The journey to the new normal….

Amy Woodgate | Head of Junior and Middle Schools

There is no doubt that we are in a time of change.  Whether it be the change of season with the falling leaves and significant drop in temperatures, or our students changing into kilts, blazers and jumpers, these past few weeks welcoming our boys and girls back to the College has seen change, both big and small.

To some extent, it certainly feels like each week and month at the moment brings about another ‘new normal’.  From marks on the floor of shops to show the appropriate social distancing, through to the gradual reopening of restaurants and cafes, and the recommencement of some outdoor activities for our boys and girls, each day and each media announcement gives us more information to adjust to.

For us here at the College, having the buzz of our students around the campus has been a very welcome change, although has seen us transition to the ‘new normal’ of additional health and hygiene practices, changes to our morning tea and lunch routines and modifications to the Co-Curricular Program.  Our students are adapting to new routines, reconnecting to their peers and teachers and readjusting to expectations for learning in each of their subject areas.

Learning from Home has brought with it both challenges and opportunities, with each of us responding and reacting differently.  Some students thrived in the remote learning environment as it provided them with flexibility and autonomy over the learning, whereas other students had difficulty adjusting to the social dynamics of learning in a virtual space without those personal check ins from teachers and predictability in the structure of their day.

In a recent article about the possible bumpy road back to school, Maggie Dent (Australian educator and author) urges schools and families to focus on the ‘three c’s’ during this time of transition – connection, calmness and cohesion.  She argues that focussing on these three areas will support students to again feel safe and supported in their school environment and allow them to re-establish positive connections with their teachers and their peers.

We know that relationships are the key component in our school.  High quality teaching, learning and pastoral care all has a foundation of connection.  When these relationships are established in an environment of calmness, where time is dedicated to ensuring that wellbeing is a priority, a stronger school community can be the result, especially when we are seemingly adjusting to the ‘new normal’ regularly.

When we factor in the ‘fourth c’ of change, I know that SCOTS PGC College is well positioned to support our school community to navigate this time of transition, through a focus on our people and our relationships with one another.  Learning from Home in the virtual space was exciting and had a number of positive outcomes, but nothing really replaces hearing the sounds of our students as they go about their day here at school and we are very happy that the ‘new normal’ has allowed us to all come back together.

 

Related articles:

http://www.essentialkids.com.au/education/school/primary-school/another-new-normal-the-journey-back-to-school-may-be-a-bit-bumpy-20200518-h1o52p

https://www.maggiedent.com/blog/schools-key-to-our-kids-recovery-why-the-3-cs-count-before-grades/