Read more: Parent seminar, student wellbeing over the coming weeks, sleep and wellbeing.
An event that I believe will be of great interest is a parent seminar with author and education consultant Mr Paul Dillon (Drug and Alcohol Research Training Australia), who has been working in drug education for more than 25 years. The College has been able to exclusively secure Paul on Thursday, 28 October at 6pm. This seminar has been moved online.
Reenforcing our ‘wellbeing partnership’, Paul will also be presenting to students in Years 10 and 11, and to staff earlier in the day.
Whenever and wherever Paul speaks, parents, staff and students deeply appreciate the currency of his knowledge, his insights into young people and his engaging manner. He has closely observed the impact of the pandemic on the drug and alcohol habits of young Australians, and will share this with us in an online seminar.
I hope you can find the time to invest an hour before the long summer holidays, during which Paul anticipates a return to large scale ‘gatherings’ of young people. Among his concerns is that many of these will be outdoor gatherings in high-risk settings such as parks and beaches, with possible risk-taking behaviours.
Parent Seminar: Thursday 28 October, 6pm-7:15pm
Meeting ID: 844 1268 5711
Student Wellbeing Over the Coming Weeks
At Tuesday’s staff professional learning day, the wellbeing team spoke about a consistent transition to best support our students as they move from online learning back to the classroom.
After looking at other countries that have transitioned back to face-to-face learning, there was a distinct need for students to reconnect with their peers, teachers and indeed their school. Many countries found this to initially be a higher priority than teaching and learning.
Teachers and parents are encouraged to show empathy and understanding towards students who may be struggling after an extended time absent of routine, sport and their friends. Any feelings should be validated by adults in their lives.
Our own College psychologists have noted that during the COVID-19 outbreak, our students who may have previously been experiencing anxiety, have tended to feel calmer and more in control during the online learning experience. This could be due to not being confronted by triggers and reinforcers that increase their anxiety, as well as being in the safety and comfort of their home environment. However, as we see a return to school, we may notice a spike in anxiety for these students (and others). The most likely forms will be related to workload/school pressures, social pressures and safety/concerns regarding COVID-19.
During the initial stages of face-to-face learning, teachers will be providing students with positive reinforcement to help with their adjustment back at College. This will be reflected in the notes sent home to parents. Parents should also be proving positive feedback to their sons for the positive ways they are adjusting to life back on campus.
The College is also aware that some friendship groups may have changed, particularly in the younger year groups. Subjects and activities that promote group work and interaction will gain additional value such as PDHPE, Science, TAS and our co-curricular program.
The Wellbeing Team values any information about recent changes in a student’s life that may impact their wellbeing, particularly those that have occurred during lockdown. Loss, grief, anxiety, family breakup or trauma are important pieces of information. It is asked that parents contact their son’s Head of House so the appropriate staff can help with their son’s journey.
Finally, there is no doubting the importance of routine and maintaining our high expectations. From uniform (including haircuts), behaviour to and from school, as well as in the classroom and attendance, the College will be reinforcing these from the moment students return to campus until the last day of school.
Sleep and Wellbeing
The importance of quality sleep has been reenforced by our wellbeing team during lockdown. Quality sleep and effective sleep hygiene are strong protective factors against stress and disease by allowing our bodies to rest and recharge.
Dr Meeta Singh is a psychiatrist and sleep specialist from the United States who presents practical ideas to ensure we are doing the correct things to allow our bodies to get the sleep we need. In her podcast she discusses common sleep disorders and useful ways we can improve our quality of sleep and therefore our quality of life.
Mr Patrick Brennan
Deputy Principal (Staff and Student Wellbeing)