One of Montessori and Wandsworth goals is for our children to be social, gregarious and confident. In an environment where many activities are adult lead, it is a true blessing to see how relationships between our children blossom, right from our toddlers to our seniors.
In our Reception Class we have little Abigail who absolutely insists on hugging her best friend Muku. It is rare that she will not be reaching out and hugging him if he is seated next to her. While they are outside, she will allow him to go his separate way (for a bit!) but bring in the trampoline and suddenly the whole Reception gang is back together again. What lessons are learnt – tolerance, turn-taking, sharing and even standing up for oneself if your bestie becomes a little overbearing. Qhawe and Luther have become fast friends and will often walk between environments hand-in-hand, Qhawe growing in confidence as he takes pride in teaching Luther the ropes.
Our Junior Primaries are no different, Symona will insist on every member of her class being accounted for, and taken out at playtime, before she will exit. Her compassion and sense of order is tested on a daily basis. She insists on everyone holding hands during songs, which is not only a comfort to her but causes her less tactile and social friends to get physically involved in a group activity. Our Anthony and Levi have been as thick as thieves over the years. In 2015 however, they have both learnt to work and play with new and older children in the class. Ant will often be found working with Craig, the two of them having a secret giggle while Levi will spend his time engaging with new visitors and volunteers.
Aftercare offers a different form of education where the children from different environments and ages can come together in a less formal setting. Symona, Nonhle and Emma get to spend time together interacting with each of their favourites – balls for Emma, trampoline for Nonhle and Songs and Dance for Symona. What fun, learning to use new things.
In true Montessori fashion you will find our Senior girls working beautifully together, helping each other and of course taking a moment to input their own opinions and points of view. We learn the skills of negotiation – Connor and Avia, play-fighting over a puzzle, resulted in a quick peck on the cheek from Avia to win the box, but alas Connor was not budging. The pre-teens run the gamut of emotions from happy to sad to frustrated to compliant and through it all they stick together, either pulling each other into line or commiserating with each other. The compassion and camaraderie is too beautiful to see.
Even our Junior High children are insisting on hooking up at each other’s houses – we presume it is to listen to music Liam Wallace and Mikey Smith - don’t get up to mischief.
So, along with our academic program, this is why coming to Wandsworth is so important. Our microcosm truly reflects the macrocosm of the big world. Our children are free to express themselves, challenge their friends and grow through social engagement - just as any other child is entitled to.