the very heart and soul of the school is the children. Despite all the wonderful facilities we have, teaching them basic values and giving them the freedom to be children is the most important thing we can offer them.
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