What’s happening in Term 4?
Term 4 continues with many exciting activities and events for our staff and students. Dr Danielle Einstein presented to staff this week about Loreto Normanhurst’s signature social and emotional program, which has been developed for Years 7 to 9 and follows Dr Einstein’s research on uncertainty, worry and building resilience. The program is evidence-based and targets the CASEL framework of social and emotional learning competencies. More information will be shared about the program at the start of 2021.
Students have been busy in many arenas – Year 9 on reflective work following their Songlines Experience, Year 10 returning from exams, and Year 11 beginning their first HSC assessment tasks. Year 11 also participated in the ‘GPs in Schools’ program this morning. This program is guided by the Australian Department of Health. This is an important opportunity for students to build in confidence and literacy when it comes to their rights, access to healthcare, youth and women’s health issues and wellbeing. The students listened to a presentation and then participated in group workshops enabling them to ask questions of a healthcare professional in a safe environment.
Next week is SPRINT Week and Year 10 will hear from Paul Dillon from DARTA, who will speak to the girls about Young people, alcohol and risk taking: Looking after your mates. Both sessions have been running at Loreto for some years, and are a significant and engaging part of the students’ holistic education about their wellbeing, physical health and rights and responsibilities as they step closer to adulthood.
Year 8 are preparing for their three-day Building Connections program in Week 7 which will see them visit Somerset Camp on the Colo River for a day; complete an ‘Urban Challenge’ at Loreto and engage in a ‘Burn Bright’ leadership and wellbeing day.
We were delighted this week to welcome our new students for 2021 at Orientation Day and we are grateful to Year 7 and other ‘buddies’ who prepared to host our incoming students.
This week in House time, about 80 student volunteers taught the rest of the student body our school song “Cruci Dum Spiro Fido” in Auslan, in recognition of Week without Words. This was led by the Student Council and we applaud their enthusiasm and organisation. The initiative is also a wonderful example of community and belonging, and an opportunity for our students to reflect on the different ways we communicate.
As we pass the half-way mark of the term, it is natural to turn our minds to holidays and Christmas time. Please engage with your daughters in conversations about keeping up standards that show respect for ourselves and others, and keep relationships ‘right’: punctuality, uniform, putting phones in lockers and completing our homework are all areas that, if maintained even when we might be excited about the end of the year, will ensure a positive and productive end to the term.
Conversations this week
|Year 7||Impact of our behaviours; and mobile phone use|
|Year 9||Touching base with Mrs Long|
SchoolTV is a digital resource for parents to assist in navigating your way through the challenges of modern-day parenting. Every month, Dr Michael Carr-Gregg introduces a new topic and interviews specialists to offer their advice. Information is presented in bite-size pieces that you can watch and read anywhere at any time on any device. Click the SchoolTV image to access the website. Please bookmark for easy access in the future.
Mrs Marysa Boland & Mr Justin Madigan
Deans of Pastoral Care
Reflections from a Tutor – Three Conversations to Have with Your Daughter
At Loreto, we value the power of conversation in forging connections, strengthening relationships and as opportunities for educational growth. Forming a core part of the Loreto Normanhurst Student Growth Model, conversations are a time to listen, to understand others and to respond with consideration. In essence, they form a necessary part of growing your daughter as a confident young woman.
From my perspective as an Aston House Tutor and English teacher, I regularly engage in cConversations with students to promote their moral development and to extend their intellectual thinking beyond the boundaries of my classroom. As a parent, conversations with your daughter during her formative years are an opportunity to facilitate moral growth; as she responds to and asks challenging questions, she can emotionally mature. Developing your daughter’s ability to converse and truly listen can lead to a greater sense of empathy as she comes to understand another perspective.
It can be difficult to engage teenagers in meaningful conversations, particularly when family members retreat to their separate devices each evening and AirPods become an almost permanent ear accessory. The following suggestions for ‘conversation starters’ might help to prompt a meaningful exchange of ideas between you and your daughter.
How can she engage more deeply with the world around her?
As an English teacher, I recognise the important role general knowledge plays in reading comprehension. Studies have shown that a rich cultural capital and exposure to topics before reading about them will have positive outcomes on ability to comprehend associated texts. In her writing, your daughter will have more examples to draw from, giving her a greater sense of interconnectedness of concepts and ideas.
The next time your daughter asks you who David Bowie was, or what life was like BG (before Google), use this as an opportunity to enrich her cultural capital. Tell her about your favourite novel, a classic film or a formative life experience. During your next car trip, you could listen to a robust discussion on the radio or an episode of ABC Conversations and encourage your daughter to ask you questions.
Who is her role model?
Who does your daughter aspire to be like? Today influencers on social media preach to teens that if they make enough “good content,” they will become famous and very successful. In the social media age, it can be difficult to instil values of hard work and resilience.
Positive role models show young people how to live with integrity, optimism, hope, determination and compassion. They play an essential part in a child’s positive development. As such, it is important to encourage your daughter to look for role models of moral substance. Take time to share who your own mentors and role models are. Discuss women of significance who do the small things well. Women such as Emma Watson, Jacinda Ardern, Malala Yousafzai and Priyanka Chopra strive to make our world a better place. They are valued for their intellect, not the number of ‘followers’ they have, and have worked hard for their success.
How can Verity help us navigate our post-truth era?
It can be difficult to navigate conversations about dynamic social, cultural and spiritual issues in the ever-changing cultural landscape of our ‘post-truth’ world. As you ponder your own questions in response to the latest political news, your daughter may have questions of her own.
Raising a compassionate young woman in 2020 is more important than ever before. Talking to your daughter about the significance of honesty and demonstrating the value integrity plays in your family is essential in helping your daughter develop the foundations of her own value system. As a young Loreto woman, she will develop a commitment to intellectual and moral truth and it will be up to her generation to bring honesty and compassion back in style.
Ms Alexandra Dockrill
Aston Tutor and Teacher of English