What has been hatching in the Nest?
The Wellington values, which lie at the heart of daily life at the College, have taken on a life of their own in the Nest, following a collaboration between parents, staff and children. Little did Dionne and her team realize as they balanced at the top of a ladder in 2016, creating the Nest mural that everyone is so familiar with, that the animals depicted would spring to life within two years.
The variety of animals portrayed in the mural show not just that at Wellington, East meets West, but that in our community, we find a genuine mix of people from different cultures and experiences. Despite our differences, we are united in a belief that the values of Courage, Respect, Integrity, Kindness and Responsibility are paramount for a harmonious society. Such exalted expectations of Wellingtonians bring a challenge, though: how do we make these values meaningful to our children in the Nest?
With every challenge comes an opportunity, and this one was seized upon by Dionne Zantua (Head of Early Years), Teresa (Senior School pupil) and Samantha Wood (Guidance and Welfare Lead). Together with some help from our Year 1 pupils, they brought the mural to life. Dionne assigned each Wellington value to one of the animals
To personify these animals, year 1 children were invited to name them. This was greeted with much enthusiasm and we were soon offered more than 60 suggestions. The winning names were announced in assembly and Tu, Leaves, Picnic, Ollie and Bean were ‘born’!
Our values now had bodies and names. The childrens’ connection to them was beginning to develop. The imagination and artistic flair that Teresa brought to the team was called upon to turn our animals into animations on posters displayed around the Nest. With simple textual explanations of each value, the children can now be reminded to practise each one on a daily basis. In the classroom, staff and children can refer to the animals in their conversations and understand the importance of considerate social interaction.
Educationalists and parents alike understand the power of story: which one of us cannot remember the stories of our childhood? With this in mind, each character gained more substance through specially written stories showing not just how each value can be practised, but how each one is linked to the others and become the foundation of our relationships - in much the same way as the camaraderie of Tu, Leaves, Picnic, Bean and Ollie.
Today you will find a group of value friends in each classroom, all sporting their personalised T-shirts, and well loved by the children. Each week, the children of the Nest have a wellbeing lesson which links the topics to these lovable characters, for example how our emotions are our responsibility (Leaves the giraffe) and how having a goodnight’s sleep or eating well show respect (Picnic the panda) and kindness (Tu the rabbit) to ourselves. It is clear that the animation of the Wellington values aids the childrens’ understanding and application of the concepts themselves.