Wellbeing Update 2020/05/26 Updated

From the Director of Student Wellbeing
Globally, student wellbeing has never had more of a focus for schools. 2020 has presented AISHK with valuable opportunities to be flexible and responsive with our student wellbeing initiatives. We have continued our focus on developing coping strategies, help-seeking skills, student self-efficacy and supporting others; in an online environment. We have continued to build our students social and emotional learning capabilities in the online environment as they are central to maintaining student wellbeing and for lifelong success.

As students return to school gradually, we will draw upon our existing approach to student wellbeing and build on our successes. Relationships are central to belonging and connectedness at AISHK. The strengthening and building of those relationships that we have made in the online environment this year will be a priority for all staff and students for the remainder of 2020. AISHK parents are also reminded of the resource available to you: SchoolTV.

Kiely Murphy | Director of Student Wellbeing

From the AISHK School Psychologists
Well, what an (online) start to the academic year. Not only a crash course or two in ICT (!) but an enormous array of changes in the ways that we have all been working. Over the past term we have observed (and also experienced!) a rollercoaster of emotions encompassing all aspects of our lives. We think it is fair to say that most of us have learned a lot about ourselves during this time.

What have the School Psychologists been up to? 
In short, a combination of whole-school, year level, class level, and individual level working to support students, teachers and families (existing and new) both here in Hong Kong and internationally to be able to manage the additional challenges that this unusual period of time has demanded. In Primary, some areas of learning that we have focussed upon have included: learning to be an effective online learner (including a few psychological brain hacks!); developing self-awareness, self-management, reflection and coping skills; finding and building connections with peers online; understanding cybersafety and the impact of screen time on mental wellbeing; and looking on the bright side.

Turning our attention to the future, the ‘new normal’ (so to speak) awaits. It is without a doubt that the uncertainty, the unknown and the waiting has felt extremely uncomfortable. As steps towards the certainty of school reopening are being taken, it is equally important to recognise that the resumption of school on campus entails a new adjustment phase for all.

One big ‘known’ is that students are most looking forward to seeing friends, playing on the field and meeting their new classmates and teachers in person.  This is exciting for everyone, and, as well as feeling good, coming back together on campus might also be quite daunting, perhaps scary, for some members of the community. Throughout the past term, for some families there have been unexpected changes to living circumstances, and, as a result, changes in friendships or support networks. Upon return to school another period of new adapting begins whereby previous classroom (rather than ‘classzoom’) experiences will look and feel different. On campus, within the familiar there will be elements of the unfamiliar as new processes are adopted.

Within our AISHK community the resilience shown by families and students so far has been nothing short of incredible. Looking ahead, we will continue to teach the emerging new set of skills required in response to what is happening in our world. We strive to ensure that all AISHK students are best equipped to thrive within the ‘new normal’ of school, learning, and beyond.

As things progress in Hong Kong, a reflection point we would like to share relates to:

What helpful habits have been formed during this past term that have been useful for you and for your family? Which of these habits might you like to continue?

To finish for now and as we wait for school to resume, we offer one piece of slightly alternative ‘psychological advice’ – in the words of Dory (the fish from Finding Nemo): “Just keep swimming.”

See you soon,

Jean McPherson | Primary School Psychologist

Bernadette Spencer | Secondary School Psychologist]

From the Head of PDHPE
In both Primary and Secondary PDHPE, we have worked with students on how to stay fit and healthy within a remote learning context. Primary Health classes have focussed on healthy eating habits and forming positive relationships, while Secondary have been looking at ways of reducing screen time, getting active and planning for optimal health by using mindfulness, nutritional goals and learning new skills.

Return to school will look a little different for our subject. The PDHPE staff will be looking to plan activities that ensure hygiene standards are maintained to the highest degree between students and equipment. All of our students can look forward to activities like gymnastics, dance and other movement skills that are fun but adhere to health guidelines. We will also continue to explore ways to be healthy and resilient. The wellbeing of our students remains our top priority.

Kath Ellis | Head of PDHPE

Peer Support 2020!
Year 6 students have certainly been busy this week as we commenced our Peer Support Training sessions. Over the next few weeks on Monday and Thursday at 2:30pm as part of our Wellbeing program, students in Year 6 will meet in house groups to enhance their leadership skills and explore what exactly are the key elements of engaging and facilitating a small group of students for 30 minutes.

Daunting it may sound, but our students are certainly excited to collaborate, communicate, find solutions, form new friendships and have a lot of fun along the way. This afternoon in the Year 6 Assembly, we were excited to have some Year 7 students join us to share some of their highlights and answer some of those burning questions. To see year levels unite, certainly is a highlight of Peer Support.

Lynda Lemmon | Peer Support Team Member, Head of Year 6