The girls returned to school for the start of Term 2 yesterday with high energy levels and a great deal of enthusiasm. We began the day with a whole school assembly where we celebrated the many ways in which girls across the School have demonstrated the Quality “She is confident and independent” so far this year. Students from Year 1 shared the ways in which they were increasingly able to make decisions for themselves and manage school related processes, while Senior School girls Hayley and Rebecca reflected on the confidence and independence needed in their respective sporting and entrepreneurial arenas. Finally, the students who had participated in the Choir Tour to America and Canada spoke about the ways in which this experience had helped them to feel more confidence in performance, self-management, broadening their social interactions and travelling. It was inspiring to hear so many girls able to articulate their development of skills and dispositions that will stand them in such good stead as they move through life.

I am sure that many of you will have heard in the media today that recent research has revealed that young people in Australia report some of the highest levels of anxiety in the world in relation to schooling and school assessment. Assisting our girls to reduce and manage anxiety has been a focus for us at Lowther Hall for some years now and remains an important priority. Explicit teaching of mindfulness techniques and discussions about emotions and stress occurs in classrooms from the Early Years right through to the later years of Senior School, through the Personal and Social Development curriculum, the Pastoral Care Program and through Year Level or classroom activities. This week, as reports are distributed, the conversations at school will be focussed on effort and each girl giving of her best, identifying strategies for support and help and on understanding strengths and weaknesses. In Senior School discussion will also begin this week about mid-year examinations and ways in which girls can manage the preparation for these so as to keep anxiety to a minimum and spread out study over time so that it does not feel overwhelming. Please remember that there is an enormous amount of support available at school for girls and parents if anxiety is a concern. Do not hesitate to contact teachers, coordinators or Heads of School if you would like to discuss any issues which may be causing stress for your daughter. 

It is wonderful to be back at Lowther Hall having spent the last portion of Term 1 away with the Choir Tour. The 47 girls who participated were outstanding ambassadors for the School, both in their performances and in the way in which they embraced each aspect of the experience. I would like to thank the staff who attended for their hard work and their support of the girls – every experience was crafted to ensure that girls had a positive time and were well cared for. I would also like to thank the girls for their fabulous singing, their support of one another and their gracious and enthusiastic participation.

I look forward to seeing many families at the various special events that Term 2 holds – in particular, the Senior School production of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe which promises to be a most entertaining spectacle! I do encourage you to get your tickets early so that you don’t miss out!