I think that we have all learnt a great deal through all of our experiences of living through COVID-19 this year. What is important to us has given us cause for reflection, and with the return of our first phase of students to school on Wednesday, it was blatantly obvious that the most important thing on our students’ minds was their wish to see their friends and play.
Whether it be our youngest Preparatory students playing chasings, students challenging each other on the handball courts, the Year 11 boys kicking a soccer ball, the catch up conversations during recess and lunch play, or the excitement of being back on the playground equipment – it has been such a joy to see and hear all the students playing, communicating and giggling with each other over the past three days.
We often think that the main purpose of attending school is for achieving an academic education, but it has been so clear over these past months that schools provide students so much more – invaluable opportunities to connect, to socialise and to play.
The restrictions of COVID have highlighted how humans are social beings who need the company of others. We should also never underestimate the importance of play. As parents, we tend to want to focus our child’s energy and attention on the academic improvements and pursuits. Whilst there is of course merit in this, it is equally important that we find time to allow them to play and spend valuable time with their friends.
I think that we all have a little ‘Peter Pan’ in each of us but we often feel we are too busy to make time to play. I urge you over the next few months not to worry too much about the academic work your child may have missed this year, but prioritise their need to connect with their friends, as this is what they have really been missing over their time online. The rest will come.
I’m sure as we look back on our own childhood, we don’t often remember the time we spent doing extra school work, but rather we do remember our friends and the adventures we shared for a lifetime.
Mark Hemphill | Head of School