Deputy Headmaster and Head of Preparatory School

Mr Jeff Symms

New Beginnings

At our ‘Welcome to 2019’ combined Chapel and Assembly on Monday I spoke to the boys about the power of ‘New Beginnings’. I talked about the power of using the start of the year for setting new goals – academic, sporting, cultural, and relationship, and in particular encouraged the boys not to dwell on the things in the past that haven’t gone well for them. I used the following quote as part of this talk and thought I’d share with you all, as I think it is a great message.

Top 5 strategies to improve your parenting this year!

One of the most common concerns expressed by parents is, ‘Am I doing a good job?’. Parenting is tricky and challenging and while being a good parent is top of most of our list of things we wish to be, it is easier said than done.

I think there are a few basics to being a good parent:-
1. Be a parent first, friend second.
2. Be consistent. With love, with consequences, with everything. Inconsistency leaves children uncertain, and uncertainty creates problems.
3. Be a good role model. Don’t swear in front of your son and not expect him to think using these words is OK. Don’t speak rudely to others and yet be surprised when he is in strife at school for poor interactions with his mates.
4. Be honest with him about his strengths and weaknesses. False praise achieves nothing.
5. Realise that the most important parenting years are 0 – 7 for it is then that you set your son’s character and attitudes. This is a really short time and passes in a blink of an eye, so don’t miss out on the chance to teach him all the really important things he needs to know.

Our parenting expert, Michael Grose has issued an article on this topic which I have included in the newsletter today. He points out that the start of the year is a great time to take stock of our parenting and work on any of the areas that we may not be satisfied with and he gives us five practical strategies to focus on:-

1. Switch on to your child’s strengths:- he says we too often focus on the negative. What they haven’t done, what they didn’t say or what they did do, but did wrongly.
2. Balance their extra co-curricular activities.
3. Focus on friendships.
4. Provide them with the tools to manage anxious moments.
5. Develop rights of passage.

As always, what he has to say makes sense and I’m sure will resonate with you all. Have a read. His articles are short and to the point. Maybe what he suggests you are already doing, and if so it’s a great validation. If not, then the article is a quick reminder of what we can do better.


Parent Information Sessions

This week on Tuesday (R-2) and Wednesday evenings (3-6), parents attended the annual Parent Information Sessions. While some of the basic and routine information presented might have been heard before, the evening do represent two important opportunities:-

1. This is an opportunity to get to know your son’s teacher a little more. The most important thing you can do for your son’s education is to work collaboratively with his teacher. The more you know about their expectations and ways of operating, the more likely you are to understand their goals for your son. Also, teachers like to be able to place a face to the boys’ parents and so I hope many of you managed a quick introduction if you haven’t met them before.

2. After the general information about suggestions for lunch boxes, or school bell times that you may have heard before and be very familiar with, the teachers focus on the more important – the curriculum for the year (what it is and how it is taught), specific routines and procedures for their year levels and class and information about assessment.

While I understand that families are busy, it is great to see those parents who attend as it is a real signal to their son that they are involved and engaged.

I would always encourage parents to attend in person, but on occasions we understand that circumstances may make this difficult. The sessions are recorded and can be viewed at your convenience through a link which we will provide as soon as the videos are processed.

THRASS information Sessions

Don’t forget the two THRASS information sessions that I will be conducting for parents next TUESDAY (February 12). The first is at 8.45am -10.45am, (convenient for drop-off time) and the other is at 6pm – 8pm, to cater for those who work through the day.

Bookings are essential through the link in this newsletter in the ‘Prep Dates’ section and the 8.45am, morning session is nearly booked out. Places in the evening session are more readily available.

Car Parking

Parents are reminded that there is no student drop-off or pick-up in the area in front of the hall, or visitors carpark. All boys in Year 2 – 6 should be dropped off at the drop-off zone near the oval and collected there at the end of the day.

The carpark closest to the hall is not a parent carpark for Cribb students either as these boys should be dropped off and collected from the Cribb drive-through or carpark.

The only exception to this is that permission has been granted for boys who carry very large instruments (Double Bass, etc) to be off loaded in front of the hall for morning ensemble rehearsals. Please note that a violin or flute do not constitute a ‘large’ instrument.

In addition, could parents please ensure that they, and more importantly their sons, cross ONLY at the pedestrian crossing at the top of the Jordan carpark. There have been some near misses as boys attempt to dart across the road at the insistence of their parents waiting on the other side. All boys and parents should cross at the pedestrian crossing at the top of the carpark and therefore be safe in accessing their vehicle.

Remember the rule:- Drop off/pick up zone – enter only via LUPUS ST. Using the car park? Enter only through Brolga Avenue. This keeps the traffic moving as quickly as possible.

I appreciate the patience of most parents during the first few weeks which are always the most busy.

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