Today is World Environment Day. Our Environment Committee is raising awareness within our school and will start initiating some deliberate campaigns that will make a difference one day at a time. I encourage our families to start and continue initiatives at home which contribute to the conservation of our environment.
As we reach mid-year, it is important to celebrate the growth and development of our daughters. I am always amazed to see how quickly our girls learn new strategies and involve themselves in new relationships and activities as the year progresses. Our teachers and girls are preparing their reflections on this development in anticipation of the feedback given before half term.
Recently, our executive team had the opportunity of listening to Dr Lisa Damour at the South African Girls’ Schools Conference (SAGSA) held in Durban. Dr Damour is the author of Untangled, which is a book that Dr Di Terlizzi has referred to frequently in our newsletter communications, and if you have not yet read it, I would urge you to consider doing so.
Last week, In the Know presented a parenting talk for our Junior Primary parents. A full summary of the presentation will be made available for all the Junior Primary parents in case you were unable to attend.
Dr Di Terlizzi shares the pertinent summarized points from both In the Know and Dr Damour:
“In the Know reminded us that as parents, we worry about our children, and while our intentions are good, that fear can interrupt the development of our girls. Our girls will only be able to develop the skills they need through competence, which creates confidence. Dr Damour (the author of Untangled) likens this to an athlete lifting weights. We have to give our children the opportunity to engage in challenges in order to build their ‘muscles’. Without doing so, we stunt their growth. This is an important reminder that stress is a necessary and important part of development. Obviously, it is important that as parents we are monitoring that this is still at a healthy level, and In the Know provided some great tactics to help us with how to support without saving, and remind us that if we step in, what we are doing is overestimating the problem and underestimating our children’s ability to cope.
In the Know suggests 7 practical ideas to try and support your daughter in dealing with challenges at school, in a way that promotes independence, but also provides support. These include the following:
- Expect challenges
- Listen and ask your child to tell you more about what has happened
- Tolerate (sit with) negative feelings-both yours (first) and theirs
- Model being calm and verbalise solutions as you talk through ideas
- Raise a problem-solver. Use the strategy Stop-Think-Choose
- Foster autonomy-allow your child to try
- Rethink what you praise (persistence and courage for example are good qualities)
We would like to invite the SP parents to attend a repeat presentation of In the Know’s presentation, as it was so well received by the Junior Primary, and pertinent to the developmental needs of our senior primary girls. We will communicate the details of this with you on our APP.
Kingsmead is built on a tradition and heritage of strong women, and our motto, Courage Always certainly affirms that. Sometimes, when we are worried about our daughters, anxiety and angst interfere with our ability to allow them to try, which denies them the opportunity to stretch. One misconception that Dr Damour shares, is that being strong does not mean being fearless. Dr Damour emphasizes the importance of talking to our children and shares a key concept, ‘avoidance nourishes anxiety’. This is a good reminder that by removing obstacles we create greater fear and unhealthy stress on our girls. We urge you to please assist us to help our girls to face challenges, and not to avoid them, for example, avoiding school on days where things may be tough. Please communicate with us so we can be aware of the situation and come around your daughter with you to provide the support she needs.”
At Kingsmead Junior School, we know our girls and walk a path with you as parents to give them the opportunity to work through challenges and celebrate opportunities.
Head: Junior School