Happy New Year to you all, we hope everyone had a wonderful winter break and you are all looking forward to a fun 2016 of growth, giggles and learning.
We had such a lovely second half of the autumn term, in our last post we updated you on all our wonderful extracurricular and charitable activities from the first half of the term, November and December have been no less jam-packed!
From yoga and karate to practice for the winter play, science experiments and natural history field trips our young learners have had it all going on. Every day in Hedley Park bring unique and exciting learning opportunities, our staff and students are constantly asking questions of each other, discovering new ways to explore the world around them and expanding on the natural talents within us all.
From a personal perspective the Winter Play is really a wonderful opportunity to see hidden, and in some cases not so hidden talents in our learning community. As teachers in the school it is always a heart warming and intensely proud time at the end of the show, to see how the children have risen to the challenge, took on big roles, in a real theatre, with a professional sound and lighting crew and a full script. Each and every child has rehearsed, practiced lines, songs and moves for months, but at the dress rehearsal standing there in costume it all is so real. The children just take it in their stride, and watching them onstage (from the wings) they really shine!
It is so remarkable for the children to get the chance each year to perform in a real theatre; it shows the respect and confidence we place in their preparations and their talent. It is this respect that gives them the self confidence and inner belief to give it their all in the knowledge that they are seen as capable and effective members of the cast. The responsibility of each role allows the child to grow in new ways, they are aware that they are a vital member of the cast and that their presence is key to the groups success. It is this responsibility as a cast member and the spirit of taking part that gives them wings to go farther than anyone could ever think, and each year as staff and parents we are speechless at how far the children take the play and in so doing, their own development.
On the topic of unique developmental opportunities there are no shortage available to the students of Hedley Park. The classroom shelves are generously stocked with attractive, provoking and curriculum enhancing materials, and the students waster no time in exploring them to their fullest. Children learn best in a physical, hands on way, they deal in the real and the concrete and Dr Montessori identified this and used this knowledge to create materials that would aid the child to internalise their learning in the most natural and effective way.
Of course it’s not just the materials that have assisted our children’s learning all term. Our wonderful staff are all highly trained and experienced, they observe and journal each child’s interests, learning styles and development to plan lessons, plans and activities to allow each child to progress and flourish in a natural and exciting way.
In a Montessori setting the environment is known as the “third teacher” and our environment, its interior classrooms and its exterior surroundings combine to offer the students a distinctive and exceptional learning atmosphere.
It is a wonderful accolade to the Montessori approach that the newest student in the British Royal Family, Prince George has been attending a Montessori school. Of course he’s not alone, his father and uncle both experienced a Montessori setting, as did many other highly successful individuals. We have listed a few alumni here. There are studies in progress to discover what exactly does the Montessori offer to create the driven, compassionate and successful people amongst its alumni, but those of us who have experienced a Montessori community as a parent, teacher or student can see that the respect, trust, exploration and child lead curriculum sets our learners on a path to realise their fullest human potential in an empowered and contentious manner.
So as we move towards the spring term, we look forward to further Hedley traditions, and new experiences for staff, students and parents alike. Come back soon to find out more and like our facebook page to get mini updates along the way.
Enjoy the photo gallery of our learning and adventure.