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Patience: the capacity to accept

Published on 15/04/20

My online dictionary defines patience as the ‘capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.’ This is a most appropriate time to reflect upon our character quality for April.

We are living through a unique era. A defining period of modern history which will forever be synonymous with the unnatural protocols we are being asked to follow: lockdown, isolation, two metre separation, essential-only travel and so on. There is of course an enormous emotional aspect to this, created by the juxtaposition of a national emergency with our need to do as little as possible outside of the home.  For many of us home life has changed and morphed significantly as we learn to adapt our daily habits and routines in ways that would have been unimaginable just a short time ago. Social media has never been busier or more relevant. Many of us are now working from home for what may be the first time, as are our children.

Home learning is providing new challenges to parents and teachers as we look to find the right pitch and balance to keep the students motivated, engaged and moving forwards. Without wishing to sound over the top, getting this right is an essential part of the national effort! I am struck by the progress made so far and I am hugely optimistic about where schools can take learning to in the coming weeks.  At Claremont, our teachers are spending their holidays learning new IT skills and thinking about how they will apply these when term begins. They are creating movies, galleries and audio files, flipping the classroom and holding virtual team meetings. Imaginative and creative solutions are emerging across year groups and age phases as we respond to a significant paradigm shift within modern education.

However, it is not simply the technology that will determine our success. There is an inescapably personal element to this. Learning is about facing our mistakes; about trying hard and then trying even harder. It can happen quickly and slowly, easily and also with difficulty. Children develop at an astonishing pace; they are naturally curious and have the capacity to surprise us time and again. They can also struggle, give in and question themselves. As teachers and parents we need to be there for them through all of this with the right words of encouragement and advice. We must also pause to celebrate the extraordinary level of resilience they are showing in this most unusual of times. Cut off from many of their relatives and friends, away from the rhythms and routines of school life and all the familiar faces they see there, they remain enthusiastic and engaged learners. Character is often developed through adversity.

This situation will end and school life will return. When it does, I look forward to welcoming the children of Claremont Fan Court School back through our gates once again. We will be more aware than ever of their personal learning journey and of how their many shared attributes enhance it; not least their patience, hardiness and bravery.

Mr Michael Williams
Head of Pre-Prep and Nursery School