A Window with a View
The last week of Term 1 was so busy that most of us fell into the break. On the last Thursday, our Year 5 and 6 students had the pleasure of attending a workshop with 3 sculptors who are exhibiting in the Scenic World Sculpture Exhibition. The children reflected and created around the theme of change: transitions from primary to high school. Talulah and Amanda accompanied them to this day of creativity and by their reports, they all had a splendid time together. There are photos and a summary published on our Korowal facebook page.
This event segued beautifully into by our first ‘Impressions’ event that Thursday evening, where we held a conversation between Psychologist Tim Hannan and artist Rachel Peachey. We conversed around the place of creativity in assisting us to process change, as well as discussing the significant changes that are occurring physically, emotionally and intellectually for children at these critical stages of development. Tim and Rachel were comfortably open in sharing personal experiences and the questions from the floor propelled the discussion to keep us all engaged throughout. We extend our fondest thanks to both Tim and Rachel.
The next day, Friday, primary enjoyed modified activities as the Huff and Puff Gala day was postponed due to the oval being closed from the wet. The high school went to the Easter Show and many students have requested that we do this each year. It was a joy! This allowed us all to work together to establish clear boundaries, accept responsibility for ourselves and each other and have a lot of fun. It was a fitting way to end a busy term.
Simultaneously, Louise went to Japan with several Year 9 and 10 students and they have just returned this Friday, exhausted and happy. No doubt they are all needing a big rest for the next few days. Louise sent regular updates to families and it was clear that they were all engaged in a stimulating and hectic schedule for the two weeks, without a day of rest. This is an extract from one email to us and provides a flavour of the tour:
...... On to Mitaka on the outskirts of Tokyo to visit the magical Ghibli Museum. First a stop for picnic provisions.
We stopped off in the lovely park near the museum where the kids ate their treats, chatted and played in the park....squeals of delight when a slippery dip was discovered, some ran laps around a special lap park.....mostly the boys who were missing their regular soccer training. We also lay down and looked up through the cherry blossoms while they snowed down on us. We stayed here for two hours and it went in an instant!
Then, into Ghibli where our six year old selves came out to play. We could actually sit in the most splendid cat bus....it was so lifelike! The kids just wandered at their own pace discovering little secret spots, amazing structures, old friends from favourite movies. A few tears were shed at the wonder of it all..... a very special place indeed.
Back to Tokyo to Shibuya which was every bit as wild as Shinjuku the night before. We wound our way through some amazing streets and also paid our respects to little Hachiko outside the station. The most faithful dog ever. Look up the story...it's heartbreaking. Next was shopping at the quirky Tokyu Hands where you will find things you never realised you needed!.....and we did!
Home then....very tired....and early bed.....well.... I sent them to bed early.... that doesn't mean they slept does it!
With the holidays almost behind us and as we prepare for Term 2, there are a few organisational matters we wish to bring to your attention.
Caroline is now on maternity leave until October, for the arrival of her baby is imminent. During these six months of leave, Jes Somerville will be working full-time in the office as our Administrations Officer and Deb will continue in her role as Office Assistant. For the past few weeks, Jes and Deb have been working closely with Caroline to ensure a smooth handover and we are confident that we are in safe hands. We send Caroline and her family our thoughts and love.
Today I have sent an email to all Korowal families with children in Year 5 through to Year 12 regarding a Netflix series titled 13 Reasons Why. I am repeating aspects of that letter in this post because it is important that we are all informed of popular trends that may impact our children.
There has been much discussion in the media and concern has been raised over the content and images in this recently released, new and popular series. No doubt many of our teenagers will have been watching this over the holidays. Several mental health groups are issuing cautions around its content and Headspace has been outspoken regarding the potential impact of this series on young viewers. They warn about the “very confronting and graphic messaging and imagery, including suicide method and means” throughout the series.
Our advice to parents is to be informed decision makers. Personally, I have viewed the first episode and do find it disturbing and indulgent. I have very real concerns for the impact this may have on our students, especially those experiencing vulnerabilities around friendships, self-esteem and/or social anxiety, as I believe they will be susceptible to the impact of the narrative and images, and may not discuss this with any adult.
In the weeks since 13 Reasons Why’s debut, Headspace has had manymore calls and emails from young people that are directly related to the series. National Manager of school support for Headspace, Kristen Douglas, comments that the show “exposes viewers to risky suicide content and may lead to a distressing reaction by the viewer, particularly if the audience is children and young people.”
We recommend that you check in with your teenage child, take notice of any recent changes in behaviour or social contact, and if you are comfortable to, open the conversation with your child about this series either directly or indirectly. Some parents will prefer to watch the series with their child so that they can discuss things as they arise, some will prefer to watch it themselves. We can guarantee that many students will be talking about it when they return to school and others will then hear about it if they have not yet been exposed to it. Teachers will be listening and observing. We will be in contact with Headspace, and also with individual families if we have any concerns.
Headspace has resources for parents to help you to assist young people in distress, including how to talk to young people about suicide. If you, or anyone you know, is having a tough time, contact eheadspace on 1800 650 890 or visit your local headspace centre.
Additional helplines available include: Lifeline on 13 11 14; Kids Helpline on 1800 55 180; BeyondBlue on 1300 224 636; Mensline on 1300 789 987; Suicide call back service on 1300 659 467.
And finally, on a much lighter note, let’s talk about the Korowal Cabaret!
This is well into rehearsal and students have been called for a rehearsal this coming Sunday, 24th April from 9.00am - 4.00pm. All performers, musicians and stage crew have been called for the day. We ask that you please ensure your child has ample food for the day. In addition to this, the cast of the ‘Hairspray’ scene and the PE Dance group have called themselves for rehearsals on Monday 25th April, with the ‘Hairspray’ cast from 9.30am-12pm and PE Group with Anna from 12pm-2pm, in the hall.
A separate email was sent to high school families on April 4th with further details of other subsequent rehearsals so please refer to that and let us know if you have not received it. The Korowal Cabaret is performing on May 4th, 5th and 6th and tickets are now on sale.
We hope that you have been enjoying time together over this holiday period and we look forward to welcoming you all back on our first day of Term 2, Wednesday 27th April. All staff will be in attendance for our staff development day on Monday 24th April.
May you enjoy the precious time you have with your children.
The special moments at the Show
ContextART at Korowal