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Prince George has started school at Westacre Montessori School in Norfolk where his grandmother, Diana, had been a teaching assistant. Like his father, he begins his education, not in the Palace, but in a child-centered community.
The Montessori philosophy is one that lets children develop at their own pace. The aim is to build confidence, competence, self-esteem and a respect for others. His parents dropped him off without tears on either part. The first day at school seemed to pass without incident. After the flurry of photos, Prince George, hopefully, will enjoy privacy, as he learns how to navigate life with other children in a relatively informal setting. His home life and the culture of the Royal Family will provide him and his sister with a solid example of service and duty. The Queen and the Princess Royal are the most hardworking members of ‘the Firm’, but both his parents increasingly balance work, family royal engagements and commitments.
The first day at school can be traumatic. One headteacher promised that the school would not believe everything the child said about home and parents, if the parents did not believe everything the child said about school. Learning how to navigate being with other children, who have as strong wills and demand immediate satisfaction, is not easy. As children, most of us survived and even flourished during our school lives.
The Book of Proverbs has a clear educational philosophy. ‘If a child is trained up in the right way, even when he is old he will not be turned away from it’ (Proverbs 22:6). We know that education is not just about reading, writing and arithmetic. Education is for life and how we should live. Jesus was a child and grew and became strong. He was filled with wisdom and the grace of God was upon Him. At twelve, He was taken on a trip to Jerusalem for the Holiday Feast of Passover. After three days, His parents found Him sitting among the teachers; listening to them and asking questions. All we then know about His education was that He grew in wisdom, stature, and in favour with God and men.
‘It takes a village to raise a child’ is an African proverb. Children are like sponges and they soak up from everything and everyone around them. They pick up good and bad habits by what they see and hear and the examples surrounding them. That’s why we should be careful about bad language and = limit the time our children spend watching television, playing video games and talking endlessly on their phones. It is why we have the all-too-often broken ‘watershed’ refusing to show explicit violence, sexual scenes and foul language, when we know children might be watching. Of course, they often stay up late and have no supervision unfortunately.
Prince George will do well in his new school. He has everything going for him and the total support of parents, teachers and the public. We all want him to succeed and surely, we want that for all of our children. Disciple means one who is taught and self-discipline is the key to educational and business success. Teach and show it by our words, example and quality of our living.