The first day of a new school year or any new year always calls for a reflection of the outgoing year and a wish or dream or resolution for the new year. And it is with this in mind, that I share with you my reflections of 2017 and my wish for our Kellock community for 2018.
Looking back over 2017, I am humbled by the achievements of CHIJ Kellock in a wide variety of activities. We did immensely well at our 2017 PSLE, with results in almost all subjects on an upward healthy trend. We did well in the Sports and snagged double championships for both our Junior and Senior teams in our niche sport, Netball. In key instruments used to assess the quality of school experience and the school climate, we clinched top scores! The glowing results bear testimony to the work of many deft hands and as we move from strength to strength each year, it is fitting that we pay tribute to those who laid the foundations for what CHIJ Kellock is today. I believe that the key elements which were present when CHIJ Kellock started – such as the emphasis on academic excellence, on holistic development of the child and on service to the community are still at the forefront of our minds. However, if the core of the school is made up of its people, then I truly believe that we need to measure our school not in terms of our achievements alone, but against its values.
Why at CHIJ Kellock, do we assign such importance and so much time to values education – values of Graciousness, Integrity, Respect, Responsibility, Resilience and Love? This emphasis is intended in no way to diminish the importance of the other lessons that our girls will learn in class. But at CHIJ Kellock, our aspiration extends well beyond teaching academic lessons. Rather, we aspire to teach lessons which will inform a lifetime. We live in a very fragmented time where self-interest seems paramount. Too often, we neglect what we share in common (the space we study in, work in, live in) and we neglect the importance of the relationships that bind us together.
In this context, there are no better lessons than for our girls to learn through awareness, action and advocacy what it means to appreciate and be grateful for all things, big and small. Over the last few years, lessons, talks and presentations on values such as Graciousness, Resilience and Love have been features in the Kellock Experience that aim to do just that. Do we know if they have worked? Yes, we do - when we hear our girls being praised for being polite, when we see our girls persevering and beating all odds to clinch the championship title, when we witness our girls coming forward to volunteer for a cause beyond their regular commitments and when we hear anecdotes of girls telling their parents that they would like to donate all the presents they received for their birthday to a charity! We are seeing our girls putting into action what they have learnt. This is Values in Action.
‘Values in Action’ is only part one of the equation of developing that values-centred child. ‘Values Internalised’ is the other. For this to happen, I believe that the consistency in the way we nurture our young girls both in school and at home will certainly go a long way.
This year in 2018, we are advocating GRATITUDE as a discipline, a habit and an attitude. GRATITUDE
· leads to positive well-being as it increases helping behaviours and positive emotions like joy and thankfulness;
· builds resilience as it helps one reframe difficult situations; and
· builds strong socio-emotional competencies as it encourages family, peer support and bonding.
The benefits of gratitude are well-documented in literature. We want to take up the challenge of fostering gratitude as a habit from young and of instilling an appreciative mindset. After all, gratitude (thanksgiving) is a key step of faith that increases our capacity to experience the love that God is always pouring into our lives.
So, as we head into a new school year, may I invite you to embark on this journey of thanksgiving and of a heart full of gratitude, with all of us at CHIJ Kellock. Together, we can help our children build a better world.
Ms Magdalene Chin