Gratitude

This year the Senior School has been focusing on several themes centred around wellbeing strategies and providing strategies for staff and students to cope with the business of life. The Learning Curve Program has been an activity that the whole school has undertaken each week. The message from Hugh van Cuylenburg, founder of The Resilience Project, who spoke to the school last year, has also been reinforced during the year and is consistent with the Learning Curve. Three of the strategies that are consistent between both programs are Gratitude, Mindfulness, and Empathy.

Gratitude has been a value that has been developed more fully over the year. During this term, students were asked to write what they were grateful for and then place it on a ‘tree’ in the Cloisters. I have often stopped to read the messages that have been placed, and there is certainly a variety things for which our students and staff are grateful. At this week’s assembly our School Captain, Ella Liptak and School Vice Captain, Alex Reardon, spoke to the Senior School and provided more detail on each member of the School Maintenance and Ground Staff. On behalf of the School, they said thank you to all of the team that ensure both our facilities and grounds are maintained at a very high level to provide an environment which promotes a sense of wellbeing. Given the response from all of the students it is was clear they were not alone in their thoughts. This was certainly an example of the students expressing their gratitude to the School Maintenance and Ground Staff. I would like to thank Alex in particular for driving this initiative and the time he took in preparing the assembly. It is assemblies like this one which makes me feel very proud to be part of the Westminster community.

I would encourage families to spend time to talk to each other about what they a grateful for on a regular basis. Hugh gave the following as outcomes of practicing being grateful:

  • less likely to get sick
  • have higher levels of energy
  • feel happier
  • are more enthusiastic
  • are more attentive
  • are more determined
  • are more optimistic
  • have a better quality of sleep
  • have lower levels of depression and anxiety

Senior School Chaplain

With the recent departure of Rev Patrick Gillespie, Rev Phil Hoffmann will be conducting Senior Chapel services and attending Senior School Assemblies, from next week until the end of the year. Phil is the Moderator’s Alternate on School Council and is also a parent of the School.  I am sure you will make Phil welcome when you see him around the School.

Uniform

Students will be able to wear summer uniform again from Tuesday 5 September after the Exeat. I ask parents and students to check that they have all the correct items required. This is particularly true for the dress, which needs to be the correct length of just below the knee and no lower than mid-calf.

David Wallage
Head of Senior School