This week we were excited to welcome back our Prep, Year 1, Year 11 and Year 12 girls and we very much enjoyed hearing the sounds of their laughter, energy and enthusiasm. I have enjoyed wandering and chatting to the Year 11 and 12 students. It has been so lovely to see them and to talk to them about their experiences of remote learning, to hear about their achievements, and to listen to their concerns and goals for the term. It has also been an absolute joy to see our Preppies and Year 1 girls. They are openly excited about coming back, seeing their teachers and being with their friends.
Watching and talking to the girls, overwhelmingly what they missed most was the face-to-face time with their friends. Whilst older girls have been able to stay connected with their friends through social media, they have nonetheless missed their everyday interactions, so it has been a pleasure to see the happiness on their faces as they have returned to the campus and connected with each other.
A return to school has also provided an opportunity for Preps and Year 1 girls to play and interact. Engaging socially is how young children learn and social play skills are so important for their social-emotional adjustment and their academic achievement. We are pleased to have them back on site engaging in our safe, play-based learning environment.
I would also like to acknowledge all the girls who have been attending Girls Grammar since the start of term. They have been outstanding in both attitude and behaviour. I am so proud of how they have engaged in their learning, their positive attitude to being on campus and their cooperation and efforts.
I would like to make mention of the girls in Years 2 to 10 who are still learning from home. Whilst many are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to return, others have enjoyed online learning so would happily continue in this environment. There are others who unfortunately cannot return at this stage and we are thinking of these girls and wanting to do all we can to support them and engage with them during this time. Girls Grammar is a community and we will be a full community once all our girls have been able to return to the classroom.
Importantly, I would again like to thank all our parents and carers who have supported, and are continuing to support, our girls to learn from home. This takes a great deal of energy, patience, sacrifice and even courage at times. Equally important is the girls’ wellbeing so I am grateful to our families and carers for providing the girls with the reassurance, care and love they need to be successful and resilient.
As we transition back to school, we must also be mindful of the new landscape in which we live. Whilst physical distancing (i.e. 4sqm per person in an enclosed space and 1.5m distancing otherwise) is not required for students during learning activities, we nonetheless must remind students about maintaining appropriate spacing, good hygiene practices and the importance of not attending school if unwell. We must also ask parents and other adults to limit their time spent on campus and to ensure they maintain appropriate physical distancing when visiting the school. These practices are necessary at this time to protect our community.
As a school with a strong sense of community, despite the current restrictions, we must also continue to seek opportunities for interconnection and social solidarity. Every day we can still experience many positive moments and many moments of happiness. We can still say hello, greet each other with smiles, check in with each other and express our gratitude. We still have an abundance of opportunities to help each other – even at a distance. Thank you to those who continue to reach out with offers of support, small acts of kindness or gestures of goodwill – our community appreciates these signs of care and solidarity.
Mrs Deanne Johnston