Head of House – Kendall
One of the strengths of Pastoral Care at Loreto Normanhurst is the sense of community built through the vertical Tutor Group systems. The mixing of year groups allows girls to develop and strengthen connections with students from other year groups. It provides the younger girls opportunities to seek guidance and advice from the older girls and it also allows the older girls to develop their leadership and communication skills. Unfortunately, in this year of extraordinary events, we have been unable to meet in these groups for much of the year. This has meant that we have had to become resourceful in ways to build and maintain that strong sense of Kendall community.
In the absence of these face-to-face interactions we have used technology to help maintain our connections. We have been able to stay connected through Zoom, Kahoot quizzes, email check-ins, our House Instagram page and other platforms. We even mastered Zoom Music Festival rehearsals which has been a very interesting journey in itself. The girls have shown great flexibility with the many changes and new ways encountered this year. They have engaged with each unique experience with positivity and looked on this new normal as an opportunity to grow. The changes to their normal routines have allowed stronger relationships to develop with girls within their year group and different Kendall Tutors and assistant tutors.
Change can be unsettling and uncomfortable. It can force you to look at what you normally do and evaluate its purpose and value. Many of the new interactions have been great alternatives to our normal processes, however what they have highlighted is the importance of genuine human contact. This was evident during the final week for our Year 12 students. The one thing the whole House wanted was to be able to gather as a community to say goodbye. The farewells were the first time we have been able to gather as a House since Term 1. All years were happy to sit on the ground, at an appropriate physical distance, to celebrate the Year 12 cohort. There were tears, laughter, stories and words of wisdom shared. One request from the Class of 2020 was time with their Tutor Group on their last day. So, in true Loreto tradition, cake was eaten as they said teary goodbyes to the group that meant so much.
Building community and growing connections has always been at the core of what we do.
While there will be a lot that we can learn from this year, one thing we know is human connection is crucial to maintain community. Building community and growing connections has always been at the core of what we do through our House system. The Oxford dictionary defines community as “a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.” In Kendall, community means so much more than that. We are a team of people who care for and about each other; who share a purpose and a sense of belonging. It has been so rewarding to see how the Kendall girls have banded together in this unique year and I am excited to see how our House will grow and continue to create the future.
Mrs Natalie Helm
Head of Kendall House