ParentingJo Leigheducation

Boarding: What REALLY matters?

ParentingJo Leigheducation
Boarding: What REALLY matters?

As his third year as Head of Boarding at Hazlegrove Prep School gets underway, Regan Schreiber reflects with Country Child on how the real joy of boarding lies not in the facilities or the beautiful grounds but in the heartfelt connections that are made…

Regan hails from South Africa and runs the Senior Boys Boarding House at Hazlegrove Prep School along with his wife Gail, they have over eighteen years of experience as Houseparents together. As Head of Boarding, teacher, deputy safeguarding lead and with his eldest son at boarding school as well as studying to become a Deacon, Regan brings a unique perspective to boarding life.

‘The first time you do something is always exciting but you can always do something better the second time around; this is exactly how I felt in my second year at Hazlegrove.

As a boarding community, we laughed more, cared more and thought more. We could list the plethora of activities that were on offer, we could chant all the usual boarding slogans and we could show you the albums of smiling children but what we are most proud of this year was encouraging the children to care more for each other.

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In the fast-paced, ever-changing world that thrives on achievements, we can sometimes lose sight of what is important. For us, we know that the children in our care are the most important part of what we do. We want our boarders to think of others and be kind.

Our family service suppers, where the children serve each other, our activities that are inclusive and encourage kindness, our duty staff who wholeheartedly believe in parenting children and our prayers said before lights out, all reflect all that we believe in – that our children are precious and we need to invest time and care in them. 

Of course, all the bells and whistles that we offer are impressive and in some cases unrivalled, but when we scratch deeper, we want to know that what lies beneath is something of substance. We want to believe that the children have had the childhood that we all want for them – a life embodying kindness, care, filled with love, compassion and one that translates into tolerant, respectful and happy children. We have had a fantastic year and the staff and children have embraced all that life in a busy prep school has offered.

For the sake of those nostalgic few, I will offer a flavour of the things that we did and introduced in the year: our Christmas Feast with the ever-popular evening of Scottish dancing; the Easter Feast and the obligatory country line-dancing; the creepy crawlies from the Bugfest; mackerel fishing, adventures at the water park; charity walks and picnics in the countryside; sand castles and fun at the beach and Sundays at school – enjoying each other’s company. In addition, we added guineas pigs and chickens to the boarding community (to replace the pigs who went off to Sugar Candy Mountain). It has been a truly wonderful year of sharing and caring for each other’.

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Hazlegrove is an Independent Day and Boarding Preparatory School for 365 boys and girls. Established in 1947, the school enjoys a fantastic setting within 200 acres of parkland in Somerset and benefits from outstanding facilities. Hazlegrove believes it is important that children, from an early age, should have the breadth of opportunity to develop their abilities and potential whilst enjoying the benefit of a caring, nurturing and secure environment.