Garnsey Campus newsletter: June 5, 2020
With our Year 7 – 10 students returning to the Garnsey campus next week, understandably many young people and their families are likely to be feeling ambivalent and even anxious about what this means for them. As I reflect on the past eight weeks, I am incredibly proud of the amazing work that teachers, students and families have done in ensuring the continuity of learning and engagement with Learn@Home. I am most grateful to everyone for the way our whole Community has responded and managed this time. As I have engaged in professional reading in the last few weeks looking for how best to prepare for the return of students – including our Year 7s who have been learning from home longer than they have learnt from the campus itself this year – I have reflected on the important role that families play in helping their children through this time. Below I have shared a small extract that I hope will provide some useful starting points for conversations at home over this weekend.
Not everyone’s experience of online learning will have been the same – some students have thrived while others have languished and feel quite traumatised by the whole experience. On the other hand, some students may even be wondering what all the fuss is about and remain completely unaffected. The point is, children (and adolescents) need a safe, non-judgemental space and a person to talk about their experiences of this last few months as well as their thoughts/feelings about returning to school. Some questions that might be worth asking are:
- What have you learnt about yourself? Look for opportunities to strength spot for your child as well as opportunities for growth.
- What have you learnt about our family?
- What did you enjoy about doing things differently for a while? What did you dislike?
- How are you feeling about returning to school? Do you have any worries?
- What did you miss about school? What are you looking forward to?
- What relationships have you missed? What relationships will you miss when you return to school? (e.g. a lot of young people will report missing being with their pets.)
- Thinking about returning to school, Finish this sentence “What if…”
- Who is the person at school you would talk to if you were finding things difficult?
- Social stories may be helpful when talking with younger children.
Children and adolescents are very unlikely to say “Hey Mum and Dad – I am feeling anxious about returning to school and I need some help with managing these difficult feelings”. Gosh! Wouldn’t parenting be a lot easier if they did! Just like adults, most young people will be more likely to communicate their distress through changes in their behaviours. If you are a child with more limited expressive language skills and difficulties with emotion regulation, then you are going to draw on whatever you can to try to make yourself to feel safe and calm, even if the strategies are maladaptive.
Some signs that your child might be struggling to cope with the idea of returning to school are:
- Seeking frequent reassurance – asking repetitive questions
- Difficulties adjusting to changes in routine
- Changes in their appetite or sleep patterns
- Being more clingy and reluctant to leave the house/be without a parent
- Becoming easily upset/angry/teary
- Complaining of stomach aches or headaches
- Avoiding situations, people, tasks or schoolwork
- Being more argumentative/defiant/impulsive than usual
- Being more withdrawn, apathy
- Negative thinking – listen out for statements that start with “what if…”
We have placed a number of resources for parents on VOS and I encourage parents to look these up if you are looking for further support in coming days as you help student prepare for their return to School. We are excited to welcome them back.
Community Forum: Bushfires and Pandemics: how to support child wellbeing
On Thursday June 18 at 4pm (via Zoom) the University of Melbourne is facilitating a community forum which will be of interest to parents and teachers at schools in our area. It is titled: Bushfires and Pandemics: how to support child wellbeing. The panel includes experts in child education, mental health and community disaster recovery along with young people with bushfire experiences from the region. Following the discussion we will have an audience Q&A. You are welcome to submit questions prior at registration or ask them on the day. This is the link to event information and registration: https://events.unimelb.edu.au/view/event/event_id/6929
Return to School: Tuesday June 9, 2020
Please refer to the GG Return to School Handbook distributed by Mrs Harper last week for all general guidelines and arrangements. The information below should be read in conjunction with those guidelines and provides some additional Garnsey campus specific information about the application of the guidelines.
Students who do not return to School on the due date: All Year 7 -12 students are expected to return to the campus on Tuesday. Some parents will decide that their children are not returning. We respect this decision.
All parents have been asked to notify Jan Henry by email, to gain approved absence status. Once absence has been approved, teachers, Heads of Year and the Attendance Officer will be notified, it will be reflected in Synergetic rolls and approved absences will not require follow up. All unapproved student absences will continue to be followed up with daily text messages and absence reports unless parent notification is received.
Timetable: A new timetable will be distributed on Tuesday which coincides with the commencement of a new semester. Form some students this means a switch from History to Geography, a new Arts subject or a switch from Music to Drama.
Daily Timings: Timings are reflected on VOS. We will commence Tuesday with a Day 7 timetable but with Day 6 timings so that we can have a welcome back assembly.
Uniform: All Year students on campus will be required to get back into their uniforms, in this case the Winter uniform. The uniform does extend to scarves, hair, jewellery and shaving and I ask students to attend to these matters as much as the standard uniform.
In order to minimise overcrowding and mix ups with uniform, students in Years 7-10 will be permitted to wear correct PE gear to School on days when they have Physical Education classes. Health classes do not require PE uniform. There will be no Sport on Thursdays in Term 2, at this stage, so students will wear their regular uniform on Thursday.
Coffee, Tea, Lunch and Water: The Quad Caf is closed for the remainder of Term 2. External deliveries of food to the campus are not allowed.
WILL HAMS ZOOMS IN
Former AFL footballer Will Hams who is now travelling the world empowering young people, ‘visited’ Gippsland Grammar this week to offer senior students an insight to life beyond school. It’s part of Gippsland Grammar’s Career Catchup program demonstrating to students on a weekly basis how diverse the community is.
Hams, who grew up in Sale, told students how he dreamed to play AFL and how he made it happen. His football career began at Sale Football Club following the pathway through Gippsland Power to be drafted to Essendon in 2012 just after he completed Year 12.
He played at in the big league for four years all the while completing a business administration degree at University. He is now working with Antipodeans running leadership development programs in schools throughout the world. While COVID-19 has stopped his travel for the time being, he has enjoyed visiting his mum in Inverloch, fitting in the odd surf during lunch breaks. Rowing students were among those attending the lunchtime zoom session on Tuesday.
SENIOR STUDENTS ZOOMING IN TO YEAR 1 STUDENTS
Year 10 Geography students have been able to extend their learning beyond their own classroom during Learn@Home. Last week senior students Eden, Eloise and Poppy visited the Year 1 classrooms via zoom to share their knowledge of pollution. They helped the younger students understand the impact of plastic on the ocean and presented ideas and tips to reduce and recycle.
The Gippsland Anglican is now an online publication and the most recent edition features a couple of great little Gippsland Grammar stories. Click this link to read more: https://www.gippsanglican.org.au/assets/00TGA/2020/TGA_June_20FINAL1.pdf
I look forward to seeing all students at the Garnsey campus on Tuesday, which as you can see in this picture is looking lovely and ready for everyone to fill the quad again!
Head of Garnsey Campus
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