The welcoming warmth of the Roundabout Hotel contrasted strongly to the sudden Winter’s chill in the weather and the ladies gathered around the two open fires for a much needed (but obviously medicinal) drink before lunch.
This meeting was on “Educational Issues” and was of particular interest, to some of the members present, as at least a quarter of them were all retired school teachers! (Best mind your P’s and Q’s and table manners!)
The Speaker of the day was none other than Alyson Heath, a well known member of the local community and much loved Head teacher, whose last position, before retirement, was at the Christ centred school St. Mary’s Church of England Primary School in Pulborough; where she taught for 13 wonderful years. It was quite apparent that, in listening to Alyson talk about her educational beliefs, that she is one of the most dedicated of teachers and is a strong believer in The Whole Child approach – and indeed The Whole Teacher approach - to education.
Alyson is obviously a very “spiritual person” and Spirituality is the guiding force, behind all aspects of her teaching, which honours and respects the uniqueness of each individual. “We can all make a difference” she said and we are sure that her pupils received a valued and specialised education in developing the vital points in all areas of the child centred curriculum – quiet time and listening skills being of supreme importance so that they can learn to the best of their ability.
These survival techniques – and appreciating the individual - are vital tools to use in this ugly world where self-harming, poverty, lack of self-esteem and mental health issues are common amongst our children. Instead let them be safe and secure and be given the opportunity to be calm and reflective. Alyson advised that, even during exams, special comforting toys/things be accepted, should this be of benefit to the child, and that games of giving and receiving be acted out to make them feel wanted and appreciated. Indeed we were recipients of a spot game – played throughout Primary School – and quite enjoyed the expansion and movement of the spots so no age bar there.
Certainly Alyson was an inspiring speaker and is passionate about inclusivity and supporting vulnerable children. Indeed she is probably busier than ever as a trustee to multiple charities one being, Just Enough UK, which is the biggest anti - slavery children’s charity in the UK. Marie Titchener thanked Alyson warmly on our behalf and we all felt richer for her being there – thank you.
Our next meeting will be at The West Sussex Golf Club on Dec 1st for a delicious, festive Christmas lunch plus entertainment, from magician George Yates, on A Magical Christmas – we look forward to it and to our coach trip to Salisbury on Dec 6.
Contributed by Fryern Ladies Probus
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