Boarding Heads of House
Boarding at Loreto Normanhurst offers a truly unique experience and it is an honour to join the community in our role as Head of House. The laughter, joy and excitement that we hear in the corridors, dorms and during afternoon recreation is reflective of the friendships and connections that are formed between boarders, across different year groups and the care and compassion they offer one another. As we reflect over the past terms it is evident that as a boarding community we have accomplished and experienced many enriching moments through our shared experiences and reimagined events like the Music Festival, Pink Lady dinners and Christmas in July. Over the past few weeks all boarders have worked tirelessly, with a great sense of fun to perfect their performances for the annual Boarder Main Event. Last Wednesday the well-rehearsed performances were showcased and filmed, and we look forward to sharing these soon with our boarding families.
A focus in boarding this term has been around utilising the experience and expertise of our team of nurses in order to revisit the importance of maintaining wellbeing through nutrition and sleep. A healthy sleep routine is necessary for adolescents as it can give them more energy, improve concentration, help them better deal with stress, and keep a healthy headspace . This has been particularly important considering the increased level of anxiety during COVID-19. The nurses guided and explored with the girl’s ways they can implement a variety of strategies which include:
- Managing fatigue: Remembering that even if you did not get much sleep, or it seemed to be poor sleep, it is not the end of the world. You will get through the next day all right and if you are quite tired, you will probably sleep better the next night.
- Establish a regular sleep routine including a regular pattern for going to sleep as well as limiting the use of technology one hour before bedtime.
- Eat well, including a variety of nutritious foods. Limit caffeine, especially late afternoon or evening.
- Participate in physical activity during the day to improve the quality of your sleep which is supported by the recreation program we offer the girls.
- Practice relaxation techniques; meditation, listen to soft music and keeping a gratitude journal.
- Limiting media exposure: not paying too much attention to gossip and some media reports, which may be exaggerated, or may simply be guessing what might happen.
- Sleep is like a butterfly. You cannot reach out and grab it and catch it. If you stay quiet and still, the butterfly will come to you. It is the same with sleep. You cannot force yourself to go to sleep, so do not try. Simply allow yourself to be relaxed and quiet, and sleep will come to you.
This year in boarding, we have also seen the re-emergence of the Sustainability Committee. It has been open to girls from any year group and has its focus on targeted boarding specific strategies to reduce waste, improve recycling and develop a greater sense of awareness raising amongst the girls. ‘What if I told you Wednesdays’ is one fantastic initiative developed which sees the girls present a sustainable suggestion or idea once a week. This has led to the girls sharing suggestions on shampoo and conditioner bars and planning for ‘Return and Earn’ opportunities within the boarding house.
Our recreation program has continued to provide opportunities for our boarders to participate in organised fitness classes, mindfulness, cooking in the Hospitality Room, meditation sessions and external excursions such as Putt Putt, picnics in Wahroonga Park, bushwalking and enjoying visits to the beach. These have been a real success among the girls and have been a great way for them to relax, unwind and develop meaningful relationships with their peers.
As we continue to navigate the challenges that COVID-19 have brought to so many individuals and families we have been so encouraged by the strong sense of resilience and optimism that exists within the Loreto Normanhurst boarding community. As Heads of House we are so proud to be part of this journey for our girls and thank everyone for their continual support.
Ms Isabelle Tilsely and Mrs Jenelle Minto
Boarding Heads of House