From the Principal
As Term 1 draws to a close, I wish all families a relaxing and enjoyable Easter holiday. I reminded the girls at our Church Services this week, that Easter is a time to reflect upon all that we are grateful for and all that we can do in the joyous service of others – friends, families and our community. It is a time to reflect on our values and to ensure we continue to show empathy, care and gratitude for others.
The Term 1 work of our musicians was clearly on display at both Easter Church Services this week and the Barbreck Choral Concert also provided an insightful journey through the developmental phases of the Junior School Music Program. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the Langley Choir which included the Prep students performing their first concert, and Mrs Henshall’s high expectations of the Epstein Singers ensures an exactness of the girls’ performance that was breathtaking to hear. The music reflection, Requiem, performed beautifully by Senior students, Viva Vici and Cantanti Belli at St John’s Anglican Church was dedicated to the victims of natural disaster, most notably this week following the devastation caused by Cyclone Debbie in the Whitsunday region this week.
Following the busy-ness of Term 1, Easter provides a much-needed time for stillness and an opportunity for our students to achieve a balance between their academic work, co-curricular activities, commitments to others and some time for families to enable a quiet gentleness in their relationships.
At the beginning of the Term, I was speaking with my younger brother, a teacher in the Kimberley and busy father of two tween-aged sons. Like many young families, a prevailing busy-ness dominates their home life once the School term commences. My brother questioned his ability to ever be fully present with those he loved the most; schedules dictated a hectic family life that included various commitments: swimming lessons, soccer training for the youngest, footy training for the oldest, social engagements and this was all peppered with arguments about the boys overuse of technology (playing Minecraft!). My brother had decided in January to reinvent family life by declaring Monday evenings for Term 1 to be ‘technology free’ in their household. The ‘no tech Monday mantra’ required everyone at home, parents and children, to not use their technology devices at all. This resulted in no mobile phones, no iPads, no television, no laptops, quite simply, no technology. The initial resulting outcry of “I am bored” that shaped the Monday evening conversations with his sons gradually transitioned into a much-welcomed family night. Without structured activities, my nephews started to cook, draw, read, play outdoors, enjoy family board games and engage in lengthy conversations with their parents, face to face. The Monday evenings provided some much needed stillness and balance across the week within their family life. The tech-free day also proved to create more space for life and encouraged a contentment without gadgets for my nephews.
A number of studies have suggested our growing consumption of media use can have a negative effect on our health and relationships. In a typical day, children consume just over three hours of media. Research has long warned of the need to rein-in the amount of time children use technology, based on studies that show too much screen time can lead to attention problems and school difficulties. A study out of the University of California also showed children who spent time unplugged were better at reading human emotions when compared to children who spent more time with technology. I encourage our families to consider over the Easter break adopting one day a week for Term 2 that is technology free in their households.
Students and parents will recall the mesmerising and captivating performance by 2016 VCE Music student, Greta Chen (’16), last year at the Gala Concert at the Melbourne Recital Centre and again with peer, Stephanie Hird (’16) at the Years 9 to 12 Speech Night. Greta’s brilliance playing the marimba will again be showcased this year as she has been selected to perform at Top Acts (the Grand Finale of the VCE Season of Excellence 2017). This evening showcases the extraordinary performances by VCE composers, dancers, musicians and actors. Greta was selected from all the students who performed at Top Class Dance, VET Dance, Drama, Theatre Studies, Music Performance, Music Style and Composition, Music Investigation and VET Music in 2016. The concert will be held at the Recital Centre on Friday 12 May 7:30pm. This is a wonderful achievement for Greta and the School is tremendously proud of her musical accomplishments.
I look forward to welcoming students back to School on Tuesday, 18 April. Some important School events planned for Term 2 include:
Wednesday 19 April
St Catherine’s School Parent Seminar – Girls’ Talk with guest presenter, Maggie Hamilton, author of ‘What’s Happening to Our Girls?”
Friday 19 May
Ruth Langley Luncheon, Leonda by the Yarra
Sunday 28 May – Thursday 1 June
Yulendj Arts Exhibition, Sherren House
Wednesday 14 June
St Catherine’s School Father-Daughter Dinner, The Long Room, Melbourne Cricket Club