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29 January 2021

The Symbolism of the Willow Tree

The Symbolism of the Willow Tree

The willow tree’s rather fragile looking trunk belies the strength within. In inclement weather, the willow tree remains steadfast whilst symbolising stability, structure, and support. This strength lies in its roots which are deep and far reaching and provide a solid and secure foundation for growth.  

Strong foundations for learning underpins the education at The Hampshire School Chelsea.  It is not by chance that our Pre-School provides high quality early learning focused on the child’s emotional, social and cognitive development with free flow instigated by the children’s interests and passions. At school, whether onsite or during remote learning, the children’s progress is achieved through a nurturing environment. This provides a sense of ownership and belonging in order for them to flourish. Relationships are key to this success and in partnership with parents we work together to build strong, confident and happy children.

With powerful relevance, the tree’s ability to flex and adapt to the challenges of the physical environment is a powerful metaphor for the way that all of us have had to adjust to life’s challenges in recent months. The symbiotic relationship of the roots, trunk and branches offers protection for its safety and growth in much the same way that the support network of teachers, mental health first-aiders and parents support the children’s wellbeing and development. 

Furthermore, the roots of the willow tree provide nourishment for new growth and on that theme, our new caterers, Thomas Franks, are providing nutritious meals for staff and children that feeds our soul as well as our bodies. Therefore, it was without hesitation that I accepted their offer for the school to provide free take-away meals for staff as a thank you for their efforts this term. That thank you extends to the school bus drivers, who are integral to our success, in keeping the community safe by running a door-to-door bus service for staff thus alleviating the need for them to use public transport. 

In addition, the willow tree has an ability to protect itself from stress through secretions in its bark. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle offers us some protection from harm. Engaging in activities such as creating artwork, playing a musical instrument, connecting with friends, going out for a walk or a run, reading a story and being transported to another world, or perhaps even meditating, supports our wellbeing. Developing positive wellbeing at The Hampshire School Chelsea is a daily drive for all staff. In particular, through form periods and end of day registration to the dedicated PVWT period every Friday.
To further extend this provision, staff will be delivering Philosophy for Children (P4C) sessions in PVWT. P4C is endorsed by the Education Endowment Foundation and evidence shows that it develops mental wellbeing as well as academic outcomes. P4C is underpinned by ‘the 4Cs of philosophical thinking - Caring, Creative, Critical, and Collaborative. It is proven to nurture children socially, to improve their learning across the curriculum and to develop the confidence to voice opinions, whilst respecting others’ views. Therefore, we build a sense of belonging and a strong foundation for future development and growth.

We can all learn from nature’s resilience and the Willow tree is an ever present reminder.   

Dr Edmonds


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The Hampshire School Chelsea

15 Manresa Road, Chelsea
London, SW3 6NB

Tel: +44[0] 207 352 7077