National Reconciliation Week and Sorry Day 2020
The theme for #NRW2020 – In this together – is now resonating in ways we could not have foreseen when we announced it last year, but it reminds us whether in a crisis or in reconciliation we are all #InThisTogether.
National Reconciliation Week (NRW) is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.
The dates for NRW remain the same each year; 27 May to 3 June. These dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey— the successful 1967 referendum, and the High Court Mabo decision respectively.
Reconciliation must live in the hearts, minds and actions of all Australians as we move forward, creating a nation strengthened by respectful relationships between the wider Australian community, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
With the safe arrival back to school of all staff and Prep-2 students, it is time to celebrate and acknowledge the silver linings. These are the magical learnings and surprise discoveries that have emerged through COVID-19.
As I walked a little student through the gate this morning he said to me worriedly, "Its all different. Why is it like this? Is it because of the coronavirus?"
I responded "It is a bit different but still the same. Everything will be alright."
Our little ones are very good at sensing change. It is so important to tell our children that things are different but to also reassure them and reteach them the things they need to know to cope with the change. It is the same with our parents and our staff.
Everyone needs reassurance at this time.
Our Silver Linings
Below are only a few of the silver linings I have noticed over the past 7 weeks.
Through all of this one thing is for sure; we have an extraordinary community of parents who are committed to their children's learning and invested in their future. We have enjoyed walking with you, talking with you, sharing with you more than ever and having a window into your homes where learning has been nurtured. We have been privileged to be invited into your homes and we thank you.
We have seen more than ever before how capable, motivated and independent our learners are through COVID-19. We feel closer than ever to our students, especially their teachers, who know so much more about each individual. This is because of the personalised nature of the learning over the last 7 weeks. We know that when school learning resumes, this motivation and drive will need to be harnessed more than ever and individuality celebrated.
It has been a tremendous privilege to be working alongside the team at St Anthony's. In every aspect each and every one of our staff has been simply phenomenal. They have continuously sought to make contact with all families, physically taken themselves to family's doors to connect, communicated in many varied ways, persisted when any learners were not turning up to learning tasks, offered support and they have supported each other so beautifully. They have thrived and through my eyes, they have excelled.
Along the way, through many ways we have seen so many creative ways to deliver learning and communicate community. It has never been just one way. Every day and every week, something new and wonderful emerged and the creativity was catchy (people caught each others creative triumphs and used them also). Before we knew it we had creativity and collaboration on the grandest scale. Even in coming back this week, the creative ways used to welcome people back have been clever and full of warmth and individuality.
Depth and Breadth of Learning
If I were to ask you all individually what has been your learning through all of this and what have you learned about your children, you would have enough words to fill a book. I asked the staff about their new and creative learning and their responses were many and varied, from learning new technological tools to minimising their 'um's' and 'so's' to making videos without hesitation to reaching new levels of explicit teaching ability, to managing multiple learning platforms. We have so much to celebrate. We have fitted in 12 months of learning with staff just in 8 weeks.
How fortunate we are to have had the opportunity to learn so much about each other and with each other through connecting into homes so closely. Many staff have commented on how their students have thrived because as teachers, they have had so much contact with parents - more than ever before. We need to carry this forward and continue because our children will thrive when school and family work together on this level. Let's remember this!
Opportunity to give you a new Knowledge of your Children
We look forward to parent and student learning conversations in Term 3 where you can share with us all of the new knowledge that you have acquired about your children. It is up to all of us to harness this knowledge and create the space for your children to flourish.
Love and Passion
If there is anything that comes through so clearly through everything it is this; our staff are passionate about connecting with, supporting and teaching their students and our students. It is simple, they love their jobs. They love education and community and they make this look so wonderfully easy. But I know that the task has been hard at times and all consuming. Even though overwhelming at times, our staff showed up every day and well into the evening. I commend them for being the people that they are and I thank them for rising beyond the task.
Thank you for your understanding, support and words of encouragement over the past weeks. Thank you for being continually in contact,. Thank you for following all of our new arrival and pick up procedures so well. We are still here for you if you need anything at all. Have a wonderful weekend, enjoy this week's Virtual assembly (just for you!) and don't forget to share your stories with us. As always go gently and if you have any feedback or ideas we always want to hear them.