Our Easter term is drawing to a close and, looking back over the busy weeks, I am aware of the remarkable work and achievements of the girls and their teachers. It has been a demanding term with the academic results reflecting facets of continuous assessment, which includes many and varied assessments. The co-curricular programme has also been particularly demanding with many sport, cultural and service activities.
I am aware that the time demands placed on the girls are significant and many individuals were exhausted as we closed for the Easter break. This caused me to spend some time thinking about why we offer so many different activities and why we believe the co-curricular programme is important at St Mary’s.
International emphasis is placed on a valuable education that is holistic. The experiences and learning that take place outside the classroom are considered as valuable as those that occur within the classroom, especially as far as character building is concerned. I also believe that the variety of activities provide opportunities for all the girls to find a comfortable space or a niche. Each girl is encouraged to explore her interests and talents and to challenge herself to develop her abilities in areas where she may not have considered it possible.
The co-curricular programme also offers an opportunity for girls to develop friendships within these areas of interest. My thinking led me to conclude that the varied and number of co-curricular opportunities are necessary.
I believe that the girls try to do too much. It is imperative that they learn to make choices about their involvement and that they plan their schedules around their own capacity. Knowing oneself is essential to living a happy and fulfilled existence. As adults, we must help the girls in our care to realise and accept that what suits one individual may be detrimental to another. Our girls must forge their individuality and that begins with their interests, the talents which they want to develop, their choice of participation and the balance they require.
I have encouraged the mentor teachers to guide each of their mentees in reviewing their schedules and making the choices that best suit them.