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Adaptation and Innovation

Almost 100 years ago, Reinhold Niebuhr wrote of the importance of accepting that which we cannot change, having the courage to change that which we can and possessing the wisdom to recognise the difference. This is the essence of flexibility, of being bold, courageous and dynamic and ready to meet the future. Although written in a very different time, these words may prove to be the biggest lesson we each take from this extraordinary year.

When I wrote the PA President's article for the last issue of IE, we were experiencing our first period of lockdown and remote learning. Our beautiful school closed, and we were left surprised.  We took the opportunity to slow down, to spend more time with our families and loved ones without the stresses of our normally hyper-scheduled and busy lives, there was a sense of novelty and optimism in what we were experiencing. We thought it would all be over soon.

Fast forward to the introduction of Stage 4 restrictions and our school closing again. This time the loss was felt more keenly and we were concerned about the long term effects of this pandemic on our children, our families, our livelihoods and the wellbeing of our broader Melbourne Girls Grammar community. So many of us have been touched personally and professionally by COVID-19, navigating 2020 in the best way we can as parents and caregivers.

The challenges this year has given us have been beyond what we could have expected. Many children learnt at home with us, VCE students wondered what it would mean for them, boarding parents missed milestones many not having seen their daughters since February, or unable to get them back to their ‘home away from home’ due to closed borders. We have all watched as our girls missed so many of the important markers of the school year, and my heart went out to all. Our struggles may be different, but our collective goal was the same – the wellbeing of our Grammarians.

When we are able to catch our breath and look back on this year, we may ask ourselves — what has this taught us and what can we turn this experience into?  

The challenges this year has given us have been beyond what we could have expected. Many children learnt at home with us, VCE students wondered what it would mean for them, boarding parents missed milestones many not having seen their daughters since February, or unable to get them back to their ‘home away from home’ due to closed borders. We have all watched as our girls missed so many of the important markers of the school year, and my heart went out to all. Our struggles may be different, but our collective goal was the same – the wellbeing of our Grammarians.

When we are able to catch our breath and look back on this year, we may ask ourselves — what has this taught us and what can we turn this experience into?  

The challenges this year has given us have been beyond what we could have expected. Many children learnt at home with us, VCE students wondered what it would mean for them, boarding parents missed milestones many not having seen their daughters since February, or unable to get them back to their ‘home away from home’ due to closed borders. We have all watched as our girls missed so many of the important markers of the school year, and my heart went out to all. Our struggles may be different, but our collective goal was the same – the wellbeing of our Grammarians.

When we are able to catch our breath and look back on this year, we may ask ourselves — what has this taught us and what can we turn this experience into?  

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‘Forty Four Sunsets’ beautifully sums up the way our students have approached 2020. The piece was composed by Alex St Vincent Welch for our Morris Hall production of The Little Prince.
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Learning to be Flexible

The first lesson that comes to mind is flexibility. When we are able to bend, we don’t break; we have the chance to show true strength. We are free to welcome and accommodate change, grasp new opportunities and new ways of thinking and doing. The rapid move to remote learning, the innovation around delivery of curriculum and the extraordinary level of care, attention and effort shown to each individual to ensure that our daughters were able to continue learning and thriving was a clear demonstration of the flexibility and strength of our school.  

This example of adaptation and innovation provided by our school, ties strongly into to the future that Melbourne Girls Grammar aims to create for our daughters to have them entering the world bold, courageous and dynamic, ready to meet the future head on. Our daughters define their own path through the choices they make and the opportunities they embrace. Through this pandemic, our school has shown a real, 'walk the talk' demonstration of all that our girls have been learning and living throughout their time at MGGS. After all, their characters are constantly being formed by the experiences they endure and the manner in which they respond.  

2020 will be a defining year for students, parents and the School community as a whole, and we can all take comfort from the knowledge that our children are in the best environment to grow and prosper, regardless of whatever life throws at them. Our Grammarians will be able to take this experience, and the role modelling they have witnessed, out into the world. They will draw upon it when required and thrive.

Learning to be Flexible

The first lesson that comes to mind is flexibility. When we are able to bend, we don’t break; we have the chance to show true strength. We are free to welcome and accommodate change, grasp new opportunities and new ways of thinking and doing. The rapid move to remote learning, the innovation around delivery of curriculum and the extraordinary level of care, attention and effort shown to each individual to ensure that our daughters were able to continue learning and thriving was a clear demonstration of the flexibility and strength of our school.  

This example of adaptation and innovation provided by our school, ties strongly into to the future that Melbourne Girls Grammar aims to create for our daughters to have them entering the world bold, courageous and dynamic, ready to meet the future head on. Our daughters define their own path through the choices they make and the opportunities they embrace. Through this pandemic, our school has shown a real, 'walk the talk' demonstration of all that our girls have been learning and living throughout their time at MGGS. After all, their characters are constantly being formed by the experiences they endure and the manner in which they respond.  

2020 will be a defining year for students, parents and the School community as a whole, and we can all take comfort from the knowledge that our children are in the best environment to grow and prosper, regardless of whatever life throws at them. Our Grammarians will be able to take this experience, and the role modelling they have witnessed, out into the world. They will draw upon it when required and thrive.

Connections are Key

Another lesson from this year is that our community is truly connected; they are tied together by bonds that reach beyond any momentary difficulties. I have been particularly touched by the care and empathy shown by our class reps and auxiliaries - as volunteers these parents are always seeking a way in which to serve our community. I can’t thank you enough for your support of the PA and our parents and caregivers this year whilst I look forward to 2021 with hope and optimism. In time, this situation will pass and the memories of Zoom PA meetings and Parent Teacher conferences, remote learning, hand sanitising, temperature checking and social distancing will fade. Artemis will remain open, the girls will return to sport, and learn, laugh and join together again.

Connections are Key

Another lesson from this year is that our community is truly connected; they are tied together by bonds that reach beyond any momentary difficulties. I have been particularly touched by the care and empathy shown by our class reps and auxiliaries - as volunteers these parents are always seeking a way in which to serve our community. I can’t thank you enough for your support of the PA and our parents and caregivers this year whilst I look forward to 2021 with hope and optimism. In time, this situation will pass and the memories of Zoom PA meetings and Parent Teacher conferences, remote learning, hand sanitising, temperature checking and social distancing will fade. Artemis will remain open, the girls will return to sport, and learn, laugh and join together again.

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Arabella and Xanthe in Year 2 were thrilled to be reunited at our Morris Hall Welcome Breakfast
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Arabella and Xanthe in Year 2 were thrilled to be reunited at our Morris Hall Welcome Breakfast
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The 2020 year continues to illuminate the strength of our community. We have come together to support each other and continue the learnings of the School at home. We have worked collaboratively despite our own personal stresses. We have discovered new ways in which to unite and reached out to one another with compassion and purpose.

The opportunities that the challenges of 2020 have presented will inform future education delivery and the way in which we connect as a community. The strengthening of the partnership between home and school will endure.

The 2020 year continues to illuminate the strength of our community. We have come together to support each other and continue the learnings of the School at home. We have worked collaboratively despite our own personal stresses. We have discovered new ways in which to unite and reached out to one another with compassion and purpose.

The opportunities that the challenges of 2020 have presented will inform future education delivery and the way in which we connect as a community. The strengthening of the partnership between home and school will endure.

The 2020 year continues to illuminate the strength of our community. We have come together to support each other and continue the learnings of the School at home. We have worked collaboratively despite our own personal stresses. We have discovered new ways in which to unite and reached out to one another with compassion and purpose.

The opportunities that the challenges of 2020 have presented will inform future education delivery and the way in which we connect as a community. The strengthening of the partnership between home and school will endure.

Article written by

Tammy Read

President of the Parents Association

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