Recent data from the Growing up in Australia report based on the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (2018-2019) provided us with many insights into the lives of our children. One aspect of this report focused on sources of stress and worry in our tweens and teens. A stress factor that did not come as a surprise was that approximately 40% of 10 to 13 year-olds were worried about school transitions.
Transitioning into, and through school, certainly creates a sense of anticipation and great excitement for most students, however this period can be overshadowed somewhat by a level of trepidation and personal vulnerability.
For some students mixed emotions will arise with the first line-up as a new Prep student; for others it may be taking up a student leadership role. For older students it may be the reality of facing a SAC for the first time or making important decisions about future pathways. For many, it will simply be donning the school uniform for the first time. For parents, these milestones and rites of passage are also a time of great joy and pride as they witness and celebrate them with their children. They too however, can be tinged with a touch of sadness at the prospect of having to let go and watch their children enter new phases of their school years. It can also be difficult as a parent to know what level of support is needed or warranted at these different stages, and parents may continue to struggle with this even when their daughters have long finished their education.
Entering new phases in the educational journey, or even being separated from familiar routines and environments, can therefore be a double-edged sword for many students and families. At Ruyton we are acutely aware of the need to provide a learning environment with co-ordinated and supportive transition practices, as well as encouraging our students to seize new challenges. We also recognise the need for students to establish and maintain trusting relationships with their class, form teacher and peers, and for us as educators to forge strong links with their families. It is through these relationships at Ruyton that our students have the optimum opportunity to thrive. The commencement of the new school year has been particularly challenging for all schools this year. National and international events have called upon us at Ruyton to come together as a community and truly live out our Ruyton values. Events beyond our control have required us to respond with both confidence and courage, despite the uncertainties, and with the knowledge that not all our community members were enjoying as smooth a transition as we would have wished for them.
As Term 1 2020, continues to unfold, I am proud to say that the Ruyton community has trusted in each other, supported each other and overcome the challenges with compassion, resilience and above all empathy. How fitting that this year, our Year 12 student leaders chose Unity as one of their guiding words.
Director of Wellbeing
Ruyton Girls' School