The Four Quadrants of Learning are central to a Bickley Park education. A key component is the Community Quadrant, which develops in boys the ability to see beyond the needs of self.
St Francis hit the nail on the head when he said: ‘It is in giving that we receive’. This outward looking sentiment is the glue that binds a community together. Research would endorse this godly view: those who belong to, and actively serve, a community tend to live longer, more fulfilled lives.
Through the Community Quadrant, boys are encouraged to take on responsibility at a young age; show initiative in thinking about the needs of others and actively serve.
This term, Year 4 have organised a football tournament and cake sale to raise funds for the centenary Project PAC which will result in a Performing Arts Centre. The PAC is very much intended to be a resource that is available for use by the local community.
An important attribute for children to develop from a young age is an understanding of, and empathy for, those who are disadvantaged in life, for whatever reason.
In the last fortnight, the boys have learnt about what it is like to be deaf and what it is like to be homeless. An excellent talk delivered by Kerry Ross from the National Children’s Deaf Society helped them have an insight into the world of those who can’t hear. Excellent questions were asked by the boys who found the talk fascinating. The answer to the question ‘Is signing a universal language?’ was particularly interesting: not only are there 300 different signing ‘languages’ in the world, but, within Britain, there are different signing dialects.
The boys’ first-hand experience of what it means to be deaf extended further this week, when students from the deaf unit in a local school came to watch them put on a performance of The Jungle Book. It was a delight to witness the enjoyment gained by our visitors as they watched the special performance without words.
Year 7 pupil, Oliver H, wrote to the Headmaster to ask for the school community to support his dad: he is a journalist for a national newspaper who is sleeping rough on the streets of London to raise awareness of the plight of those who live out their existence on the streets at this cold time of year. Oliver asked if the Bickley community could donate jumpers and coats to give to those who are homeless. The have been donated in abundance.
Year 8 pupil, Morgan, has arranged for a basketball coach to bring 10 wheelchairs to school next month so the senior boys can experience what it is like not just to be wheelchair bound, but also play sport in one.
All these activities will supplement the day to day awareness of how a community works, be it a form group, a school, a local or wider community, or a family. What we hope is that, through these various opportunities, the boys learn that empathy and understanding are essential ingredients that break down barriers and facilitate the growth of strong communities. It is in giving that we receive. This mantra should lie at the heart of our day to day existence.