Welcome to the 2020 new school year. It was a joy to see the happy faces of the students fill the corridors and classrooms last Friday. There was much excitement as the students caught up with each other’s news and settled into their new learning spaces. Although the weather wasn’t kind to us for the first day, we didn’t suffer in our air-conditioned splendour – except for in Metcalfe Hall, where the air conditioning wasn’t working, and where we were due to hold our first assembly of the year. Thankfully we were able to relocate to Memorial Great Hall, which was certainly an adventure for our Preps! Mr Walter, our new Principal, was warmly welcomed and made a good first impression on the students with his engaging and relaxed manner.
I spoke to the children about my holiday adventures and the whole school’s focus on the positive learner attribute ‘Reflection’, which requires creating time to pause, contemplate possibilities, synthesise ideas and plan for the future. In our busy schedules these days, it is easy to fall into the trap of not allowing time to pause and reflect. It is important to create this time, as it is often when our best ideas and ‘ah-ha’ moments occur that allow us to move forward, grow in self-awareness and as learners. This term’s whole-school assemblies will be used to reflect on messages of hope about the world and in particular our capacity to be healers of our planet. In doing so, I reminded the students that we are a nude food school, which encourages us to think carefully about unnecessary packaging. I thank you in anticipation of your support in nurturing this habit with your children. I also spoke about caring for our belongings and making sure any items are named clearly. Unnamed items that end up in lost property will be sent to the Swap Shop after 24 hours. Please make sure your child’s belongings are named and, should they become misplaced, ensure your child has checked the lost property cupboard near reception. Caring for our belongings and appreciating their value prevents unnecessary consumerism, which is also good for healing our planet.
The fires that have gripped our country over the holiday period also got a mention and, in particular, the region near Bateman’s Bay where my elderly mother lives. There is no doubt we have witnessed nature at its most furious and at the same time we have seen the best of humankind, as people have risen and rallied to support each other and their communities. It has been lovely hearing several different students’ ideas for supporting those affected by the fires. Over the year we will focus on meaningful ways to support those affected.
I look forward to seeing you all next week at Meet the Teacher Night, which commences in Memorial Great Hall at 7.00pm with our new Principal, Mr Jonathan Walter. This is a really important evening and I ask that at least one parent attends to make sure they are aware of the routine requirements expected of our students and new focusses for the year ahead. The beginning of the year is when expectations are clearly articulated along with routines that set our students up for success. For example, one such new routine is the dismissal of lower primary students at the end of the day from the door leading to the playground.
All the best for a positive and enjoyable year!
Head of Junior School Kew