From the Acting Deputy Head of Junior School

It’s no secret that curiosity makes learning more effective and enjoyable. Curious students not only ask questions, but also actively seek out the answers. Schools are in the business of providing experiences to motivate curiosity and confidence in those whom we teach – and the past few weeks alone are evidence of that. From the rich tapestry of experiences of the Carey Celebrates Literature Festival, to the obligatory and, for some, rewarding NAPLAN tests, the children are challenged, provoked and stimulated.

One of the most memorable moments of the NAPLAN testing week was watching the delight of Year 3 children engrossed in reading the required magazine. I particularly noticed one little girl reclined back in her chair, fully immersed in the joy of reading. We have taught our children that the gift of reading is one to be cherished and enjoyed, and that certainly shone through when the glossy texts were distributed. I thought you might be entertained and interested by some Year 5 quotes about their NAPLAN experience:

I felt pressured by the time limit, only to find that I had plenty of time left at the end. Enough time in fact to check my work.’

‘It felt weird on Monday because the desks were in random places. When it was all over and done with the tables moved back to normal.’

‘I had high expectations of myself.’

‘My heart was pounding hard and I was feeling confident.”

‘I was itching to get started.’

‘It was all the things we had been learning. There were some things I didn’t know, but I guess I’ll learn them now.’

We are proud of the way in which the children approached each test. They were suitably nervous and excited knowing that they needed to try their best and that these tests, by no means, show everything they know and can do. Many children enjoyed the experience and gained self-satisfaction that they had participated in this rite of passage.

There was a real buzz in the air on Tuesday morning as the Junior School prepared for a whole day dedicated to celebrating and enjoying literature. The library team organised authors and an illustrator to entertain and enlighten each year level about their specific craft and skills they developed and honed. Stories were told, questions were asked, illustrating styles explored, and all were motivated and inspired. The lunchtime carnival activities were planned and prepared by a small, enthusiastic group of Year 5 and 6 children under the guidance of the library teachers. There were many activities to choose from, including badge making, competitions galore, and football drills on Cluny Green, Fox Swift style.

Watching the older buddies taking care of their younger buddies in the delightful commotion in Metcalfe Hall was confirmation that our Buddy System is solid and meaningful. The bond between older and younger students is never more evident than during these authentic experiences where the older students conscientiously take on the responsibility of ensuring their younger buddies are involved and enjoying the experience. One of my personal highlights from the day is the Poem in a Pocket experience where each child shares a poem that they have copied, memorised or written to share with House buddies. I hope your children came home buzzing as they retold some of their highlights from the day.

A special thanks to the JSPA team, especially Desi and Denise, for organising and hosting the recent Mothers Day Breakfast. More than 300 children and their mothers enjoyed this memory making, community building event. The tables were beautifully decorated, and entertainment included the joyful singing of Vivace and Mr Barron’s toe-tapping Guitar ensemble. Mrs Carolyn Apostolou was the guest speaker, who shared a strong and clear message about the balancing act of being a mother. Our School Captains each read a touching tribute to their mums. If you would like to read their speeches, please click here. A portion of the ticket sales was donated to a very worthwhile cause, the International Needs Australia SHE movement. The SHE movement educates girls and women, trains communities in equal rights for women and girls, prioritises child protection training, supplies health services, and encourages women with vocational training, loans and resources for improved livelihoods.

Parents, you too can instil curiosity and confidence in your children. I follow Dr. Gail Gross on Twitter, who recently wrote about the simple things parents can do to motivate curiosity and confidence in their children. I have included a few:

  • Bond: bonding is everything. A well-bonded child will have good self-esteem, good sense of self, and good self-image. This will create confidence and confidence will lead to competence.
  • Be There Now: At every stage of growth, you, as a parent, can dramatically affect your youngster’s social, emotional and cognitive development. You will discover that you can have a profound impact on your child’s ability to learn and succeed in the world by just being there.
  • Talk: you can raise a child’s IQ by 20 percent simply by speaking in complicated language rather than short commands. Research on 20-month-old babys shows that children of talkative mothers averaged 131 more words than children of less chatty mothers. That gap more than doubled by the age of two.
  • Read to your child in an interactive way, letting them participate in telling the story.
  • Let child activities be child-centred. Keep activities open-ended so that your child can play creatively and imaginatively.
  • Gently let your child, from time to time, be frustrated. If you teach them how to deal with frustrations created by you, they will be able to cope with frustrations created by the world.

In the coming weeks, when preparing to send your Year 6 children to camp, or simply preparing them for a day at school, take a moment to ignite their curiosity about what they are expecting or wondering.

Colleen Jarrett-Burke
Acting Deputy Head – Student Learning
colleen.jarrettburke@carey.com.au