Our children learn in many ways, such as through direct and explicit instruction in the classroom and vicarious experience. They also learn through osmosis, that is, they are absorbing their learning in different ways from the environment around them.
As parents, we have the most control over the environment our children are in. We are committed to our children’s education and at Westminster, we provide a positive learning environment, dedicated to offering the best experiences possible. We also control other elements of our children’s environment to an extent to which we are prepared. We control how much stress and anxiety our children should be exposed. We have to get the balance right, so that they develop immunity or resilience without damaging them. We can influence their friendship groups and how they spend their time. We always hope that we get it right and our children will have no problems in telling us when we get it wrong, either really wrong or according to them!
Likewise, we model the behaviour we want them to display. The way they treat others and behave will more often than not replicate the behaviour we display. They are learning through osmosis. Their social norms and interactions will reflect our own, and, of course, like us, they will make mistakes.
In our actions and interactions with others, we need to remember our children are often watching and learning. If we support others through meaningful, positive and helpful ways, our children learn from it. If we are derisive, negative, derogatory or unhelpful, our children learn from it. If we criticise people, rather than their behaviour, our children learn from it.
As we approach the festive and gift giving season, we should not lose sight that one of the greatest gifts a parent can give a child is to be a great role model. So, when they leave School following their Valedictory events, as the Class of 2022 have done this week, we are confident our children will have the emotional intelligence, self-awareness and capacity to bring out the best in themselves and others.