From the Junior & Middle Schools

Good habits start young

‘Digital citizenship is more than just a teaching tool.  It is a way to prepare students for a society full of technology.’

Dr Mike Ribble – Researcher and Educator

Parents, carers and schools play an important role in helping children develop digital intelligence.  As described by the esafety Commissioner, this includes the social, emotional and practical skills needed to successfully navigate the digital world.  As the key adults in the lives of our young people, it is essential that we model and guide them to develop and embed the principles of respect, empathy, critical thinking, responsibility decision making and resilience in how they engage in their daily world, in person and online.

‘Today’s youth have access to and are accessible by many millions of people worldwide.  Teens are often not aware that their words and/or photos, which may have been intended for a small audience, sometimes find their way to a larger one, often with unexpected and undesirable consequences.’

 Susan McLean – Australian Cybersafety Expert

The conversations we have with our young people need to be ongoing, relevant, age appropriate and proactive.  Trusting relationships are key for these sometimes challenging, yet important conversations.  We can focus on positively building our children’s digital intelligence, rather than just reactively dealing with situations.  The esafety Commissioner website provides useful resources and ideas for parents and educators about how to do this.

The key points to support our boys and girls to develop digital intelligence include:

  • Promoting respectful communication
  • Encouraging empathy
  • Teaching young people to question what they see
  • Encouraging safe and responsible behaviour
  • Assisting young people to build resilience

As a part of our Middle School Wellbeing and Pastoral Care Program, students in Years 6, 7 and 8 have attended a presentation about Cybersafety and Digital Citizenship presented by Sergeant Shane Reid from the Queensland Police Service.

Sergeant Reid provided developmentally appropriate, ‘real life’ scenarios as a way for students to think about the issues as relevant to their own use of technology and social media.

He discussed with the students :

  • how to protect ourselves and our information online
  • the importance of being respectful online
  • questioning the validity of what we see in the digital environment
  • how to make good decisions online
  • where to go for help

Through future Tutor Group and Year Level sessions, students will continue to be supported to develop their understanding of how technology forms a part of their world, the impact of their actions online and how they can create a positive digital space.

Here are links to some websites and resources that may be useful to continue to promote discussions at home:

eSafety Commissioner

ThinkUKnow organisation

Rebecca Sparrow ‘Before you hit send’

Susan McLean – Cybersafety Solutions

National Simultaneous Story Time

“It started with a seed, and that seed was me.”

Last week was one of the highlights on the Library calendar, the National Simultaneous Story Time.  This year, the book ‘The Family Tree’ by Josh Pyke and illustrated by Ronojoy Ghosh, tells the story of a tree and a family and how we are connected through the generations.

This year Amy Woodgate, Amanda Hall and Christine Peterson read to the Prep to Year 6 classes after which each group did a range of activities that connected with the story.  We also planted our own ‘Family Tree’ beside the stairs leading to Junior School.  This tree was decorated in family photos from across the classes and was a special addition to the story and hopefully a reminder in years to come of the importance of family connection and making memories that last for generations.