Since the start of this academic year, we have been dedicated to building our presence in the local community and seeking opportunities to interact with others in a way that is mutually beneficial to them and our children. After all, one of the very best aspects of working in education is that our job is all about people – school is filled with countless interactions, conversations and shared experiences, and in essence, we get to spend our days living out what it truly is to be “human”.
We continue to find great inspiration through our interactions with Belvedere House Care home, where children spend time participating in activities with the elderly residents. The power of this connection between young and old is quite incredible to witness. The relaxed and open way they communicate and interact with no judgement is a lesson for us all and gives us enormous hope that our children are being raised with values and skills that will not only serve them well in their lives but will enrich the lives of everyone they interact with.
A particular moment stood out last week when Year 3 visited Belvedere House Care home and one of the elderly gentlemen residents was finding it quite difficult to interact and engage with the group activity. This is quite a common occurrence according to the staff as Mike has dementia, which can make things overwhelming and confusing for him. He initially sat outside the room but then joined in very tentatively. One of our children, Jasper, encouraged Mike to play a game called Shopping List – he gently and patiently explained the game by showing Mike what to do. Mike then not only joined in, he played three games… Mike even started giggling too! The staff at the home were so delighted because they had never seen Mike like this and thanked Jasper for his kindness and encouragement.
Empathy is a gift and helping children develop this is an essential part of what we do at Banstead Prep, because it helps us connect with others. When we empathize with someone, we’re able to see things from their perspective. This can help us resolve conflicts in a more peaceful way. Instead of seeing the other person as an adversary, we see them as a fellow human being who is worthy of our understanding and respect. And this understanding leads to trust, respect, and communication—all key ingredients for strong relationships.