The houses in Camphill School are in many ways the heart of daily life, providing a warm and supportive environment for a wide variety of children and young people. There are 9 such houses, where between 4 and 11 pupils live, work and enjoy their leisure time together with a large number of co-workers. Our fundamental ethos is based on recognition of the spiritual potential in each human being, the unique capacity each one of us possesses to feel well and at ease within ourselves and within the world around. In essence, our approach attempts to build on individual strengths whilst meeting developmental needs through daily life activities such as cooking, laundry and gardening.
Co-workers give careful consideration to ensure that each individual feels that their needs are met within the house setting. Programmes are individually tailored for specific needs whilst taking into account the vast amount of learning that a common social life can provide.
House co-ordinators, together with a varied team of co-workers, are responsible for the general running of the house as well as ensuring that the children and young people feel safe, supported and allowed to contribute meaningfully to their care and development. Consequently, a great deal of attention is paid to the environment in all its various aspects: a varied, wholesome diet; colourful, personalised surroundings; and a range of opportunities for play, sports and leisure. It is clearly important to work closely with every individual’s wider environment which includes family, friends and the key professionals in their life. As part of this collaborative practice, a personal plan is completed with each child where possible to review their progress and make future plans. Night attendants are employed on an individual basis for those individuals who may require this.
Although each co-worker has time off, there is no shift system. A co-worker accompanies the same individual through the day, although of course there may be exceptions. This degree of continuity provides a firm foundation for our relational approach, allowing co-workers to form a sensitive understanding of each individual’s needs. At the same time, it is important that we also learn from the child or young person, flexibly adjusting our aims and expectations. Consistent and thorough supervision has an important part to play in this process as well as the informal feedback and collaboration that community life provides.