A New Year Begins

The children have returned. The School is transformed. No longer a set of buildings perched on a hillside in magnificent grounds and wonderful views.

The vibrancy and energy of the children brings life, laughter and purpose – a new term, a new year, new challenges in a well loved School.

The trickle of children returning started at about 3pm on Tuesday, by 7pm it is a flood and by 8pm all parents have departed.

The children are excited to tell of their adventures and escapades over the Summer, swap stories, see their friends and meet new pupils.

One or two teary eyes …. from parents, and one or two teary eyes from the children. The wistful gaze as the car departs is understandable. The excitement of seeing friends quickly overshadows the immediate feeling of homesickness.

After playing with their friends, exploring the grounds, checking their dens, kicking a football, the children return to their dorms and prepare for bed. Teddies are placed on pillows, photos of families adorn the walls, clothes put away and books pulled out of shelves ready to read in bed. Dorms are not homes and children do miss their parents … their own rooms, siblings and pets. The first night of boarding is often a memory of a lifetime. Why can’t I stay with Mum and Dad? But what is the reality? Tea and toast before bed, matrons, house masters and mistresses on hand – and most of all … friends to talk with.

Boarding children participate in a host of new experiences. They learn to value being part of a team. They act and interact socially. They chat after ‘lights out’ and respond to the thrill of having friends. The children learn self-reliance, responsibility, trust, and most of all friendships. Often making friends for life. Boarding may not be the path for every child – but ask an Ardvreck child if they enjoy it. Most love it.

And then, of course, the thrill/excitement of the day children returning. More stories to hear, more adventures to swap. Pupils rush to their classrooms, find their friends and inevitably ‘have you seen the new teachers?’ is often the first question asked. Parents gather on the gravel, commiserate about the lousy weather, ‘have you been away?’ ‘Oh yes, we went ….’ And the cycle continues. New pupils and their parents arrive at 11am, gather for tea and coffee, while the Ardvreck ‘brothers and sisters’ lead away their new comrades, show them where to hand their kit, meet their form tutors and out to play. ‘Dams and dens’, the ‘all weather’ and a new school year has commenced.