Our Academic Assembly held on Monday this week acknowledged those students who achieved high academic results in Semester One 2018. We congratulate them and all students who consistently give of their best in the classroom, on the sports field and in their interactions with others.
Besides teaching students academic subjects and introducing them to sporting and performing arts opportunities, schools have a significant impact on the values and attitudes their students develop. At St John’s we make a conscious effort to explicitly teach values and positive attitudes through our Personal Development and RaVE (Religion and Values Education) lessons, Chapel and Assembly presentations, and through the ‘hidden curriculum’ – the unwritten and unofficial lessons that students learn through the culture of the school. At our school it’s the ‘St John’s Way’ – our way of showing empathy and compassion, giving our best, understanding different perspectives and working cooperatively with others.
The ‘St John’s Way’ is learnt through the day to day interactions of staff, students and parents, through the words of encouragement and guidance given and through the Christian foundations on which our College stands.
From time to time we specifically focus on one quality from the Learner Profile or a positive attitude we want our children to develop. In the coming months ‘empathy’ will be our area of focus. Teaching children about empathy can provide them with the valuable skill of understanding what someone else is feeling or experiencing, and helping them to know what impact their future actions will have on the feelings of others.
Many teachers in the younger grades, have a system of ‘bucket fillers’ in their classrooms to remind their students that acts of kindness towards others, fills their lives with positivity. The ‘bucket’ represents the mental and emotional self and kind actions fill ‘buckets’ while actions that are not kind, or are unhelpful and cause hurt, take away from the ‘bucket’. When a person’s ‘bucket’ is ‘full’ they have a positive mind set, feel a sense of happiness and demonstrate the confidence to act kindly towards others, which has the ripple effect of helping to fill the ‘buckets’ of those around.
The ‘bucket fillers’ system draws the attention of the children to the impact of empathy and encourages kindness. To extend on this we will be talking about empathy at assemblies and asking students to let us know when they have experienced random acts of kindness. A group of parents is helping to producing vouchers for the children to record the act of kindness and over the next few months we will be collecting the vouchers and collating the information. By focusing on empathy in this way and talking about the acts of kindness that have been generated through St John’s, we hope to increase the number of acts of kindness in our community and make it even more community minded and supportive.
We invite parents to get involved, talk about empathy at home and also let us know when they have received a random act of kindness through our school community. We will have vouchers in Primary Reception that can be filled in to record the act. The names of the people are not necessary because we do not seek to recognise or reward, but rather to draw attention to the act of kindness and its positive impact. We will share some of the stories with our children at assemblies so they are aware of the kindness being shown by members of the St John’s community. When the whole community is involved the impact of this focus on empathy will be greater. I look forward to hearing from you about this initiative and thank those families who are already involved.
Early Year’s Conference
On Tuesday this week, we held an Early Years Conference in our Library, for educators in Kindergarten to Year Two. Teachers from other schools were invited to join our Early Years teachers to hear our guest speaker, Linda Ray, CEO of Neurocapability. Linda spoke about the impact of digital technology on the young developing brain and what educators can do to help their young students. She provided teachers with a range of strategies that can be used in the classroom and talked about the need for finding the right balance in life between the use of technology and other activities.
In her presentation, Linda Ray used examples of the strategies our teachers implement at St John’s to build mindfulness and focus in our students. We were very pleased to be able to share our knowledge and experience with the visiting teachers and greatly valued hearing Linda’s expert advice. The feedback we received from participants was very positive and we look forward to running another Early Years Conference again in the future.
Foundation Week Celebrations
The College has enjoyed a number of celebratory events over the last week and our 25th Anniversary events conclude tomorrow with the Early Years Foundation Concert at 9.00am and the Fancy Dress Ball in the evening. Information about these events was emailed to parents on Monday this week.
The Friends of the Arts (FOTA) will be running a barbecue on the evening of the Fancy Dress Ball so please take the night off cooking dinner and support them by purchasing a burger or other delicious treats they have for sale. We sincerely thank the parents involved in organising this catering for us.
I am really looking forward to seeing everyone in their fancy dress costumes tomorrow.
Head of Primary