Deputy Head and Head of Preparatory School

Mr Jeff Symms

Making new Friends – the social skills learnt at school

At TSS, like most schools, classes are shuffled from year to year to provide a new mix of students in each group. This sometimes means that boys are in the situation of having to make new connections and build fresh relationships, whilst maintaining their existing ones. For some, this can take a little time and may be accompanied by some anxious feelings.

The good news is that the vast majority of students settle quickly and make new friends readily. Given that the classes are shuffled each year, normally they are just reconnecting with boys they have worked and played with in the past and given the normal resilience of children, the start of the year motors along quite easily.

For a small number though, it does take some time and while they are employing the strategies for building relationships that they have been taught at home and school, there are some things parents can do to help.

  1. Encourage him to be open to new friendships. An open friendly attitude is a child or young person’s best social asset. Students who are open to new friendships have been proven to be more successful in making friends than those who tend to hold back and seek solitude – waiting for someone else to make the first move. Some boys limit themselves to just one or two familiar faces and without realising it, actually shut down others’ attempts to befriend them.   Even the shy child can be encouraged to listen and look for clues that others are trying to make friends.
  2. Always encourage healthy relationships – as parents do, we teach our children to work co-operatively with others, be polite, open to the ideas of others and to be inclusive. Keep up this important work.
  3. Stay in touch with former classmates or school friends. Just because your son is no longer in a specific class with someone, doesn’t mean they cannot maintain their friendships and surprisingly boys sometimes don’t make that simple connection.   Make sure that you encourage them to include old mates in their games and seek out their prior friendships to keep them active and part of their network.
  4. Provide a social script for them the boys. We know that boys in particular, often lack the words to engage in conversations around emotions, or when they are feeling vulnerable. So your son may well benefit from a bit of scripting from you or even role-playing. Ask him what he says when he is trying to ask if he can play with someone, or what does he say when he is inviting someone to join his game? You might be surprised at the difficulties he has in communicating the message in an appropriate way. Give him some words/sentences that he can fall back on when in these situations.
  5. Be patient. As parents we get anxious quickly if our child reports that they have no-one to play with. We immediately go into protective mode and our emotive response can be far from helpful. Explain that sometimes this can take time, review the steps above and provide reassurance that it will all sort itself out soon.   Display empathy, patience, encouragement and a supportive attitude.


THRASS information sessions

I will be conducting the annual start of year THRASS information sessions for parents on Thursday February 20.  The morning session will be conducted between 9,00 am and 10.30 am and the evening session will be conducted between 5.30 pm-7.00 pm.

Participants must register to attend the sessions as numbers are capped at a workable size. I look forward to seeing many parents at these sessions, so that you can better appreciate the approach to key literacy teaching that is employed at TSS.

Click Here to register.

Parenting webinars

Our partnership with Parenting Ideas which is the business of parenting expert Dr Michael Grose, enables parents to undertake their informative webinars for free.  The next webinar is on Future-proofing your child.

Webinar Overview

This century is characterised by disruptive change that is turning our world upside down. Jobs aren’t

just changing, whole industries are ceasing to exist. The scripts for success are being rewritten on

a daily basis in our families, at work and in life. In this webinar Nikki Bush teaches parents what to

expect and how to support their children to thrive in a future world of work.

Key learning and discussion points include:

  • Key trends that are changing the world
  • Frameworks for future-proofing children
  • Highlighting the X-factors for success
  • Explaining the role of school in a changing world
  • Helping parents to set realistic and relevant parenting goals

Joining the webinar is easy.

It will be conducted on 18 March 8-9pm AEDT

To redeem your webinar click this link:

  • Click ‘Add to cart’
  • Click ‘View cart’

• Enter the voucher code FUTURE and click ‘Apply’

  •  Enter your school’s name to verify your eligibility. The $37 discount will then be applied.
  • Click ‘Proceed to checkout’
  • Fill in your account details. These are the details you will use to login to your account and access your webinar and resources
  • Click ‘Place Order’

New TaSteS cafe is great!

The boys have certainly noticed changes to the school canteen, and many parents are also becoming aware that a major refit of the canteen has rendered many changes.  The menu has undergone a major overhaul with a real focus on nutrition and the retail environment is now slick and child-scaled to make the experience of shopping a positive one.

Most excitingly for our parents is that there is now a barista on duty from 7.30 am in the morning – ready to provide you with a morning coffee hit.  No more queuing in the drive through.  Head on down and give them a try.



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