Deans of Boarding
The most recent edition of Lights Out, the Australian Boarding Schools Association magazine, contained articles on a diverse range of topics. Discussions on wellbeing, kindness, gratitude, sustainability, leadership, nutrition, pastoral and academic care and the importance of sleep can be found in the magazine. So much of what was written, had resonance for the staff and students in boarding at Loreto Normanhurst.
There has been a renewed focus on wellbeing in the Boarding School, with the girls embracing the many opportunities presented to them. Girls are participating in community fun runs as part of the Commo to 5km Challenge. At this stage we have over 20 girls committed to participating in the Colour Run on August 20. Year 11 and 12 girls are currently enjoying the benefits of a yoga program twice a week.
A recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald highlighted the importance of mindfulness. Greg Hassed from the Department of General Practice, Monash University, explains, “Mindfulness helps us grow new connections in the brain areas associated with concentration, self-awareness and managing emotion.” In coming weeks, the Year 10 dormitory will trial a mindfulness program, with the aim of implementing this across the boarding school. Girls have screen-free times on weekends and in the evenings.
Each dormitory has commenced constructing a wellbeing noticeboard. Information about sleep, nutrition, exercise and mental health can be found on the noticeboards. Working together, boarding staff and students have created these boards, the aim of which is to cause the girls to pause, think and act in ways that will, with the support of staff, improve their wellbeing.
Leadership has also been a focus of the Boarding School over the past few weeks. Elections for Boarder Council, as well as the newly created Boarder Representative Council have taken place. Occasions such as these are opportunities for girls to reflect on their skills and talents and to put themselves forward as willing to serve their fellow boarders with joyfulness and sincerity.
Boarders are also contributing to the environmental sustainability of the Boarding School by no longer using plastic cutlery and cups, instead bringing their own cutlery. This seemingly small but significant step was initiated by the girls themselves, members of the Green Team, who trialled the new system in the Year 11 dormitory in Term Two. The successful trial led to it being implemented throughout the Boarding School from the beginning of Term Three.
Joy and gratitude were demonstrated in abundance at the recent Christmas in July dinner. The Boarding School gathered together in the dining room to celebrate Christmas in July and to also acknowledge those students who had made outstanding contributions to the life of their respective dormitories. These evenings are characterised by a sense of gratitude for the community we share in boarding.
Mrs Joanne Hallinan and Ms Suzanne Leahy
Deans of Boarding