As we prepare to commence holidays after what has been another busy but successful term, it is worth remembering that this is not just a holiday, it is also our Easter celebration.
Easter is a wonderful time for enjoying the company of our families and friends, of taking time to renew and refresh, and of showing gratitude for the blessings and gifts that we have received. The message of Easter is one of love, care and kindness and I hope all our students, families and community give and receive these over Easter and throughout 2021.
Easter is also a good time to challenge ourselves to pause, reflect on the school term and consider our successes and growth areas. The break provides an opportunity to think about how we can connect with others and foster right relationships, to think about what changes we would like to make to have a positive impact on our community. It is also an opportunity to reflect on who we are and how we can be the best versions of ourselves.
For our students, whilst it is an important time to rest, it is also a good opportunity to continue the learning momentum. This does not mean that students need to be spending their holidays studying, but there are a range of worthwhile activities that keep their neurological pathways stimulated over the holidays. Working our brains over the holidays means choosing activities to stimulate and learn, ideally in fun or energising ways. Some simple things students may do include reading, drawing and painting, doing jigsaw puzzles, playing board games, writing creative stories and engaging in stimulating outdoor activities.
In particular, I would like to encourage daily reading over the holidays. As I talk to girls about their reading, increasingly I am finding it is an activity they don’t prioritise. In the busyness of life, it can be difficult to find time to stop and read. However, the many benefits for reading suggest it is a habit worth encouraging. Research shows that regular reading:
improves brain connectivity.
increases vocabulary and comprehension.
supports the development of empathy.
aids in sleep readiness.
lowers blood pressure and heart rate.
fights depression symptoms.
prevents cognitive decline.
Reading for pleasure can benefit a child’s education, social and cognitive development, their wellbeing, and their mental health. Through reading, children gain a deep understanding about their world which aids cognitive development. Reading to children supports language acquisition and stimulates the part of the brain that processes language. It has further benefits, such as improved vocabulary, greater concentration and development of creativity and imagination, all important for success in learning. It is no surprise that high-achieving students are often good readers.
Reading with and to children on a regular basis also develops relationships between children and parents. It provides an opportunity to spend time together, to discuss the stories being read and to talk about the issues and values portrayed. Importantly, the time together provides children with a sense of security through the attention, love, and reassurance they receive, all of which are key for wellbeing.
Term 1 has been incredibly busy. The girls have worked hard and had many successes, in sport, music, debating, leadership and academics. Our staff have continued to provide a high quality, holistic educational environment for our girls. Our teachers have also worked tirelessly to provide individualised teaching and learning experiences. We have had a number of wonderful community events and today’s cross country and Easter celebrations ensured a positive and happy end to the term.
I wish all our families a relaxing and peaceful Easter. I hope you have a safe and wonderful holiday break and we will look forward to seeing you all again when we return, strengthened and renewed ready for Term 2.