From the Principal

This week we have a special guest introduction from Allison Prandolini, Head of Girls’ Junior School.

In the Junior School this year both boys and girls have been introduced to a friendly little character, name GROICK. GROICK has told the children many funny stories and important lessons, he has encouraged in times of challenge and promoted a positive mindset. What is GROICK? GROICK, stands for Grit, gRatitude, vOice, brIck by brick, Courage and Kindness.

These are important, yet difficult concepts for children, and adults alike to learn.

Education has changed. When I was at school, we were not taught things such as this. Our focus was on learning academic skills, along with a very punitive approach to discipline. Life was simple, students did what their teachers asked them to and were not encouraged to question or indeed reflect on self.

Now our students want and deserve more. The Prep students of today will graduate from Tintern Grammar in the year 2032! What will their world be like? The reality is none of us know, but we do know that we need to provide an education which is a lot more than teaching students to read and write.

Last week I had the privilege of attending the Independent Primary School Heads Association (IPSHA) conference where two very inspiring speakers spoke around this theme. Simon Breakspear discussed the importance of agility both in our leadership and the promotion of such skills for our students. In GROICK speak, that is Grit, brIck by brick and vOice. Encouraging a mindset of resilience, adaptation and commitment to having a go at learning even when it is challenging.

The second speaker, John Hendry OAM, was a wonderful storyteller and as a man in his 70’s he has a lot of fascinating stories to share. His theme for us to consider was that of relationships, and how giving adds meaning and underpins all aspects of relationships. Once again, in GROICK speak this is about gRatitude, Courage and Kindness.

Mr Hendry asserts that “the basic elements of a quality relationship are trust, forgiveness, integrity, hope (optimism) and compassion. Each of these are important individually, but in concert they substantiate the relationship.”

He encouraged us to reflect upon the notion of giving in our lives. How do we demonstrate ‘giving’ to our children, our colleagues, our family and our friends? Young children, by developmental stage are innately egocentric, they require us to model and teach them about giving explicitly. As children move into adolescence and beyond, relationships with their peers become incredibly important and at times fractious. This continues to be an important time for us to educate about giving; to have a good friend, you must be a good friend. That is to have a good relationship, you must contribute, you cannot sit back and expect it to occur via osmosis.

In each of the elements referred to above, Mr Hendry further explains that giving is a critical element.

  1. Trust: That directly means you give to another, you expose yourself, you become vulnerable, for to trust means that you surrender to another on the basis that it is safe to do so. You show faith in them. You are willing to give without caveat. This is done on the understanding that you will be respected, protected and that the person or persons receiving the gift will be kind, empathic and giving.
  2. Forgiveness: Forgiveness enables trust to be re-established and for this to be done so with respect and dignity. Forgiveness simply means that you “give-for” the relationship to exist and function, to re-establish trust. The capacity to forgive expresses an unconditional faith in the other person.
  3. Integrity: Integrity means that each relational partner gives by behaving morally within the relationship. When mistakes are made these are acknowledged and accepted and the partners move to repair the relationship through forgiveness.
  4. Hope: Hope is the promise to actually give, to promote the mutual purpose of the relationship and to always care for the other. Hope implies that each party will give to strengthen the relationship and to enable the other to do so well.
  5. Compassion: Compassion establishes giving care for it fosters giving through understanding the emotional state of the other in each and every lived context. Compassion registers that intention and action to follow The Golden Rule and The Hippocratic Oath.

At Tintern Grammar, we explicitly and implicitly teach students to develop and maintain effective relationships throughout their lives. Whilst this is not always straight forward, in my experience life rarely is, the focussed attention on learning these skills in a supportive environment means that your child is participating in an education that will not only prepare them for academic success, but a lifetime of positive relationships.

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