Welcome back!

Welcome back to school and this New Year. I absolutely love how this place comes alive with energy and potential the minute our students and families arrive. At a quick assembly on Monday, Mr Webber welcomed new students to the School and spoke about our School Values. We had a few (rather loud) “We are GGS!” cheers and discussed that the cheer embodies all of our values.
 
We look forward to a great year, and please never hesitate to pass on feedback at any time – both positive and negative.
 
I hope you had a lovely break and all the best for this New Year. Our first assembly will be held on Friday 10 February, where you may see pictures from an epic family day to Gnomesville WA. Yes, we have our own gnome village here.

With the start for a new year, we are looking at a new approach to engaging students with learning and literature in the library and beyond. Our focus is to provide access to the library at the student’s point of need rather than a designated time. We are wanting to engage students in passionate learning and create independence in their reading and research habits.
 
So how will this look? The biggest change to start will be that classes will no longer have a timetabled session in the Library, that restricts them to a once a week visit, but will instead be welcome to exchange books as often as they like throughout the school day.
 
There will be many opportunities for students to exchange books:
Class time at class teacher’s discretion
Lunchtimes will be available every day except Thursday
Before school (8.00am) on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday or
After school until 4.00pm, Monday to Thursday, parents please accompany your child
 
Pre-Primary and Kindergarten students will have a regular session set by their class teachers, but both groups are most welcome to exchange books outside these designated times.
 
As with all change there will be a period of settling in and getting used to the new routines. Please chat to your daughters and sons about how they might best exchange their books and make the most of the amazing Preparatory School resources.

 
If you are interested, below is an article about our children and their strengths. Also,  here is a link to an interesting 15-minute video where Simon Sinek discusses Millennials.
 
 
Finding kids' strengths (and why being good at singing isn't the same as being a superstar)
Lea Waters  - 7 Jan 2017
 
We live in a success-obsessed society that narrowly defines strengths as things we are good at. That’s not the whole story.

We’ve all heard the saying “play to your strengths”. It’s common wisdom spouted by motivational speakers. But what do we really mean when we use this adage? As parents, how can we help our kids play to their strengths? And do we really need to do this at all?

We live in a success-obsessed society that narrowly defines strengths as things we are good at. This focus on high performance leaves many young people feeling like they don’t have strengths. I’m always saddened at the vast number of students I work with who cannot answer my simple question “Tell me about your strengths?” Some actively tell me: “I don’t have any.” Many mumble something about being “OK” or “not bad” at a certain skill.

We have not taught our children how to see their own strengths and, even for those who know they have strengths, we have not given them a language to articulate their strengths. This means we have missed an important opportunity to help them achieve the full potential and boost their wellbeing.

Psychology researchers have been scientifically studying strengths for the past three decades and have categorised hundreds of different strengths into two broad categories: talent-based strengths (e.g. sporting prowess or being a wiz with technology) and character-based strengths (e.g. capacity for kindness or being uncommonly brave).

Many of us unwittingly focus on talent, because this is easier to see than character, but character strengths are vital component of a life well lived and are important for overcoming adversity. Character expands the arena of strengths. You may not have a son or daughter who makes the cut for a gifted program at school, but you’re sure to find aspects of their character that are virtuous and strong.

The more that you, their parent, value these strengths, the more that they will see that they have strengths.

One key thing that these researchers tell us that a strength is something we perform well, perform often and get energised by. For purposes of strength-based parenting then, we need to look out for the three elements of a strength in our kids: performance (being good at something); energy (feeling good doing it) and high use (choosing to do it). Being good at singing is not the same as being a superstar. It’s showing promise or skill as well as consistent outcomes in a certain area.

My daughter, Emily, is good at tennis. She won’t make Wimbledon and, truth be told, probably won’t even be selected for the talent squad. But she’s good at tennis. She can reliably serve and she has a decent volley and forehand. So, she has the performance element ticked. Yet I know tennis is not a true strength of hers because she never finishes her practice. The “energy” and “use” elements are missing.

On the other hand, I can’t get her to stop practising soccer. She’s out in the backyard practising her footwork whenever she gets a spare minute (use), she has abundant energy to practice (energy) and she’s good at it (performance).

Knowing the three elements helps you to see what a true strength is in your child. In my case, it helps me know that I’m better to help Emily invest more of her time and energy in soccer than tennis. It prevent you from falling into the trap of thinking that because your child is good at something, this is a strength, and you must push them to continue with it.

The tri-archy of strengths doesn’t only apply for talent-based strengths such as sport, it also applies to the second bucket of strengths – our character strengths.

Every child has character strengths and you’ll notice that your child has some aspects of their character that they perform well, such as the child who has emotional intelligence above and beyond her years or who has the self-regulation of an adult. In addition to the performance element, the character strength will evoke high levels of energy when used and the child will naturally use that strength over and over. You won’t need to remind your child to be kind or be brave, because if it’s a strength, it will come naturally to them.

When you see your child do something well, do it with energy, and do it a lot, you’ll know you’ve unearthed a strength and this is when you can feel confident to help them “play to their strengths”. 
Have a lovely week.

CLARK WIGHT
HEAD OF PREPARATORY SCHOOL
1 Feb 2017 - 12:54 PM
GGS Admin
Inspiring students to achieve personal excellence and to be outstanding citizens who work to create a just, loving and peaceful society.