Connection is Key
We all want our kids to come home from school with a smile on their faces. We want them to feel good about learning and the people they are spending their time around. We also want them to value their school and the education they are receiving.
Obviously, no child is going to feel like that every day, because they are prone to exactly the same degrees of ‘humanness’ as you and I. Humans have good days and bad days. However, we can hope for a majority of days that leave them feeling happy or at least content.
So, what is the X factor that ensure kids are thriving and engaged? It’s good old connection. A child needs to feel connected to the school. School connection is sometimes called ‘school engagement’. It doesn’t really matter what it is called, it matters how it feels. A connected child:
- Likes school
- Feels they belong
- Believes teachers care about them and their learning
- Believes that education matters
- Has friends at school
- Believes that discipline is fair
- Has opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities (Blum)
It is important that schools and parents work together to promote school connection. Santa Maria College prides itself on our commitment to making sure every child feels seen, valued and included.
From the moment your daughter arrives in Year 5, she will become a member of a House. She will remain in the same House for her eight years at the College. She will be a member of her class, her Year group and the Middle Years group which includes all students from Years 5 to 8. Other communities will evolve according to the co-curricular activities she chooses and the elective subjects she chooses.
Staff will care for your daughter. Not only her class teacher and elective teachers, but also her Dean of Year 5 and 6, Head of House and support staff such as enrichment staff, nurses and psychologists.
All our staff prioritise relationship in their teaching. World-renowned education researcher, Dr John Hattie tells us it is the best way to be a force for good in the lives of students. When children feel genuinely liked and valued, they relax and are able to find flow in their learning. Flow is that wonderful state where you are challenged but not uncomfortable. It is where the magic of learning is at its most powerful.
Connection will also come in the form of friends. As early adolescence can be a tricky time for friendships, we teach dedicated friendship lessons in both Years 5 and 6. This way we can equip girls with the skills they need to negotiate the inevitable ups and downs of friendships and peer interaction
It is important that your child and your family connect with the values of their school. Santa Maria very clearly identifies as a Catholic school in the Mercy tradition. Our core values are Justice, Compassion, Hospitality, Excellence, and Service.
When a child feels their home and school values are aligned, it is easier for them to connect and relax into their community. This is important to consider when choosing a school. It is also important to a child’s connection that they know their parents value the school and the education they are receiving. The home-school partnership is so important. Together we are better.
We know that school connection reaps enormous benefits, such as greater learning outcomes, better self-image, increased resilience and positive mental health, and improved bonding behaviours in the future. That’s why focusing on school connection is a priority at Santa Maria College.