Our Connection: Issue 14 2020

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Dear Kingsmead Community,

Thank you for your continued efforts at reintegration and in managing change with flexibility and agility.

A year ago, when we were privileged to attend the South African Girls’ Schools Conference and shared our feedback, I remember sharing the concept of AQ with our teachers. We have become very familiar with IQ and EQ, but AQ, at that time was relatively new to me. It is the concept of “Adaptability Quotient”.

Little did we know, by this time a year later, we would be living and stretching our ability to be adaptable quite as much as we are at present.

Adaptability quotient brings up hundreds of thousands of searches on the Internet and is most often related to topics involving corporations and commercial interests.

I wonder how though, we as an education sector, have evolved in our AQ over the last few months? AQ, is fluid and can be developed with deliberate and intentional focus. From the unprecedented lockdown until now, we have moved into a space, where we have had to evolve our curriculum and our daily jobs to meet the needs of our students. We have had to remain curious and open to new learning, we have had to grapple with new concepts and technologies and we have had to practice flexibility, patience and a growth mindset to change.

I believe that this has perhaps been our greatest test as a second level, thinking-accredited school, of our own Habits of Mind and our growth mindset perspectives for ourselves, which is an interesting point of reflection.

We have had to be innovative and agile and respond rapidly to changing circumstances. We have had to draw on our and each other’s creativity and ideas to best enable teaching and reaching our students in different ways. Very few of us had the technological skills or the training background prior to being in this situation, to do this. In fact, if you were asked to do this, without the various factors in play which made it urgent and necessary, I wonder if there would have been a discrepancy between our current growth versus our growth in that projected scenario?

My point is, that often we place limits on our abilities and we believe that we have limitations. If COVID-19 teaches us nothing else, it has taught us (or at least taught me), that when we are forced to rise and invent, we will. I believe that over the last few weeks, we have been more resilient, more open-minded, more open to failure and trial and error, than in other circumstances, purely because we had to be. And look at how much we have achieved!

Of course this level of learning is not regular and the energy we have expended and invested has been enormous, which means our focus on self-care has had to be intentional and deliberate too. It has been a time of significant stretch and challenge for our teachers. What we have grown in is our AQ. We have also, I believe, grown in our EQ. Let me explain what I mean. In my very unsubstantiated estimation of the data (ie. my observations), I believe that over the time of this journey and stretch, we have been more accepting of our mistakes, more open to each other’s feedback, more patient with ourselves as we grapple and learn (frustrations borne in mind of course), more open to asking for help and more able to recognise our achievements and share these with others. This is absolutely fantastic!

I would like you to consider your growth as a parent during this time too, as you too have grappled with similar challenges, stretch and adjustment within your own context, as well as, of course in supporting us in this new educational space.

Here are some prompts:

  • What new (practical) skills have you learned in this time? (I can imagine you have quite a list!)
  • How have you grown in your AQ?
  • How have you developed your understanding of the concept of growth mindset and internalised this for yourself, in your context?
  • How have you contributed to lifting others in this time (emotionally, socially, with practical help or suggestions)?
  • What has made it easier for you to ask for help from others during these times and how can you take this forward?

Dr Marisa Di Terlizzi
Deputy Head: Head of Senior Primary

We would like to take this opportunity to welcome our intern educational psychologist – Zaakirah Loonat to Kingsmead. She completed her training at the University of Johannesburg. Zaakirah will be fulfilling her internship at Kingsmead College. She has a keen interest in working with children, adolescents, young adults, parents and families. Zaakirah is passionate about creating mental health awareness in societies specifically focusing on the social and emotional well-being of individuals.

The Window Of Connection In A World Of Isolation

The global pandemic has a lasting effect on our communication with others, the types of interactions we have and how this influences our connection with our loved ones. As adults, many of us are adapting to this era of change in our life, bringing forth varying levels of discomfort, loneliness, emptiness and uneasiness. Isolation can be a stressful experience for some, especially whilst holding onto the golden memories of compassion, excitement and achievement of shared interests with others. Hence, the human connection of socialising has a distinct impact on our physical health and psychological well-being. Now, picture this revolutionary transformation in the eyes of your child.

A sense of belonging derived from peer interaction during classroom and recreational activities contributes primarily towards their social and emotional functioning as well as to their brain advancement. Depending on the environmental context, a child’s identity formation and attachment patterns informs us of their holistic performance when they interact with their friends and contemporaries. Friendship enriches developmental growth for children and teenagers. The enjoyment of adventurous days allows children to build on their self esteem and enhances social skills.

During the recent months, the lengthy duration of quarantine has caused a detrimental effect on the communication between children at school. Parents may have observed a personality change, clinginess, frequent requests of play dates, aggression and occasional meltdowns. Children may have also become withdrawn, unhappy and demotivated. When a child’s world is threatened, inevitably their behaviour changes.

Meaningful connections between peers during Covid-19 restrictions can still occur with social understanding and parental guidance in varying communication styles. Technology can be a beneficial tool to facilitate interaction between peers. Besides online classes where students can optionally see each other on Zoom, this application can be used for video dates between multiple people to speak to each other, do an activity together such as painting and even playing a board game! Safe online gaming is an option where friends can speak to each other whilst gaming. Children can send each other drawings, write poems or simply a message via email. Other activities to consider: fun virtual dress up play dates, story time read a loud and virtual group play exercises

Additionally parents can help strengthen the ties between siblings where their children can engage in activities by learning about their similarities and differences. Balance the types of interactions your child has because this is vital for them to experience communication between friends and family in both an online and offline manner.

References:

Epstein, V. (2020, June 05). Coronavirus Isolation: How to Help Children Feel a Little Less Lonely.Kars4Kids Retrieved from: https://www.kars4kids.org/blog/coronavirus-isolation-how-to-help-children-feel-a-little-less-lonely/

Jamieson, L. (2013) Children’s Act Guide for Child and Youth Care Workers (2nd Ed). Cape Town: Children’s Institute, University of Cape Town

Hagerty, S.L., & Williams, L.M. (2020). The impact of COVID-19 on mental health: The interactive roles of brain biotypes and human connection. Brain, Behaviour & Immunity Health. 5, DOI: 10.1016/j.bbih.2020.100078

Killiam, K. (2020, March 12). Behavior and Society: How to prevent loneliness in a time of social distancing. Scientific American. Retrieved from: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-to-prevent-loneliness-in-a-time-of-social-distancing/

Samuel, K. (2020). Building Social Connectedness: A Brief For Practitioners Working With Children And Adolescents. Synergos: New York. Retrieved from: http://www.socialconnectedness.org/wp-content/uploads/building-social-connectedness-practice-brief-synergos.pdf

The impact of physical distancing on young children (2020, April 01). Southwest Human Development. Retrieved from: https://www.swhd.org/the-impact-of-physical-distancing-on-young-children/

Van Ijzendoorn, M.H. (2019, September). Attachment at an Early Age (0-5) and its Impact on Children’s Development. In: Tremblay RE, Boivin M, Peters RDeV, eds. van IJzendoorn MH, topic ed. Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development. Retrieved from: http://www.child-encyclopedia.com/attachment/according-experts/attachment-early-age-0-5-and-its-impact-childrens-development

Zaakirah Loonat
Intern Educational Psychologist

SERVICE

Introducing Owl Rescue Centre

The Grade 3 community engagement partner for 2020 is the Owl Rescue Centre.

Owl Rescue Centre is dedicated to protect owls, rescue owls that are in danger and rehabilitate and care for owls that have been injured, are sick, poisoned or orphaned. After rehabilitation, owls are released back into their natural environment using researched release methods. Owl Rescue Centre is also involved in other conservation projects to decrease the high mortality rate of owl species.

The Grade 3s will be participating in the Colour An Owl competition hosted by Owl Rescue Centre and will be treated to a virtual visit to the owl sanctuary upon their return to school. The owl sanctuary, located in Hartbeespoort, is a 12 000 hectare conservancy and the only sanctuary of its kind in the country. More than a thousand owls are rehabilitated and released into the wild by Owl Rescue Centre every year.

There are different ways to support Owl Rescue Centre:

Buy your very own owl house

Owl Rescue Centre provides and installs owl houses to help grow the owl population in suburbs, creating a natural solution to rodent control. Owls don’t make their own nests and make use of man-made structures, such as owl houses, in which to breed.
The Owl Houses are made from 100% recycled plastic as a solution to combat plastic waste. The plastic Owl Houses require no maintenance and will serve many owl generations well.
Owl Rescue Centre will deliver and install your Owl House. For more information visit http://www.owlrescuecentre.org.za/Owl-House-Project/

 

Rat Trap Project

Owl Rescue Centre found that there is no rodent poison on the market that guarantees no secondary poisoning in owls. Owl Rescue Centre designed a humane owl-friendly rat trap to assist owls with rodent control.
The owl-friendly rat trap is designed primarily to catch rats without killing or harming them. When you see a rodent in your trap, you can contact the Owl Rescue Centre to collect the rats to use as food for the owls in the rehabilitation centre. The collection of rats is a free service that the Owl Rescue Centre offers to those who make use of the Owl-friendly Rat Traps.

For rat trap rental information please contact corlet@owlrescuecentre.org.za

 


Jenny Venter

Director of Service

 

ARTS & MUSIC

The magic through a screen…

“Hello Mr. Hartdegen…” rings the opening chime of our Zoom music lesson. A familiar face peering through the screen waits in anticipation for the ‘new normal’ to begin. What a time to be alive, living through history in the making and sharing a magical adventure that no one could have thought out. This is my experience:

A grade two student was learning to play her first scale, when her voice sang out, “My fingers are allowed to move anywhere on the keyboard?”. The happiness of finding an entire keyboard’s compass to explore. A magical teaching moment that lightened my day.

A Grade 7 student simply and honestly stating, “The extra practice, whenever I wanted, has really helped me.” A reality where time has become more malleable and we can fit in more – this is the ‘new normal’ at its best.

The reality is though, that our students miss us. Another Grade 7 student said to me, “I enjoy the new approach but miss our interactions in person.” Don’t we all? Will our lives ever be the same after this living history has passed?

Yet I believe, armed with the values of Kingsmead: Purpose, Responsibility, Happiness, Possibility, Service all culminating in Courage; our students, and staff will come out of this able to face any challenge. For now, we are fortunate to continue to make magic from opposite sides of a screen.

Matthew Hartdegen

THANK YOU to our parents and musicians for your continued support and enthusiasm.

  • Our Concerts in the Lounge have been very successful.
  • Choir, Orchestra & Ensemble members are loving our weekly Zoom rehearsals
  • Online individual lessons are going well and continue to fill our teachers and music students’ lives with joy
  • Let’s carry on making music together!

All the best from the Music Department.

Elsabé Fourie                                             Mia Loock
Director of Arts & Music                        Head of Junior School Music
efourie@kingsmead.co.za                       mloock@kingsmead.co.za

 

 

 

 

MAGICAL LEARNING MOMENTS

Grade 3s Learn about Measurement

Maryam Khalpey  has discovered that her head and foot measurements are the same.

The Grade 3 students are enjoying reading The BFG. It is Collaborative Strategic Reading and is aimed at promoting the love of reading, implement reading skills and increasing reading comprehension. Cross-curricular links in Mathematics and Art were implemented thereby encouraging the application of knowledge across the curriculum.

The BFG collects dreams and the girls had to write about their ‘Dreams for the Future’ or create a ‘Recipe for Happy Dreams’.

Grade 2 – Jennifer Wilmot spent a lot of time memorising her Afrikaans gediggie about Herfs.

https://app.seesaw.me/pages/shared_item?item_id=item.7420508e-7f99-46a5-b8c2-40a6dcc14209&share_token=Rf8LPg_rR-iecmKDLrfogg&mode=share

Butterflies

Bokang- our theme in Mornington was autumn….we discussed hibernation and used the hedgehog as an example of an animal that hibernates. The girls had to be creative and make their own hedgehogs out of play dough.

Sport

Eloise Gilchrist, Grade 6: The other day I stopped to watch and listen to the birds and saw so many like the Karoo Thrushes, Dark-Capped Bulbuls, Southern Masked Weavers and many more interesting species. But then I saw a new species to add to my life list, it was a White-Bellied Sunbird (Cinnyris talatala). This bird has been coming to my garden every day since I saw it. That shows that there are so many small thing out there that nobody really realises and they are so unique in their own way. There are so many animals and plants that are getting destroyed because of us, so just take a few seconds out of your day to go and appreciate our wonderful world.

Dahlia Shakinovsky, Grade 7

 

Poem by Risana Madale

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