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Self-Worth and Self-Awareness as Key to our Humanity

This week’s focus of Friendship Week coincides with the National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence. Imagining a world without bullying, the week provided a focus on building skills and values on the themes of friendship and anti-bullying. From visiting performers, assemblies, cyber-safe activities, and having everyone in our ‘no bullying’ orange hat attire, the College engaged in multi-faceted ways to reinforce that everyone has the right to feel safe, accepted, and valued.

Children will need more than literacy and numeracy skills in the world to succeed. As indicated by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), there are global competency skills that are required in creating confident and creative individuals. The Melbourne declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians iterates that we need to foster a sense of self-worth, self-awareness, and personal identity that enables children to manage their emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical wellbeing.

It is right and fitting to celebrate Friendship Week with such prominence. There is nothing more important than the wellbeing of our students. However, this week stands as nothing more than a celebration of the ongoing work at the College every day throughout the year. Students at the College are ably supported in how to maintain healthy friendships in our lives. As one of the formative schools in South Australia to introduce the internationally renowned URStrong Friendology curriculum, we aim to empower children with the skills, language, and self-confidence to be better friends and develop healthier relationships.

The skills-based program teaches children how to put a voice to their feelings, create healthy friendships, and build a solid foundation for future relationships. Along with learning what’s normal in a friendship and the difference between healthy and unhealthy friendships, students also learn and practise URStrong’s proven step-by-step approach for putting out common Friendship Fires™ (conflict) and how to combat mean-on-purpose behaviour.

Social and emotional skills such as perseverance, emotional stability and sociability allow people to better translate intentions into actions; establish positive relationships with family, friends and the community; and avoid engaging with unhealthy lifestyles and risky behaviours. Social and emotional skills are as important as cognitive skills in shaping outcomes (Heckman, Stixru & Urzua 2006).

Andreas Schleicher, CEO of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) stated that: “Tomorrow’s schools will create first class humans, not robots.” What remains constant is the humanity of teaching to inspire. We must never lose sight of our humanity as our true north.

Mr Nic Boys
Head of Junior School

Images below: National Day of action against Bullying and Violence

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