Last weekend was a great showcase of Girls Grammar’s creative arts offerings. Over the weekend our Musical cast performed Alice in Wonderland Jnr for over 400 people, and the audience was not disappointed. It was a great show that highlighted our students’ impressive creative talents. Whilst it was clear the girls had a lot of fun and loved performing, it is also worth highlighting the skills and attributes they developed along the way. In preparing for the production, teachers Laryssa Anger and Jess Dawes challenged students to show creativity in areas such as acting, design and choreography. All the components of the performance, including building scenery, decorating the set, making props, singing, dancing and performing required students to identify problems, evaluate a range of situations, think flexibly, and collaborate. In participating in the musical, our girls were doing something they loved, and developing life skills at the same time.
Over the weekend, we also held a two-day art camp for students from Years 5 to 9. Tied into the Alice in Wonderland theme, the girls painted, drew and created a number of stunning group and individual artworks. By participating in this activity, students were not just having fun, they were developing their creativity, as well as a range of other skills. The activities provided by art teacher Nora Hanasy-Cheers supported critical thinking, encouraged observation and required students to consider detail. These are all incredibly important life and work skills.
During the week we also found out that our Optiminds team, managed by teacher Veronica Miller-Waugh, came first in Central Queensland in the language and literature section. Whilst I am so proud of our students for this achievement, I am equally pleased that they are engaging in an activity that requires them to think, create and communicate. Importantly, they had to collaborate and use flexible thinking to solve demanding, open-ended challenges. These are skills they will need when they leave school.
By participating in co-curricular activities, such as the ones above, our girls are further building their competencies in creativity, innovation and flexible thinking, all skills students need to prepare for life and work. Employers today are looking for students who can produce original ideas to solve problems and exploit opportunities. Creativity is an integral part of modern work as the ability to manage, organise, cultivate and nurture creative thinking is directly linked to organisational growth and achievement.
To be prepared for our increasingly complex world, our students need to have a range of opportunities to develop creativity and innovation. These are not confined to the classroom nor are they limited to the domains of music, drama and art. Students can learn how to be creative by solving problems, creating systems or just trying something they haven’t tried before. I would like to thank all our staff who provide a range of activities, both within and outside the classroom, that allow our girls to build creative confidence and competence.
Tomorrow we start our Term 3 holidays. Whilst it is a good time to refresh and relax, it is equally important to engage in activities to ensure the momentum of learning is not lost. At Girls Grammar, we commence our next term’s curriculum during the final two weeks of term. By the time the girls return from holidays, they will be in their third week of each unit of study. There are many benefits to starting units at this time, including maximising the use of face-to-face learning time to allow for deeper engagement with the content. However, having a three-week break in the middle of a unit of work can prove challenging when it comes to retaining information and skills. Secondary students who don’t allocate some time to revise over the break, or who commence holidays early thereby missing important learning, run the risk of falling behind their peers and struggling to keep up with important concepts, particularly those in more challenging or complex learning areas.
For younger students, I would ask parents to please find opportunities for them to read, or to be read to, every day. Fun maths games and activities are also a great way to keep their minds actively practising their numeracy skills. Secondary students should also try to read each day, not just because of the benefits for their vocabulary and writing skills, but for the benefits to mental health and wellbeing. Students in Years 10 to 12 should ensure they take time to refresh but in the third week find some time to revise the content they started before holidays. This commitment is vital in the senior phase of learning and will be important to ensure they are well-prepared for their further learning and assessment when they return.
I wish all our families a safe and relaxing holiday break and look forward to seeing everyone when school commences on Tuesday, 6 October.
Mrs Deanne Johnston