Learning how to forge and maintain friendships involves a number of important skills that every young person should acquire. For some young people, these skills will come to them very naturally, allowing them to easily move between different friendship groups, sharing their experiences and opening up to new people. For others, this can be challenging. Belonging to a group that is like minded with similar interests is highly beneficial to a person’s wellbeing. It gives the individual a sense of security, which helps them to feel valued and in turn, builds up their confidence. Year 7 and 8 students have been provided with extra ‘connection’ sessions this term to assist in friendship building. All teachers have been supporting students to mix and interact with each other during classes via group assignments and seating plans.
Positive friendships are an important part of the journey to adulthood. Parents can support their child by providing guidance on the many social and emotional skills required for a healthy relationship. This will help them to obtain, retain and maintain friendships. However, not all friendships are regarded as positive. Sometimes, young people develop negative friendships so it is also important for them to learn how to identify, avoid or deal with such a friendship. This week, Year 8 students watched The Hurting Game, a live theatre experience which explored a number of issues that can sour friendships. It also offered opportunities for self reflection.
In this edition of SchoolTV, parents and guardians can learn how to support their child’s friendship so that they can experience a sense of belonging. We hope that the information offered is both informative and helpful.
We caught up with some students to find out how they feel about making friends at Siena College and the sense of community that they have experienced thus far:
"I feel that I have connected with the people in my year level and made lots of friends during the first few weeks of the term. I feel that everyone has been so welcoming and helpful in making sure that I feel belonged at Siena."
“At Siena, one of my favourite parts of our year level is how I feel like I can have a conversation with anyone. Everyone in our year is so friendly, and even if I don’t talk to some people as often as others, I know that they will always be up for a chat if I initiated one, and that I will be able to get along well with them in any situation. It’s a great feeling to know you are supported by all the girls around you.”
"Siena has really supported and welcomed me throughout my learning years. I have positive connections with my teachers and peers, which has made my first three years at Siena really safe and fun. I believe that the Year 10 cohort is strongly connected and I feel that I am able to speak and help everyone in my year level. I feel supported by my close friends and I enjoy the chats I have with everyone in my classes and at lunch/recess. My friendships have really made me feel like I belong at Siena."
"I love the sense of community that has been made evident to me via all aspects of College life. Being surrounded by teachers who are constantly offering support, advice or even sharing a laugh, has done wonders to my education and wellbeing. I am very grateful for the friendships that I have formed with students in my year level, House, Homeroom and through GSV sporting teams. I genuinely believe that my belonging revolves around these friendships and knowing that I am surrounded by many people who genuinely care about me at Siena. I really value this sense of community because it is what makes me feel involved, allows me to give back and makes me want to continue to experience those moments of joy and laughter with my friends."
"No matter where you come from or who you know and don't know at Siena, you will find some amazing people whom you will create awesome memories with, throughout your school years and possibly even further. So far, I have felt welcomed by my peers, teachers and older students. I would like to live by this quote: "To feel I belong and make others feel like they belong too". Ultimately, the valuable friendships I have formed at Siena provide with enjoyment and motivation."
"My friends support me and make me enjoy school because I feel safe with them. My friends bring laughter and joy to the day, and I feel welcomed at Siena and that I belong to the community through the Siena spirit. House and year level activities make me feel part of a group, and intertwining activities between year levels allow me to make friends throughout the College. This results in strengthening of the Siena spirit. Having positive relationships with my teachers allows me, as a student, to feel supported and guided throughout my school journey. Not only so, the relationships that I have formed with teachers and friends at Siena make me feel welcomed and belonged to the community."
"During my six years at Siena, I have been so lucky to make many new friends and maintain friendships from primary school; I value each of these friendships so much. This has been one of the highlights of my Siena experience.
Every year, Siena has endeavoured in placing students with a variety of people by mixing up classes. In my experience, this was the main way I became friends with so many different people that I would never have expected to have anything in common with. One of my closest friends is someone whom I was placed in multiple classes with during Year 9; we quickly became friends when we started sitting beside each other. Having many interactions with different classmates each year has enabled me to become friendly with so many students and has strengthened my sense of belonging at Siena, while also enabling me to make lifelong friends."
"We are fortunate at Siena to have a community where I feel valued and belonged by being active in the many different aspects of it. Over the years, I have been able to forge friendships with different groups of students through classes, GSV and House events, which has allowed me to enjoy the experience of attending school. The positive relationships have enhanced my learning at the College. Having the opportunity to identify as a Siena student and being part of the Cassia House, has allowed me to express my personality with confidence in the inclusive environment of Siena."
"Although we haven't been able to meet our Big Sisters yet, I have thoroughly enjoyed my first few weeks at Siena. I have met many new people, and I look forward to meeting many more. During my first few weeks at Siena, I have felt that everyone has been friendly and warm, be it students or staff. I think having both a learning group and a House group has helped me to get to know more people from different circles. Various school activities have also helped me to form connections with girls in my year level."
"I know I haven't been at Siena for long, but I have had the most wonderful experience so far! I have already made quite a large friendship group that keeps on expanding! A good friendship means loyalty, trust, laughter, generosity and kindness. A good friend will never hurt you or say something rude behind your back. I have so many good friends and I can't wait to meet so many more throughout my years at this school!
All the staff and older girls have been so welcoming and have made me feel like I belong at the school. They have been very understanding and are always there to answer any questions. When you belong, you become a part of something-a community. I think that all the new year sevens now belong in the Siena community where everyone helps each other and always cheers each other up. They never put anyone down. The Siena community will continue to grow but will never stop being so welcoming and making sure everyone belongs."
"Hello, my name is Dana and I am in Year 7. My friendships are going well as I have a group to hang out with everyday. I have a really good friend who is always excited to see me. Even though my group of friends are in another class, I still have a few friends who are always nice to me. I feel more comfortable at Siena now, compared to at the start, since I have friends, older students and teachers to guide me now."