Communities of Hope

17 June 2019

After the shocking event in Christchurch, there will be questions that every school and every family will need to consider. Evidence from previous such incidents is clear, that the more people watch television footage of these events, particularly children, the more likely they are to experience psychological distress, even trauma.

There are some simple ways that parents can support children through these moments:
• Limit exposure to news and media reports on TV, radio and social media: if possible, simply switch off and ensure your children are not seeing or hearing the imagery.
• If they are exposed to the imagery, reassure them that they are safe at home and school
• Comfort them and remind them that these events are extremely rare
• Maintain normal routines and schedules.

How important it is to express hope in the future and share stories of good things still happening in the world. Stories of good people doing good things are often our best antidote for the destructive and the negative.
These days we all live with an element of trauma. Media, both mainstream and social, seem to bring us images and reports of random, fearful events on a daily basis.

Schools have a vital role in this new world of low level, but almost constant trauma. The curriculum we teach our children portrays the world as we see it, and what we teach, and how we teach it, will do much to alleviate, or activate, this trauma. 
As always, age appropriateness should be the rule. The curriculum we teach to our younger children needs to promote a positive, inspiring worldview that gives hope and confidence for the future. All embracing goodness in the Kindergarten, and enriching stories of the imagination in Primary school can do so much to lay a foundation of confidence in the future and a joy in living.

In high school it’s so different. Here it’s important to be intellectually awake to the dangers, to debate the negatives, to critique the current systems and empower young people to suggest solutions. Confidence in the future is based on confidence that an active citizen can do something positive.
But the best nourishment for building that confidence in all growing children is an overarching sense of meaningfulness in the world. In our contemporary society, schools have almost taken over the role that was formerly held by the church and community, of providing this sense of meaning and direction. All schools should have this as their core focus in educating young people today, to be places of meaning and hope for a positive future.
Ours in particular, our Steiner curriculum at Glenaeon, strives to bring hope in many ways, through the great stories that have nourished humanity through the millennia, the images of inspiring men and women whose lives have given hope to others. 
This is what schools can be in a troubled world, communities of hope, providing a promise of a better world.

GPA AGM and World Café
Due to a clash with another school event, the AGM of the Glenaeon Parents Association has been postponed until Term 2. We look forward to hosting a World Café session to explore some key questions for our community. Come along and be part of the conversation at 7.30 pm Wednesday evening May 15th (week 3).