Sitting with Uncertainty
It is challenging for humans to move forward into the misty unknown without a sense of where the path is taking us. Decision-making at all levels is difficult at the moment. There is an increasing need to make decisions, publish opening dates, develop ongoing curriculum material and decide on when we will be returning to what we know as normal.
Just pause for a moment. Breathe. Focus on what we do know. We are sometimes driven crazy by worrying about what we cannot control. It is imperative that we remind each other of what we do know and focus on that.
Your path is cleared through an intentional focus on faith, hope and love.
Gillian Wilkinson recently shared these most beautiful words with me, while I was contemplating options and plans for our incredible school:
“From sink to door are a mere 18 steps, from the eyes to the sun are a million miles, but there are no limits to the love in the heart, therein the freedom lies”.
And this is where we will begin – at the centre of this chaos – we will start with the heart. All our decisions, teachings, feedback and planning start with the love of our school, the love of our students and the love we have for each other. This is our strength.
I am incredibly proud of our academic team who have worked relentlessly during their April holiday for no other reason than to fulfill their calling as teachers; to engage meaningfully with your daughters; to ensure that we deliver the promise of an excellent educational offering. I have worked alongside the Principals and Heads of neighbouring schools and invested hours in understanding international perspectives. This is a worldwide pandemic. We have little choice in the factors we cannot control. We do have choice in the known.
Our circle of influence is controlled by what we do know:
1. Our school is founded on values and beliefs which were relevant before and which continue to guide our path today.
2. Our teachers are exceptional. We are reminded at this time of their professional qualifications, years of experience and deep understanding of the pedagogical and developmental needs of each student in our care.
3. Our parent support is invaluable. Each day I am reminded of the blessing to be partnering with parents who create happy homes for their daughters so that learning can happen. Thank you for your consistent affirmation and positive feedback.
4. Our students are resilient. The girls will step up and take this challenge. I have no doubt. We are privileged to offer individualised, personalised learning, core to our values.
5. We are ready to deliver a relevant online curriculum which has been completely ‘renovated’ during the past three weeks to serve your daughters’ best interests. I am so excited by the energy invested in the new, revised curriculum. Thank you for your input through the recent surveys.Thank you to the teachers as architects, as we move forward in 2020.
This wellness week has been planned to ensure that our social and emotional core is embedded; that our students value and understand their role as digital citizens and that we find time to pause and ‘see’ one another in a place of hope and faith. The new formal online curriculum begins on Monday. We have considered the need for some families to take advantage of the early morning outdoor exercise times while still accommodating those parents who continue to work and need an earlier start. Through compromise and dynamic changes in the lockdown regulations – we intend to create stability and routine for our students at home.
6. Standard operating procedures, infection prevention and control protocols and controls will be published and mobilized within the next week. We have invested in equipment, furniture and resources to ensure that we continue as a safe school. We will be ready for onsite learning for small groups of students when this is necessary and permitted. It is essential that parents also take responsibility to mitigate risk of infection by following precautions at home.
I would like to take this opportunity to welcome our new students and their families. Six new students will be joining our Kingsmead family this term. We wish you a warm welcome and a many happy years at our school.
I encourage each person within our community to find comfort while we ‘sit with uncertainty’
Trust the wait.
Embrace the uncertainty.
Enjoy the beauty of becoming.
When nothing is certain,
Anything is possible. (Mandy Hale)
I wish you all good health, gentle calm and patience. We will rise. We choose hope.
Head: Junior School
Parent Peer Pressure
I recently listened to a webinar where one of the presenters, Jude Foulston, a parent of two young children, spoke about the presence of parent peer pressure in social media during lockdown.
Parents may experience pressure and judgment from other parents, articles about parenting, internet ‘experts’ and posts on social media about what ‘good’ parenting looks like. As we tend to only post positives and successes on social media, some parents feel that this adds to the pressure they are currently experiencing. Comparing their child’s success to others and feeling pressurised to ensure their child excels, may leave parents feeling overwhelmed and inadequate at times.
Just as we encourage children to not allow peer pressure to influence their choices and behaviours, we too need to remain cognisant of peer pressure when it comes to parenting. Below are a few ideas on how to decide what is best for your family and to ensure that you are affected in positive ways:
• Reflect on what you value as a parent and family, and what your best hopes are for your children. Use this as a reference point when making decisions for your family and children so as not to be influenced by new trends.
• Go with your gut and trust your instincts, you are the expert on your child’s and family’s needs. Align advice with your personal beliefs and values. What is right for one family may not be right for another – give yourself permission to say no, despite what others may think or feel.
• By strengthening your support system you create a safe place to explore your feelings and thoughts. Making choices in isolation can be difficult; it is easier to stand by your parental choices when these are supported and validated.
• Stand by the parenting decisions you have made, based on your beliefs and values. Not only will this demonstrate for your children how to respond to peer pressure, you will gain your child’s respect.
• Practise self-care. When you feel your best physically and emotionally, you will feel better equipped and more resilient to handle stresses that come your way. During lockdown and in this time of crisis, wellness should be a priority.Parent peer pressure, as well as having to navigate the different demands presented by children learning from home during lockdown, can leave families feeling strained and frazzled. Foulston emphasised that as a parent one needs to “cut yourself some slack” and let go of the guilt while figuring out what works for your family. During lockdown families are in a process of transitioning and of establishing new routines. Remember, there is no one right way to parent – parenting skills and aptitudes are influenced by many unique factors such as our own childhood experiences, available resources and the needs of our children.
My role as an educational psychologist is to not just support your daughter but also you as a parent. Please email me if you would like to arrange an individual online session or if you would be interested in joining a parent support group online session.
Junior School Psychologist
Jude Foulston (Co-founder of Future Smart Parent, webinar: Raising children (well) through the Covid-19 crisis, 28.04.2020)
Service remains a core value at Kingsmead College and it is imperative to remember that during these difficult times we can still give without expecting reward from the confines of our homes. Despite not being able to physically visit our community engagement partners we continue to encourage the girls to participate in service at home.
During this time where we are doing so many things in a new and different way and as our world turns virtual, so does volunteering. Virtual volunteering offers us the opportunity to continue our social impact while remaining indoors and safe.
To assist you, we have set up a Service@Home group on Microsoft Teams where we post various ways that you can serve during the lockdown. Join the group and share photos of your contributions with the following link:
As we approach our winter term, we are always looking for knitted squares that can be made into blankets. Please continue to knit and crochet squares and blankets at home. Squares should be 20cmx20cm.
Feed a Fight with Insight family
Fight with Insight, a boxing gym for inner city youth in Hillbrow, is a longstanding community partner of Kingsmead College. Kingsmead has always been an integral part of their feeding scheme, donating ‘Sandwiches for Service’ and fruit to them weekly.
Fight with Insight is desperately trying to provide all their graded boxers with a Back Up Bucket during lockdown. A Back Up Bucket contains beans, pap, soya, rice, porridge, ePap and a vitamin pack as well as soap. These foods are supplemented by fresh produce when possible and is enough to feed a family of four for one week. Boxers collect their food packs weekly from the Children’s Memorial Institute, where coaches meet them and a nurse screens them.
The Service department donated 14 Back Up Buckets and the Kingsmead staff donated an additional 46 Back Up Buckets. If you would like to support this worthy cause, the cost of a Back Up Bucket is R315 and donations can be made using the following banking details:
Fight With Insight
Nedbank Parktown (Killarney)
Account Number: 1057 929 530
Please use #Fight2Feed project as a bank reference
Thank you for your generosity and for living the value of Service during these exceptional times.
Mrs Jenny Venter Mrs Lauren Myburgh
Director of Service Junior School Head of Service
ARTS & MUSIC
Welcome back everyone! The Music department is planning an exciting term ahead and we hope you will join us in this crazy adventure. We will continue making music online and cannot wait to see what our young musicians have been up to. Please see the letter with details of all our plans on the school App.
Parents of all Grade 1-3 string, wind and percussion players as well as Orchestra, Grade 4-7 Choir and Grade 1-7 marimba band members have been invited to WhatsApp groups. If you are not on one of these groups yet, please contact one of us so that we can add you. Even if your daughter has not been part of one of the string/wind ensembles before, we have invited all our instrumental and percussion players to join the music community. We will use the groups to communicate with parents and post music, words and tracks of our songs. Once per week every group will meet on Zoom and have a fun ‘rehearsal’. Details regarding the Zoom rehearsals have been posted on the WhatsApp groups. Instead of ‘live concerts’ we will post videos on our YouTube channel so we can share what we have learned with the whole Kingsmead community.
We realise families are juggling devices and managing the use of WiFi and data in their homes for children and adults to learn and work. Individual music lessons should take priority to ensure that momentum is maintained in our students’ music education. We would love for you to join us in our Zoom rehearsals too if possible. You will find the schedule for Zoom rehearsals on the school App.
We wish you a happy and successful term ahead!