- Whole School
Mr Cunningham writes about the Prep production of Peter Pan and the messages we can take from it.
Over the last few weeks of an academic year I am provided with many opportunities to speak to an audience of children and adults. This happens every year as we enjoy events such as our Prep Play, Year Six celebration and, making a welcome return this year, Speech Day. Much of these opportunities are about; saying thank you, recognising effort, talent and teamwork, and acknowledging the commitment and hard work of the staff involved. However, I also see this as a chance to underline messages that we endeavour to convey to our children, families and community throughout their time at School.
Last week I spoke at the end of our Prep School Play. As above, I included the usual thank you’s and well-done’s, but I also spoke to the children about what I hoped they would take away from their time involved in our show. The children performed Peter Pan brilliantly. To me, Peter Pan is a story about belief and the challenges and benefits of growing up.
In our show, the character of Peter asks the audience “Do you believe in fairies?” That sense of belief is something that is special about childhood. It creates a magical, safe and comforting world that allows children to thrive and grow. In the play it is the belief that brings Tinkerbell back to life – belief saves the fairy.
The ability to believe is eroded as we grow older. As a parent whose eldest daughter is quickly becoming a teenager, I ever so slightly mourn the little girl that she is leaving behind! That inevitable maturity does not mean that we should lose our sense of belief. That sense is what gets us through the tough times. It is important to maintain belief that things can be better. That you will overcome and believe in others even when they behave and act in ways that seem so difficult to understand.
So, I want children to keep hold of belief. What else? Peter warns the Lost Boys they will have to go to school and clean their teeth if they grow up. The Lost Boys seem excited about the prospect of the opportunity to learn and have more responsibility. I see that today as our Year Six children enjoy their first taste of Year Seven. They are loving the increased freedom, the fact they have to do more for themselves. We all know that most “adult” responsibilities quickly become mundane but the fact that children are ready and relishing them shows we have done our job. For our children though, despite their desire to feel more adult, I urge them to hold on to the sense of fun. To continue to express themselves and be proud of who they are and celebrate all those around them for their own individual strengths.
I look forward to speaking to the children and you as a community at the events we have coming up over the next couple of weeks.
I hope you have a lovely weekend.
Head of Prep