We were delighted to welcome students back to Siena College last week, and to see and hear the excitement as they reconnected with one another. We also welcomed a number of new families to our community. We are committed to providing opportunities for all students to make connections and feel connected, and starting the year with Fiesta rehearsals is a great way to do this. Connections make us feel a part of something, part of a community, so it is with our students. Not all students have the same levels of confidence and some may require extra support and opportunities for connection. Our teachers are providing opportunities for students to work in different groups, pair up with new students and build positive relationships in all their classes. We also have a number of clubs for students to join, as well GSV Sport and music ensembles.
Starting a new year, starting at a new school or starting secondary school are all transitions that require new skills and a positive mindset. Dr Michael Carr-Gregg puts it like this: “All transitions are an invitation to grow.” We had the pleasure of welcoming Michael to Siena when he addressed our Year 7 parents on Thursday, 2 February. He spoke of ways in which parents can support their children with these rites of passage and we are very grateful to him for allowing us to record his presentation which can be found here.
Starting Year 7 poses many new challenges but also offers exciting opportunities. It can come with a myriad of mixed feelings. During this time of transition, parents and guardians are required to be supportive, but also realistic in their expectations. This is an important milestone in your child’s life. There will be feelings of exhilaration but also the fear of the unknown. Therefore, it will be important for parents and guardians to be vigilant in monitoring your child’s mood and mental health during this time. They may become overly anxious and upset.
There are a number of strategies offered that can make the Year 7 transition a lot smoother and start things off on the right foot! We hope you take time to reflect on the information offered in this Special Report. You may also wish to share your concerns with child’s House Group Teacher, Head of House or the College Counsellors.
The counselling service at Siena aims to support students, families and College staff to create a successful and enjoyable learning environment, where young people learn to manage their own wellbeing. The counsellors work to support students’ mental health concerns in a confidential and respectful way while striving to develop personal insight, problem solving skills, greater self esteem and stronger relationships. Additionally, the counsellors take on a broader pastoral care role within the College to support the wellbeing of the entire student population. A systemic approach underpins the counselling interventions with a focus on strengths and change, rather than on diagnosis and pathology. Our counsellors (pictured below) can be contacted at email@example.com.
From L-R: Lisa Ellis, Gemma Morley and Jessica Wong
Today parents face a multitude of modern day challenges in raising happy, well and resilient young people. Whilst there is a great deal of information available, this can often be confusing and overwhelming for parents looking for guidance.
SchoolTV addresses this as an online resource designed to empower you as parents with credible and sound information with realistic, practical and ongoing support strategies. An excellent feature of SchoolTV is that it is available whenever you need to access it, in your own time. Evidence-based recommendations and strategies are provided by specialists who practice in the field.
I invite all parents to explore this resource which can be accessed here.
Siena College promotes the safety, wellbeing and inclusion of all children in all aspects of College life. We are committed to students being safe and feeling safe at school and knowing how to access support if and when they need it. Students know that if they speak up, they will be listened to, action will be taken, and they will be supported.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child is a universally agreed set of non-negotiable standards and obligations. These basic standards — also called human rights — set minimum entitlements and freedoms that should be respected by governments. They are founded on respect for the dignity and worth of each individual, regardless of race, colour, gender, language, religion, opinions, origins, wealth, birth status or ability, and therefore apply to every human being everywhere – including our students.
The four core principles of the Convention are:
The Convention protects children's rights by setting standards in health care, education, and legal, civil and social services.
Working with students to provide a safe and respectful classroom environment will provide organic opportunities for feedback, asking questions, raising concerns and expressing opinions and views. This is our commitment to The Convention on the Rights of the Child. Our Learning Framework outlines the guidelines for classroom relationships and behaviour and this is also reflected in the Student Code of Conduct. As part of the Victorian Child Safe Standards, all students are required to sign this code. They will do this in a Wellness lesson following a presentation from our Child Safe Ambassadors and College captains.
The Student Behaviour Policy and associated documents are listed here on the Parent Portal and Student Zone in Siena Central. Feedback is always welcome so please feel free to reach out to us.