It was wonderful to see our Head, Kris Spencer, in the Evening Standard last night talking about why we practise the Pause and teach Sanskrit. The full article is below:
One of the key aims of St James Prep School is to support emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing so that every pupil can enjoy their childhood to the full.
Since its foundation in 1975, the school has championed mental wellbeing for its pupils through the practise of The Pause, a mini meditation when the pupils are asked to sit, relaxed and still. The mind is brought into the present, connecting with the senses, allowing what has gone before to pass. After a minute the teacher sounds a traditional dedication in Sanskrit, ‘Om Paramaatmane Namah’, meaning ‘to the Universal Self a bow’. The dedication reminds both pupils and teachers to be their best self; they are teaching and learning not just for themselves but for the greater good.
Commenting on the benefits of The Pause, Head of the Prep School, Mr Kris Spencer, said:
“The Pause allows our pupils to appreciate stillness and connect to something beyond the pulls and pressures of the day. It underpins our ethos and contributes to the buzz of the school– a combination of calm, of purpose and intent. It is also incredibly unifying. There is a palpable sense of community at St James with everyone pulling together for the greater good.”
The school offers a stimulating, creative curriculum that balances the academic, pastoral, sporting, creative and spiritual elements to create a vibrant learning community. It is unique in its teaching of Sanskrit from an early age. Much beloved by its pupils and parents - especially those who practise yoga (a Sanskrit word) – the ancient language carries a warmth of content and an academic rigour in its form and precision, but also a spirituality beyond religion.
Kris Spencer says:
“Some say the very act of speaking Sanskrit is soothing and enriching. In articulating it, pupils master sounds which are outside our western tongue. Like singing, it trains the voice and gives a sense of release and joy. Pupils have to concentrate and be in the moment to truly embrace the language – things that we know support wellbeing.”