14 September 2015

From the Director’s Desk

I would like to begin this newsletter by promoting some thinking about the fundamentally important  area of Mental Health and Wellbeing. As always at the end of a year, we spend some time looking at what should be focus areas, what more we need to do to help our children become well adjusted and empowered people.
Of course mental health is a huge basket of different things and at different times the focus shifts from one area to another.  Most broadly we look at how to create successful and happy human beings. In doing so, we promote thoughtful kindness, mutual respect, accountability and responsibility. 
This is a complicated list of words so let me share some initiatives undertaken so far. I am not here, including the major focus on Mindfulness as this has already been shared.

Anti bullying week
In a primary school assembly we had an interesting discussion on whether in future we should give it a different name – Kindness week for example.
However in this year we deliberately chose to highlight the specific area of bullying prevention, because the creation of general awareness is in itself a deterrent. Students themselves planned and contributed to activities. You can read more specific details elsewhere in this newsletter. 
The school rules were highlighted at an assembly – that bullying can be verbal and psychological as much as physical, that bullying leads to strict disciplinary action such as suspension and parent interviews. Through workshops and discussions an understanding was created on what to do, the feelings of the victim and how to develop assertiveness, the role of the bystander and how they too have a responsibility. 

Valuing Teachers
Teachers Day is always a time to promote positive energy, express gratitude. The warmth and affection which students expressed, their creative energy in putting together a performance with no adult help – were all an indicator of a special bond between students and teachers. This was perfectly captured in the painting done by IB students and presented. Taking a tongue in cheek line from Harry Potter’s school Hogwarts it declared Help is always given at Pathways to those who seek it.

Well adjusted happy human beings are those who can distinguish right from wrong, who know that wrong actions have consequences. This basic understanding is true at every level and in this year we are strengthening this message to all students. A Nursery or KG child who bites or hits another one knows it is wrong and is often trying it, to test boundaries.  It is very very important for us to send the message that this is not alright –through a time-out on a special chair and by the teacher saying so. Similarly, in secondary school students are held accountable – with a focus on changing behaviour through consequences.  This could be for inappropriate behavour or for self management areas such as punctuality or assignment .
 Alongside this there have been self-development trainings for children in areas such as leadership, assertiveness, healthy understanding of sexuality. A career day planned later in the year will get senior students to look at where they want to go in life, the options available and what they need to be like to get there.

Founders Day Planning
As you know this year the celebrations of Founders Day have moved to November. This has enabled a stronger establishment of academic areas at the beginning of the year. For the first time we will have two separate productions – one for Primary and the other for Secondary. Also for the first time, the Primary production will be for students from Grade 2 up only. Students from Grade 1 down will do their production on Rhyme Time day, during child-friendly daylight hours.

In October students will begin preparing with some slight adjustment to the schedule to enable this. Beginning with the first Thursday after the semester break, school timings on Thursdays will not be shorter but will move to regular hours i.e 8 – 3.40. We will be updating you with more details of planning in a separate communication later. 

Dr Shalini Advani
School Director