This article in The Times describes how I'd helped resurrect the fortunes of a residential school for autistic children using Feng Shui. How timely, I thought, since the author was once again to interview me on the radio (link to the recording below).
Depressing, overwhelmingly impossible
I remembered how shocked I was on my first visit to the school. A dismal, depressing environment in beautiful natural grounds yet I was unnerved, afraid that anything could break out at any time. It was also impossible to ignore the massive redwood tree directly opposite the dilapidated front door whose domineering presence would need to be curtailed with Feng Shui technique and not by cutting it down because it was protected.
I warmed to the headteacher. I had empathy for her predicament. She had a holistic view of life and was committed to restoring the school for the pupils and teachers alike. But I needed to bear in mind, whatever recommendations I made, would have to be executed on the strictest budget.
Not that I could report the situation quite like this to The Times. Our aim was to spotlight the predicament and potential of schools like Heathermount and how Feng Shui can help without upsetting current investors. The article is contained therefore but the schools success with Feng Shui is still very evident. See what you think ....
Feng Shui at work – the story
“Since we started working with the environment rather than working against it, doors have opened,” says Stephanie Lord. “I don’t feel like I’m banging my head against a brick wall anymore.”
An holistic approach to autistic care sets Heathermount School in Ascot, Berkshire, apart. Ms Lord, its head teacher, adopts the same teaching methods as others but believes the environment is just as important as education when caring for children with severe learning disabilities and kept an open mind when she first heard about the benefits of environmental harmony at a business forum.
As well as national curriculum studies, Heatherwood offers a range of holistic therapies for a balanced, calm environment in tune with Feng Shui with yoga, massage, aromatherapy, drama and dance. “We believe Feng Shui has created a less stressful environment and would encourage other schools to adopt this ancient practice,” says Ms Lord.
An inexpensive facelift on a tight budget
A working business plan was created for the old school which received an inexpensive facelift. Dingy offices and schoolrooms came to life with vibrant colour. Log fires, fresh flowers, relaxing chairs and colourful throws made it less intimidating. Getting rid of clutter to invite fresh ideas and thinking has worked.
Staff sickness and absenteeism due to stress are almost a thing of the past. Heathermount is determined to be a centre of excellence not only in Britain but with Europe. In the early days she did not know from one minute to the next whether there would still be money from the local authority to keep the school running. Once salaries had been paid there was not enough in the kitty to have the grass cut on the 14-acre site. There had been numerous hints that Heathermount was not paying its way and the future was bleak.
The hopes and dreams she had when the school was opened by Jane Asher, the actress, in 1992 were evaporating, despite having successfully run schools in Wimbledon and Plumstead, London.
“All my best efforts were being undermined by lack of money and negative people. I felt emotionally and physically drained before adopting Feng Shui. Now I feel invigorated and alive,” says Ms Lord. “Introducing Feng Shui was not easy. It had to be done bit by bit. Some of my staff did not know what I was doing at first. They saw me hanging wind chimes and assumed they were just nice objects to have around. Now the staff recognise the benefits and are thoroughly behind it. They are changed people and the place has a different atmosphere entirely.”
Feng Shui benefits everyone living and working under the same roof and not just the champion who introduces it. Heathermount is evidence of that.
To listen to my recent interview on Marlow FM radio download and click on the download to play https://we.tl/t-hEA9UHlMwd
More information http://www.marynonde.com/fengshui
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