From the Acting Head of Junior School

As adults we spend a great deal of time communicating with each other – but I wonder how effective our communication actually is? I wonder how much thinking goes in to what we want to say, type in an email or post online – our key messages, how we want to say it and, importantly, what we want the other person to hear when we are communicating?

This is really at the forefront of my mind this week as we’ve been communicating with each other as adults in the information sharing context, where our shared focus has been your child.

As the year unfolds and the important relationships are built between student, teacher and parent, maybe it is worthwhile to consider more deeply some of these aspects of our shared communication:

  • Start afresh – Teachers are really good at supporting the children, and as parents we also need to allow the children to grow and learn from the events of yesterday. Just as the sun will come up, new discoveries can be found each day. With this in mind, consider how each other might need to be heard with a fresh perspective and approach. Maybe it is time to set free things from the past that we may still be holding on to.
  • Listen first – give the teacher the first chance to explain and offer an adult perspective. While it sounds obvious, sometimes our emotional brain takes over, and as loving and caring parents we have a natural bias to protect and side with the child, when this isn’t always in their best interests: there are always two sides to every coin.
  • Ask thoughtful and specific questions – clarify the information that you are unclear about, and ask for examples which may help you to understand the issues that may be involved. Remember that some discussion is sensitive, can be confidential, or even hurtful to your child’s self-confidence, so consider the position of your child, and others who are in the immediate environment.
  • Approach – we are always trying to see the strengths in the children, so use this as the starting point: are they able to learn from using their strengths to address and support areas for growth. Where there are deficits, remember that the communication needs to be considered, everyone wants the same thing – your child to make progress.
  • Trust – your child has many complex and interrelated learning layers, so letting go and trusting the professionalism of the teacher, and the many supports that are in place in the school, is vital for an honest relationship. Teachers view your child each day through a very different lens than you, and their determinations and solutions can seem at odds with your own views – so think carefully about expressing and offering trust.
  • Beyond the school gate – an opportunity exists for you to assist and guide your child, so ask for suggestions and advice from the teacher that may assist in developing your child further socially, emotionally and academically.
  • Involve your child – they are not a silo, in fact they are the center point of the effective three-way relationship between parent and school, so involve them in the communication. Discuss areas they need to work on and the ‘why’ this is important to their learning. Make sure that plans are realistic and achievable. Ask them to be responsible for the school diary, notes, letters etc., so they see the value and importance of your communication. And importantly, even suggest they take a discussion further with the teacher themselves, so as to learn even more skills about their own capacity to communicate effectively.

Welcome Carnival
Every year I am really amazed at how the Welcome Carnival seems to build such a wonderful sense of community. This year was no exception with some 700 adults and children meeting on Cluny Green to celebrate and welcome in the new school year, to meet new friends and families, and to catch up with some old friends and faces as well.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the many parents and volunteers of the JSPA who have worked very hard to ensure that the Welcome Carnival operates in the manner it does. From the rainbow balloon arch welcome on the steps, to snakes and crocodiles, face painting, maker cardboard boxes, rock climbing wall, science shows, photo booth opportunity, and the delicious food trucks – it was certainly such a positive start to the year. Should you wish to become involved and assist the JSPA, then please see your Class Rep and inquire how you might become part of this active parent group.

Just in case you missed out on knowing about ‘SchoolTV’ at the ‘Meet the Teacher’ evening recently, SchoolTV has lots of excellent parent information from renowned experts pertaining to your child, and your parenting. The last SchoolTV focus was on anxiety and has Michael Carr-Gregg plus other specialists talking on mini movies plus, you can look at Apps and print out fact sheets. This is an excellent resource that is there to assist us all to navigate through the developmental stages, and to best support our children.

National Close the Gap Day
There remains a great deal of work still to be done in many parts of our community when it comes to equal access to healthcare in Australia. So what if we told you that you can expect to live almost 20 years less than your next door neighbour? You wouldn’t accept it. No-one should.

National Close the Gap Day (NCTGD) is a national day of action to pledge support for achieving Indigenous health equality by 2030. Last year, more than 160,000 people took part in 1,640 separate NCTGD events across the country. NCTGD aims to bring people together, to share information and, most importantly, to take meaningful action in support of achieving Indigenous health equality by 2030.

With our ongoing close relationship to the community in Robinson River, this event has even greater significance to the children of the Junior School. This year some Year 6 students will be taking part and making a difference by selling Zooper Dooper icy-poles for $1 each. By becoming involved and supporting this cause, our actions can create lasting change – we are hoping to become part of the generation who closes the gap.

Child Safe Education
Carey is committed to providing a safe environment for all students. We will always act in the child’s best interests, and try to protect their wellbeing by keeping them safe. In support of the rights of the child, the Junior School will be again implement the Protective Behaviours curriculum though specific lessons in classrooms, House sessions and in wider community gatherings such as Junior School Assembly.

This vital part of the curriculum focusses on the child and their rights to:

  • feel safe at all times
  • have the right to feel safe at school, home, sport, and in a variety of different situations
  • have the right to ask for help from your teachers and other Carey staff
  • have the right to talk to anyone about anything
  • have a network of people they can approach to feel safe.

As your child comes home with these Child Safe messages, it presents as an ideal opportunity to engage with them in an open dialogue that will be guided by you, age appropriate, and that supports the messages that we’ve outlined – that their safety is our priority.

Should this curriculum present challenges for you as a family then please do not hesitate to be in direct contact with the school to see how we can support you.

How to help your child develop as a reader
Amy Lovell, Acting Prep to Year 6 English Co-ordinator, and Colleen Jarrett-Burke, Acting Deputy Head, were delighted with the large number of parents who participated in the parent reading information session last week. When teachers and parents work together with a shared understanding of how to get the best out of our children, they are more likely to thrive. If you were unable to attend this helpful event, and you would like a booklet about how to best support your child, please see Lisa Stewart at Junior School Reception.

Carey Gym Club
Carey Gym Club is a Rhythmic Gymnastics club catering for girls aged 5 and above. Rhythmic Gymnastics has a strong dance base and involves the use of five handheld apparatus – rope, hoop, ball, clubs and ribbon. We offer recreational gymnastics at Kew on Tuesdays after school until 4.30pm for girls in Prep to Year 2, held in Metcalfe Hall. Our aim is to teach Rhythmic Gymnastics skills in a safe and friendly environment, which will allow the girls to appreciate their own skills as they develop. For more information please see the promotional information at Junior School Reception or click here.

OCGA Night of Music
There is an OCGA Night of Music on Thursday 16 March for 7.00pm in the Ian Woolf Auditorium. The evening will feature musical performances from both current and past Carey students. Tickets are available via TryBooking. 

Ben Dooley
Acting Head of Junior School Kew