One of the unique features of John Colet School is its consistent emphasis on teaching mindfulness to the children.
Since its inception nearly thirty years ago, John Colet has systematically embedded in its curriculum regular moments of stillness and focus. We did this initially because we had found, as adults in the School of Philosophy, that self-awareness and giving simple attention to what was happening in the present moment, had a dramatic and revolutionary effect on our lives.
The working hypothesis at the founding of the school was that these techniques would be similarly beneficial for children.
Over the next thirty years we found this hypothesis to be completely vindicated. Not only has the science of brain function and brain plasticity, and research into the building of neural pathways, confirmed our initial instincts, but we also have the living evidence of generations of children who have now passed through the school’s hands.
The consistent feedback from parents, high school teachers and the children themselves (many of them now young adults!) is that the knack of self-awareness stands them in good stead in all aspects of life.
Academically it fosters focus and effective learning; in the social aspects of life it enhances a sense of connectedness and compassion; in relation to the slings and arrows of outrageous fortunes it gives a certain inner strength and courage to deal with life’s challenges.
With the thirtieth anniversary of the school nearly upon us, it is good to celebrate one of the key elements that make the school what it is.
Answer to Rome’s contribution to Civilisation, next week. And a bonus: you will also get my, perhaps eccentric view, on the contribution of Egypt, the Jews, Christianity, and Ancient Greece to civilisation as well; with the Anglo-Saxons thrown in almost as an afterthought!