Dean of Extra-curricular

Dean of Extra-curricular

The 4 Ps: Play, Passion, Perseverance and Practice

As a Drama and PDHPE teacher, I have often spoken about the 4 Ps and how through these elements, a student can truly understand the possibilities of what they can achieve and what factors might be holding them back. Play, Passion, Perseverance and Practice are the elements that help create success, happiness, joy and growth. The ability and willingness to deal with failure and disappointment are just as important and these go hand in hand with the 4 Ps.

Our students need to play! How can they truly learn to be innovative, collaborative, learn empathy, creativity and teamwork unless they play?  Creating experiments in Science Club, learning a new game in Chess and Strategic Games or learning to play a sport are everyday examples of play. We as adults need to provide opportunities for structured and unstructured play; a place where our students can try something new or develop their skills in a safe environment. Failure and disappointment will result quite often and that’s a very good thing!

It is through play that we develop and foster a passion for different things. Passion for an activity doesn’t just occur, it requires the opportunity to play in a variety of contexts as well as the qualities of perseverance and practice. Our extra-curricular program offers students the opportunity to play and discover what they are passionate about. They can participate in Sport, Music, Drama, Social Justice groups, Oratory, FPS, Tours and Immersions and a variety of Clubs and Teams. Play and passion, however, are not enough by themselves, the willingness to not give up too quickly and to practise is also necessary. Perseverance and consistent, regular and deliberate practice are the only ways to improve and that takes time, energy, focus, commitment and grit.

I surveyed all students in Years 7-12 last year about their reasons for being involved in extra-curricular activities and the most common reasons were to:

  1. Make friends and connect with other students who had similar interests;
  2. Develop their gifts, talents and skills in areas of interest outside of the classroom; and
  3. Develop their collaborative and leadership skills.

Our students want to connect with other students who have similar passions and they want to develop their own gifts and talents in a variety of pursuits that are outside of the classroom, so what is holding some students back from having a go or achieving their best? Is it that when faced with challenges and failures they give up too quickly or is it that they don’t persevere and commit fully to the practice component? Sometimes students may not be in a club or team with their good friends, or the activity, skills and concepts involved become difficult so the desire to give up might be strong but it is important to keep going and to push through the testing times. How can we as parents and educators help each and every student find their passion, foster a variety of friendships and achieve success outside of the classroom? The answer is to let them play, to experiment with a variety of activities and then offer encouragement and support when things become tough. We can’t and shouldn’t solve each small problem or roadblock as it arises, instead, we encourage them to persevere and practise.

The Extra-curricular program at Loreto Normanhurst is diverse, there really is something for everyone and there are wonderful opportunities to play, experiment and to connect with students from other year groups who have similar interests. You never know who your new friends might be or what your real passions are unless you are brave enough to have a go at something new. So, I challenge all students to do exactly that this year – whether that be joining a new club, trying a new sport, giving debating or public speaking a go or attending one of the social justice meetings. However, don’t just try something once or twice, commit fully to the activity, practise regularly and give yourself the best chance to develop new friendships, build leadership and teamwork skills, find your passion and have some fun along the way.


Mrs Chris Woods

Dean of Extra-curricular