An interview with a parent:

 

How long has your child been with us and how did you hear about us to start with?
He’s been at Hils for over two years now. Before that I was home-schooling him on my own, which he loved, but I was worried he was too isolated. I went surfing on the internet and discovered Hils and came in for a chat. I left feeling that I’d discovered somewhere there were other people who understood.

 

What was your first impression of us?
My first impression was that it was relaxed. The way it’s set up is perfect for him. It’s a calming environment. Schools are so noisy; you can feel the energy levels are way up. It’s a vibration thing and it makes a huge difference.

 

Can you see any difference in him since he’s been here?
Oh, it’s dramatic. He’s blossomed and changed completely. To start with he didn’t want to come, didn’t want anything to do with it. He’d had a horrible experience at the last school he went to in Singapore where the teacher didn’t understand him at all. It was dreadful. He’d had a bad time generally as three relatives had died within a fairly short time and his father was posted to another country and was away a lot. He was so stressed and his just screamed at him all the time. As a result his confidence just plummeted. He was scared of everything, in all sorts of areas. It took over a year but since he started at Hils he’s got braver and braver, little by little. The anxiety started disappearing in all those other non-academic areas too. He’s got his confidence back.

 

What other factors have helped him?
Diet has been a huge factor! Before, he was bouncing off the walls. I put him on a diet of no gluten, dairy, soy or processed foods. In just four days there was a spectacular, mind-blowing difference. It was dramatic! He’s been on it ever since with a few changes. It’s made a huge difference to his learning as well. You just can’t learn until that side of things is sorted.

 

Is there anything that you would like us to change?
It might be helpful to explain to the children, as well as the mums at the beginning, that you’re not going to throw them out if they do anything little thing wrong. My son had had such a bad experience of school that he was terrified. He lived in fear that he would be yelled at and punished. It took him a while to work out that that doesn’t happen here.

 

Have you seen any differences in us?
Yes, Hils has got bigger but it’s more homely. You also seem more confident and you all smile, from the moment I meet Lina at the desk. You don’t realise it but that’s a big change from the schools where I used to feel they were thinking “Oh no, not her again!” It’s also been absolutely brilliant having somewhere to meet other mums who’ve been through the same kind of experiences and who understand you. It’s a lifesaver.