Educating for a better world.
In Willow Park Junior School, our Spiritan ethos recognises that ‘development education’ is very much at the heart of our curriculum. For us, development education – as an ongoing educational process- is aimed at increasing awareness and understanding of the rapidly changing, interdependent and unequal world in which we live. In Willow, we engage pupils (and, by extension, their parents) in analysis, reflection and action for local and global citizenship and participation.
This understanding of our unequal world -and the role each of us can play in improving it-grows incrementally over the full period of a boy’s time in Willow. It is communicated via our vibrant, questioning and explorative Willow Curriculum; our living Spiritan ethos (expressed daily throughout our school by the whole school community); our active involvement in the Spiritan missions; our support for a myriad of charitable initiatives and a cohort of people (teachers, parents and pupils) who, by their active engagement, want to improve our world.
A Spiritan education is about supporting people (pupils and families) in understanding - and in acting to transform- the structures (be they social, cultural, political or economic) which affect their lives and the lives of others - at personal, community, national and international levels. In a Junior School, this process, must, perforce, be sensitive and age appropriate. The maturing Willow pupil becomes aware of the challenges and difficulties confronting him (and his world) and learns, through a Spiritan education, to seek solutions, remain positive in the midst of adversity and support his fellow human by improving the condition of those in need.
Like all good educational initiatives, development education is concerned with knowledge, ideas and the understanding of issues (in this case - those that relate to global poverty and underdevelopment).
In Willow Junior developmental education is a learning process that is pupil-focused and involves interactive methodologies and integration across the curriculum. Inevitably, it has a strong ‘values dimension’ based on our Spiritan ethos, a commitment to social justice and human rights - and is oriented towards action to effect change for a more just and equal world.
As we review our role as a modern Spiritan school - in a country and world that is in flux, it is important that our young pupils have a foundation to form a positive and caring vision for the future.