The word ‘pedagogy’ comes from the ancient Greek language and literally means ‘to lead the child’. Today, the word is used to refer to the method and practice of teaching. There is a phrase which I often think of when I walk around our campus. It is the phrase, ‘pedagogy of place’. Educationalists sometimes use this phrase to refer to the way in which the physical environment influences the education which happens there.
I have no doubt that an education which takes place in an urban setting is very different to that which takes places amidst the beauty and splendor of nature. Who can doubt that an education which takes place amidst the stunning vistas of the Himalayas is significantly different from that which takes places amidst the hubbub of traffic and high rise buildings? Woodstock’s take on this has always been clear and I believe it passionately – that being educated amidst mountain forests with fresh air and a daily walk to school is a valuable part of a Woodstock education. Plato described this well, ‘Our youth should dwell in the land of health amid fair sights and sounds; and beauty will meet the sense like a breeze and insensibly draw the soul even in childhood into harmony with the beauty of reason.’