This week has been full of excitement and anticipation as new students attended our school for the first time. Many were here as part of the Garnsey Campus rollover, with more than 100 students and their parents attending the Year 7 Orientation on Tuesday. Both St Anne’s and Bairnsdale hosted new students at special fellowships today.
December is a time when schools can become tired and a little ineffective; in contrast, Gippsland Grammar has bubbled with excitement, with highly motivated students – new and old - eager to begin the new year. I would like to thank staff and students at all campuses for ensuring that our new students felt welcome.
I had the opportunity to speak with our new Year 7 parents on Tuesday at the beginning of Orientation week. I shared with them my top ten tips for parenting teenagers. These are not fool proof, but they can be a useful starting point for maintaining positive relationships with your children.
- Never be scared to say no. If you don’t like something your child is proposing, dig in and say no. Weather the storm and remember, when they say ‘all the other parents are letting their kids go’, those other parents probably aren’t and they most likely feel the same way you do.
- Your child will always have work to do - even though they may not have homework. Studying and reading can always be done; check their diary if in doubt, or send an email to your child’s Mentor.
- You can always help your child with their homework. Try to keep this going for as long as possible. If you don’t feel comfortable with the content they are learning, then learn it with them and demonstrate that you have a growth mindset and are a lifelong learner.
- Help your children to be resilient. Add ‘yet’ to the end of a negative sentence. For example, ‘I can’t do this-yet.’ Making mistakes is part of the learning process. Not understanding something is OK; we develop skills by grappling with problems and working through difficulties.
- Try to help them solve problems involving friends. All children experience friendship problems at some stage. As loving parents, we want to take away their hurt and solve their problems for them. Support them, coach them, listen to them – but encourage them to find their own solutions. Let the School know and we will keep an eye on things.
- Stay connected; when children don’t communicate, you need to look for ways to encourage discussion and engage them. I’ve found long drives in the country with your child in the front seat work well, with no headphones allowed.
- Set your own rules with regard to technology. No internet in bedrooms, technology free time, no phones at dinner.
- Try to have as many family dinners as possible. Set the table, sit down together and have a discussion. Turn off the TV.
- Play games. Board games are great fun, until dad cheats at Scrabble.
- Love your children no matter what.
During the last week, I have also been fortunate to attend both the ELC Christmas Concert and the Junior School Christmas Concert at St Anne’s; I would like to thank our St Anne’s staff for preparing our students for these amazing events. In particular, I would like to acknowledge the work of Mrs Burgess and Mrs Carpenter in preparing the ELC students; and Mrs Vicki McLeod and Mrs Ann Young for preparing the photo tags for every St Anne’s student for the dressing of the Christmas tree.
Next week we continue the Christmas and graduation theme, with our Year 6 Graduation ceremonies and celebrations at both St Anne’s and Bairnsdale, and our Bairnsdale Christmas lunch. I look forward to seeing many of our families at our final Garnsey Celebration evening on Thursday night.
We held our final Board meeting for the year last week and I would like to thank our Board for their ongoing support of the School and me personally. At this meeting, Chair, Mr Bill Jones, stood down. Mrs Vicki McLeod became Acting Chair until our AGM in April and Mr Brendan Shepherd will be the Acting Deputy Chair until this time. I would like to thank Bill for his ongoing support as Chair and wish Vicki and Brendan well as they undertake these new positions.