Welcome to Term 2. It has been lovely walking through the corridors, chatting to children and staff, and seeing the enthusiasm of everyone at the start of a new term.
The recent loss of my son has sharpened my lens on what is important as an educator. There are many things we cannot control in life, however there are many dispositions we can nurture in our children that can make a difference to them and our world, should they choose to use them.
Our attribute focus for the year, as I am sure you well know by now, is ‘curiosity’. Having a disposition to wonder, to explore, to ask questions, and find answers has never been more important than now when our world is presenting complex problems – sometimes referred to as ‘sticky problems’ where often no one solution is enough.
The Dalai Lama says, ‘Wonder is the beginning of wisdom’. How wonderful, to be working in a School that recognises this and is investing in our programs and staff to explicitly develop the disposition to be curious and nurture a sense of wonder.
However, key to this are strong relationships. Between staff and children, between staff members and between families. It is not just the domain of schools to develop children’s character attributes. Families play a pivotal role. Too often I see lost opportunities to nurture a sense of wonder in our children. Picture this, it is a beautiful day and a mother and young child are walking through the botanical gardens. The birds are singing the scent of the trees and flowers waft through the air, and the child is bursting with joy and questions. The child is tugging at the mother’s clothes and seeking her attention to answer a question; however, the mother is busy on her phone ignoring the child. What a lost opportunity!
I believe the relationships in families need to be nurtured through time and rituals. Sitting around the dinner table is one such ritual that can help build relationships and support children to learn how to converse, argue and build empathy. When I asked the Year 5 students how many of them sat around the table for dinner, the result was less than a third! Another lost opportunity!
I am looking forward to seeing lots of parents at the Cross Country on Friday 28 April. Please read Alby Ingles’s article on CLASSe for the details.
Let us be more aware of the daily opportunities that present themselves so that we are present in the lives of our children, and they in ours.
Head of Junior School Kew