“Every successful individual knows that his or her achievement depends on a community of persons working together.” – Paul Ryan, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
Boarding schools teach our children incredibly important life lessons. In their pursuit of an education that is both rigorous and holistic, they learn the value of hard work, and that facing a challenge with courage and determination always leads to the best results. They provide a setting that nurtures curiosity and opens their eyes to the what, why, who and how as it urges them to step out of their comfort zone.
Boarding schools present a first real taste of independence for many children and teenagers, easing them into adult life one step at a time with the resources, staff and infrastructure to ensure their safety and security as their freedom begins to grow. But the truly unique thing about boarding schools is that at the same time as nurturing independence, such schools also teach pupils the importance of community as they live, laugh and learn among like-minded peers.
Here are five ways that the boarding school environment creates an unbreakable community spirit:
1. Each child is valued as an individual
With curricula that are broad and all-encompassing, from science to the arts, sports to modern languages, humanities to technology and beyond, boarding schools allow students to develop every little aspect that makes them who they are. These institutions offer warm and inclusive environments where the value of the individual is not determined by the extent of their abilities, but rather by everything that makes them unique, granting them the space to grow into the best possible version of themselves.
Boarding schools embody an ethos that allows children to mature into young adults, and they leave not only ready, but eager to tackle the challenges of the world.
2. State-of-the-art facilities allow students to be active, and teach them the importance of healthy competition and sportsmanship
Boarding schools often boast the best facilities in the global sphere of primary and secondary education. Purpose-built classrooms ensure pupils’ academic needs are met, and outstanding facilities give them the chance to hone any particular skill or interest.
Boarding schools are often set in large campuses, rich in green space that gives children the freedom to run, play, discover and all those other things that are so important for growing up in a safe and secure environment.
Through the use of these facilities, children are encouraged to be competitive across each and every discipline, be it sports, academic, creative or otherwise. Supportive staff are constantly on hand to ensure no child is missed, left out or allowed to drift, and instil in them crucial life skills like camaraderie and sportsmanship that will remain for the rest of their lives.
3. Boarding schools offer unparalleled extra-curricular opportunities
Boarding schools boast a broad spectrum of activities for students to try out. Archery, climbing, disc golf, creative writing, art and design, rocket clubs, Fairtrade groups, language clubs and the prestigious Duke of Edinburgh Award represent a small slice of the extra-curricular activities available at boarding schools. Such expansive provisions not only allow students to flourish as individuals as they hone their unique interests and talents, but also give them the chance to make friends in surroundings that are fun, enriching and stimulating.
4. They are academically encouraging and inclusive
Boarding schools encourage children to think independently, but they also inspire them to work together. From this they discover how to co-operate, collaborate, and face tough challenges together as they learn how to function as a team – one of the most important life skills – and accept that the power of the group will often outweigh the power of flying solo.
The boarding school setting allows students to embark on a creative education journey, inspiring a natural love of learning and a vigorous curiosity as they come into their own.
5. Boarding schools provide outstanding pastoral care
One of the biggest worries many parents and children have about boarding school is homesickness. Moving away from home is a pretty major step for any young mind, making the likelihood of missing home more or less inevitable. But the fact is that these schools have committed staff on hand 24/7, all in possession of the necessary skills to help make the transition into a new environment as comfortable as possible. Staff are entirely dedicated to maintaining the safety, well-being and happiness of each individual student, whether their need is social, academic, psychological or otherwise.
If the student isn’t comfortable discussing their issue with an adult, most boarding schools have an elected student head boy or girl who is also on hand to help, offering a fresh and often more understanding perspective on any problem. It is a system that encourages co-operation between students of different years, something that is definitely much less common within the state school setting.
With campuses and facilities that receive regular and considerable investment, as well as highly-qualified staff that bring the best out of each individual, boarding schools are able to produce well-rounded young men and women with the knowledge they need to thrive in the real world. With all this in mind, it’s no wonder, really, that students are so reluctant to leave once their time at school comes to an end, but the memory of that warm and unbreakable boarding school spirit is one that never leaves them.
This article was sponsored by Ashville College, a co-ed independent school for both day and boarding pupils aged 3 to 18. It is located in Harrogate, one of England’s most attractive towns. Ashville boarders, aged between 8 and 18 years old, benefit from outstanding facilities and a nurturing and caring environment. The opportunities at Ashville enable students to find their niche, be it academic, sporting, musical or artistic. Each one of the four houses at Ashville is home to around 30 students. Pupils get to enjoy the structure of their days and living with their friends, as well as being part of a community which cares for them and puts their interests first.