As I sat behind a lorry at the traffic lights this morning, I chuckled at the large sign on the back, which read “CAUTION – does not play well with others”. Although I had no intention of interacting with the massive vehicle (my little car and I would definitely have come off worse) my teacher brain immediately turned to the fact that much of what we teach, reinforce and develop at school is what the children need to know if they are to ‘play well with others’.

We have been widely publicising the ways in which social opportunities are available for Carmel students and form invaluable opportunities for them to learn to work and play together. From the Primary School to the High School, children need the chance to play well. You can click on these links to see the wide range of clubs and activities available to our students in which they can learn and practise playing with others. Whilst we want to provide many opportunities for them, we are also mindful of the importance of providing children with the time to be children, to enjoy unstructured experiences and to learn naturally, by interacting with others in that time. This provides multiple opportunities to build those all-important social skills and develop resilience in an authentic and supportive environment. So, although the playgrounds, school yards and oval are supervised by staff during recess and lunchtime, those duty staff know the importance of stepping back, watching the kids play and understanding when and how to intervene. We see recess and lunchtimes as much in terms of the learning that takes place as we do our classrooms, albeit learning of a different kind. 

It also struck me this week that just as students must sometimes do things they don’t want to, there are times at work when adults also have to carry out tasks which may not be their favourite thing to do, or which they may not have previously carried out.

Although I haven’t confirmed this with her, I doubt that Mrs Bolton had ever dreamed of being a supervisory car park attendant, but she has organised the proceedings before school and after school very effectively, to keep the children safe.

I want to thank Mrs Bolton as well as thanking all those parents who have shown understanding of the way we have separated pedestrian routes and cars in the way we have, for the safety of the children. I have linked our Parent Code of Conduct here, by way of a useful reminder that staff deserve to be shown respect at all times and that we do not accept rudeness or aggression directed towards them. Staff work too hard and care too much to be treated poorly when they are carrying out their duties and this includes all people assisting with our security and safety efforts. We are confident that the new JHUB and its beautiful car park will be enjoyed by so many in the community that the current inconveniences will have been worthwhile.

Shabbat shalom

Julie Harris