Dear Kingsmead Community,
I am eternally grateful today to be busy. I get to go to work; I get to sit in meetings; I get to witness the online learning of my own three children at home; I get to maintain a home and prepare meals for my family. Perhaps this is not the time to dwell on what we have lost; although there is much to grieve. Perhaps this is the time to focus on what we ‘get to do’; perhaps it is time to find joy in the present and practice gratitude for what we still have as a community.
I was reminded this morning of a poem that was shared with our staff at the very beginning of this term. This was a time when we were oblivious to the term that lay ahead. Reflecting back on the poem and the message, we were fortunate enough to receive from Ruth Everson, the words ring truer today than ever before.
I wish our community peace with the present and hope for tomorrow.
Head: Junior School
The Holy Well
Where do you go when there’s nowhere to go?
Where do you stand when solid ground sinks to sea?
This is the turning time.
Turn despair into a divining rod,
Dive deeper into Self than you’ve ever been,
Find the holy well of your heart –
It is not empty –
You have drawn on it before,
When you were sure pain had
Seeped its poison into the depths,
There was still clear water – enough.
Enough to fill a silver thimble of Hope,
Remember its taste on your tongue like sun,
Then slowly, a sip of stars, a cup of moon,
The dry grass greening under your tears.
Hand on heart.
Feel the steady flow of Hope.
‘All shall be well,
and all shall be well,
and all manner of thing
shall be well.
Let it be well with your soul.’
This week’s article from the Support department reminds our students to keep finding strategies to get better at the Habit of Mind – Persisting. Reminding our students that during their learning journey, they need to ‘stick to it’! Persevering with the task through to completion; remaining focused. Looking for ways to reach your goal when stuck. Not giving up!
Head of Student Affairs
Quarantine Mindset: From Pessimism to Positivity
The sudden awareness of making an informed decision to be quarantined for a period of fourteen days has an effect on our mental wellbeing. Many of us find ourselves trapped, conducting a ritual reflective check, tracing back our steps. We ponder if we practiced social distancing correctly and wore the mask appropriately. We contemplate on with whom we interacted and whether we followed all the protocols of sanitising. These thoughts can play disruptively on your mind for hours on end, left alone this may create the feelings of physical health decline.
Processing pessimistic thoughts of possibly being affected by the Covid virus is enough to generate feelings of anxiety and cause brain fog. The continuous questioning of the likelihood of a corona viral infection often dominates our mind and triggers unwanted behavioural actions. A number of researchers have argued the eruption of negative thoughts and emotions have an adverse effect on the strain the body sustains. The sensation of panic and worry causes a person to become defenseless, the mind is then controlled by catastrophic thoughts which create added stress to our functionality and to the immune system.
We shouldn’t be isolated on an island of pessimism without controlling our mindset. The state of negativity during the quarantined period can be transformed to a healthier attitude by practicing positivity. Inner motivation and self-determined goals can help minimise fear and nervousness. By embracing social isolation we can stimulate our emotional wellbeing and approach this time in a constructive manner. The sensation of accomplishment when experiencing task completion is indescribable, especially when you are quarantined. During this period, allow yourself to practice gratitude, develop self-care routines and build resilience. Encourage yourself to think positively around the negativity that surrounds you and not to be caught in a pessimistic mindset battle. You control your psyche by selecting optimistic choices, including growth, hope, determination and practicing kindness. This will significantly benefit both your mental and physical energies, especially during the quarantine period.
- Goodman, B. (2020, May 7). Today is blursday: How lockdown warps time. WebMD. Retrieved from: https://www.webmd.com/lung/news/20200507/what-day-is-it-this-it-your-brain-on-quarantine
- Matsakis, L. (2020, March 13). Don’t go down a coronavirus anxiety spiral. Wired. Retrieved from: https://www.wired.com/story/how-to-stop-coronavirus-anxiety-spiral/
- Robinson, B. (2020, March 12). The psychology of uncertainty: How to cope with COVID-19 anxiety? Forbes. Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/bryanrobinson/2020/03/12/the-psychology-of-uncertainty-how-to-cope-with-covid-19-anxiety/#774affdf394a
Intern Educational Psychologist
67-MINUTE SLEEP OUT FOR MANDELA DAY
Thank you to everyone who participated in the 67 Minute Sleep Out for Mandela Day to raise awareness for homelessness. Nearly 200 participants signed up to spend 67 minutes outside in their garden or on their patio. There is still the opportunity to donate a blanket (R100 per blanket) to Gift of the Givers:
Gift of the Givers
Standard Bank (Pietermaritzburg)
Account number 052137228
Branch Code 057525
Director of Service
WELCOME BACK THANES! YOUR DISTANCE COVERED HAS SHOWN GREAT IMPROVEMENT. 2 MORE SLEEPS! LET’S SEE IF WE CAN CATCH BARONS IN BOTH POINTS AND DISTANCE.
Ella Worthington (Barons); Mdlophane family (Knights); Hannah Chohan (Thanes); Goussard and de Zeeuw families (Barons)
Van Zalk family (Thanes); Fyfe-Turk family (Thanes); Ozzie (Falcon family) walking for Thanes; Davis family (Barons).Jody Bunkell (taking one for the team;) Double effort for Thanes – Scarlett & Lily Haslam; Looking for someone to walk your dog – look no further!
Shiraz Mohamed; Moses family; Clowes family (Barons)
Rodrigues family; Jessica de Zeeuw and family; Page sisters; Clowes and Galloway families
Milton family & friends; Mayet family (Barons); Van Zalk family (Thanes).
Junior School Head of Sports & Head of Transformation, Diversity and Inclusion
MAGICAL LEARNING MOMENTS
‘Grade 7 Science in the Kitchen continues – learning to sort various mixtures’ – ‘Science is Sweet’…
Grade 4 -7 Cybersharp Virtual Conferences – 10 & 17 July
Over the last two successive Fridays, our Grade 4-7 students have had the privilege of joining a Virtual Conference hosted by Cybersharp. In preparation for these sessions, our students had to generate their own questions to ask the host.
A special thank you to Dominic and Susan Moerdyk for reinforcing the importance of safely navigating our online world and how each of us can use the technology responsibly and to our benefit.
The topics discussed during each conference included:
- Why we need to be safe online
- Me vs. the online me
- Cyber-bullying – what it looks like and what to do
These discussions further reinforced the students’ understanding of the concepts they have been exploring as part of their online Cybersharp programme.
Some key takeaways included:
- There is no such thing as the online world and the real world. The online world is very much the real world. We should refer to it as the online world and the physical world.
- Much like we wouldn’t just be handed the keys to a car and told to drive it immediately, we need to be taught why and how to be safe online. Susan referred to the 3 Cs namely:
- Content Risk: Take care to not share private/personal information online. Some people’s intentions are impure, and they can use your information for ill-purposes. Take care to not access information that is not for your legal age. Be thankful for the restrictions put in place. Be guided by the legal age recommendations.
- Contact Risk: Don’t trust anyone that you have not met in your physical world.
- Conduct Risk: What you post, like, share, comment on, download stays with you forever. It is part of your digital footprint. Make sure that whatever you post, like, share, comment on, you would be proud for your parents/teachers/grandmother/Gogo to see it. If it makes you uncomfortable, don’t post, comment, like etc…
- Even if you delete search histories/ photos/ comments online, IT IS STILL POSSIBLE TO FIND AND RETRIEVE IT.
Keep safe online by:
- Having a strong password and not sharing your password.
- Updating the antivirus software on your device.
- Avoid clicking on any pop-ups that appear on your screen.
Tips for what to do when faced with Cyber-bullying (Bullying that is classified as repetitive and intentional)
- SPEAK UP if you or a person you know is being cyber-bullied. Be brave. Be an UPSTANDER!
- DON’T RETALIATE – don’t respond to the bully.
- Take screenshots as EVIDENCE. Try to save this evidence to a different device as well.
- BLOCK the bully on that respective platform – take away the bully’s oxygen!
- REPORT this to an adult/parent/caregiver.
- In extreme cases, you may need to …
- Report to the respective social media administration
- Report to police lawyers.
Thank you to all the Grade 4-7 students who joined and asked such good questions during the sessions!