A time for reflection and preparation

Although we have never had such variety of entertainment at our fingertips, it is often quiet and outdoor time we crave, rather than hours of Netflix, YouTube and gaming. Hopefully over the holidays families found some time to slow down and enjoy the simpler things like being together, having a family meal and perhaps even a board game or two. Deep self-reflection is such an important skill to foster in kids and creating times when this is done quietly, calmly and with intention, we can ‘see and feel’ things that sometimes get lost in the ‘noise’ of life. By removing the noise, we give ourselves time to think and contemplate, leading to a deeper reflection and a more balanced sense of wellbeing. It is amazing how often we compare ourselves to others and feel that we don’t measure up. So much of our society is based around aspirational messages and there is no doubt having goals and dreams are extremely valuable in the achievement process. Where many people struggle is balancing their hopes for the future with feeling satisfied with their present selves. The middle of the year is a great opportunity to ‘take stock’ of how the year is going, once rested over the break I hope that families had some productive conversation about how things went in Semester 1. To help with the reflection process over the next few weeks, teachers and pastoral staff will discuss the semester reports with students to plan learning goals for Semester 2 and also assist with subject selection as we move into the process for 2020.

Throughout a student’s time in Middle School they are faced with a huge variety of ‘learning moments’ and challenges as they navigate the early years of adolescence. Students and families are all on unique journeys as every child is different (even within the one family) and circumstances are evolving all the time. At Carey we are blessed to have a wonderful pastoral care system that works with both individuals and the collective, which at times can be a delicate balance. With the increase in connectivity and the complexity of social media, students and families can at times be grappling with multiple issues around fitting in, risk-taking behaviours, relationship issues, being bullied, self-identity and time management – it has never been harder to keep on top of all the things that make adolescence challenging. It is widely accepted that there are three main questions teenagers need answers at this time of their development:

  • The question of Identity: ‘Who am I?’
  • The question of Affinity: ‘Where do I belong?’
  • The question of Autonomy: ‘Do my choices matter?’

If you have any concerns around your child’s journey, we encourage you to talk with your child’s Mentor as a starting point.

This week the students have been briefed about their subject selections for 2020. The Year 10 2020 Information Evening will have provided Year 9 students with an important overview. Heads of House, Mentors and Senior Curriculum Leaders from Senior School will be able to provide sound advice and discuss options for the coming year. Pathways@Carey is available on our website and student login details for subject selection will be emailed this week. Please note that the due date for online selections for all year levels is Thursday 1 August. As this falls during the Year 8 program, families will need to be particularly vigilant to ensure that the discussions about selections have taken place and that the deadline is met. House Mentors must sign off on selections before they are handed in. It is strongly advised that this is done while students are on campus for the Human Rights Convention.

We wish Year 8 students and staff all the best as they embark on the Hattah, Rural and the Human Rights Convention program over the next three weeks. As in years passed we can expect some great stories when students return from their ‘real-world’ experiences. We know that these innovative programs provide students a wonderful opportunity to further develop their thinking, collaboration, creativity, communication and connection to a different environment and can truly enhance their learning.

I hope everyone has a wonderful start to Term 3 and looks forward to finding new answers to the big questions.

Michael Nelson
Head of Middle School