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Well Being at the Heart of Education

Psychologists, neuroscientists and educators are all pointing to key areas that enable children, and adults, to thrive…

A sense of Connection & Belonging, Autonomy and a sense of Competence

These fundamental needs shape human motivation and have major implications for learning and development.

According to Unicef, out of all the Richest Countries in the World, Britain has the lowest rates of child well being: Report Card 7: An Overview of Child Well-being in Rich Countries.

According to a 2015 Kent County Report/ CAMH’s Report ‘Children aged 11 to 16 years are more likely (11.5%) than those aged 5 to 10 years (7.7%) to experience mental health problems.’ Shockingly, in Kent, in 2015, ’Approximately one in three young people aged between 16 and 24 have a mental health disorder with rates for obsessive-compulsive order, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and eating disorders being the highest’.

For today’s pupils there is;

increased stress and pressure to pass exams

greater exposure to age inappropriate material on-line

increased pressure from social media

greater socio-economic and environmental uncertainty in the world

For all of these reasons, it is more important than ever for schools to adapt and provide more opportunity for pupils to connect deeply and meaningfully with themselves and with others, to have autonomy and a sense of competence. These are at the root of building inner strength and having the capacity for self fulfilment.

'Receive them with reverence, educate them with love, and send them forth in freedom.' Rudolf Steiner.

Well-being cannot be a 'tack on' to an educational system through a PSHE curriculum. It has to be integral to it. That is why New School, Canterbury has chosen to base its education on the Waldorf model. The Waldorf educational model is founded on a profound understanding of children and their development within the context of a spiritual or 'whole world view'. It is based upon nurturing the emotional, physical, and spiritual well being of every child.

Each child is revered as the magical being that they are. In turn children are inspired to revere the natural world that sustains us all. Compassion and care is modelled by the teachers. The teachers meditate on each child, feeling into what they need to grow to their highest potential. Their role is to draw the child out, trusting their innate capacity, rather than filling them with facts. It builds sensitivity and self understanding through building time into each day to reflect, and 'sense' and to develop not only the intellect but our whole capacity as human beings. Waldorf education teaches from inside out, rather than from the outside in.

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