So here we are, 100 days out from Carey’s centenary. I’ve been thinking a lot about the Carey community and how one builds community and how you describe community. I have been a part of the Carey community for a very long time. My younger brother attended Carey in the days before it became a co-ed school (best decision ever), and I was used to attending Carey events, many and varied in those days as they are now. Next year, when Carey turns 100, I will have been a staff member here for 30 years. There have been many changes along the way from the boys’ school way back then to the present. But the one element that has remained constant is the sense of community. It is often said to departing staff and students, ‘Once a member of the Carey family, always a member of the Carey family’.
So, what creates community? One of the elements in the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework is Community – the overarching statement is, ‘Children are connected with and contribute to their world.’
In the ELC, we are very mindful of developing and nurturing a sense of community and a sense of belonging: from their room group and the whole ELC to the bigger Junior School and the larger school community they will eventually move into.
There are lots of ways to do this, like going for walks in different parts of the School, admiring the Kitchen Garden, watching the children play and engage in sports on Cluny Green, and engaging with the older students, like the Year 7 drama performances, Middle School House Music, and going to look at the Middle and Senior School Art and Design Exhibition. These are all important connectors for the children. The stone carving of the School’s namesake at the William Carey Chapel and the beautiful stained-glass window at the entrance to Memorial Great Hall are concrete elements of the community creating a sense of the history, and this is so valuable for our youngest students to understand. Additionally, the opportunity to use different spaces in the school also helps develop their sense of belonging to the Carey community – the art and music studios as well as little library and the science labs – and finally, the nativities which are performed for families and friends in the De Young Performing Arts Centre.
Being a part of a community requires that children learn about respect, diversity and fairness. They begin to become socially responsible and develop respect for the environment, as well as a sense of being a global citizen with rights and responsibilities. For many families, Carey is their main community, and for others it is just one of a number of communities that the children and their family belong to. This connectedness is invaluable for the children in our care, and celebrating our milestones together is a wonderful way to recognise the importance of community.
We look forward to celebrating Carey’s centenary in 2023.
Director of ELC Kew