This week’s assembly in Pre-Prep and Nursery introduced our character quality for November: Compassion. We used the parable of the Good Samaritan to showcase the core attributes that one might recognise in someone acting compassionately. Some children acted out the story for the audience and then there was time for a discussion at the end. I was struck by the level of depth and empathy on display in some of the points raised, and answers given, by a hall full of children all under the age of 7. One response in particular, however, jumped out at me: a Year 2 child offered an example of compassion from the recent half term break. Upon seeing a homeless man asking for food, he and his mother immediately visited a local supermarket to ensure that this gentleman had a full and hearty lunch. Such awareness, kindness and compassion from one of our students is enormously uplifting and encouraging as these are traits that we at Claremont work hard to instil in our young learners
My colleague, Helen Hutton-Attenborough, wrote recently about the ‘invisible ink’ of learning in schools where so much social and emotional development takes shape outside of the traditional classroom. Compassion is one such example, but again as Helen said, it is not something we can leave to chance. This year we have an enormous charity drive across the whole school as part of our centenary celebrations. We are aiming to raise money – and importantly awareness – for 5 chosen charities across the school:
Shooting Stars Children’s Hospice
Grace Dear Trust
The Trussell Trust
You can find out more about our charity project, Claremont 100, by clicking here. We recognise the enormous possibilities that partnership and collaboration with these wonderful charities will bring. Our students will meet with representatives and become informed and enthused around the key issues they are dealing with. A sense of purpose will underpin all fundraising initiatives that take place over the year, creating a robust and purposeful context for learning, where our actions matter and the young learners involved can explain and justify their thoughts, feelings and decisions.
Our assembly this week helped us to explain compassion to some very young children, but it would be very difficult to teach ‘compassion’. Rather, it is something to be nurtured over time. That’s where our character education programme plays such an important role within our school culture. When I reflect upon the level of empathy and compassion that the year 2 child showed, I look forward with optimism at what we can achieve this year as a community, and to the longer lasting impact that our charity work – and character programme – will have.