It is always such a pleasure to welcome new families to the Carey community every year. Some of the families are returning with second or third children, for some it is their first time, and increasing numbers are Old Carey Grammarians returning to their old school with their own children. It is such a wonderful experience to see them as adults reconnecting to their school, viewing the environment though different eyes and understanding the many changes both within themselves and in the School. The common thread with all our returning OCGs is the strong positive memories of their own schooling here, which is both delightful and validating to witness.
For the young child embarking on their formal learning journey outside the home and the family community, this is a big step – especially after the rollercoaster COVID-19 year of 2020. Last year meant that many children had no real connection with people other than their family bubble and, while socialising with your siblings is important and teaches many skills, it is not the same as developing relationships with other children and adults outside the family.
Joining a School community presents the important opportunity to learn different ways of doing things, and children begin to discover more about diversity and inclusivity, difference and similarity, as well as belonging and identity. The children develop a sense of community when they begin to recognise some of the symbols of Carey, like the crest, the torch the Carey colours. Hearing school bells, speaking with the other children in their class and seeing other students of different ages all add to the sense of belonging to an educational community. They understand what it’s like to be a small part in a large community.
The Victorian Early Years Learning Framework (VEYLF) has, as one of the five outcome areas, Community. The overarching goal of this outcome is that, ‘Children are connected with and contribute to their world’. Then, many sub-goals within this understanding cover reciprocal rights and responsibilities, responding to diversity with respect, awareness of fairness and becoming socially responsible, and showing respect for the environment. This has the sense of children moving beyond their family community to a larger community and still feeling that sense of belonging, inclusiveness and support.
Belonging and community are integral to human existence. What was your sense of community as a child? What does it feel like now? Are you part of several communities? What do you value about the Carey community? Try talking to your child about their experiences with their new school community.
Director of ELC Kew