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School News

The life-changing power of self-belief

Self-belief allows you to believe in your ability, consider yourself capable of success and, importantly, achieve your goals.

Like the children at St Andrew’s School, I had the honour of attending an independent school. To this day I stand in awe of my own teachers’ passions about their profession and the way they invested in all children within the school, not just their own classrooms.

My teachers’ passion was contagious, and with their support, encouragement and outstanding teaching, I grew and thrived in my school environment.  Not being overly mathematically inclined, I found I was provided with extra support when things challenged me beyond my ability to understand concepts, and I began to not only understand mathematics but even grew to enjoy it. This encouragement and support from my passionate teachers in turn grew my own self-belief.

I had been provided with experiences and opportunities to enable me to understand that self-belief also includes having a positive attitude, an enquiring mind and a healthy dose of persistence and dedication.

While my personal ‘eureka’ moment was many years ago, the self-belief it delivered has been a constant companion, to this day feeding my tenacity, igniting my curiosity, exposing me to new ideas and concepts and helping to shape who I am today.

Self-belief is also central to the St Andrew’s School ethos, where a passionate teaching and support team is committed to each and every child, cares for them deeply and has been known, on numerous occasions, to sacrifice a lot for them.

We want every child to believe in themselves, to feel valued, to have their achievements shared and celebrated, to enjoy the fruits of open, curious and questioning minds, and to be successful in their own right.

We also encourage a community spirit, where we all feel a strong sense of belonging and will happily play our part and contribute to the school community. A couple of recent examples are the regular St Andrew’s community podcasts and students coming forward with great design ideas for our new treehouse and playground.

Please click link below for Year 4 Weekly Podcasts
https://podcasts.apple.com/au/podcast/year-4-weekly/id1476781023

It’s particularly humbling when we see our children take this spirit into the outside world and become true, valued and selfless global citizens – and even more so when they never forget and remain proud of their school.

Self-belief plays a huge role!

 

Jackie Becher

Principal

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Belonging is key to global citizenship

Harmony Day

St Andrew’s students wearing ‘a touch of orange’ to celebrate Harmony Week

Harmony Week’s theme of Everyone Belongs has been key to St Andrew’s success for 171 years. Belonging is a key value of our school and we have many ways of ensuring everyone is welcome here.

In the 21st century belonging is key to global citizenship and we continue to develop and evolve how we create an inclusive, harmonious community at our school. We use strategies both to include our community as well as highlighting the dispositions need to be welcoming to others.

This year for Harmony Week we are choosing to embrace the theme two ways. One, with a focus on the attitudes children require to enable everyone to belong, and two, the St Andrew’s Local Hero Awards, which will stretch across the year.

The Local Hero Awards are an opportunity for our children to vote for the peers in their class who always make others feel like they belong. Children have thought about and researched what helps make us feel like we belong. The data has then been used to create criteria and children are now voting for their St Andrew’s Local Hero! These children will be celebrated and held up as role models to other children.

Across the year we are working hard with our school community to celebrate diversity. We know that as global citizens we need great emotional and social intelligence, whilst also having an open mind and curiosity about our multicultural society. With that in mind, we are working with our families from diverse cultural backgrounds to expose children to a range of beliefs and values. We are finding through this work that children are making connections and discussing similarities and differences.

This work heightens and strengthens our commitment to idea of international mindedness that is key to the success of our International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme. Ensuring our children have the skills, knowledge and ability to consider many different perspectives ensures we are creating global citizens who will be committed to the assertion that “everyone belongs”.

Jackie Becher

Principal

 

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My reflections on the decade past

Deb Dalwood with students

 

With all its COVID-influenced changes to what we previously considered ‘normal’, I was thinking the other day that 2020 feels more like a decade than a year!

And that got me thinking a little deeper, delving into my memory bank to recall 10 reflections on the decade just past.

In no particular order, let’s start with character. Over the past 10 years, character and who you are as a person have become far more important than test scores. We now fully appreciate that keys to success lie in the likes of resilience, getting along, having a growth mindset and being confident.

We also celebrate mistakes. They are good, we learn from them and they build resilience to try…and try again.

Secondly, I have witnessed significant growth in wellbeing, social and emotional education. It manifests itself in our behaviour, where empathy is no longer in short supply. We feel for one another and the community in general. We also have the courage to take a stand and speak out when confronted by issues and developments we deem unsavoury, inappropriate or downright offensive.

Students, too, have a greater voice in their learning, sharing their goals with teachers, enjoying more control of their lives and generally feeling good about their futures, which brings us to the third reflection…

The rise in the use of data to inform teaching. It stands to reason that the more we know about a student, the better equipped we are to understand their journey – and that is when we can play the greatest possible role in making it a success.

Perhaps the fourth reflection is a result of this as today’s generation places far more importance on its endeavours to look after Mother Earth and ensure the sustainability of our fragile planet.

They are acutely aware of their impact in this regard, they exhibit a passion to protect and gently nurture our environment and they are determined to leave future generations with a better place to call home.

Moving on to number five, one of the great joys has been seeing students coming to realise why certain subjects are part of the curriculum. They understand the purpose of the lesson and experience more of those thrilling ‘aha’ moments when suddenly they get the WHY! They appreciate what it all means, they apply their minds to solve problems and reach solutions that will make our world just that bit better.

No reflection could exclude communication. Information is everywhere and channels of communicating and sharing it abound.

Deb Dalwood
Principal

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Respecting tradition, embracing change

St Andrew's School Past Backpacks and Hat

While the word ‘tradition’ tends to be bandied about a little too freely these days, its true meaning speaks of those beliefs and behaviours that have shaped – and continue to shape – people or organisations over the ages and remain of special significance to this day.

They hold us together, they unite us, the give us a deep sense of belonging and, in many ways, they define us.

This has certainly been the experience at St Andrew’s School – and it is perhaps particularly pertinent to reflect on them as our 170th anniversary year draws to a close.

That’s a rich history, but as with all histories, those that survive and thrive, live to tell the tale, if you will, share a common trait: agility, in the form of the ability to adapt and change with the times without sacrificing those dearly held traditions.

I believe when looking back over the St Andrew’s School history, it is fair to say that we have done this rather well – the most recent example being our adaptation of our traditional events due to the restrictions placed on us by COVID-19.

There is a special St Andrew’s community connection that pervades all we do. It is built on the values and beliefs of our founding fathers and mothers and remains evident today in the many school events and occasions that bring us together, connect us and provide that deep and lasting sense of belonging.

Although some of them have been modified this year, we have held onto our many precious traditions such as our celebration of Founder’s Day, our music and theatrical events, our fundraisers, our sporting activities such as the mostly competitive but always respectful Sports Day, and the time-honoured St Andrew’s to Henley Beach bike ride.

Then there are my personal favourites, which I know I will greatly miss when my part in the greater St Andrew’s School story comes to a close at the end of the year: the Speech Night and the Over the Bridge Ceremony, with the lone piper on the achingly beautiful bagpipes, the dancing, parents revelling in the occasion and the general fanfare.

In all of these – and others too numerous to mention – our great spirit of camaraderie has always shone through.

Let us not forget our spiritual connection.

Embedded in the core beliefs of ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ and ‘love your neighbour as yourself’, it is Christian theology as its most primal. And with its emphasis on inclusivity, our faith has certainly helped us to not only adapt to but embrace a changing world.

Our traditions have been enriched in more recent times by both the cultures of our first Australians and those of the many migrants who hail from all corners of the globe and now call Australia home. Their traditions, customs and rituals, given prominence in a myriad multicultural celebrations, now occupy equally important slots on our annual calendar of events.

Our Acknowledgement of Country is now a fixture at all St Andrew’s School events and is carried out with the utmost dignity and respect, as are the smoking ceremonies that are now synonymous with the opening of new buildings on campus.

Chinese New Year, too, has taken on added importance and, along with other cultural celebrations we have hosted, provides young and old with a great insight into other cultures, how they have made us a richer society and helped us to grow, individually and as a truly connected community.

They have contributed to our sense of family and belonging; they remind us that we care about each other.

I hope and trust this has been your experience at St Andrew’s School.

I know it has been mine – and while I know I will miss it, I feel enormously blessed to have been but a brief chapter in the St Andrew’s School journey of respecting tradition and being confident enough to welcome and embrace change.

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Proud history will help to shape brave new world

Air raid shelters on the oval, a young boy’s chivalrous gesture that lead to a healthy bequeathment, an earthquake that shook the buildings’ very foundations – and a commitment to strong values that absolutely nothing could jolt over a rich and rewarding 170-year journey.
These are just some of the moments that leap off the pages of St Andrew’s School’s history, an Adelaide educational institution that opened its doors to its very first students on 23 September 1850.

That’s just 14 years after Governor Hindmarsh strode ashore at Glenelg so it is fair to say that we have played an enormous role in educating South Australia’s young boys and girls and, in the process, giving an impressive list of Olympians, academics, artists, scientists, entrepreneurs, philanthropists and religious and political leaders a great start to their future endeavours of shaping society for the better.

As history tells us, the school sprang from the seed sown at an 1848 dinner to celebrate the consecration of the nearby St Andrew’s Church. Over the meal, someone wondered aloud how wonderful it would be if the next meaningful project was a school to provide elementary education for “children of the industrial classes within the principles of the teachings of the Church of England.”

The idea was warmly embraced by the ladies and gentlemen of the day and a year later, ground had been broken.

It’s hard to believe that the tiny original school building that emerged as reward for their hard work – and which still stands on the campus today – was meant to house 200 students!

How times have changed, how our campus has evolved to offer today’s learners the very best facilities and educators they could wish for, anywhere in the country.

Along the way, that little school building has witnessed a great deal. It saw the arrival from England in the late 1800s of Archdeacon and Lady Dove, who immediately set about convincing the church to better support the school and improve the teachers’ wages.

It was there when Principal Miss Porter presided over an era characterised by the hardships of World War I and the Great Depression. A formidable figure, she is credited with initiating fundraising drives – like the St Andrew’s Fair and Ball – that brought the community and friends together who continue to play a vital role in the school to this day.

Miss Porter is honoured for her contributions, which also include being a stickler when it came to English language usage, demanding nothing but the Queen’s English in both written and spoken form, with the Lavinia Porter Building bearing her name.

Those familiar with the campus will know that other buildings bear the names of the much-loved Rev Eggleton and a certain Mrs Habich (more of her later) but might not be aware that during World War II, air raid drills were practiced, air raid shelters were established on the oval and community drives raised fund for first aid supplies.

Our future focus on education and global thinking also saw us lead the way as one of the first International Baccalaureate (IB) schools in the country back in the 1990s and we offer one of the most extensive primary school education programs available anywhere in the world.

But what of Mrs Habich?

Well, she was so impressed when, while on a journey into the city one day, a young St Andrew’s School boy offered her his seat on a crowded bus that, when she died in 1989, she left the school a not insignificant $400,000!

That’s a fitting note on which to close as it truly reflects our strong values of instilling in our children a desire to lead a good and rewarding life, one that is connected and community driven.

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Year 1 and 2 Craft Competition

In September, Lucian Hamilton (2B) ran a craft competition for Year 1 and Year 2 students to raise money for St John’s Ambulance Service. At the end of Term 3, Lucian along with Ms Heather Wood, Deputy Principal – Learning and Teaching judged the entries and awarded a winner for each year level.

The winners were announced at the end of term JP assembly.

Winners:
Ethan Zhang 1B
Rafi Malik-Wauchope 2E

Year 1 winning entry submitted by Ethan Zhang 1B

Year 2 winning entry submitted by Rafi Malik-Wauchope 2E

Ethan was chosen by Lucian as he liked the shape of the jellyfish and it was made to stand up on its own. Rafi’s entry was selected as he had put in extra work to share information about the glass squid.

We chatted to Lucian about how he came up with the idea and how the competition worked out.

How did you come up with the idea?

I love crafting and making things from recyclable materials found around my home so I came up with the idea to have a crafting competition so others would do it too.

How did you go about running the competition?

I spoke to Ms Wood about having a competition in Term 1 and we started to organise it but then I couldn’t do it because of COVID-19. When I found out about the theme for Science Week, I thought that would be great for the competition.

I put lots of notes together and made a plan to give to Ms Wood about how I wanted to run the competition. I chose Years 1 and 2 so it was easier to run, and came up with some rules like it had to be made of recyclable materials and you had to do it yourself without lots of help from a grown up. Also, the projects had to be about the Science Week theme Deep Blue: Innovations for the Future of our Ocean. We put a note on SeeSaw to ask people to do it.

Why did you choose St John’s Ambulance Service as your charity?

In Term 1, I wanted to help the emergency services after the bushfires happened early this year. But then once COVID-19 happened I saw the doctors and the nurses on the TV and they looked like they needed help. Ms Wood made me a list of different charities to choose from and I chose St John’s Ambulance Service because they help the doctors with sick people.

I hope St John’s can use the money to buy more things and help people who are sick. Maybe they can use the money to buy a defibrillator to keep people alive.

How many entries did you get?

I had 34 entries from Year 1 and 7 entries from Year 2.

How much did you raise?

I raised $213 from entry fees and other donations.

How did you feel after you successfully finished the competition?

I feel proud that I did a good job and raised money for St John’s.

What did you learn from running the competition?

I learned that one idea can make a huge difference. I am making a difference to the Ambulance service and I’m helping people.

Deputy Principal – Teaching and Learning, Heather Wood, reflects on Lucian’s craft competition and process…

Student Agency is a key component of the IB Primary Years Programme. Agency is the power to take meaningful and intentional action. Students at St Andrew’s are given opportunities to:

  • have voice, choice and ownership
  • influence and direct learning
  • contribute to and participate in the learning community

As Lucian has shown, young students are capable of making a significant, positive difference to the world through their actions.

Photos of other entries submitted and Lucian selecting the winners

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Year 4 students interview COVID-19 anti-microbial material inventor Harrie Schoots

Students from St Andrew’s School were given the opportunity to interview and speak with Harrie Schoots, a textile chemist working for Ascend Performance Materials in America and President-Elect of the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (www.aatcc.org) this month. The Year 4 students are currently studying a unit on Materials in Chemistry and Harrie’s specialty field made him the perfect person for the students to talk to.

“It is very important that students make real life connections to their classroom learning.” Ms Carla Moffat, Year 4 teacher said.

Harrie has been working in the apparel and textile industry for over 25 years both in manufacturing and as a specialty chemical supplier. He has patented over a dozen technologies which aim to lower the environmental impact of textile processing. Harrie’s most recent project was inventing a new anti-bacterial/anti-microbial fabric which has just gone on the market in America to help fight the spread of COVID-19.

Students spoke to Harrie during two different sessions via Skype. The Year 4 classes brainstormed a list of questions to ask Harrie about his background, why he chose to be a scientist, how people process colour and how he invented the anti-microbial material, Acteev Protect™. Harrie explained what his role as a textile chemist looks like, saying it’s much like being an artist in addition to a scientist. He is inspired to create an industry that is as environmentally sustainable as possible. In his role, he has saved trillions of litres of water, through innovation and refined processes that demand less water and have less impact on our resources. Harrie also explained how people process colour, the dyeing process of fabric in the industry and how he used a zinc element in creating his anti-microbial material to the students.

“I am drawn to sharing textile chemistry and apparel science with students because it’s such a rare skill set, yet we all wear clothes!” Mr Schoots said.

Its important students, who eventually become consumers themselves, become educated in how the textile industry impacts the environment and how they can learn to reduce negative impacts through their buying habits.”

Retailers and brands are listening, and when consumers speak, either literally or with their wallet, they will implement change to satisfy a consumer request”

After this session, the students were given an opportunity to reflect on their learnings including what they learnt with students saying, “I learned that zinc can kill viruses because the virus thinks the zinc is good for it and different types of fabric can have a different result to the virus. Changing fabric is a science but also an art.”

Many students also found the presentation inspirational saying “He inspired me to help people and animals” and “He inspired me to be a scientist”.

During Harrie’s second session, students from other Year levels were invited to attend. Harrie spoke exclusively about his anti-bacterial/anti-microbial fabric which COVID-19 cannot survive on. Masks are currently being produced and sold using this fabric at www.blendedhuemanity.com.

This was a one of a kind experience for the students who were able to not only hear from a real life scientist but also participate in an interview process from beginning to end.

“Harrie was the right person to inspire the students to not just be the best they can be in their chosen line of work, but to make the world a better place.” Ms Moffat said.

He inspired many of the students in science and additionally, to be a person who cares about people, their impact on the environment and making the world safer in general. His invention of the COVID-19 killing fabric is testament to this.”

 

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St Andrew’s students embrace education in the great outdoors

When our children rode their bicycles or walked to school, spent part of their afternoons kicking the footy or throwing the netball, there was doubtless less need for it, but as we now find ourselves citizens of the digital age, it has become a vital component of the school curriculum.

I am talking about education in the great outdoors which, over the past two decades, has come to the fore and, more recently, gone on to embrace nature play and interaction with our environment.

It is most rewarding to see how enthusiastically our St Andrew’s School students enjoy our carefully devised outdoor education program that seeks to align activity with classroom endeavours, amalgamating all disciplines and seeing to it that skills are transferable.

Over the years, it has been equally rewarding to see the enormous benefits that flow from a comprehensive outdoor education program. We know how good it is to be active, all the more so when it takes place in the fresh air and under a warm sun – with all the slip, slop, slap, seek and slide measures adhered to, of course!

We have seen our students’ health enhanced, along with their learning capacity. The physical exercise, complemented by the mental stimulation of creating new things and allowing the imagination to run wild, leaves them suitably tired. A good night’s sleep invariably follows, as does a brain that is fresh and alert the next day.

In keeping with trends and innovative thinking in the area of outdoor play, our program has developed greatly since our first tentative steps some 20 or so years ago, to the point where a sizeable portion of our campus is now devoted to outdoor education activities.

And when our own space imposes limitations, there is always great public space to discover and explore, whether it’s an educative meander along the nearby River Torrens and its abundant Linear Park, or heading out into the bush on day-long excursions or overnight camps.

Closer to home, we have created a mosaic of pleasantly shaded outdoor areas, where on any given day, you’ll find children in the playground; planting, watering and nurturing flowers and shrubs in our school garden; pulling on the aprons and heading for the mud kitchen to bake a ‘mud cake’ with a difference; or sitting quietly on the outdoor furniture while they update their nature diaries to record the day’s collections and observations.

Others may well be found engaging in simple and soothing activities such as sitting down to read a book while breathing in the fresh air, taking in nature’s many aromas and absorbing the sounds of the wind through the trees, birdsong and chirping insects.

Nature play has certainly added to their rich understanding and appreciation of the world we live in and our role as the current custodians. But more than that, it has also allowed them to grasp the difference between danger and risk. We always work to eliminate danger but through nature play – whether climbing trees or jumping across streams – our students are encouraged to weigh up what’s risky and then, when comfortable with the degree of risk, have a go.

We are not done yet, with some ambitious plans already unfolding or in conceptual stage.

Our playground masterplan will see us introduce more wood structures and ninja equipment into the environment, while at the end of the secret garden, we will create a little farm area that, with a veggie patch and a chook run, will help children understand where their food comes from.

Yes, there is a place for digital technology and sedentary moments in our school curriculum, but let us never forget the enormous benefits of outdoor play. It has been around and doing good since time immemorial and you can be sure its merits will demand it is here to stay, at least at St Andrew’s School.

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COVID-19 reminds us of the strength of Community

Written by guest contributor: Heather Wood, Deputy Principal – Learning and Teaching

They say that many of our greatest lessons are learnt in times of great adversity – and that has certainly been true for the St Andrew’s School community during the challenging days of COVID-19 restrictions and isolation.

We will probably learn more as these constraints on our lives are further eased and we, individually and as a community, return to an existence more closely resembling the normal of the days preceding the pandemic.

But for now, perhaps the greatest lesson COVID-19 has taught us at St Andrew’s School – the students, their parents and the staff – is that we, as human beings, are fundamentally social animals. We want contact and connection; in fact, it’s something we crave and thrive upon.

It has also reminded us of the fundamental goodness of people, that in times of crisis, the vast majority of us are prepared to make personal sacrifices for the common good. We rise to the occasion, understanding that our wellbeing as educators, as students and as parents, is intrinsically linked to the health of our community.

We recognise and appreciate that we are part of a community and realise how vital a role our tribe plays in our lives.

You could say COVID-19 has finally allowed us to get it – the ‘it’ being that our community’s health determines ours.

Our behaviour over the past 100 or so days is a ringing endorsement of the ‘we’re all in this together’ mantra we embrace at St Andrew’s, and a big thumbs down to the ‘I, me, mine’ attitude that can prevail in other parts of society.

The children have undoubtedly led the way here, opening our eyes to the importance of connection and community. They valued the video catch-up sessions and chats with their friends and their teachers.

And when they were able to return to face-to-face learning within the comfort and familiarity of a bricks and mortar school, it was obvious to even the most casual observer that they were absolutely thrilled to be back among their friends, running around, playing and making up for lost time.

Isolation also threw up some positives for the children, particularly the older ones, with the distance learning model suggesting that students tended to appreciate having more say and choice in their day, deciding what they did and when.

They embraced the new responsibility and became a resource within themselves as they set about completing the tasks assigned to them.

They thrived as their levels of independence and organisation grew, and on return to the classroom, they have become skilful and competent in their independence – and that is something teachers have been able to build upon when they returned to the classroom.

From the school’s perspective, we also learnt another valuable lesson: rather than trying to replicate the school experience at home, our thinking needed to shift to helping the students to learn beyond the school.

It further reminded us of just how crucial our role as teachers is in helping our young students to navigate cyber safety. We needed to again unpack, with the students, precisely what it means to be an effective and responsible digital communicator, which has presented us with an additional learning opportunity on their return to school.

The lessons we have learnt and the pros and cons we have dealt with have left us better people, better teachers, better students and better parents, all keen to push the boundaries and further innovate in a post-COVID world.

We are asking questions, we’re challenging the way we do things – from teaching to sport and extra-curricular activities – and anticipate we will settle into a blend of the old ways and the new normal.

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Let’s reboot home and classroom conversations to keep children safe in our increasingly digital world

COVID-19 has had a dramatic – and not always negative – impact on our lives, changing the way we go about our lives.

It will, hopefully, leave us better and more community-minded people.

It has certainly reinforced just how powerful digital technology can be and what a boon it has been to our lives. Technology is designed to be collaborative – and in our school community, it allowed us to continue to educate our students when the bricks and mortar classrooms were declared out of bounds.

It has also opened the world to our children, connecting them globally, transporting them to places they could only previously dream of, and providing them with a veritable fountain of information and knowledge.

Sadly, not everything about the power of digital technology is positive, which had me thinking that it is timely to reboot conversations, at home and in the classroom, that will help to ensure that the next generation stays safe in an increasingly digital world.

When tackling the potential pitfalls of digital technology among our young people, we at St Andrew’s School strongly believe the best results are achieved in partnership with the home. It is only when we are in sync that the desired outcome – stimulated, happy, informed, safe children – can be achieved.

I am thinking here of shared key policies and expectations, and offer a few pointers I trust will put us all on a shared path to these outcomes.

Let us start with what is probably the most vexing – privacy.

The first step is to update privacy settings on all platforms and devices. But that is not enough; we also need to impress upon our children that when they post something to a large audience, they cannot take it back. It is out there, forever – and for that reason alone, they need to take great care in what they post about themselves and others.

They need to think about what they are considering sharing and understand that once they hit the ‘send’, ‘publish’ or ‘post’ button, they will be leaving a lifelong digital footprint.

We need to remind them, too, that while they have a right to privacy, they also have a responsibility to respect others.

At home, families can further take several easy steps to enhance cyber safety. It’s a great idea to keep all hardware and devices in a public space where, without being a snoop, you enjoy an overview of what is going on.

It is also wise to have real cyber safety conversations with your children and to set realistic and age-appropriate boundaries and rules, daily limits and regular screen-free time. Avoid banning, though, as research has shown time and again that it is counterproductive.

And yes, it is okay to say ‘no’, especially when it comes to social media platforms that, quite frankly, are unsuitable for primary-aged children.

Remember, too, that you are not alone on this journey. We are here to assist, so don’t hesitate to speak to us about any concerns you may have. You can also tap into our regular articles from our School Counsellor in The Bell, attend presentations on cyber safety as they arise, and visit the St Andrew’s SchoolTV page, which has a raft of useful resources for parents on the safe use of digital technology.

Finally, there is a wealth of valuable information on the Office of the ESafety Commissioner’s website – www.esafety.gov.au – and the Stay Smart Online website at www.staysmartonline.gov.au.

 

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  • St Andrew’s School is a South Australian independent, co-educational specialist primary school providing excellence in education from playgroup through to early years and on to Year 7. Principal Jackie Becher – an International Baccalaureate School – UNESCO Associated School.