Forward December 2017 Forward_2017Dec WEB - Page 28

PR E PA R ATORY S C HO OL Create thrive At the conclusion of Term 3 this year the entire staff of the Preparatory School gathered for one of our regular weekly staff meetings. The agenda for the meeting was simple - for each member of staff to come prepared to answer two questions based on their year to date. How have you grown personally and/or professionally this year? Can you give an example of seeing a student, parent or colleague ‘thriving’ this year? What ensued was one of the best meetings of educators I have witnessed in a very long time. As individuals shared their personal and professional growth and as they shared stories or examples of others thriving in our GGS community several themes become vividly apparent to all. Firstly, there was a theme amongst the staff of “giving new ideas a go”. Stepping outside their comfort zone to create new and different opportunities for their students. In doing so, teachers across the Preparatory School discovered new ways to make learning for students relevant and engaging and gave students the chance to solve real complex problems and to work in teams. “I gave it a go” became a bit of a catchphrase as story after story detailed small to large scale initiatives in classes at all levels. A second theme which became apparent in this meeting was the power of reflection and sharing both the successes and the failures inherent in these initiatives with students, parents and colleagues. Through reflection, communication and modification these initiatives and new ideas have become even more powerful as teaching and learning opportunities for our students. This Forward magazine is full of examples of these creative projects, initiatives and student engagement. By creating opportunities to innovate through an Inquiry Approach our focus and methods created the conditions for deep learning not just to pass the next quiz or test – but to thrive. To thrive allows us to shift the focus from not only what children need to be allowed to experience at school and beyond, only developing a set of abstract skills; but to also enhance and further develop necessary interpersonal, collaborative and creative skills necessary for their future. It also allowed students to see their teachers being courageous, vulnerable and creative as necessary capabilities of an adult in our world. This is incredibly powerful. The final part of our staff meeting involved stories of other people thriving. Using our Preparatory School-wide themes for the year of growth and kindness, staff shared stories of one another, of people within our community and of students of all ages. In a world too often dominated by sound bytes and twitter feeds, we are all reminded of the power of authentic stories spoken from the heart about others. In sharing these stories it was incredibly apparent that we are in fact living our school purpose; Inspiring students to achieve personal excellence and to be outstanding citizens who work to create a just, loving and peaceful society. lens that we view the student experience. When you see GGS Preparatory School students, whether at home or over the holidays please take a moment to ask them: How have you grown personally this year? Can you tell me a story about someone else at the School thriving this year? Sit back and relax, as our students do like to chat. Enjoy their answers and ask them to reflect on how they want to thrive next year. Inspiring students for personal excellence and giving them opportunities to thrive as outstanding citizens and classmates is at the core of every lesson, every decision and in every interaction. And, as always, these pages contain a snapshot of the Preparatory School. Please know you are always welcome to come visit and see us in action. We would love to give you a walk around to meet students and staff challenging, questioning, struggling, smiling, engaging and working together as we live our purpose. Although the above focuses on the staff experience this semester it is through this Mr Clark Wight Head of Preparatory School 29