Our students and staff have now completed two weeks, in the case of our youngest learners, three weeks of face to face learning. These past weeks have brought many of the best things about school to the fore. That is the relational life of a school community, through face-to-face learning and play.
Despite enjoying this blessing of greater movement and activity, we still must recognise we are still in a season of change and readjustment. Just as the season of Spring brings forth new life and we enjoy the beauty of flowers and warmer weather, it is also an unpredictable time. Spring weather is highly variable, warm and mild one day, followed by heat and then sudden change to cold and wet days. Sudden storms also punctuate the weather of Spring and sometimes its hard to know how to dress or whether to take an umbrella with you or not. Similarly, this season of return, brings unpredictable changes and emotional responses in ourselves and our children. Sudden shifts in emotion can be challenging, however, with understanding, these emotional storms can be navigated positively.
Over the past weeks our staff have benefited from training sessions from our school counsellor team on topics such staff wellbeing and providing support for students as they transition back to school. To help understand what is happening in our brains as we experience strong emotions and how they can be regulated. This video by respected psychiatrist, Dr Daniel Siegel uses a simple model to help us understand brain functioning and emotional regulation.
One of the key messages from our staff training is relevant for all of us is to ‘be kind to yourself and to others’, particularly in this season of change. This can mean remembering:
· Do not neglect to take care of yourself and your own needs.
· Self-compassion is key.
· Stay connected
· Ask for help.
· Reach out to others.
The school continues to respond to the changing COVID-19 health guidelines announced by the government. There are still differences between school and the community requirements. This really comes down to the fact that schools involve a higher number of interactions between a large number of students and staff on a daily basis. Thus, the protective measures of vaccination, masks, good ventilation and physical distancing continue to provide improved levels of health and safety. I would like to thank all the parents and carers who have been so cooperative in helping us achieve this at drop off and pick up times.
I do have an important reminder, should your child be unwell or have flu-like symptoms, please keep them home. We are finding a disproportionately large number of students in the youngest year groups needing to be picked up through the day because that have come to school and presented with these symptoms. The School is directed by NSW Health to contact parents and for the student to head home. Making the call early to keep your son or daughter home if they are unwell can ultimately save time and possibly the need for a COVID test.
We are currently planning a larger than usual number of different celebrations for this time, including the Year 6 and Year 12 graduations and end of year assemblies. A letter about these has already been sent home via the School app. These events require a great deal of planning, thus we need to determine the best format now, based on current restrictions. While we expect restrictions will likely continue to change, our plans for these events will stay in place so that we can prepare well to celebrate these significant markers in the learning journey of your children. Last minute changes will not be possible for such large events as these.
Next week marks the start of HSC examinations. These exams are finally here, having been delayed up to two months. This has been an exhausting year for our Year 12 students and their teachers. This cohort of students have shown so much resilience to make this far through two lockdowns within their senior years. Now is the last big push. Join us in prayer for our Year 12 students during the coming weeks, that they may be able to demonstrate accurately what they have learned, give their best in terms of their quality of work and that they may remain healthy and safe.
All the best Year 12 – Go well!!!