Transparent, flexible, responsive, collegial and compassionate – these five words encapsulate the Camberwell Girls Grammar School response to the COVID-19 pandemic and enabled the school, as a community, to pivot quickly to remote learning. The school is proud that its teachers were able to design and deliver remote high-quality learning and wellbeing programs to our students during that time. It was fundamental to continue to respond to the needs of the community and to provide the best possible learning and wellbeing outcomes for students. Priorities have been clear: consistent communication, maintenance of connections between students, teachers and parents, flexibility and ongoing support to master new technologies and new ways of teaching and learning.
The remote learning programs have been purposefully designed using CGGS learning design principles. Teachers and students were quick to leverage new skills, using videoconferencing for real-time sessions, interactive tools such as Padlet, Yammer and Flipgrid for discussions, sharing work and peer feedback, and a new Junior School learning hub for curating learning.
The school has maintained a sense of connectedness to the CGGS community by carefully considering how it might innovate and continue to offer special days, programs and events to maintain what is uniquely CGGS. To date, it has celebrated the following events remotely: House Cross Country, House Drama, Dance and Music event, CamberWELL Week, Diversity Week, National Reconciliation Week, Science Week and seasonal learning conferences for Year 9 students (one on artificial intelligence and one on Melbourne Mindset). Furthermore, the Service Learning program is an essential component of the school (the motto is “Utilis In Ministerium”, meaning useful in service) so during this time, staff focused on ensuring that they not only prioritised the wellbeing of self, but also the wellbeing of others. The annual Winter Sleepout, which raises money to help homeless people in Victoria and in 2020, is one of the events that was reinvented. More than 70 families took part in the Winter Sleepout from home (sleeping outside or on the floor without heating). Other service learning activities included making face masks to donate to those in need and writing letters to residents in local nursing homes.
The wellbeing program welcomed many new additions while staff and students were at home, recognising that now, more than ever, they needed to look after themselves and make time for self-care practices. The school had Wellbeing Wednesdays where tips, tricks and thoughts all to do with wellbeing were shared on the official social media pages. The school also planned for dedicated Wellbeing Days, where students and staff were able to take a break from screens and home learning to engage in more than 50 optional activities for their mind, body and soul.
Students have uncovered more about themselves through this process, discovering how to maximise their full potential by understanding how they learn best. CGGS girls have shown resilience in so many ways this year, and the school couldn’t be more proud of each and every one of them. Each person’s experience of remote learning has been unique, however, the common thread of being a member of the CGGS community has kept everyone tightly woven together.
Camberwell Girls Grammar School is committed to fostering the education of young women. At CGGS, girls enjoy not only equal […]