Quoting Nelson Mandela “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” If we are to follow his legacy, this statement gives schools the responsibility to teach students to be good people.
A child’s mind is like a rough diamond that we have the possibility to polish not only through Mathematics, Science or Literature, but also through the values we transmit as an educational centre. It is our duty to develop the character of the students so that they become people with a positive, responsible, empathetic and supportive attitude.
In a school like The English Montessori School, TEMS, Giving is an essential concept as detailed in their Be Well Charter. From the Early Years their curriculum programme includes activities that foster a spirit of cordiality, cooperation and solidarity that goes beyond a certain single action. The intention is to raise awareness among pupils about the necessity to make the world a better place, of the importance of their attitude and their involvement in dealing with a common enemy, be it hunger, mistreatment, poverty, loneliness… and let them know that change occurs as a result of small actions.
At TEMS, guided by the best professionals, it is the students themselves who, through their creative, organisational and commercial skills, prepare material and organise fund raising events involving the entire educational community to raise awareness of the problems around us and collect as much help as possible. They choose the NGOs to which they want to allocate contributions and engage in the process from beginning to end.
Year 12 students have prepared moving videos asking younger school mates to exchange one of the gifts for a donation to the Food Bank of Madrid or the NGO Educo Dining Scholarships in their letter to Santa or the Three Wise Men.
Another example of solidarity at school is the project Year 8 students have joined, Knit a Square, for children in orphanages in South Africa. The activity consists of knitting squares, then join them together and make warm blankets for these little ones in vulnerable conditions.
Sarah Ebery, Headmistress of The English Montessori School, explains: “Being supportive is an attitude, a way of acting in front of others and in front of oneself. At TEMS we prepare our students for charity to be part of their personality and to be able to empathise with the world in which we live to improve it and make it fairer.”