As you know, at the beginning of the year the South Australian government implemented a single school intake for public schools. This had a significant impact on Flinders. Traditionally we have transitioned four times each year, at the beginning of each term, as children left for school. This year, we had one enormous transition at the beginning of the school year, with nearly all children in each group transitioning to the next house. This was a huge process, logistically and emotionally, for the children, educators and families of Flinders. We had faith that it would pay off in the long run, with each house having a stable group of children for a twelve month period.
Over the last couple of months, the benefits for children have become crystal clear.
We are seeing deeper relationships developing between children and educators. We are seeing deeper engagement for children within the educational programs. And perhaps most excitingly, we are seeing deeper relationships between children, and a genuine culture of kindness and respect emerging across Flinders.
We spend a lot of time talking about the Flinders community, and the impact of the single transition has really highlighted this. Not only are families and educators developing strong partnerships, the children are demonstrating sophisticated levels of empathy and compassion with each other. From handing a friend their hat, to comforting a friend who feels sad; from offering moral support, to asking someone who seems alone to play, the children of Flinders are becoming increasingly caring, compassionate and kind.
We put this down to the consistency of the group; not only are the educators the same, but the children are the same. Each child knows what to expect each day, right down to who they will see, who they might play with. Children are able to predict the behaviours of their peers, to anticipate their ideas and interests, to really know the people around them.
The cliche says ‘Familiarity breeds contempt’; but in the case of Flinders Children, familiarity breeds kindness, compassion and respect.