What a fantastic first week we’ve had!
On Wednesday morning, we began with a smoking ceremony, as IGS dad Tim Bishop welcomed us to Gadigal Country. Tim is a proud Aboriginal man with bloodlines from the Murrawarri Nation in Northern New South Wales.
We’re grateful to Tim for bringing this to our students again and for turning it in to a teachable moment which will stay with them long after this week. It was fun, vibrant and moving and I know that it helps create such a sense of respect, appreciation and belonging here at IGS.
We’ve welcomed students back in classrooms, tutor groups, assemblies, year meetings and today our Year 12 student leaders handed out apples at the front gate as we celebrate our 39th birthday. We’ve come so far since those early days and we continue to share stories of our history and express our gratitude to those who came before us to make IGS what it is today.
I love how so many of our our students run in to school on the first day back with those warm smiles, ready to start all over again, and ready to welcome new students and staff to their school. They seem to be settling in beautifully, but please know that my colleagues and I are here to make the transition to the new school year as smooth and happy as we can. Just reach out to us if you have any concerns or if your child needs some extra support.
We have also begun the new year by embracing our whole-school goal: We all flourish.
Imagine if we all flourished this year? Imagine if, day by day, each one of us could deploy our gifts at IGS and choose joy, so that we all flourish, supporting others to do so as well?
At our staff conference on Tuesday, we explored Professor Martin Seligman’s work on Flourishing and his framework for wellbeing. We shared ideas and reflected upon how we can create the conditions for each and every child and young person to flourish this year.
According to Seligman, to flourish we need five things in our lives: positive emotion, engagement, better relationships, meaning and accomplishment. This simple but powerful framework (PERMA) can apply as much to a classroom or a family as it does to an individual.
The science of happiness also suggests that being a little bit happier (3 to 4 per cent) can make a huge difference, as can realising that the path to happiness lies mainly within, in terms of how we see the world and our place in it.
Mastery of any skill takes hard work and perseverance but if you love what you do and it feels meaningful to you, it doesn’t feel as much like work; it becomes a calling.
Furthermore, focusing on the objects of happiness, such as gratitude, a sense of purpose and psychological safety, is more likely to see us flourish than if we try to pursue happiness directly. These insights are informing our thinking and our actions as we carve out a wonderful year ahead for our students.
This morning we also welcomed students back to school in assemblies. I encouraged them all to come to school each day as if it’s a calling, something that they’re meant to do, something that they’re good at.
On the occasion of our 39th birthday, I also told them that our founding Principal, Professor Reg St Leon said in one of our final conversations that IGS students were “the luckiest children on earth.” I couldn’t agree more!
At the end of a joyous first week and as we go into the weekend, I wish you all a happy and healthy 2023.
I hope to see you at the Lunar Festival on Kelly Street from 3pm tomorrow afternoon. It’s an IGS first and we are indebted to the President of the PTF Hayley Dean and the amazing team of parents and friends who are bringing this magnificent event to our community.
We look forward to working with you this year so that your children flourish in 2023.