Holistic Education | Mr Damien Cuddihy
Often schools refer to the concept of fostering a holistic education that recognizes that a person is more than just their academic abilities, and that a well-rounded education should consider a person’s intellectual, emotional, social, physical, and spiritual development. Over the last few weeks many of our students have had the opportunity to engage in experiences that assist in cultivating the whole person.
Recently, I had the privilege of spending time with our Year 12 students as a small group facilitator at the Kairos retreat. I’m continually refreshed by the way in which boys enter into this reflective space and choose to listen and then seek to explore their own and others' life journeys beyond the classroom. Throughout their time at Terrace, the House retreats also contribute to the boys' capacity to understand that they belong to a community and that with this comes a sense of social responsibility. Developing the ability to be reflective of our thoughts, feelings and actions helps the boys to develop self-awareness of their own motivations, strengths, weaknesses and biases, hopefully leading to better decisions in the future.
Our Waterford students recently participated in The Calling and Departure ceremony, symbolizing the beginning of the Waterford Journey which aims to provide guidance in the transition from child to adult. The boys were called to be thankful for their childhood but to prepare to step into a new challenging stage of their lives. The evening culminated with The Departure where parents and caregivers symbolically handed over their sons to their Waterford Journey teacher, as a sign of the trust they are placing in them to help form their precious child into a fine young man. As a Terrace community, we very much look forward to being a part of the Waterford Journey in its inaugural year at Waterford.
Further to these programs, the boys are obviously involved in a wide range of co-curricular cultural and sporting activities within the school. Each of these experiences also presents opportunities to contribute to a holistic education, not only through the development of knowledge and skills required for a particular activity but by also providing an opportunity for personal growth, social responsibility, and the development of the whole person.
The issue of well-being is very important to the mission at Terrace and to all schools. I hope this is experienced by our students and felt by our parents and other members of our community. If we strip the teaching profession back to its core then it’s the creation of an atmosphere of care that’s left exposed.
As parents, we employ a wide range of approaches in supporting our children throughout the developmental stages of childhood. The nurturing of independent and resilient children is often rightly acknowledged by experts in the field as an important character trait to develop in our young. Whilst I wholeheartedly agree with this belief, I do recognise that there is always a ‘tipping point’ where various interventions are required from adults in our community to act as a safety net for our students.
I acknowledge that one of the greatest fears for your sons, and yourselves, is that a situation will become worse if the school becomes involved in resolving an issue. The particular issue could be one of many - managing gaming, bullying, depression, anxiety, relational issues with friends and family, to name just a few. I would like to encourage you to reach out to the College when you have the feeling that your son is struggling to cope with a particular issue. In many cases, this support person may be your son’s Pastoral Care Mentor or House Dean.
We recognise that we are in a privileged position to hold the stories of your sons. In many cases, you will ask us not to action this information but rather to walk with you on this journey. I want you to know that we understand this and do it often with families at the College.