It was heartening to see so many of our students involved in the ANZAC March on Wednesday this week, and listening intently at our Primary ANZAC Service on Friday 20 April. It was at our Primary ANZAC Service that the children reflected on the personal qualities the ANZAC soldiers demonstrated as they bravely faced the challenges of war, cared for their mates and persevered in difficult circumstances. A short film clip from the Bible Society was shown at the ANZAC Service and the students heard that three qualities of the World War I soldiers have come to represent the ANZAC Spirit – Endurance, Mateship and Courage.
Courage is one of those qualities that children can feel is reserved for people with special powers. It can seem unattainable to the average person. The reality is, everyone can develop a level of courage and become a risk taker. It is an important quality we want all our students to develop as it can give them the confidence they need to succeed in learning and in life.
Being a risk taker is one of the qualities from the International Baccalaureate PYP and involves students stepping out of their comfort zone to try new ideas and new ways of thinking. It involves being prepared to give things a go no matter what the outcome, trying something challenging and not being afraid to make a mistake or fail. When being a risk taker, a student demonstrates courage.
I was thrilled to hear the response of a Prep child who was recently taking a long time to complete a jigsaw puzzle. I wondered how she was going and if she needed any help. Her response to me was, ‘I don’t need help. I like them tricky.’ This was joy to my ears because it showed me this child had the internal courage to try something difficult and the perseverance to stick with it. I was very proud of her response and she was very proud of herself when she completed the puzzle and showed me she could do something difficult on her own.
Young people often believe that to have courage we must feel brave on the inside. This is not the case. Courage doesn’t always mean a person feels brave and strong. On the outside, courage may look impressive, but on the inside the person can feel frightened and uncertain. If children understand this, they are more likely to develop the courage to try new things and accept a challenge, despite their nerves or feelings of anxiety.
A great way to help children develop courage and be a risk taker is to minimise the number of times we intervene early and show them how to do a task correctly. A child who is never given the opportunity to think things out for themselves can develop a ‘learned helplessness’ that sees them always seeking adult guidance and help, and rarely wanting to try something on their own for fear of failure.
Having the courage to try even when we don’t know that we will succeed and having the endurance to keep trying until we reach our goal are important qualities for our children to develop. Thomas Edison, a world famous inventor once said, ‘I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.’ Let’s help our children develop the same mindset and see what they can achieve with their own sense of courage and self-belief.
The Year Two students demonstrated courage and a lot of excitement on their excursion to Lone Pine this week. They participated in a range of activities there that complemented the PYP Unit of Inquiry they are currently investigating. We thank the parents and teachers who assisted on this special outing.
Last week two researchers from the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) visited our campus to conduct a survey into reading enjoyment in Years Two and Three. The visiting researchers commented on how impressed they were with the way in which the children responded to activities and willingly contributed their thoughts about the questions, including how they might be improved. It was evident that the students do find real enjoyment in reading.
Next month our primary students will once again be invited to participate in the Premier’s Reading Challenge. Further information about this program and how many books need to be read prior to the end of August, will be provided in the near future. I do encourage all students to get involved. Those who are successful in reaching the reading target will receive a certificate from the Queensland Premier.
Head of Primary
Bring your little one along to experience Storytime Fun on Monday 30 April from 8.45am in the Primary Library. For more information, please click here.