This year, and particularly the last term, has been incredibly busy and challenging. So, it is no wonder that so many people are looking forward to the break from school and a well-deserved rest. The upcoming holidays, particularly with the easing of some restrictions and the reopening of many services, provide a good opportunity for students to clear their heads, relax, spend time with friends and family and have a little fun.
Physically, our girls will be tired, as they always are at the end of a term. Mentally, they will also need a rest. Opportunities to be outdoors and to have social time with friends and family are great ways to support their physical and mental rejuvenation. Our weather is beautiful at this time of year, allowing us to spend time in the fresh air and sunshine, undertaking a plethora of activities. For those of us who will stay in Central Queensland, we are blessed to have so many spectacular areas right on our doorstep. My family and I have already drafted our list of day trips and places to visit, most of which involve the outdoors in some form. I am sure there will also be many of our families who will take advantage of the eased restrictions and visit various locations right across our state. Whatever you do, I wish all our families a safe and enjoyable two weeks ahead.
Notwithstanding their need for a break, it is also important to keep the girls’ neurological pathways stimulated to maintain the gains they’ve made in the classroom and prevent regression. This is particularly important this year as students have had to adjust from classroom learning to the online environment and then back to the classroom again. These changes impacted the girls in different ways, with some relishing the experience whilst others found the adjustment difficult or faced challenges due to internet inconsistencies. Keeping their brains working over the holidays means choosing some activities to stimulate and learn, ideally in fun and energising ways. This will vary, depending on the age of the student and what they need for their stage of schooling. Some simple things students may do include doing puzzles, drawing and painting, writing creative stories, playing games that encourage thinking or problem solving and watching documentaries.
Where you can, please also find opportunities for your daughters to read or to be read to. Reading achievement is directly related to academic improvements related to vocabulary, reading comprehension, verbal fluency and knowledge acquisition. Students who don’t read often can lack the flair for language which can affect their cognitive functioning and fluency of communication. Reading is also beneficial in addressing stress and anxiety as it provides a forum for relaxation and creativity.
Over these holidays, students in Years 11 and 12 may need to set aside some time for study and preparation – the new senior system is structured in units, not semesters, so traditional school holiday periods do not necessarily fit as neatly as in previous years. It will also be important that they take some time to prepare for Term 3. This will be a busy term for seniors as they juggle not only their studies, but leadership opportunities and commitments, the return of sport, music and other co-curricular activities and social events. Due to the inability to hold some events in Term 2, we have needed to make some changes to the dates for Year 12 key events. Deputy Principal-Students, Mr Ryan Cheers, will communicate these changes directly with Year 12 families.
Next term we will also host information sessions on subject selections for students in Years 7 to 10. Deputy Principal-Studies, Dr John Fry, will provide further information about these events and the forums through which they can be accessed.
We are looking forward to the return of all our girls next term and the gradual return of the range of activities that support their holistic development. We will still have various restrictions and parameters within which we must operate but we will once again be our full community. Please spare a thought for those of our girls who have not been home since January and will once again spend the holidays away from their families.
As we reach the halfway point of 2020, I’d like to thank all our families for their continued support and their valued contributions to another chapter in Girls Grammar’s rich history.