Since commencing at Girls Grammar, one of the things that has most resonated with me is the friendliness of our girls. They are warm, down to earth and approachable.
What I have also enjoyed witnessing is how Girls Grammar harnesses this social competence, particularly in mentoring and supporting other girls to play an active and engaged part in the school community. At Girls Grammar, there is a culture of co-development ingrained in the values of the school, resulting in groups of girls lifting each other up through different kinds of support.
It is very easy to see examples of this sisterhood at Girls Grammar. From the moment girls enrol at Girls Grammar, they are provided a ‘big sister’ who they meet on the first day and who becomes a key person in their support, transition and development into the community.
We also see girls informally role modelling and supporting our younger girls. Over my time I have seen older girls down in the CAB, playing with the younger students, joining in their games, encouraging them to be active. The library has also been a hub where senior students play boardgames, or colour in or read with girls in the lower grades. The younger girls love these interactions and it gives them a good chance to see how approachable, supportive and incredible other girls can be.
Participation in our co-curricular program also provides a plethora of opportunities for mentoring. Many of our sporting teams are talent rather than age-based, ensuring our younger girls have peer role models who can guide and support them. Our QISSN team is a good example with players ranging from a Year 8 student who is new to the team right through to a Year 12 student with a number of years of experience.
Our musical is hugely popular, not just because of the activity itself, but because of the passion and enthusiasm shown by the older girls and the teacher mentors. It is hard not to get caught up in the excitement and the energy. Our experienced cast members guide the younger girls, encouraging them, prompting them and leading them to grow as performers.
Our Prefects also do their part in the provision of activities and support for our younger students. Our Primary Prefect, Katlyn Whyte, engages in their special events and has been a presence at their school assemblies. Last Friday, STEAM Prefect Karla Hielig ran Pi Day, a celebration of mathematics. Karla hosted a range of activities in the library, offering girls the chance to adopt a polyhedron, engage in Tessellation and Pi colouring-in or play Math bingo. A few weeks ago, Humanities Prefect Sophie Fraser led Library Lovers Day where older girls read to our youngest students.
Girls in boarding also speak strongly about sisterhood and lasting friendships formed when boarding with other girls. Our boarding girls are active, they participate in a variety of cocurricular sports and activities, they engage socially and they role model for the younger, newer girls. Our Year 12 girls this year have shown exceptional leadership, particularly around the challenges of living in a group situation.
Supportive peer mentorship is so important for girls. We know that our girls will need strong self-belief, self-advocacy and highly developed social-competency when they enter the workplace, so role modelling and mentoring must start during their formative years, across all aspects of their school engagement. By witnessing their achievements of their ‘sisters’, hearing the stories of the challenges they faced, or the efforts they took, they are inspired to pursue their own goals and successes. By seeing other girls who are passionate about the same fields they are, or who role model enthusiasm for learning, they feel confident to engage without limitation.
Strong female peers also encourage younger students to pursue subjects with enthusiasm and imagination. For example, research shows that graduates from all-girls’ schools, when compared to co-educational counterparts, have higher levels of self-confidence in science-related fields, specifically in technical science skills, understanding scientific concepts, generating research questions, and to explain the results of a study.
It is clear that peer mentorship can have a profound effect on young girls, especially when that role model is female, making a girls’ school even more empowering for our girls and young women. Young girls need female mentors who encourage them to break free from stereotypes and model leadership, agency, and self-efficacy. As a Prep to Year 12 school, Girls Grammar embraces opportunities for girls of all ages, acknowledging their unique capabilities and encouraging them not to be limited by societal expectations. Our older girls and ‘sisters’ send the message to our younger girls that there are no limits to what they can study, or what they can enjoy, or what areas they can pursue. Through the Girls Grammar sister program, our girls have strong female mentors and positive role models, ensuring they are ready for the workplace and ready to tackle their future with confidence and imagination.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates
Rockhampton Girls Grammar continues to monitor the guidelines in relation to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) closely in order to implement best practice in relation to student and staff safety. Updates, as they occur, will be sent to families via email.
Mrs Deanne Johnston