Posted on April 30, 2019 / From the Principal
This week we have a special guest introduction from Oriana Constable, Head of Senior College.
Research shows that children with good mental health have an increased ability to learn, be creative and are more productive. The physical, emotional and social wellbeing of our students is so important to us and we recognise the importance of wellbeing in order for students to achieve their best. Student wellbeing is developed every day in the interactions between staff, students and their peers at school and community events. More explicitly we can target development through things such as the Mindfulness program in our Junior Schools, our partnership with The Resilience Project in the Middle Schools and pastoral programs across all year levels. These programs encourage positive relationships, a commitment to life-long learning, the development of leadership skills, resilience and social responsibility, and allow students to build their self-confidence, resilience, empathy and integrity and demonstrate care and compassion for each other and the world around them.
The term ahead will require students, with the support of school and home, to maintain their physical and emotional health whilst balancing their school, family and social lives amongst completion of multiple major assessments (including examinations). Whilst assessment can be stressful for many students, there are a lot of positive habits that can be developed to help students prepare for these and decrease any anxiety and stress they may have regarding performance.
One of the most important factors for your child’s physical, mental and emotional health is ensuring they are getting enough sleep. It is estimated that 15% of teens are getting enough sleep! Teens can experience difficulty in getting the right amount of sleep due not only to their very busy schedules of school, work, sporting clubs, and hobbies but also due to the many distractions they have such as social media, TV and the internet. School TV has some fantastic resources and information for parents regarding sleep for all ages and can be accessed here: https://tintern.vic.schooltv.me/newsletter/sleep
The information here presents a strong case for the importance of sleep, “When children sleep well, they are more settled, happier and ready for school the next day. Sleep also strengthens their immune systems, supports overall development and their ability to function properly on a daily basis. Children who do not get enough sleep show increased levels of aggressive behaviour, are less attentive and are much less active.”
How students feel about themselves and their abilities can also affect their confidence and performance. Confidence is something that can be built and a positive self-image can be encouraged through re-enforcing and helping your child to:
- Practice positive self-talk – not comparing themselves to others but instead focusing on their strengths and work to those strengths.
- Focus on the things they can change – there’s no point in wasting energy on things that can’t be changed. Instead, focus on the things they can control and put energy into that.
- Make time for doing the things they enjoy (this is the balance part) – if students can make time every day for some scheduled fun and relaxation then they are more likely to think positively.
- Celebrate not only the big stuff but the small stuff too – recognise when they have achieved something.
- Surround themselves with supportive people who lift them up and not hang around with people who bring them down.
- Exercise – regular exercise and movement is proven to help improve mood.
- Not strive for perfection – it’s great to want to do things well but perfectionism isn’t realistic. Mistakes happen for everyone and the important thing is to learn from it and move forward.
Mid-year and end of year exams are a genuine opportunity for students to test themselves in real examination conditions and gain experience in managing time, workload and emotional needs ahead of Year 12 VCE and IB final examinations. To ensure these exams are a beneficial experience (and worthwhile ‘practice’ for final exams) preparation needs to start long before the exam period.
Preparation for exams involves:
- Developing notes that are organised and up to date
- Regularly engaging in class discussion
- Acting upon teacher feedback both formal and informal
- Using personal time at home and during study periods to consolidate and extend their learning
Parents can support their child by encouraging consistent and productive work habits while helping them to maintain some balance and a healthy lifestyle. Provision of a suitable study space, encouraging your child to undertake a regular study routine, and keeping informed of key assessment dates would all benefit them in the lead up to key assessment assessments and exams. Mentors and subject teachers can work with students to develop and refine these skills.