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Senior Homestead

On 25 February, the Senior Homestead students, staff and parents had the opportunity to hear from Dr Helen Street on the subject of Contextual Wellbeing. Contextual Wellbeing recognises that student wellbeing goes far beyond wellbeing lessons and will only occur in an environment, at home and school, that supports and ‘lives’ the concepts espoused in those environments.

Dr Street spoke to the students about the importance of being engaged in their learning, by setting goals and aspirations that are meaningful and enjoyable for them. She stressed that the development of confidence, self-belief and happiness were of equal importance to academic success and questioned the worth of success without wellbeing. A message that I was pleased to see was endorsed by the staff and parents who attended the sessions, speaking volumes about the importance the Woodleigh community places upon holistic education and living the values of respect for self, others and the environment.

Camp week, 2-6 March, is an excellent example of the value the Woodleigh community places upon students’ personal and social development, providing a multitude of opportunities for students to develop confidence, build resilience and social support networks. The fact that Senior Homestead students are also involved in Camp Week demonstrates that school and community recognise that time spent encouraging wellbeing is time well spent; supporting students in developing the skills and support networks needed to achieve their unique goals and aspirations.

During Camp Week, Senior Homestead students travelled to; 

  • Phillip Island for surfing and water sport, 
  • The Glenelg River for rafting and caving,
  • Queenscliff for SCUBA diving, 
  • Victorian High-Country horse riding, 
  • Adelaide for Arts immersion, 
  • Tasmania for an adventure tour,
  • Tasmania to trek the Overland Track
  • Melbourne to experience all things food
  • Mount Buffalo for walking, abseiling, and outdoor adventure
  • Gippsland Lakes sailing, and
  • Daylesford for a Creative Retreat

From my experience on one of these camps, I have seen students develop and grow friendships and share and support each other through challenges and adventures. They also shared experiences that they will remember for a long time, and built confidence in themselves and their peers that will help them through the challenges that lay ahead, both at school and beyond.

Homestead Camp Week has shown me that the school and community are living the values that promote student wellbeing. As a school, we are doing a lot of things right to ensure that our young people develop success in life through happiness and meaningful engagement in the pursuit of their aspirations.

Continuous Home Learning

As we begin a period of continuous home learning, it is important to support our children / students by helping them to contextualise the situation and provide reassurance. To let them know, that despite the atmosphere of anxiety caused by the uncertainty of it all, that everything will be okay and that there are positives that can be drawn from this situation. 

A positive to share is the knowledge that all this disruption is to protect a small percentage of vulnerable people, that we are doing this to protect others, and that this is the right thing to do.

I was recently listening to a New York Times podcast that was asking reporters to share where they were finding respite and relief from the anxiety of this situation. One example I thought was worth sharing was the perspective one reporter, Brodesser Akner, was taking from her reading of Love in the Time of CholeraGabriel García Márquez, particularly the line; …this was a time when they both loved each other best, without hurry or excess.

Paraphrasing Brodesser’s reflections, she said: 

"We are talking so much at the moment of distancing ourselves from one-another, however, there is no distancing yourself from your family and spouse. (Should we be forced to spend time in isolation at home), let’s look at it as if we have a few weeks where we do not have plans, this time can be a time with our families to cherish, a gift of time, where external distractions and responsibilities are minimised or put on hold, a time to be together that we would never have had. "

During the period of continuous learning, students will need to be adaptable, resilient and self-reliant. This will be both a challenge and an opportunity and the key to student’s success in this environment will be their engagement in the process. Staff will be working to support students and families in this process, as will the entire Woodleigh community. 

I wish everyone a happy term break .

HAYDN FLANAGAN 
Director or Pastoral Care - Senior Homestead