Spiritual, moral and social development
Ficino School is open to students of all faiths and religions (or none), and through our practice of philosophy, offers a non-denominational spiritual foundation.
By practising philosophy, or mindfulness, children are taught to be truly self-aware, and develop the ability to recognise what is good and true in themselves and others. Put in its simplest terms, philosophy is the love of wisdom. It is the thirst for knowledge and truth that all children are born with. Ficino School aims to foster this passion for inquiry. In their weekly philosophy lesson, students study the great traditions of the world, seeking to discover the common ground in all, by exploring and establishing universal principles for a healthy, happy and rewarding life.
Ficino School invites parents to learn more about the philosophy that their children are learning by attending an introductory course of nine lectures at the School of Philosophy. Parents are also invited to various school events in which the children share what they learn.
In all philosophical and religious traditions great weight is placed on the need for inner quiet and contentment. We feel that it is important for children to gain an early taste of their own capacity to experience the quiet within. By using techniques such as ‘the Pause’ and meditation, children develop their power of attention, make better decisions and foster their love of learning.
At the beginning and end of each activity, led by their teacher, the children briefly close their eyes and ‘fall still’. They listen to the sounds around them, pay attention to their senses, and are simply in the moment for a few seconds. This gentle exercise, known as ‘the Pause’, refocuses and re-energises the children and teachers for whatever lies ahead.
Older students are also offered a period of quiet reflection or meditation time each day. Following consultation with parents, the School facilitates an introduction to word or mantra-based meditation. Pupils who do not wish to meditate in this way may use any form of contemplative practice from their own tradition or other simple mindfulness practices given by the school.
The children are encouraged to develop their power of attention. This is to take care – truly focusing on the task at hand – pen to paper, hand to instrument, listening to the person in front of them. The ability to work like this greatly improves the way children learn, and their efficiency while working.
We believe in integrating the best material our cultural heritage can offer into students’ everyday learning.
Ficino School students study and enact Shakespeare plays in English, Speech and Drama, and learn from the greats in their history, myth and culture lessons. We introduce the Bible and classical tales from works such as the Odyssey and the Iliad, the Ramayana and Mahabharata, as well as a range of other substantial modern, traditional and ancient writings. Our students get just as much enjoyment from the tales of the Upanishads as they do from the legends of Ancient Greece, and the moral lessons ring just as true!
For the older children, this learning is capped by a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience rich history and culture for themselves, on the Ficino School Renaissance Trip to Europe.
All students also have a unique opportunity to learn the Sanskrit language, one of the oldest classical languages, and a specialty of our School. It has a wonderful system of sound and grammar, which gives the child an excellent base for the study of any language. Children love its order and beauty.
Courtesy, respect and manners are engrained in Ficino School – visitors frequently comment on the positive way children behave towards each other as well as adults. It is the Ficino School way to care for and serve others.
Truth, discipline, goodness, courage and personal responsibility are all highly valued and practised on a daily basis.
Outside of interactions at school, children are given a sense of caring for the wider community through various fundraising events, such as “Jump Rope for Heart” and Christmas donations to The City Mission, and other donations made to charities chosen by the children. They also sing regularly at local community centres and participate in environmental clean ups.