From the Deputy Head of Junior School

New students and ‘Resilience’ – The Positive Learner Attribute for 2019
Do you remember the mix of excitement and uncertainty that a brand new school year held for many of us? New school shoes, books, bag, calculator, lunchbox, locker, teacher, friends, routines, teams, library bag – the list goes on. This is an appropriate time to think about ‘Resilience’, the attribute Carey is focussed upon this year. We are referring to this as one of the key Positive Learner Attributes; one which you will be hearing a great deal about this year, and one we will all hopefully see being played out in action in our children.

Nowhere is this attribute of resilience more obvious than in the eyes of the children who commenced at Carey in Prep and Year 5 this year. These brand new children’ have demonstrated a desire for learning, a preparedness to accept and to challenge themselves – from simply taking off and putting on socks and shoes in a PMP session for the Prep students, to climbing a 20-metre indoor sheer rock wall as part of the Year 5 APS Sports program. Almost without exception, these students would have felt uncertainty, nervousness, and fear of the unknown as they navigated and stepped into their new school lives, routines and expectations. It has been a successful start at Carey for these students. In thinking about this and their energy and positivity, I met with a small group of new Year 5 students and asked them to reflect on their first few weeks at Carey. Here are some of the words and phrases they used to describe our school:

amazing
friendly
supporting
challenging
hard but good
kind
like I’ve been here forever
you want me to work differently which is challenging – but I really like it,
yeah I really like it!

So as we travel together across this year, and messages filter home of hardship, failure, ‘I can’t do it’ or ‘I’m hopeless’, choose to engage with your children with a positive, resilience focussed lens. Maybe failure can be seen as the First Attempt In Learning (FAIL). Maybe ask what they have learned as part of this event, and how they might need to set a goal or challenge themselves to ‘get back on the horse’.

Meet the Teacher evening
This week we saw the majority of parents in the Junior School attend the Meet the Teacher evening in MGH. The evening was an ideal opportunity to hear from Mrs Russell about the School’s focus on resilience and to reorient ourselves with the routines and expectations of the school year ahead. Most importantly however, it was an opportunity to meet and hear from the classroom educator who is guiding and shaping the year for your child. Parents who have missed this evening have also missed out on an opportunity to learn and understand the year ahead in greater detail, so I encourage you to speak to other parents and find out about the key information points from the evening. Our sincere gratitude to the many parents who came along, and who engaged in the learning journey with us – it was wonderful to see you all. May this be the foundation for a marvellously rewarding year of partnership.

Commencement Service
Those in our community who were lucky enough to have attended the Commencement Service at St Paul’s Cathedral would agree that it was a wonderful way to begin the year. We were privileged to be able to hear the Junior School Bel Canto choir singing ‘In the Palm of His Hand’ by Australian Harley Mead, and to hear the sage words of wisdom from our Senior School Chaplain, Revd Gerry Riviere. Mr Riviere shared his own thoughts of resilience and how we shape strength and courage in the people of our school. What struck us all was the simple reminder that resilience forms such an important part of our character. It is our ability to bounce back when things don’t work out, and such a potent lesson in our developing lives. One parent reflected to me that ‘it is moments like these, when we are encouraged to think and to reflect, that often we gain a greater insight and perspective into our own lives, and that of others around us’. As we commence our new school year, take a moment to bear in mind the perspective of others, and how you might offer a sense of support to those in need, to those amongst us who require a hand of friendship and support to help them bounce back and to show their own resilience.

Information sharing evenings
You would have been emailed an invitation to book in times for information sharing next week on Tuesday and Thursday afternoon and evening. These information sharing sessions are vital for establishing clear and accurate information about your child, and your parenting insight as to their needs and qualities as a learner. The teaching staff will be asking questions to find out the information they need in order to approach the year, and to be maximising the points of entry of your child. Should you have information that would assist the School, please come prepared to share this with your child’s teacher. If for some reason you have not made an appointment yet, or have not received communication, please email Rebecca Wansbrough for more information and assistance.

Ben Dooley
Deputy Head – Student Welfare
ben.dooley@carey.com.au