The Role of School (A reprint from February 2014)

There are many changes that form a part of life, and the start of a new year is often the signal or starting point.

For some people it is the beginning of a new phase of their family life as they start school, for others it is an internal transition between year levels and the changing expectations or experiences that come with that and for our whole school community it is about forming new or changing relationships with the key people they will have contact with in 2016.

When I spoke at the Prep Parent Information Night late last year I tried to ‘image’ for families the way that school will work for their child and the support we will offer their family in preparing their child for life.

In doing the numbers, children spend just 13.5% of their week at school. Just 13.5%.

Some of the other 86.5% of time is spent sleeping and eating but those things too form part of a learning experience for children as they learn about routine, how to relate to people, how to use a knife and fork, how to solve problems, how to deal with disappointment when the sauce bottle runs out … the list goes on.

Too often, the media in particular promotes that schools can solve the problems of the world by including it in ‘the curriculum’. Oral Health (tooth care) and driving lessons are two recent examples.

How we would like you to think of the role of school is perhaps best put as ‘Helping families to educate their children’.

Just as families look after the day to day health of their children and go to the doctor for specialist advice, support and intervention there are many aspects of a child’s education and preparation for life that is part of the joy of being a parent and here at school we provide the specialised knowledge to assist you in ensuring your children learn to read, write and understand numbers. The dedication of 13.5% of their childhood is recognition that there is a lot of specialised input that families require from schools that is beyond the expertise of most parents, but it also highlights the follow up that families can provide in putting these experiences in to a real life context.

Please be conscious that your role in your child’s preparation for life and their education is so important. You will have an opportunity to meet formally with your child’s teacher in a few weeks’ time as part of our initial Student Parent Teacher Interviews to discuss the ways in which you can maximise this partnership.