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суббота, 3 декабря 2016 г.

Melinda Messenger reveals how changing her children’s school nearly ruined her marriage..


By Helen Carroll

Devoted mum Melinda Messenger grins broadly as she reveals that her seven-year-old son Morgan can’t yet read or write.
And although she can smile about it now, Melinda admits it very nearly ruined her marriage.
Unhappy that Morgan was already getting homework and preparing for exams, last summer the former Page 3 girl moved her family almost 100 miles from their home in Wiltshire to a new pad in Berkshire in order to enrol her three children – Morgan, Flynn, five, and Evie, three – in a school where the emphasis is on play – not reading, writing and arithmetic.
Because Morgan had already spent a year in a conventional state school, husband Wayne, 36, was unhappy about the move.
“The first year was really, really difficult and we were on the verge of breaking up,” Melinda, 36, tells Sunday. “It caused endless problems between us.
“Wayne would say, ‘What are you doing? Morgan should be learning to read!’
He thought I’d gone mad and he wanted to move back to our old life.
“Because Wayne didn’t agree with the changes, I felt like I was towing this juggernaut all by myself. I thought if he didn’t see life as I see it now, then maybe we shouldn’t be together. Over time that has changed but we’ve had some awful fights.
“During one row we were driving along and he literally had my hair, I had his and we were screaming at each other.
“It sounds quite funny now, but it wasn’t at the time. How we didn’t crash I don’t know.
“I wanted him to leave, and I think he really wanted to go too. Fortunately, Wayne is a real stayer. And we realised that marriage is about hanging in there and getting through those times.
“Now that Wayne sees the benefits and the value of their new education, he believes in it.”
The children attend a Steiner Waldorf School where spiritual and emotional development are favoured over tests and exams.
But this “alternative” approach to his education can be hard for Morgan to comprehend, especially when his friends are already taking SATs, the national exams for children.
“He’s said, ‘Mummy, why can’t I read?’ I told him, ‘Well, you’re going to learn. It will take a bit of time but it’s nothing to worry about’. It’s a case of making him feel comfortable.
“It doesn’t scare me that he’s going to be left behind. It’s about understanding that there’s more to gain, not about having a competitive childhood.
“I believe this approach to education could provide a solution to issues such as childhood obesity and depression.
“Kids should be doing things like climbing trees, not playing on computers, and that’s exactly what Morgan is doing.”
Melinda and Wayne are now both firm fans of the whole Steiner ethos. They allow only 90 minutes of TV viewing a week and won’t let their children have computers or mobiles.
Melinda’s philosophy on life is a world away from her days as a glamour model. And the changes show in her physical appearance too – after 10 years as a blonde, Melinda’s hair has returned to its natural brown hue so she can spend less time on her appearance.
“When I’m not working, I just wash, brush my teeth and tie my hair up. My mascara stays on until I pick it off in clumps. Gross, I know,” she admits.
We can’t see fellow mum – and pal – Victoria Beckham doing the same.
“I’ve met Victoria on several occasions and she’s great,” says Melinda.
“She’s warm and down-to-earth. A real girl’s girl.”
Like most mums, Melinda admits that keeping the romance alive in her marriage is a struggle.
“It can be challenging, especially as most nights the kids end up in our bed,” she says.
“Sex took a bit of a back seat for a while. But we try to make time for each other as often as we can.”
Melinda’s fame is largely down to her surgically-enhanced breasts, so would she consider going under the knife again?
“There are parts of my body that could be tucked and tightened and nipped
and greatly improved on but I’m too much of a chicken now – I know how
painful it is,” she explains.
But what if Evie wants a boob job in years to come?
“I hope that she’ll be more secure about herself so she doesn’t feel the need,” she says. “I was skinny as a teenager and had an issue that I wasn’t very womanly, but it was stupid.
“Sometimes I can’t believe my body was cut open and two bits of plastic were
shoved in. Why did I do that? However, I’d rather have had it done than have
been insecure for the rest of my life.”
But it’s not just her own children’s lives Melinda wants to improve. She’s a
great champion of many kids charities and is currently promoting Barnardos’
annual Big Toddle – a sponsored half-mile walk for under fives. She’s taking
part with Evie.
“Barnardo’s is about working for kids in this country,” says Melinda. “I feel a need to nurture, protect and care for every child, not just my own.
“So many children get a raw deal – I want to make a difference for any that I can.”

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