Parent Focus Groups, Resilience and Friendly Reminders

Parent Focus Groups

Earlier this month, I invited a random sample of parents from each Year Level to meet with me to discuss all things Barbreck. As the new Head of Junior School, I wanted to learn more about the School, and parents are a key source of information and views. At the meeting, I posed three questions:

  1. What aspects of Barbreck are you most happy with?
  2. What aspects do you think we need to do better or more of?
  3. Looking at our future direction, what do you think we should include in our planning?

I would like to thank the parents who attended for taking the time out of their day to meet with me and for their valuable input.

I gained a great deal of valuable information from the sessions. I learnt what people love about Barbreck and the areas they feel we need to concentrate our future efforts. I also identified that we could improve in some areas. All comments will be given much thought before decisions are made. Some ideas and issues can be addressed immediately, while others will take longer to bring to fruition. On the whole, I found that parents are very happy with the Junior School but there is always room for improvement.

The parents reported that these sessions were of value, and so I will continue to host these focus groups throughout the year to hear from more parents about the areas that are of importance to them and their daughters.

Friendly Reminders

The start of the school day is an important time when the girls hear about the day’s plans and upcoming lessons and events. Girls arriving late often miss out on this and take longer to settle into the lesson, as they have missed its start and do not know what to do. This impacts their learning and often unsettles them.

The best schedule for the morning is:

  • Arrive at school between 8.20am and 8.30am.
  • Doors open at 8.20am so the girls can enter the classroom, pass on messages and get themselves ready for the start of the lesson.
  • 8.30am is roll call where the teacher talks about upcoming events and lessons.
  • 8.35am to 8.40am is usually when the first lesson starts.

The beginning of the day is when the girls are at their brightest and when much learning takes place which is why teachers conduct most of their core lessons in Literacy and Numeracy at these times. If your child is late to school, please drop them off quickly and limit disruptions to the ongoing learning happening in the classroom.

Lunch Time Play

We are collecting a range of resources to make play more interesting for our students. This week we are seeking the following items:

  • Off cuts of plastic pipes and connections (elbows etc) for sand and water play, and construction.
  • Mortars and pestles (to make potions).
  • Dress ups (appropriate for Years Prep to 2).

I have found that children become more resilient when they become independent. As they become more independent, they become more confident in their own abilities which in turn builds and strengthens their self-concept. A good self-concept helps them to cope, adapt and recover.

Some of the results from a study conducted by Fergusson & Lynskey (1996) ‘are that resilient adolescents have higher intelligence than their peers, are less prone to early onset attention deficit behaviors, and have high self-esteem. It was also found that resilient adolescents reported significantly higher levels of paternal care and lower levels of maternal protection.’

  1. Fergusson, D. M., & Lynskey, M. T. (1996). Adolescent resiliency to family adversity. The Journal of Child Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 17(3), 281-292.


Ms Karen McArdle, Head of Junior School