I am sure that today we all have at the forefront of our minds, those who are being impacted by the floods at this time. I know that several school families have been evacuated from their homes on the banks of the Maribyrnong River and that many students and staff have extended family or friends who are in areas where houses or towns are under threat of rising water. At Lowther Hall the rowing sheds at Footscray were flooded today and we are continuing to try to salvage equipment from them. I ask you to keep all of those who are affected in your thoughts and prayers.

Currently, I am undergoing some intense physiotherapy in order to address a knee injury. Even though intellectually I have been able to accept that this has been a sensible course of action that will ultimately reduce my pain and increase my mobility, it has been a struggle to organise myself to attend sessions and on many days it has been challenge to diligently complete all of the set “homework” exercises. It has, however, been helpful in that I have remembered that this is not dissimilar to the experience that some of our girls have in relation to their learning! They rationally know that getting assistance from a teacher or attending to set work or study will improve their outcomes, but following through with these actions can be incredibly challenging. I consider that if I, as a 50 something year old adult, with good executive function and a fully formed neural network can find it hard to do what I know I should, how much harder must it be for adolescent girls whose brains are not yet fully formed and who have much less life experience on which to draw. To complicate matters, young people need to navigate the distraction of electronic notifications and the allure of social contact at a time when they are biologically predisposed to be strengthening connections with their peers! This is why they continue to need us, the adults in their lives to be there providing encouragement and, of course, boundaries. We can provide routine, structure, device management, bedtime regulation whilst at the same time offering words to cheer them on through a patch of disillusionment or lack of motivation. In the lead up to end of year assessments, our girls can need this more than usual, as they sometimes lose perspective, feel overwhelmed or apply a paralysing amount of pressure to themselves. Even I am assisted when a friend talks me out of cancelling a physio appointment or chats to me while I complete my abductor flexes. As parents and caregivers I encourage you to maintain (or possibly increase) your role in working with your daughter as we make our way through this final term of the year. It truly is a team effort!

Ms Elisabeth Rhodes