One of many observations that teachers are making about students in Victoria is that a number of them are finding it more challenging to focus on their school work. It appears that on some unconscious level, they are trying to make up for all the time they have spent away from their peers, but seeking to interact with them at times when personal concentration is required. This was not unexpected, but it continues to remind us of the importance of routines in establishing and ensuring healthy and productive work and interactions. Over the coming days, I strongly encourage all parents that, like we here at school, you again take a few moments to evaluate which routines your family has developed that are helpful to your students achieving their best (and being a happy, contributing family member!), and which are unhelpful.
Psychologists remind us that even the practice of setting a regular time to discuss your child’s growth (physically, socially and emotionally) with them, and to re-evaluate the new and growing expectations you have of them is extremely helpful. If your adolescent knows that these discussions are coming every six months or so, then they can begin to own that it is reasonable as they get older, for you to expect more of them, and for you to still have a say in regulating their behaviours where they do not yet have the skills to do so (eg. screen time, monitoring food and hydration and ensuring good sleep patterns). They will feel affirmed that you recognise that they are getting older and therefore capable of more personal responsibility, and also that as a family member and therefore part of a social unit that needs to work together to ensure that everyone thrives, their responsibilities will also grow and change.
An evaluation of your teenager’s and indeed your family routines could include everything from sleep schedules, access to screens/devices/tv, access to food/types of food being consumed, sufficient and appropriate hydration, daily exercise and the patterns that have developed in getting ready for school (is everyone using this time effectively and efficiently?), after-school activities and expectations about what needs to be achieved before dinner and evening practices routines (there are many articles about the importance of bedtime routines for a good night’s sleep).
Over the coming weeks, a number of things will start to appear on the calendar that may be startling…there’s a group of students heading off on an Outdoor Education camp, sports training is resuming (and in some sports, such as equestrian, actual competition is underway), annual Retreat Days will be held and before we know it, the MySTART classes will begin.
Of course, each of these experiences will be ‘same-same, but different’ as we modify to try and ensure a coronavirus safe environment for our students and staff.
Please continue to encourage your child to ensure that they are using the sanitiser provided at school, that their computer is regularly cleaned with a disinfectant wipe and that they are practising social distancing. We have been informed by the DHHS that they will be enforcing the ‘close contacts of close contacts’ isolation principle in schools and expecting us to move quickly to identify and send home any students who are found to be ‘close contacts’ and ‘close contacts of close contacts’ until testing has been completed and the family has received a written release from DHHS for the students to return to campus. In a school our size, this will mean a substantive operation to get the relevant students quickly isolated and sent home (especially given these students will not be able to use the bus system)!
You may have already noticed this on the SIMON calendar, but we have moved the 2020 Awards Evening to Monday 30th November. The evening will be held via livestream, with some senior students on site for the presentations and the remainder at home. We hope that you can prioritise this important event with your family and find a way that you can watch it together. More details will follow closer to the date. As well as the announcements of their success on the evening, students will have their Awards conferred in person in House Assemblies on the last day of Term (Dec 4th).
Over the coming four weeks, we will have about 300 Year 11 and 12 students sitting their Unit 4 VCE final exams. We invite everyone to pray this short prayer each morning for them:
Loving God, hold the student sitting an exam today gently in your hands this morning. Let them be full of peace and open to the grace that these moments hold. Let their hard work shine through, and no matter the outcome, may they always know that they are treasured by us, the community that has sustained them, and by you their heavenly parent.
Saint Marcellin Champagant, pray for us.
Mary our Good Mother, pray for us.
Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop, pray for us.
And may we always remember to pray for one another.