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10

D R A G O N S T O D AY S P R I N G 2 0 1 7

L I T T L E D R A G O N S

n a regular basis,

we welcome to the

Dragon, prospective

parents who are beginning

to think about what kind of

education they would like

for their very small baby.

Overwhelmingly, at this point,

the answer is that they just want

their child to be happy and feel

safe, so they will learn and be

able to benefit from the huge

range of opportunities available

to them.

It is universally acknowledged that

pre-school children learn effectively

from exploring, communicating, being

creative and making mistakes. We do

not expect them to be able to walk

the first time they stand up; there are

weeks, if not months, of standing up,

wobbling and falling down before any

real distance can be covered; and this

is fine. It would be lovely to apply this

view of mastering skills to life at school

– children have to try something, and

practise it, making mistakes along the

way; and when they are ready, they will

be successful.

We believe that the Dragon, with

its ethos of ordered-freedom, is the

perfect place for this to happen.

It is a sad fact, that at some point during

our children’s development, we get

caught up in the societal pressure to be

the busiest, brightest and best. Rather

than pile on more pressure, activities,

prep and longer school days, at the

Dragon, we feel that our children don’t

need more school. They need more

play.

Children need the time and opportunity

to try a variety of ways of learning, to

investigate for themselves and to direct

what they want to do. Just as children

are different heights at the same age,

although we nourish them well to help

them grow, so they will be at different

stages academically, even with a rich

input. If we take the pressure off

being the fastest, brightest or most

accomplished, in the long run we will

have self-motivated, self-reliant learners

who are comfortable in their own skin.

We will be better able to avoid the

extraordinarily high levels of anxiety,

depression and psychosomatic stress

disorders, which appear to be linked to

academic pressures and lack of play.

It is universally acknowledged that

pre-school children learn effectively

from

exploring,

communicating,

being creative and making mistakes.

Staff at the Pre-Prep are ever conscious

of striking the balance between learning

and play, between direction and child-

oriented activity and between listening

and doing. We are aware that outside

school, children can be more shut in,

and more isolated, than ever before.

For many children, school provides the

only public space where they are free to

make their own choices. A school must,

more than ever, be the place where

children discover and find themselves.

The Importance

of

Play

Play.

[ple

I

]

A. Verb

a. engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a

serious or practical purpose.

O