Children from Reception to Year 6 were enthralled by a surprise guest to yesterday’s assembly.
Over the past six weeks, we have been reading and discussing the classic Chinese story, Journey to the West. We have been paying particular attention to one of the stories main characters, Sun Wukong the Monkey King. We have considered how our understanding of his character develops through the story. No mean feat considering the story runs for over 100 chapters.
During our assemblies, we have identified Sun Wukong’s character virtues and have used Aristotle’s idea of ‘the golden mean’ to plot his descent into tyranny. This idea, that each virtue is the desirable middle between two extremes, one of excess and the other of deficiency (for example, courage is a virtue, but if taken to excess manifests as recklessness, and, in deficiency, cowardice) has given us a means to describe WuKong and discuss his behaviour, and has been helpful in developing our understanding of character.
These assemblies follow on from last term’s in which the children were introduced to the idea of character and began to learn and explore the language of virtue ethics. It was during these assemblies that we decided upon our five golden character virtues; character virtues that we feel are particularly desirable and will lead to success in school and university, in work and life: curiosity, perseverance, integrity, fairness, creativity.
We shall continue learning about character during our Monday assemblies and shall continue celebrating those children who model our golden character virtues during our Friday achievement assemblies.
As well as exploring the idea of Character during this term’s assemblies, we have have also been thinking about the art of story telling and the inter-play between story, art, music and dance. Enter our visitor, a rather regal looking Lion who performed a ‘breath-taking’, ‘stupendous’ and ‘awe-inspiring’ dance (the children’s words).
Next Monday is Chinese New Year, a celebration of the start of the Year of the Monkey. I suggested to the children that they look out for celebratory events over the weekend that they could attend with their families. I thought this link to Time Out’s, London Chinese New Year Events, might be Helpful.