Top 10 Characteristics to Help Start the School Year Well
Start Well: A New School Year is Here!
For most children who have advanced with their cohort to a new level of learning and responsibility, the new school year brings a significant change, albeit a shared experience with many others at the same time in a familiar environment.
However, for others, including the littlest members of Kindergarten*, this new school environment and its rhythm are completely new. For these children, the initial response is essentially an emotional one: excitement or feeling uncertain, hesitant, even anxious perhaps.
* I have previously written about four specific and practical areas in which parents of 3-4 year olds can help their daughters (or sons) get ready for Kindergarten.
In the first few weeks of Term 1 at Roseville College Junior School, our initial goals include helping each girl find her place and establish a sense of belonging, nurturing a growth mindset in her approach to higher levels of learning, and empowering her to opt-in to greater opportunities available across the spectrum of school life. Together, goals like these help us settle children into school life socially and emotionally, as well as cognitively and physically.
By supporting a child’s social and emotional adjustment to change (ie. their mental health and welfare), we nurture and empower the whole child while simultaneously making major steps in establishing the child’s underlying character; the inner fortitude they need when faced with far bigger challenges later in life.
How can parents help their children have the best start to school in 2017?
My top ten (10) character-driven keys for “Starting the 2017 School Year well”, and a few practical tips for each, are:
Be intentional about nurturing your child’s sense of belonging
If a child feels welcomed, valued, trusted and respected at home, there is a high chance this will positively influence that child’s sense of belonging at school.
How does this translate to the new school year? The impact of belonging on a child directly correlates with a child's approach to school, both how they relate to people (friends and teachers) and their attitude toward learning.
Whenever you reconnect after a period of separation (ie. at the end of the school day), greet and respond to your child with a smile and signs of affirmation. Your child develops a template for how to greet others and reach out to new friends.
As your child makes decisions about the contents of their lunch-box, they learn to respectfully discuss and negotiate their wishes against your criteria of, for example, easy-to-make and nutritious food.
Engage in a personal-interest project together (eg. learning to sew or running a 5km fun run). Through the steps of listening to practical instructions, taking turns, assisting and encouraging, and engaging in social conversation, you are also nurturing inclusive relationships and demonstrating how to collaborate with peers at playtime, in a sport team or in group-work.
In the same way you might commit to family dinners together, commit to participating in educational activities and having a family presence at the school early on. This is especially important during the times of at-school transition. From participating as part of an audience (ie. productions, open days), as co-learners (ie. parent seminars, parent-child breakfasts), as volunteers (ie. reading assistance, canteen) or at a greater level of voluntary commitment if you can (such as parent committees), your family’s belonging at the school will reassure your child that it is very much their place, too.
Foster your child’s value of inclusiveness
With well-placed encouragement, a child who is aware of their own, strong sense of belonging also develops a natural inclination to demonstrate inclusive leadership qualities, and be more understanding of, and able to navigate diversity in, abilities, opinions, values, cultures, and so on.
How does this translate to the new school year? At Roseville College, a sense of community is at the heart of school life. For many children, schools are the first environment where they are challenged to get along with others in spite of the diversity and dissimilarities of others.
At home, encourage siblings (cousins or friends) to help and guide each other in appropriate activities according to their strengths (rather than by age), even though an adult could more quickly instruct the desired outcome. In addition to nurturing leadership and respect for different abilities and learning paces, children reinforce their own knowledge by sharing it and often see how others might achieve the same goal differently.
Join your child in the habit of welcoming new friends or getting to know familiar faces better by talking through scenarios that might empower your child in a range of situations, such as joining in others’ games or to inviting someone to join your game, connecting with a new classmate sitting on their own at the start of recess, or even scheduling an out-of-school playdate with a new family.
Encourage a broad network of friendships (in school and non-school environments) and help your child recognise the unique qualities of their peers and friends. A balanced acknowledgement of strengths vs weaknesses, and how to celebrate and support their peers, can also help your child develop an attitude of selflessness, grace and forgiveness through the ups and downs of relationships.
Model and engender attributes of kindness, courtesy and respect
There are some things that simply cannot be told, but are taught, felt and learnt by example and empowerment. Among these are vital attributes that help us get along with others, such as kindness, courtesy and respect.
How does this translate to the new school year? Coaching children about how to care for others (kindness), treat others (courtesy) and regard others (respect) benefit your child in a range of physiological, emotional and other ways. These qualities, which have a positive effect on the brain and subsequent decision-making, “feed” social bonds (eg. peer acceptance) and feelings of belonging, pride, gratefulness and trust, while operating in opposition to bullying, cliques and low-esteem. Therefore, these are vital characteristics to promote at home and at school.
Participate in (or initiate) “acts of kindness” or “good deeds” with your child, whether among family friends and relatives or within your child’s wider social circle. These acts help set the expectation of “how things are done”. The endorphins are addictive and it’s amazing how willingly children embrace your “feel good” initiatives and begin to instigate them on their own!
Teach her the importance of mindfulness and sleep.
The act of mindfulness has a similar physiological impact to being kind; both release serotonin and enrich complementary characteristics such as appreciation, thankfulness, empathy, optimism and considered helpfulness. Sleep promotes learning, so adequate sleep the night before is important part of preparing well for each school day. How does this translate to the new school year? There is a direct correlation between serotonin levels and the quality of learning and cognitive reasoning, information recall, attitudes and outlooks, physical and emotional wellbeing, and ultimately sleep.
Before the mind can be stilled for reflection and prayer, or even sleep, it is constructive to address your child’s physical environment. A calm bedtime, for example, is aided by setting beneficial, enforced routines. These may include avoiding screen time in the hour before bed, practicing relaxation and deep breathing, and creating a peaceful atmosphere throughout the home (ie. choosing softer lighting, lavender bath scents, relaxing music and gentle, happy connections with each other).
Champion a mindset of “dare to be brave”
Children need encouragement (from someone they trust) that school is a safe place to try new things, and that trying (whether succeeding or not, but trying again) is of higher importance than not trying and never knowing. To “dare to be brave” elevates personal growth as more valuable than the risk of disappointment and discouragement!
How does this translate to the new school year? The encouragement to “dare to be brave” underpins a child’s ability to evaluate and attempt new things, step outside their comfort zone with the goal to learn, and to manage the big emotions that rise to the surface when things don’t work out and children need to regroup to try again, differently.
Demonstrate bravery yourself with a smile (even clenched!), and be transparent in letting your child see how you handle some of the big emotions she struggles with (such as a fear of public speaking or anxiety of introducing yourself to someone new). Be willing to grow if your reaction doesn’t mirror the sort of reaction you hope your daughter has in your position! You will share greater empathy with her struggles and may just give her the courage to be a life-long learner!
Tell your child how proud you are of her and choose well-timed moments that are not only connected to “doing well”. Affirm her when she assesses and navigates a situation well, even if the end result isn’t “success”. Use prompts from teacher feedback or your own observations; for example, as your child demonstrates courtesy, consideration, wisdom or selflessness.
Allow independence at her pace, so if she is asking to take responsibility –age-appropriately with all care taken – work to “let her go” to grow. Follow her cues and respond with encouragement and wisdom.
Share their excitement about… whatever
As the school year begins, the excitement on Day 1 (and at memorable moments in their schooling) is electric. And guess what? Your child expects you to understand why she’s excited and to share the feeling with her! Also, as you engage and connect with your child, you’re nurturing their interpersonal skills (ie. social and emotional literacy, such as expressing empathy and sharing joy).
How does this translate to the new school year? Despite many parents envying the (tiring) high energy levels of children and wishing they could express unbridled excitement as an adult, many instead find themselves subduing it and begging their children to “calm down!” However, when experiencing significant change, your child looks to you for permission that it’s okay and safe for her to be intrepid and excited about the “big things” ahead.
Consciously demonstrate genuine inquisitiveness in your child’s interests and try to respond appropriately to their energy and enthusiasm. At times of change and transition, your consistent engagement with them will be a great source of comfort and reassurance. Try not to dismiss achievements or news too early. Remember they are still a child on a voyage of discovery, for whom many ordinary events (for you) are amazing to them.
When your child is facing a change in school or a major at-school transition, be positive in your language and link the reasons why this school/ opportunity is a great match for your child’s unique interests, skills and qualities (as acknowledge by them); ask lots of questions and listen to their opinion, concerns and areas of peak interest.
Stretch her capacity wisely
By the end of the year, children’s weekly schedules are very full and brimming with end-of-year celebrations, presentations, parties and more. It is tempting to busy children equally at the start of the year, too. Be mindful that transition phases are challenging for every child and all benefit from a thoughtful balance between the opportunities to explore and grow, and opportunities to rest, reflect and recover.
How does this translate to the new school year? In my experience, children will accumulate new activities and interests as the year goes on, so scheduling down-time at the start of the year helps facilitate a balanced lifestyle and helps avoid burn-out as the inevitable “next things” are added in.
Observe how your child’s adapts to the new routines, activities and expectations, and be supportive, inquiring and helpful. Try not to instruct your child about how to solve any problem or challenge they may be facing, such as signing up to something for the term that they’re now not so keen on, or juggling conflicts in their schedule. Empower their own sense of resolution and discovery and, by all means, communicate with the school and your child’s teacher if extra support or understanding will be helpful for your child and family.
Promote optimism and resilience
For many children, the uncertainty of change is complicated by fears and worries about “what if” I can’t do it, they don’t like me, I don’t know. In response to permanent and absolute limitations (“I will never be able to…” “I don’t know what will happen tomorrow”), nurture more holistic reasoning with a greater sense of perspective (“It might take some time and a few mistakes, but what if I try this…” “No one knows what will happen tomorrow and we’ll all figure it out together”); in doing so, you’re promoting optimism and resilience.
How does this translate to the new school year? The notion of “fixed intelligence” (ie. you’re born with your IQ) is redundant. Children today are empowered with a Growth Mindset, whereby effort is rewarded by discovery and learning. The process of learning effectively makes people smarter and there’s no limit!
If parents were educated in the “fixed intelligence” era, my best advice is to re-educate yourself and search for constructive phrases that foster optimism and resilience in your children. For their benefit, work to change your own vocabulary and outlook if necessary. There are excellent resources available online (such as Growth Mindset resources by Prof. Carol Dweck), or tap into resources available to parents though your child’s school.
As you discuss your child’s day, include how and what questions to help a child realise that the process of learning is as important as what they learned. This is equally as beneficial for areas of character and social skills development as it is for academic and athletic achievement. Be mindful to praise and encourage related attributes such as hard work, perseverance, innovation, problem solving, and courage.
Focus on your attention to the progress your child makes socially, emotionally and academically, remembering to coach them at their pace and celebrate small and big steps along the way.
Let your child lead
As children are exposed to a myriad of situations and a diversity of personalities, they need to learn how to master themselves. This includes developing self-control, self-discipline, self-regulation and self-awareness. Where learning is required, guide them through social stories and invite them to suggest alternative ways that situations could have played out.
How does this translate to the new school year? Childhood is a time for learning, just as school is a place for learning. The ability to manage feelings, responses, interactions and relationships all contribute to a child’s sense of ease in the range of situations they find themselves at school. Allowing them to lead their own self-discovery at a young age empowers them to work through challenges independently as they move through their Junior years into Senior School.
When children speak with you about things they found hard at the time, allow them to lead the discussion to resolution and to come up with constructive ideas for next time. Offer suggestions, being mindful that this is their self-discovery and, if we listen, we might just learn from them.
Whisper to her, “to just breathe”
The #1 antidote to stress is controlled breathing: even one good, deep breath helps!
How does this translate to the new school year? To “just breathe” is a conscious reminder of an involuntary function. To breathe deeply on purpose injects a boost of oxygen to the brain and vital organs, relaxes muscle tension that impacts our posture and sense of wellbeing, and takes the brain off high-alert to enable clearer thinking in the moment to make the most of each moment.
A little whisper of courage at moments of stress, anxiety or general uncertainty can equip your child for at-school moments when you might not be beside her. In a heightened situation for your child, a considered breath allows the brain to pause and catch pace with learning, and gives them a moment to regroup before proceeding.
Reinforce key ideas about learning from school into other areas of your child’s life. At Roseville College; for example, learning is a process that may include taking initiative, making mistakes, regulating emotions, evolving ideas, and persevering. Connect with the school’s pedagogy and be willing to take some principles into your home life. They may just enrich your whole family!
Offer plenty of positive feedback on school work and when you notice your child apply aspects of new learning to their other activities. Talk to teachers and other parents you trust about how they give positive affirmation to your child and the sorts of qualities they are recognising in her.
Each fresh school year provides your daughter (or son) with growth-inspiring challenge and passion-fueling opportunity. Annually, I witness the value of strong character in young children as they advance at school or experience major change or transition. I hope that these ten ideas are helpful in making 2017 a milestone year in the growth of your child.
A helpful resource for parents of children experiencing significant change is http://www.kidsmatter.edu.au/
Head of Junior School, Roseville College
At Roseville College, there is a phrase that is often repeated by members of the academic staff, as well as by current and former students: “This is your journey. No two HSC experiences are alike”.
Hidden in this grain of wisdom is a massive warning to parents: And there simply is no “one right way” to be an HSC cheer-squad.
As parents shadow their adored offspring through Years 11 and 12, their tales about a stranger living in their house, months of abdicated chores, diva-esque study demands, and parents literally tiptoeing around their own home are told with increasing exaggeration and (in hindsight) humour.
With no thanks to tall tales like these, which perhaps are very real in the moment, few parents embrace the beginning of the HSC with glee. As parents, it is fair for us to expect that we will ask ourselves, at least once, who is actually going through the greater test: the HSC student or their family.
No matter how we look at it, the HSC is a testing time. So, to offer some guidance, these are my top 10 tips for parents with a teenager in Years 10 – 12:
Remember the Basics
We've said it before to our children and our students, and we'll say it again: eat well and rest well...A recap:
Healthful food is good for learning and energy; fast sugars not so.
Water is vital; drink it, bathe in it, relax by it.
Balance is integral; plan a smart routine and schedule regular exercise.
Give your brain a break; sometimes it is good not to study.
Restrict technology, especially non-productive screen time and definitely in the hours before sleep.
(Re)Discover your Child as the Adult They Nearly Are
Your child is coming of age. The HSC is a learning process that culminates in a series of examinations. This is part of their journey. It also coincides with another milestone process: that of our children transforming into adults who learn to drive, seek independence and dictate their own terms. Step back. Look at who they are. Rather than lament the fading child, look to discover the emerging adult. Guide them and like them. Yes, like them, and work hard at enjoying the journey they're taking us on.
Practice the Art of Letting Go
As you discover your emerging adult (aka. your son or daughter), it's not surprising to remember that the road to independence is increasingly...independent. For this reason, beside an emerging adult, we can usually find at least one emerging hands-off-and-let-go-and-I'm-here-if-you-need-me parent, who is also trying to work out what they should do and what they no longer need to do. (So, do be a willing listener, do listen without giving unsolicited advice, and do expect and forgive your child's very strong emotions.) When parents let go of their own opinions and reactions, many find their child's road to independence is mutually beneficial!
Access the Knowledge
There is so much information produced to help you support your child through school: Year 10 UAC Guides, HSC parent advice on the National Education Standards (NESA) website, alongside syllabus and policy documents. Read the parent support materials offered by your child's school and make the most of learning that can help you better understand, empathise and support your child at times of stress and overwhelming pressure. Become familiar with the resources available to parents, as well as to the HSC students.
Expect the challenge of 'the unexpected'
Excellent research into brain plasticity and intelligence offers parents whole new approaches to try for those HSC moments when it feels like things have gone backwards or the wheels have completed fallen off. These moments still catch parents and students by surprise, throwing motivation into the trash and casting a shadow over the remaining HSC journey.
In reality, learning doesn't always go to plan. Plan about what to do if and when the wheels fall off; with your child if possible. Provide perspective, set in place constructive ways to learn from past mistakes for future gain, and help them discover that learning is often more effective when it is hard (when you have work for it).
Have a fire-net ready
When the wheels come off or other misadventure befalls, have your fire-net ready. Know what support is available to catch your family and, importantly, your children. At School, get to know the Year Adviser, Academic Support Coordinator, Psychologist, Student Counsellor and Department Heads. In your community, make a note of any trusted and skilled psychologists, counsellors, tutors and mentors who can come alongside your family and child if need arises. Pay attention to the fine-print at HSC preparation seminars and in printed materials that provide support for students due to illness, misadventure or educational access schemes, as well as offer alternative pathways for post-school destinations. Hopefully you will not need it; but is at the ready.
Gift them with Responsibility
The HSC may be your child's first major experience with independence and consequence (good or bad), and it is a gift of responsibility that is part of the "coming of age" package. Within the HSC experience are many opportunities for emerging adults to evaluate options, make decisions and take responsibility: subject choice, study routines, communicating with teachers, balancing commitments, and more. Hand it all over.
Become the Student
Overwhelmingly, the most common complaint of HSC parents is, "How do I get them to study?!" At Roseville College, we understand that if a student knows how she learns most effectively she is empowered to learn beyond the requirements. It also eliminates the frustration of hours of tedious, unproductive revision. For all students to some extent, learning is best reinforced by explaining it to someone else - by becoming another's teacher! For HSC candidates, a willing audience of "students" may be the best gift a parent can give.
Feedback really matters It is affirming when graduates tell me they felt so many people were cheering them on, willing to help, and offering them direction and feedback during the HSC years. However, the type of feedback that really matters is feedback from teachers that guide a student in where they are going, how they are going, and where they should go next in their learning. Eminent educational researcher, John Hattie says, "The simplest prescription for improving education most be dollops of feedback".
When your child comes home with an assessment result, the best thing not to ask is, "What did you get?"; instead, ask "What feedback did you get?"
Teachers are ready and willing to help HSC students and their parents in settling the best course of learning to achieve the students' best possible outcome. Yet, some students find it difficult to seek further feedback, not know how to ask. If this is your child, offer assistance by helping then draft an email to the teacher or talk with your child about the sorts of questions they could ask their teacher to ensure that such conversation is productive. In formulating questions and thinking about their responses, look for advice that guides areas of improvement and the best "next steps" in learning your child could take.
I love the story about an HSC study group reviewing their exam papers to discover that, despite answering their papers quite differently, two members in the group had received exactly the same high mark. Yet, one was terribly upset at her "disastrous" mark, while the other was more constructive. When the latter was asked why she was not upset, her response was, "I can see where I went wrong; however, I'm still learning and I'll keep learning after the HSC too. This is just part of the lesson. If I want to focus on a real problem, I just have to go home and turn on the News."
The HSC is a learning process that culminates in an examination and an ATAR. The HSC is one step at a time. Each assessment adds to that ATAR, but none singlehandedly decides it. And yes, the learning continues after the HSC too. Nurturing a sense of perspective around the HSC is a gift to your child, and will help them apply perspective to life's events for years to come.
There is no 'right way' to be an HSC cheer-squad; however, there are certainly lots of ways to try! The most necessary keys, in my opinion, are remembering the basics and discovering your emerging adult - and liking them! As always, you will gaze at them when they sleep and wonder how someone so peaceful (hopefully) could cause so much trouble (and be so expensive to upkeep). Parents, this is your journey too, and no two journeys will be the same, because no two children are the same. Please enjoy the ride!
To each parent embarking on the HSC journey with your child, I extend my congratulations and best wishes.
BEd MECh MACE MACEL, has more than 20 years of experience as an educator and education leader, and is Roseville College's 10th Principal
Roseville College Year 12 students have performed strongly in the 2016 HSC examinations with School Captain, Zoe King named Dux with an ATAR of 99.25.
Class of 2016 Top Achievers
Class of 2016 graduate, Ilana Bolinowsky, has ranked 1st in NSW in Food Technology, with peers, Vice-Captain Lauren Caush, Prefect Melissa Woodley, Zoe King and Sonia Stratton distinguished as All-Round Achievers, earning a result in the highest band in 10 or more units of courses in their current pattern of study.
The non-selective Anglican school also performed strongly on the Distinguished Achievers List, including 1st in State awarded to Ilana Bolinowsky for Food Technology. Tarryn Myburgh (Earth and Environmental Studies) and Brittany Carpenter (French Extension) ranked in NSW’s Top 35, and Melissa Woodley (Food Technology) and Lauren Caush (PDHPE) ranked in the State’s Top 50.
Sonia Stratton earned one of the College’s strongest ATAR scores and, like many, will be celebrating her result with family and friends over the coming days; yet she was mindful of how others may receive their results this week.
'At the end of the day, the ATAR is a rank with a purpose. If you didn't get the score you hoped or worked for, it still comes with an opportunity. For example; there is a chance to reevaluate what you really want by reflecting on your expectations and the doors now open to you. There's also a chance to remember what is really important to you and what you really want to do with your future, and make necessary changes now,' she says encouragingly.
2016 Principal, Mrs Megan Krimmer*, says she is very proud of this Year 12 group, adding that she wishes them well in their future pursuits. 'The HSC is a rigorous, intensive experience for anyone intent on embracing the examinations as a challenge and an opportunity," she says. It is with great pride and pleasure that I wish this group the College’s best wishes as they move into new areas of academic study and and self-discovery in 2017. I am very confident that the Class of 2016 will make a very positive impact on the world in the future."
Roseville College Year 12 graduate, Ilana Bolinowsky, has ranked 1st in NSW in Food Technology, describing the distinction as a “stunning surprise”.
Ilana ranks 1st in NSW
Ilana, who received an ATAR of 95.9, met with 2016 Roseville College Principal*, Mrs Megan Krimmer, to showcase her award and receive Mrs Krimmer’s personal congratulations on behalf of the College community, today.
I worked hard in the HSC and had high expectations of doing well in this subject, but when the Board of Studies rang with news I ranked 1st in NSW, I was amazed. It was a stunning surprise and unexpected, of course,” Ilana says.
Ilana is amused by the stereotype with which some people view the subject, Food Technology, saying the course provided her with great balance to other HSC subjects like Mathematics and Chemistry.
Food Technology is not what people think; ‘just cooking’. It taught me how to think differently, which benefitted my other subjects, and I gained some great skills for the rest of my life. There is a lot more to this area of learning than you might first think. It really is very academic and challenging,” she says, adding that she is especially grateful for her teachers, Mrs Burke, Ms Ovington and Mrs Marshall. “I’m really pleased and very proud of this achievement.”
Ilana is thankful for all of her teachers, urging her Year 11 peers to respect and cherish their teachers as they approach the HSC next year, saying, “I’m so grateful for the education I have received at Roseville College and for the teachers who really want us to succeed and work hard to that end. They truly are ‘second to none’.”
Ms Magill, BEd MECh MACE MACEL aspires to bring a fresh, contemporary vision to the role of Principal at Roseville College. Ms Magill believes the College is unique in its ability to nurture and empower each individual girl within an inspiring learning community that, to so many families, is an extension of their homes.
Chair of Roseville College Council, Mr David Minty, emphasises that Ms Magill stood out among high-calibre candidatures as an exceptional educator with a strong and determined leadership style, who has a vision to empower both staff and students in the 1,000-strong collegiate at Roseville College.
"Among her professional expertise and strong credentials, Ms Magill's specialisation in learning enrichment will further strengthen the College's reputation for caring for each student as she learns and grows in our strong Christian and highly encouraging school community," says Mr Minty.
"Together with Ms Magill, we aim to continue delivering excellent education for girls in Kindergarten to Year 12 at Roseville College, in preparation for a bright future beyond school," Mr Minty adds.
As the school's current Director of Learning and a senior member of the College's executive team, Ms Magill is highly respected by colleagues, peers and families at the school, and her succession to incumbent Principal, Mrs Krimmer, demonstrates strong leadership stability at the College and will facilitate a very smooth transition.
With more than 20 years of experience as an educator and education leader in girls', co-educational and boys' learning environments, Ms Magill has worked with ASC since 2004 and with Roseville College for the past six years. Ms Magill is also an active member of her local Anglican church, with her husband John and two school-aged children.
Roseville College has an established reputation for partnering with families in the education of their daughters in a way that inspires girls toward their best personal academic achievement, while also refining each girls' individual talents and interests, and founding her in grounded values and lifelong friendships. The College has performed consistently well in the HSC, with the Class of 2015 ranking 27th overall in NSW, with 56% of students attaining an ATAR of 89 or more (46% attained 90 or more). The College couples its rigorous academic learning and dynamic STEM opportunities with a wide range of co-curricular pursuits, inspiring outdoor education experiences and engaging community service initiatives, underpinned by Christian values in the Anglican tradition.
Photo inset: Ms Deb Magill, Roseville College's Director of Learning
Girls in Years 7 and 8 are passionate about science, mathematics, engineering and technology
Girls Dance with Robots
Year 8 students, Jessica Weiling and Cassie Baker, and their robots danced their way to first place at the RoboCupJunior Sydney Regional Competition, and recently competed at the NSW State Competition.
"I grew up with robotics because it was my Dad's hobby," says Jessica, who shared "the robotics but" with her friend and now team-mate Cassie. Both girls say that robotics bridges what they learn at school with something they enjoy in their free-time.
Roseville College Mathematics teacher, Mr Charles D'Silva, and the school's Learning Innovator, Mrs Kim Maksimovic, agree that co-curricular activities, like the College's weekly STEM Club, provide stimulating ways for girls to leverage what they learn in class and apply it practially using their imagination, experience, determination and learned theory.
Mr D'Silva says students benefit from STEM Club beyond the pure technical skills, including: having a sense of belonging, connecting with other girls with similar interests, developing computational thinking and project management, and learning perseverence, teamwork and emotional regulation. He says he was inspired by Jessica and Cassie's approach to the RoboCupJunior Competition, which included training before school, at lunch and after school, as well as collaborating to design and build a ramp for their robots to use as part of their choreography.
"When Jessica and Cassie arrived at the State Competition, they expected to do well after the 'highs' of winning their regional round. However, in unfamiliar and changing conditions, the girls discovered that their robots didn't perform consistently, as planned. Despite this, they didn't give up and completed their routine with a smile," explains Mr D'Silva, who adds that they demonstrated invaluable attributes of a positive outlook, self-control and good sportsmanship in the midst of their own disappointment.
At Roseville College, developing strong, positive character attributes is as important as providing a robust curriculum and encouraging students to explore areas of personal interest and ability. Accordingly, in addition to STEM Club, the School offers co-curricular options in a wide range of areas, such as for the community service and charity groups, Crusaders, performing arts (ie, dance, drama, bands, musical productions, performance, tuition), debating and public speaking, Antipodeans Abroad and Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme, exchange opportunities, languages, mock trial, sports, leadership such as SRC, photography and creative arts.
*STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
Photo: Roseville College Year 8 students at the RoboCupJunior Sydney regional competition.
Roseville College Snowsports Team had its strongest results yet
Superb Snowsports Results 2016
The 2016 Interschools Snowsports season is now compete, with Roseville's team achieving its best results ever in the competition.
Roseville College won the Secondary Overall Female Pointscore and Secondary Female Snowboard Championship in the Northern NSW Interschools Championships held in Thredbo in July. It was the second year in a row that the College has won both titles. The team also placed 3rd in the Secondary Overall Skiing Pointscore.
12 members of the Roseville College Snowsports team qualified for the Suburu NSW State Interschools Championships in Thredbo in August, where they placed 3rd overall in the Female Overall Pointscore.
As a result of the strong State Championship performances, eight Roseville College competitors qualified for, and progressed, to the Australian Interschools Championships in Perisher in September. This is our largest team yet at this level of competition. With superb performances by Sarah Leatherbarrow, Monique Leadbitter, Isobel Macdonald, Lara Nievergelt and Emily Vos, Roseville College placed 12th overall in the female category.
Roseville College Snowsports Coordinator, Mrs Suzi Litchfield, says the spectacular results were due to a real team effort and consistent hard work that girls put into their training. She says girls competed in five events: Alpine GS, Moguls, Ski Cross, Snowboard GS and Snowboard Cross.
Photo: Roseville College competitors compete in the 2017 Interschools Championships.
Prestigious Pearcey Presentation for Young ICT Inventors
The two Year 6 students presented at the annual Pearcey Awards on 18 October at NSW Parliament House and said the experience has completely transformed their view of technology.
Madeleine, whose sister has a disability that affects her physical ability, says she and Chloe entered the SAP Young ICT awards as an opportunity to bring to life her idea of creating a sensory playground suitable for people of all ages and abilities. Appropriately, they named their concept the Fun for Everyone Sensory Playground.
"At the Pearcey Awards, we presented two of our ideas: musical monkey bars that are activated by touch and a sensory tunnel with pressure sensors in the ground that trigger lights and sounds," explains Chloe, who says she is encouraged by people's excitement about their idea.
Madeleine agrees, emphasising that both girls have now found a passion for pursuing STEM careers after school.
"The opportunities we have had through school and the Pearcey Foundation have inspired us to keep learning about technology. We both, definitely, want to do something in this area for our careers," Madeleine says. "To begin, technology can seem a bit scary. However, through application and learning from experienced people, we now understand that technology is just a tool we can use to create all sorts of solutions to challenges and bring lever ideas into reality."
At the Awards, they also met industry leaders including the NSW Minister for Innovation, Hon Victor Dominello and entrepreneur Jo Burston, founder of Rare Birds (www.inspiringrarebirds.com). For more about the Pearcey Foundation, which organises the awards program and aims to elevate Australia's Information and Communications Technology (ICT), please visit pearcey.org.au
Photo: Roseville college Year 6 students with the ICT invention that they presented at the 2016 Pearcey Awards at NSW Parliament House recently.