From the Head of the Preparatory Schooldeveloper
Year 3 and Year 4 Camps
It’s been a quieter than usual week at the Prep School due to the large number of boys offsite at the Year 3 and 4 Camps. I had the privilege to be able to spend a night at each camp throughout the week. After a couple of years without camps, this is a first camping experience for both sets of students. Despite this, the boys have thrown themselves into the experience and it was great to see them having such a positive time tackling many new and challenging activities and enjoying the opportunity to deepen relationships with their peers and teachers. Prior to each of the camps I took the time to speak with the boys about the importance of the camping programme at Trinity. Camps provide a unique and authentic learning opportunity for the boys to increase their independence and resilience, while also presenting the chance to develop a greater level of respect for one another. Camps are also a valuable opportunity for boys to push themselves and to try new things. As I was speaking with the boys, the following verse came to mind.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippians 2:3-4
Amongst other things, camps also provide the opportunity for the boys to practically serve others. This is done when the boys come together to help with the setting up and cleaning up before and after mealtimes. These opportunities often come as a surprise to the boys, however, they highlight the value of teamwork, and the importance of accepting responsibility and practically serving others.
It was lovely to receive positive feedback from the staff at the campsites about the Prep boys and teachers. They particularly commented on the boys’ manners and the quality of the teachers’ relationships with the students.
Transitions and Trust
Spending time at the camps caused me to reflect on two extremely important themes in primary education, transitions and trust. Throughout a child’s (and family’s) time in primary school they undergo a series of significant transitions. In our context this includes the transition into Pre-K which is the first full time experience of being apart from mum and dad for some students. Then there is the transition to Kindergarten, the first formal year of schooling. This coincides with the transition into formal academic outcomes, learning to read, etc. Whilst less obvious, there is a transition that occurs as the boys move from Year 2 to Year 3, whereby they change buildings, the begin participating in camps, Friday sport, etc. At Trinity, Year 4 brings a transition to Saturday Sport and the transition to Years 5 and 6 brings a unique flexible, personalised learning approach to class-based learning. Each of these transitions are developmentally appropriate but they can be significant, often more so for parents than the students themselves.
At each of these transitions there is a need for significant levels of trust. This week parents of Year 3 and 4 students placed their trust in the Prep teachers and the staff at the campsites we visited to care for the holistic needs of their sons. I appreciate that trust is not always easy and can be more difficult when there is a sense of unknown. For families who have grown up attending camps and with older children, the concept of sending their son on camp may seem ‘normal’. For others, this may be a completely new experience. Regardless of experience, what is true and can be relied upon is the expertise and care of the staff involved. This is true at each of the transitions I mentioned above. The teachers that oversee each of these transitions are highly trained professionals, experienced in, and passionate about supporting students’ learning needs.
Whilst it can sometimes be hard to trust, it is important for the boys that this takes place as it allows boys to take on increased levels of independence, to step out of mum and dad’s shadow and to learn key life skills along the way. Often our personal anxiety is felt by the students which can limit their ability to meet the developmental challenges that face them along their learning journeys. Part of this trusting process is becoming comfortable not knowing all of the details but being comfortable that the professionals do.
Transitions have been a point of reflection for the Prep Executive this year based on some feedback received from parents who have lived through the transitions described above. To better support the partnership we share in the boys’ education, and to foster an increased level of trust, we are planning to run a Parent Information Evening in Term 4 that unpacks the transitions and provides guidance for parents so they know what to expect and can walk this journey with confidence and trust in the teachers. This will form part of the ‘Orientation Day’ experience whereby students gently begin to transition into their new academic year. Further information will be shared with parents about this early next term.
The Originals Return to Prep
On Monday this week, we welcomed the Year 12 students who began their learning journeys in Pre-K and Kindergarten at the Prep School. Students that fit this criterion have affectionately become known as the ‘Originals’. Having these students return to the Prep School has become an annual tradition, however, this year we trialled a different format that appeared to be a great success. The Year 12 students spent the morning interacting with the current day Pre-K and Kindergarten students. They read books together, played games and shared stories. Following this the Year 12 students had the chance to relive memories and reflect on the way the campus has changed as they were taken on a tour of the school. It also provided a chance to reconnect with some of their teachers from years gone by.
|19th to 23rd September||Year 6 Camp – Colo River|
|20th to 23rd September||Year 5 Camp – Lake Mac|
|20th September||Year 3 Excursion | State Library of NSW|
|11th October||First Day Back to School | Summer Uniform|
|14th October||Author Talk | Ronojoy Ghosh|
Chris Wyatt | Head of the Preparatory School