Dear Parents and Students,
As we approach the end of Term 1, the challenges and disruptions to normal daily life that have emerged with COVID-19 are likely to be leaving many people feeling exhausted, uncertain and somewhat still on-edge.
These are all normal reactions to the unprecedented situation we find ourselves in.
I encourage you to pause over this coming break to reflect on the qualities and strengths you possess that have helped you manage this year so far, particularly if the experience of this term has been tiring for you and your family.
Many people in our community have also drawn on the care and support of others throughout this term – family, friends, teachers, colleagues, church members, God. Relationships provide stability and a point of anchor during uncertain times, and maintaining these connections is one of the best things you can do to help sustain your wellbeing.
Please also take time over this break to pause and consider the people in your life who have helped to sustain you. I encourage you to let these people know why you value relationship with them so much. Practicing expressions of gratitude will not only help to strengthen your relationships, it will also boost your resilience and capacity to experience positive emotions, as well as boosting the resilience and capacity of others around you to experience positive emotions too.
The Wahroonga Adventist School administration, teachers and support staff all recognise the critical need for young people and families to maintain healthy connections – with each other and with school – especially during the period of remote learning. Responses to the recent survey on how students and families are finding remote learning suggests that students who are regularly making contact with their teachers and peers during class check-ins and timetabled lessons are finding these experiences highly valuable. Middle and High school students have had more opportunity for this direct interaction, with “live” online lessons rolled out over the last couple of weeks. Students in the Junior school were able to begin their “live” class check-ins this week, with more to come next term.
As staff, we also recognise and appreciate the extra time and effort that parents have been putting in to help their children maintain their learning and wellbeing at the moment. We will continue to send out regular check-in surveys as a way to gauge the general level of engagement and identify any particular challenges that may emerge as early as possible.
While the direct focus over the last little while has been on rolling out online learning platforms, we have also been busy setting up online capacity for additional wellbeing support for students and families. We are committed to maintaining support for the wellbeing of students and family’s through this time. The Heads of School, the Wellbeing and Chaplaincy team will be checking in with each family at various times over the coming months.
We are also busy working on an online resource base for supporting remote learning and wellbeing. More details on this will be sent out in a separate communication. One component of this online wellbeing resource though, is our community subscription to SchoolTV – an information and support source for parents on a range of common and emerging child and adolescent wellbeing topics. Many of you have already viewed the special report on Coronavirus. Two more special reports have recently been released that are particularly pertinent at the moment:
Preparing for Remote Learning: https://wahroonga-adventist.schooltv.me/wellbeing_news/special-report-preparing-homeschooling
Dealing with Disappointment: https://wahroonga-adventist.schooltv.me/wellbeing_news/special-report-dealing-disappointment
Access to a collection of previous reports that address wellbeing topics associated with remote learning and wellbeing is also available to parents through the Wahroonga Adventist School SchoolTV website: https://wahroonga-adventist.schooltv.me/
We highly recommend that parents utilise this resource as a way to become familiar with a range of current and emerging wellbeing concerns and as a mechanism to facilitate conversations with young people to support their continued healthy development.
And finally, as of the beginning of Term 2 the school counselling and psychological support services will be fully functional online via telehealth to provide some additional support to students and families as on a needs basis. Please see the attached information and consent forms for details on how to access this service.
May you be blessed over this Easter break. We look forward to returning in Term 2 to continue the journey of growing and learning together.
BA (Couns), PsychSc (Hons) MProfPsych
WELLBEING COORDINATOR Wahroonga Adventist School P (02) 9487 2100 A 181 Fox Valley Rd, Wahroonga NSW 2076