Is it an ant or an elephant?
With increased emphasis being placed on the curriculum of the home as a crucial component in fostering successful, organised and resilient students, our staff-team looks forward to working in partnership with you throughout 2022.
I am fortunate in having heard well-known behaviour consultant Madhavi Nawana Parker speak on this topic, and below I have summarised some of her key recommendations regarding the vital role that parents play.
- Do not rescue your child. To enable students to become successful people, we need to let them fall, and to face natural (safe) consequences. Examples given are making a special trip into school because your child left his or her hat (or PE gear) at home. The consequence: your child will have to sit undercover, or watch the rest of the class participate in PE. These will not harm your child; they will, however, be important experiences in fostering personal organisation and resilience. According to Madhavi and other experts in the field, rescuing children only teaches them that they do not need to be organised, nor that you have faith in their ability to handle their own problems. If you work with the school in these situations, your children will be the winners. Child safety will never be compromised.
- Have a list on the wall (perhaps with pictures for young children) of the independent steps required to be efficient before and after school. For example, the morning list might say bathroom, breakfast, dishes, teeth, lunch-box, room (tidy). Another list could establish the habit of doing as many independent tasks as possible the night before. Remember that every child is capable of assisting in the home.
- Consider establishing a quiet time, when the whole family is doing homework, including you. Don’t do their homework for them, but it is suggested that you have a homework consultation time (“I am available for homework advice between 6:00pm and 8:00pm.”) to help alleviate procrastination. Stick to your time as this assists the development of organisation skills.
- Be pleased for your child when classes, extra curricular teams, Investig8 groups or camp activities are mixed, as they are given opportunities to expand their friendship group. In previous schools I have seen parents unsettle their child by stressing about student activity groupings. Please remember to show that you trust your child’s judgement, and that of their teachers.
- Be solution-focused when dealing with problems. Ask, “What do you think you could do about that?” rather than telling or lecturing them.
- Offer encouragement, love and optimism. Show that you believe they can perform tasks and sort out minor issues for themselves. Try to put incidents “to bed” at the time so the facts don’t get distorted. A catastrophe scale works well here: is it an ant or an elephant? In the past I have seen parents racing into school to sort out an “ant” for their child, under the misguided belief that they are helping. Remember that children actually take pride in doing things themselves. Please also remember that we teach as a profession because we love to help children flourish, and that we have the best interests of the children in mind when making decisions. Student outcomes are maximised when parents work with our wonderful Investigator teachers as partners and offer mutual support.
It is with mixed emotions that I announce the upcoming retirement of the wonderful Alice Hendy. Alice has served the College and Board with distinction since Investigator’s beginning. She has been unwavering in her dedication, integrity, kindness, loyalty and confidentiality. As Principal I feel privileged to have worked so closely with someone of Alice’s calibre and, like you, will miss her dearly. She and her husband, Noel, look forward to trips around Australia and having more time to spend with their growing family. Alice’s last day before she takes leave is Friday 1 April. I encourage you to take the time to say goodbye.
Fortunately we have been able to secure the employment of another excellent Executive Assistant. Diana Alsford commences here on 3 May. Highly qualified and experienced, Diana has held a number of high-profile executive roles in Canberra and has already begun a handover process with Alice.
Keep up your fabulous work!
Thank you for referring your friends, neighbours and colleagues to us. We truly are going from strength to strength, assisted by the feedback you provided in a recent survey. Meetings with architects continue next week and I sense we have something very special on the horizon. I can’t wait to share plans with you – hopefully in Term 2!