House is more than a location for many of our Junior School students. It provides a sense of belonging, a connection to others across different year levels, an opportunity to mentor and be supported and, of course, a time to have fun and feel safe.
All our Junior School students have welcomed the 2023 school year with House morning tea connection plays where they met their buddies, shared favourite spaces around Carey and chatted about likes, hobbies and activities of personal interest. Our Prep students and new students to Carey in 2023 experienced their first ‘Whole House’ session on Friday 24 February. The House Captains and Heads of House of each of the eight Junior School Houses facilitated introductions and welcomes to all new students and presented them with their very first Carey House badge, which many students wore with a real sense of pride and excitement as they headed home that afternoon.
House is not just a vehicle for students to participate in sporting events such as swimming, cross country and athletics events, it also includes building on the Carey values of Care, Respect and Growth in a cross-age space; engage with the School’s Baptist ethos in House Chapel services; celebrate and delve deeper into events such as Carey Celebrates Literature, Book Week, Maths Week; and to raise awareness and connect with our World Vision Sponsor Children who the Carey Junior School has had a relationship with over the past 30 years.
The students will be attending their second House session this Friday and, on the back of the most successful of House Swimming events on Friday 3 March where Chisholm had a come-from-behind victory, there is much to celebrate and build upon as the year progresses. We are looking forward to providing the opportunity for parents with Working With Children checks to attend some of the House sessions as the year unfolds to experience the joy and engagement the House structure provides.
As parents, we often find drawing information from our children at the end of the day to be incredibly challenging. This is due in part to student exhaustion, time required to process the day that has just unfolded or a desire by many students to just have some quiet down time before many of them head to another after school activity.
However, it is important for students to reflect on their school day. Research highlights that student wellbeing is improved when practices of gratitude are enacted. Whether these be in the form of journaling, writing letters, communicating orally to another, things that have positively impacted or occurred to them across the day or simply sharing events students are grateful for. Rather than simply asking ‘How was your day?’, here are five questions you may find helpful in eliciting this information and starting a conversation in the car, at the dinner table or as you tuck your child in and say goodnight: What did you learn today? Who did you enjoy being with today? What was the best part about your day? What was an interesting thing you saw today? What are you looking forward to tomorrow?
Equally as powerful is where you share and discuss your responses to some of these questions with your children. It may be that, each day, a member of your family takes it in turn to ask another member a different question.
Hunt the good: it exists every day and in many different forms, sometimes it just needs some modelling and guidance to show the students it may look different, acknowledge the challenges and in fact view these as opportunities to grow and keep communicating with us. Should there be things that may assist us in supporting your child, no matter how small, every small drop eventually fills a bucket and when we can intervene early it can have enormously positive impact on your child.
Enjoy the long weekend and find some time to engage in a mindfulness activity for yourself.
Deputy Head of Junior School Kew – Student Wellbeing