On Strowan – Volume 14 // Issue 6 // 22 August 2019
"We are committed to continually reviewing and enhancing our focus on well-being."
Christine Leighton, Rector
In this busy winter term, it is important that students and staff are looking after themselves as they juggle academic requirements, sports, and other activities. Recently in one weekend, St Andrew‘s College had approximately 500 Secondary students and 260 Preparatory students playing sport for the College, 34 were away at the South Island Jazz Festival, two teams (six students) were in the Regional Debating Competition hosted here at the College, four students returned from representing the College at the New Zealand Presbyterian Schools’ Conference, 40 students were practising at school for their upcoming ballet examinations, and 34 Year 9–10 students were rehearsing for the Term 4 production of Peter Pan.
We all know that it is through involvement with a variety of activities that our young people learn many important life lessons including resilience, teamwork, collaboration, inclusiveness, commitment, and self-confidence.
Recently, we have focused a spotlight on our organisation’s well-being, with the Staff Well-being Week last week and the Well-being Assembly tomorrow kicks off the Student Well-being Week next week. At St Andrew’s College we have a clear strategy for empowering our staff and students to take personal responsibility for making good choices that will help them weather the inevitable ups and downs of life.
Our PE and Health RE curriculum focuses on the concept of ‘Hauora’ which incorporates the physical, mental and emotional, and social aspects of well-being. We are all used to looking after ourselves physically through sport, running, walking, going to a gym, and exercising self-control in our diet. However, with the highly publicised increase in mental health issues there is no doubt that teenagers have ever more complex social, cultural, and environmental issues to deal with.
Over the last months our students have had the opportunity to listen to a variety of speakers through our recent Girls’ and Boys’ Assemblies and at the end of August well-known author, clinical psychologist and family therapist, Andrew Fuller, will spend a morning with all of our Year 10 students helping them develop a resilient mindset towards their learning.
Our Head of Well-Being, Kerry Larby, regularly writes and publishes a blog with thoughtful reflections which should be read by all parents. In her latest post, Kerry argues that well-being is both an individual and collective responsibility:
‘Me’ – what can I do as an individual to improve my well-being?
‘We’ – how I contribute to others’ well-being.
‘Us’ – how do we create an organisation which values staff and student well-being?
I strongly urge you to read Kerry’s blog if you haven’t already done so by clicking here.
We are committed to continually reviewing and enhancing our focus on well-being. Our aim is that, through their education, our students develop the self-awareness needed to achieve engagement and purpose, cultivate positive relationships, and adopt emotional, mental and physical strategies which enable them to ‘bounce back’ from disappointments, and embrace challenge as necessary for growth.
Of course, another important aspect at St Andrew’s College is our spiritual well-being. Recently, I had the opportunity to join the College Chaplain, Paul Morrow, at our New Zealand Presbyterian Schools’ Conference in Auckland. Paul writes in some depth about the ideas explored at this conference, but I came away from the two days with renewed gratitude for the messages of hope and encouragement our young people experience through their regular talks in chapel and Religious Education classes. The opportunities they have to explore faith issues and experience the joy of serving others is indeed an important aspect of their well-being development.
Our teachers through their classroom learning programmes, their role as tutors, sport and cultural coaches and managers have an enormous influence on your children and teenagers. We too, as staff, are continually learning and exploring ways to better support our own well-being. ‘Me’ (the individual), ‘We’ (together), and ‘Us’ (the collective) is the way we will grow together, adjust, and adapt to this complex world with its many challenges. I for one believe that our young people will be well-prepared to step up and lead the way.
Ngā mihi nui.
With kind regards,