16 October 2017

Head of Junior School

New beginnings

Over the past two weeks the Junior School has welcomed new families and boys into the Scotch College community. Our orientation days allowed staff to share their passion for education with a new group of parents and a chance for our boys to welcome new friends into their classrooms.

Days like these afford us the opportunity to reflect on what we do and why we do it. We were able to share the benefits to our boys of our various programmes. The importance of creativity to a boy's future success; how learning a language assists to expand a child's knowledge, creates links and assists in other academic areas. We were able to communicate the range of physical activities the boys engage in and how this assists them in all aspects of their learning. We talked about how we support all boys to do the very best they can and assist them to develop as individuals academically, socially and physically.

As each member of staff spoke I was struck by their professionalism and commitment to the area and to each boy they teach. They spoke passionately about how they want to provide opportunity for the boys and to assist each to succeed. The message was simple and consistent; we do the very best we can to provide outstanding opportunities for each boy.

As the morning came to an end and I waited in the playground to farewell the boys as they left, I was met with boy after boy who made a friend and could not wait to begin with us next year. This is another testament to the welcoming group of old boys we have here and their willingness to take new students into the fold. I was also met with many parents who were overjoyed at knowing they had made the right choice in choosing Scotch College for their son.

On reflection, I always come away feeling proud of my staff and our boys. The teachers exude their wonderful skills and passion for their craft and impart it so beautifully to the boys and parents. The boys share their joy at going to school here through the way they behave, their commitment to their learning, their attitude towards new boys and their gratitude for what they get each day at school.

Cyber Safety

Do you know who your children are talking to online? Is your child developing an addiction to gaming or devices? Have you taught your child to be safe online?

The internet is a gateway to the world that provides many wonderful experiences and opportunities. It brings distant family into your home, provides information and entertainment at the click of a button and allows us to share with others easily. It also has its dangers.

Many games and gaming sites allow for shared play and an online chat function where players can communicate to others they do not know. These sites can attract the attention of predators. As parents we cannot be everywhere and while we may have very clear expectations and routines at home, our children may not be with us when they are online or gaming.

On Tuesday 19 October the Junior School hosted two workshops for parents presented by Jordan Foster from ySafe. The talks explained the top social media sites for young people and what they are about.

Popular Social Media Apps in 2016

1. Instagram
2. Snapchat
3. Facebook
4. WhatsApp
5. YouTube
6. Musical.ly
7. Facebook Messenger
8. Vine
9. Twitter
10. Pinterest
11. Kik Messenger
12. Tumblr

While sharing some of the danger our children face Jordan also provided a number of effective strategies that we can use to keep them safe. Some of the staple cyber safety rules that can be implemented in your home are:

  • Always keep all your social media profiles on private
  • Never talk to strangers and accept friend requests/follow requests from people you have never met before
  • Turn off location services on all apps that don't require them to be turned on.
  • Never post a photo or video of yourself in a school uniform
  • Never send inappropriate photos of yourself or of other people (even if it's just a joke)
  • Treat other people online with respect and care
  • Tell a parent if anyone ever bullies you, or says something to you that is not ok to say.

Her key message was how do you know who you are speaking to online if you cant see and hear them?

Jordan recommend the use of Family Zone as a parental control tool. Family Zone can be used on all laptops and mobile devices and is controlled by the parent. Visit familyzone.com/ysafe for more information.

Jordan spoke to each year level and shared the online safety message in an age appropriate manner. We will be inviting Jordan back to the Junior School in 2017 to present to parents. I hope those who missed her first talk can join us then.

Mr John Stewart
Head of Junior School