How your child can explore careers in High School
Exploring careers in High School is a great way for your child to utilise their time and kick-start their future.
With approximately 20% unemployed young Australians in 2020, gaining skills for careers in high school is very important. Ensuring your child begins engages with careers in high school will ease the transition into the workforce following their education.
The Assistant Minister for Youth and Employment Services, Luke Howarth MP explains the plan for 2022 is to give young people skills and opportunities following the global pandemic.
How to engage with careers in High School:
The NSW government found the most effective ways for young Australians to engage in the workforce include vocational and workplace training, job search assistance and career guidance and counselling.
Work experience is one of the main ways students can engage with careers in high school.
Work experience or ‘Workplace learning’ options are available in most high schools.
How does work experience work?
There are many variations of work placements depending on the high school.
Schools need to approve work experience placements
Work experience usually takes place in Year 9 or 10
Work experience placements are unpaid
Work experience usually last 1-2 weeks but can be tailored to your child’s needs or the employer’s needs
How does work experience help?
Finding and participating in one or more work experience placements provides guidance for your child’s future career. Students are exposed to the industry or profession they are considering.
What if my child doesn’t know what to do for work experience?
If your child is unsure of what they are interested in or how to arrange work experience they can contact their school’s careers advisors.
Schools will have one person dedicated to careers who can assist with finding your child’s interests or local businesses for them.
Gaining an insight into their future career.
If your child already has an idea of what they want to do they can observe a workplace and may even be able to contribute. They can solidify or eliminate different options for their future career.
Work experience allows students to gain necessary professional skills for their resume when applying for their first job.
Gain practical skills
Getting practical skills is a great way for your child to explore careers in high school.
Students can gain practical skills by taking vocation based classes or finding part-time/casual employment.
Part-time or casual employment
Many Australian school students balance their schooling with part-time or casual work commitments. Australia has one of the highest rates of combining work and study across OECD countries.
Part-time jobs can instil confidence and independence that your teen can carry out into their future career. This is also a great opportunity to network and establish contacts with adult employers in the future.
Types of jobs for High School students
School-aged students mostly enter the hospitality or retail industry. Some common jobs for school-aged children include:
Front counter staff
Receptionist/assistant or administrative roles in the office
When can my child start part-time/casual work?
There is no minimum age limit in Australia, however some states have some restrictions for children under the age of 15. This may include restrictions on hours or the type of work.
Vocational education classes
Some schools offer vocational education training (VET) courses as part of the HSC or final year curriculum options.
The NSW Department of Education reported that students who studied a VET qualification at school:
Have a 78% employment rate
Earned a median annual starting salary of $56,000.00
In Victoria, changes to senior study have prepared pathways for students to enter the workforce straight away.
Volunteering is a fantastic way for students to get out there and gain some practical skills.
Volunteering in specialised areas allows your child to get a feel for careers in high school.
How to to find volunteering opportunities:
Enquiry within the school
Speak to a careers advisor
Speak to relevant school staff
Join school extracurricular activities or clubs
Build networks and ask contacts
Join Facebook groups in your city
Get an idea early on
A great way for your child to gain ideas for exploring careers in high school is to determine potential career paths they will pursue.
From their your child can:
Network with relevant people at school events
Join niche clubs and extracurricular activities at school
Speak to a careers advisor about relevant job options, subject options or school events
From here your child will develop a portfolio, resume and fundamental skills before leaving school.
Choosing a school for your child can be difficult, if you wish to receive further information please see Choosing a School NSW 37 or Choosing a School VIC 34.
News & Advice
Networking at private schools
Networking at private schools is a strong way for students to excel in their future career.
What is ‘networking’ for students?
Students often ‘network’ by establishing or building professional relationships and contacts.
Benefits of networking for students:
Advances communication skills
Makes connections for future careers that will last
Gaining fresh industry knowledge
Gaining advice and insight into potential future careers
Raising your profile when applying for jobs
How will networking at private schools benefit my child’s future?
Starting a business
Building business relationships
Future promotions or being hired in a workplace
More access to job or internship opportunities
Networking at private schools
One main advantage of private or independent schools are the networking opportunities for students.
Different ways students are networking at private schools
1. Extracurricular activities and events
Private schools offer many extracurricular activities or events where students can network.
Many extracurricular activities, particularly inter-school activities at private schools involve industry professionals.
For example, academic extracurricular activities such as inter-school debating could be judged or watched by industry professionals. Additionally, many extracurricular activities are held at universities where academics are present. Private schools often host events for students in an extracurricular group to meet industry professionals.
Many private and independent schools also host events including industry-specific ‘careers’ speaking engagements, leadership events and seminars.
Students can utilise these opportunities to introduce themselves and build contacts for the future. Students can also ask questions and gain career insight.
2. Alumni Networks
Alumni engagement at private schools provide powerful connections from former students to current students.
Networking at private schools is commonly done through their influential alumni networks.
Over the past three years both face to face and online the OXA and Xavier College have engaged in many inspiring business network and Careers panel events.
The first of these was held at Bowens Brunswick showroom in October 2019, from here we held events at KPMG in Southbank, Colliers in the CBD, Grace Park Tennis Club and numerous on Zoom and Teams.
Each event has had a panel of approximately six members of the Xavier College community who share their journey from Xavier to now and provide insights into their chosen careers and a generous dose of dos and don’ts along the way.
To date we have held sessions on the building and construction industry, engineering, finance, health, real estate, entrepeurnship, bee keeping, drones, the business of beer, the AFL and racing.
The events have been attended by Old Boys in the workforce and current students at Xavier College.
“The generosity of Old Xavs to come back and share their experiences with young Old Boys and current students is truly humbling and the feedback received from the participants is always one of true gratitude and inspiration.”
The network opportunities at Xavier College and within the Old Xavs community are second to none and we encourage you to join us at future events.
Davina Calhaem, Alumni Coordinator at Xavier College
Alumnus contribute significantly at independent and private schools providing support and connection.
Some famous ex-students from Australian High School’s include:
Abbotsleigh: Louise Cox – President International Institute of Architects
St Aloysius’ College, NSW: Joe Hockey – MP
PLC Sydney – Presbyterian Ladies College: Justice Caroline Simpson – Supreme Court of NSW
3. Job searching after High School
Many of these alumni networks ensure students are employed in the future.
Making connections and contacts can lead to further information or an interview for a future job or internship.
Similarly, your child having alumni contacts will allow them to make connections to someone in the workplace which they are applying for a job. This opportunity will sometimes allow students to fast-track their application and connect.
How can my child gain alumni contacts?
Other than attending school events, a great tip for students is to add their school to the ‘Education’ category on LinkedIn. Students can find alumni as suggested connections.
The advancement of technology allows students to network digitally.
Social media such as LinkedIn will allow your child to research and prepare for job interviews.
Tips for networking at private schools for your child
Attend all the events
Encourage your child to attend any networking, alumni or careers related events at school.
Ensure your child’s schedule allows for extracurricular activities which relate to their future.
Join extracurricular activities that relate to your future career
Volunteering and fundraising
Encourage your child to attend volunteering or fundraising organised by the school.
Volunteering and charity work will allow your child to network with a variety of people.
Skills which appeal to interviewers:
Extracurricular activities involving volunteering provide soft skills such as communication, empathy and motivation for outcomes not involving money.
Schools often advertise volunteering opportunities suited to a range of disciplines. For example, future lawyers could help out at organisations that offer pro-bono work.
Sports or athletics
Engaging in sports or athletics extracurriculars could also take your child a bit closer to landing a job.
An American study by the Atlantic revealed many people in ‘higher management’ were or knew an athlete during their education. Applicants who were athletes were likely to precede in the workplace.
Ask fellow students
Encourage your child to reach out if they know a parent at the school that is an industry professional or runs a business they are interested in.
It is an easy way to create a network for the future.
Your child could even seek an administrative role, ask to shadow them or have work experience with them.
Listen & Ask
When networking, your child should be asking relevant questions pertaining to the industry or topic.
This will show your child’s genuine interest and enthusiasm whilst networking.
To network correctly, your child must listen and engage properly with the other person. They may gain knowledge beneficial to themselves and their career.
Your child must attend many events and meet different people to practice communication. Speaking to people from diverse backgrounds, levels of seniority and personality types will help your child master networking.
It is a great way for your child to generate talking points, know how to connect with anyone and understand what to look out for in networking chats.
Choosing a school for your child can be difficult, if you wish to receive further information please see Choosing a School NSW 37 or Choosing a School VIC 34.
News & Advice
The importance of school libraries for students
Modern school libraries for students are more than a place to borrow books. School libraries provide a safe place for students to socialise, collaborate, learn, create or relax.
The importance of school libraries for students
Welcoming place to socialise
School libraries for students provide a place for social engagement.
The modern school library hosts many social activities including events, extracurricular clubs and gatherings. Studies revealed many students use the school library for ‘quiet socialising and game playing’.
Many independent school libraries are undergoing modern refurbishments to facilitate student socialisation.
School libraries for students also foster unique social activities. For example, chatting quietly with friends about school, assignments or their favourite book is something that they may not necessarily do outside of the school library.
Peaceful corner of the school
The school library for students is usually one of the only parts of the school that is not a classroom, playground or sports field.
Students can undergo a number of activities in a quiet and more private space.
The library is a great way for more shy or reserved kids to make friends in a smaller, more familiar and safe environment. The school library also provides students with a relaxing place to spend their time on very hot or rainy days.
The school library also provides students with a sense of belonging.
Sense of belonging refers to students’ feelings of being accepted and valued by their peers and by others at school. It reflects the extent to which students feel personally accepted, respected, included, and supported by others at school.
NSW Department of Education, https://education.nsw.gov.au/student-wellbeing/tell-them-from-me/accessing-and-using-tell-them-from-me-data/tell-them-from-me-measures/-sense-of-belonging-.
Research shows that a student ‘s sense of belonging is linked to academic success and improved outcomes.
The school library also facilitates reading for students by providing a space for quiet reading or access to an abundance of books and materials.
Learning and research
The school library for students is central to teaching and learning.
Historically, the importance of the school library for students has always focused on knowledge and research,
Students can connect with teachers or librarians to ask questions and access resources physically or online. Students can ask librarians about different ways to research a project. This is also a great opportunity for students who may be having trouble with access to resources at home.
Not only is the school library a great way for students to share knowledge amongst each other, but it provides a productive space for students to complete shared projects.
Many students have extracurricular activities, tutoring or programs after school. Alternatively, students may have a busy home or live far from the school. The school library allows students to meet and complete group projects in a quiet and comfortable space for all group members.
Students can also use the space to study after school together, share notes or teach a concept during recess, lunch or study periods.
Contributes to school culture
The school library for students is a vital space to form a sense of connectedness providing a unified school culture.
Many modern school libraries in independent schools host programs and events for students to attend. The modern use of the school library creates a unified school culture, sense of belonging and connectedness among students.
Innovative school libraries for students
St Andrew’s Cathedral School’s three libraries are far more than places to quietly read and do research.
“They are also central places in our high rise city school for students and staff to socialise and take part in the vast number of games and activities offered. Walk by at the right moment and you’ll find students fashioning gloves from yarn in the knitting club, celebrating diverse cultures at the international festival, and drafting short stories under the tutelage of visiting authors.
It is a much-loved and used space by students, who see them as places of discovery and learning.”
Choosing a school for your child can be difficult, if you wish to receive further information please see Choosing a School NSW 37 or Choosing a School VIC 34.
News & Advice
Benefits of Peer Support at school
There are many benefits of peer support at school. Students have the opportunity to lead others, develop positive skills and create a safe school environment.
What is peer support?
‘Peer support’ in school can include many things. Usually, peer support at schools provides students with the opportunity to connect with each other at school.
Jill Pearman is a Wellbeing Education Consultant at Peer Support Australia working with over 1000 schools across Australia to address mental health and wellbeing via Peer Support.
Jill believes Peer Support at school is centred around ‘student agency and student voice’.
“Our main focus is to really help kids and create this environment whereby students feel connected as though they belong, matter and have a voice.”
What does Peer Support at school look like?
Each school has its own peer support program involving students from different levels assisting with different experiences.
Peer support could look like student-to-student:
Many peer-support programs assign ‘leaders’ to provide positive peer influences and increase self-esteem and self-acceptance.
“About 80% of people will turn to a friend for life advice so it’s about skilling up young people well enough to support themselves and have the skills to actually support another person or a friend.”
Jill explains Peer Support Australia has 4 underpinning key concepts:
Sense of self;
Sense of possibility.
Benefits of Peer Support at School
Peer Support at school allows students to build connections through hands-on activities.
“When kids feel safe they will actually be able to take on board those skills that they need for life and for relationships in life to help their life go forward in a positive trajectory.”
Jill Pearman, Wellbeing Education Consultant at Peer Support Australia
1. Resilience and development
Peer support programs at school assist with building resilience and development for Australian students. Research reveals peer support programs have been particularly important following COVID-19 at school.
A Peer Support Australia study conducted at Deakin University’s Centre for Social and Early Emotional Development (SEED) found that peer support initiatives including peer tutoring and mentoring promote ‘positive youth development’ at schools.
According to Peer Support Australia, students build resilience by “exploring protective factors and strategies used in new and changing situations.”
“(Peer Support) is shown to be very effective in creating connection and belonging and also those social and emotional skills that actually help towards making young people resilient.
There couldn’t be a more important time than now for schools to have their eye on this because of course, after the 2 years we’ve had with lockdown, COVID-19 and also the natural disasters… It’s very timely that we provide opportunities for young people to have peer-to-peer support in a structured environment.”
2. Student involvement opportunities
One of the main benefits of peer support at school is student involvement.
Students who provide peer support gain skills including:
Empathy and emotional intelligence
Anamaria Martinez, was a Peer Support leader in Year 10 and 11 of High School.
“I think it definitely gave me leadership skills for my future career.”
Anamaria volunteered for different forms of Peer Support at school including guiding a small group of Year 7 students and one-on-one mentoring.
“I think it definitely helped me in terms of leadership skills and being more outspoken and able to lead a room, speak to many people at once. Having to take care of kids and being a kid myself was a good connection and opportunity for development.”
Jill also believes, Peer Support at school allows teachers to view students in a different light, “it’s not just one way of succeeding, it’s a variety of different ways.”
3. Safe school environment
Peer support provides positive peer influences or ‘role models’ at school. For Year 7 Peer Support, new students can build peer networks.
The involvement of peer support and peer learning helps schools achieve a positive school culture.
“What happens is that peer support extends so that when students are out in the playground, they’re able to discuss, they’re able to meet with that relationship with their peer leader and also with their group leader, so it’s not just while they’re in peer support sessions, it’s actually designed to be extended right across school and actually be linking to other wellbeing initiatives happening across school as well.”
Peer support often assists with improved resilience, reduced bullying, social and emotional teaching ensure a safe and respectful school culture.
“What you see is students developing greater abilities to solve problems, teachers are called in less to put out conflicts in the playground, you see students feeling as though they can achieve and succeed and really thrive and nourish.”
Peer support arrangements at school
Peer support for Year 7 students
The most common peer support arrangement is Year 7 peer support.
Year 7 peer support is often conducted by students in Year 9, 10 or 11. Peer support ‘leaders’ or volunteers, are chosen students who represent school values.
They are trained by teachers to demonstrate skills that support their peers to achieve a healthy school life. Year 7 peer support leaders are most common as they assist new high school students adjust to a daunting new environment.
“They would be put into pairs and work with younger students to develop. They would work in small groups of year 7 to help them transition to secondary school.”
Jill explains high school’s most commonly have Year 10 students working with Year 7 or Year 11 working with Year 8.
Peer Support in Primary School
Peer Support models also exist in Australian primary schools.
The Peer Support Australia approach includes all Year 6 students, to promote inclusivity.
“This isn’t about schools picking the ‘good kids’, we’re saying to every student ‘we believe in you, we know you have these skills, we know you can do it.’”
Year 6 students work with Kindy, Prep or Foundation Year students to explore themes like ‘optimism, resilience, relationships, friendships and also anti-bullying’.
Innovative Peer Support at Schools
Xavier College, Victoria engaged with their university partners to develop a peer support programme hiring Pre-Service Teachers as Tutors to work alongside teachers in a support that also provides mentoring. Pre-Service Teachers are pre-graduate teachers still embarking on their university studies, training to become teachers.
“This year we started a programme of in-class support in areas of Numeracy and Literacy across years P-10. Core to the programme is Pre-Service Teachers. Pre-Service Teacher Tutors prepares adjusted curriculum resources, support materials, formative assessments and provide feedback so that the classroom learning captures the broad range of student needs that is emerging because of COVID gaps.
We know that there is a current teacher shortage across the state, and while our State and Federal Government looking to ways to monetarily attract teachers into the profession our contribution and at Xavier is to find ways to create positive work and mentoring experiences for Pre-Service Teachers because we value teaching and teachers.”
Monique Dalli, Director of Learning and Growth, Xavier College
News & Advice
Communicating with your child about school
Communicating with your child about school can be difficult. As children grow into teenagers, they often become less communicative.
Dr Rosina McAlpine, Parenting Expert and CEO of Win Win Parenting believes that parents and teens are still adjusting to who the child is becoming.
“As children grow, especially in those adolescent or teen years they are becoming a person, they’re finding their way in the world, they are finding their personality, their wishes, who they want to be in the world. Parents are needing to guide and support of course, but also let go and allow teenagers to become the person to have the opinions, to grow into the person they are going to grow into. So that’s why sometimes it’s difficult to communicate.”
A guide to communicating with your child about school
Especially approaching the topics of grades, wellbeing and relationships at school children and teenagers can become closed off to communication.
Communicating with your child about school day
Getting your child to open up about their day at school doesn’t always feel natural.
“Those teenage years children can become much less talkative, they want privacy so it can be difficult navigating those years.”
Dr McAlpine suggests the best time for communicating with your child about school is when your child is a ‘little bit trapped with you’.
Scenarios where parents may have their child’s attention may include:
Driving in the car;
In their room at night when they are in bed; or
On a walk.
How should I ask my child about their school day?
The best starting point to effectively communicating with your child about school is to ask open-ended questions.
Dr McAlpine suggests these more specific starter questions:
- “Tell me the best thing that happened today.”
- “So who did you get to hang out with today? And what did you get to do together? Were you playing sports? What were you doing?”
- “What did you and (best friend(s))do together? Did you get to hang out?”
Asking more specific questions, opens up your conversation to more than ‘how was your day?’.
Starting with more positive, open-ended questions may also allow you to open up the conversation to more negative topics about their day.
Dr McAlpine suggests the question “tell me one challenging thing you experienced today or that you have overcome today?”.
It’s already saying you know every day can have a challenging thing and what was it and how did you overcome it.
Another approach could be to just identify your child’s emotions.
“You might just say look I’ve got the feeling you might be a bit down – have you had some negative thoughts today, has something negative happened today? If something negative happened what might it have been? Are you anxious about something?”
Teenagers often do not want parents to be involved or interfere with school life. They can lack communication because they are concerned about what parents would do with that information.
“How you set up your communication with your child is going to make a big difference.”
Dr McAlpine believes that communication is opened up if children feel that they can tell you anything without you ‘going off the deep end’, punishing them or being disappointed in them.
No child is going to put their hand up to tell you that they’ve done the wrong thing if they’re gonna get punished or that they’ve done the wrong thing if you’re gonna be disappointed.
She suggests taking a collaborative problem solving approach.
If you insist and say look I’m not gonna rush in, I’m just gonna listen and I’m just gonna understand, I’m not gonna tell you what to do but we could explore options together.
Especially as kids get older, they don’t want to be told they want to have opinions and be able to problem solve themselves.
With her own children, Dr McAlpine reminds them that they are a kid and still learning and that she is an adult and still learning.
“Knowing that adults make mistakes. So if adults make mistakes, kids can surely make mistakes too.”
Communicating with your child about school work
Asking your child to do school work, homework or study is not always effective.
Dr McAlpine suggests opening up communication to your child’s aspirations.
“If they’ve got a clear idea of where they want to go then parents and children are in a really good position to negotiate.”
For example, if your child wants to be an engineer or a doctor, it is ok to remind them they need those grades to be able to achieve that goal.
When communicating with your child about school work, you can motivate them with the job, career or life that they want to achieve.
It is a little more difficult to motivate your child to do school work if they are unsure about their future pathway.
“You can say look if you don’t put your effort in now to learn to discipline yourself and do this, it’s going to close your options in the future. The more self-discipline you’ve got, the more effort you put in, the more options you’ve got in life open up for you.”
Another strategy is to keep it short and ask your child to make a 10-15 minute start on school work, or let them know they won’t be able to do other things until they complete their work.
“Every family wants to negotiate it differently, but it’s easier to inspire someone than to make someone do something.”
Approaching your child about bad school grades
Communicating with your child about bad grades can be difficult. Parents need to set boundaries whilst balancing their child’s growing independence.
Dr McAlpine explains, The Win Win parenting approach moves away from ‘award, discipline and punishment’ and looks at what caused the issue.
“The question is, how did we get here?” said Dr McAlpine.
If your child is exhibiting bad behaviour at school or lower grades, remember that they are open to growing and changing. Dr McAlpine emphasises the key is that parents and children both want a good outcome.
“It might be that the child hasn’t put enough effort in, so the quick fix is, alright you’ve got low grades – we’ve talked about this before. If you want to be an engineer or a hairdresser you’re gonna have to do some study and learn to have a great life.
So what can we do together to help you put more effort?
Do we need to go to tutoring? Do we need to practice more, go and see the teacher or get some workbooks?”
External vs Internal Compass
Dr McAlpine recommends teaching your child ‘internal compass’ not ‘external compass’ when communicating with them about changing their behaviour.
This form of communication teaches important values.
External compass can look like rewarding your child with something if they are good, or not giving iPad time if they are bad.
“That means that (their) whole existence is all about doing things that please you, so (they) get what (they) want; and avoiding doing things that don’t please you so (they) don’t miss out on what (they) want.”
It is important for children to understand internal compass.
“What is good behaviour and what’s not good behaviour?
Good behaviour is behaviour that is helpful to me and doesn’t harm others around me. But unhelpful behaviour can harm me and others around me. In this case, how to achieve grades if they are achieving the grades that are negative.”
Tips for communicating with your child about school
Dr McAlpine leaves parents with two main tips for communicating with your child about school:
1. Listen, Listen, Listen more than you talk
It is important to listen to your child before following your instincts to guide them.
Dr McAlpine uses the following example:
If a child wakes up for school in the morning and says ‘I’m not going to school I’m so ugly’, it is not effective to tell them ‘you look so beautiful’.
“In their attempts to be kind to their child, they did not listen, they did not hear what their child just said.”
She suggests asking something like ‘I’m so sorry that you woke up this morning feeling less attractive than you want to feel, what’s brought that on?’
If they say something like a zit, their hair or clothes you can remind them ‘when you say ugly you mean that your hair’s not right, or, your clothes are not right.’
From there you can decide what to do, put a bit of makeup on the zit or choose different clothing in the wardrobe.
Check in regularly
Dr McAlpine shares one of her favourite strategies when communicating with your teen is to listen for 5 minutes.
“I say I’m not even going to respond so that I don’t interrupt you and ask you questions and I’ll just let you talk for 5 minutes.”
Have a respectful, open communication stream
Teenagers don’t want to be told what to do or yelled at
You and your child should have respectful communication through listening.
“It’s more about inviting problem solving, asking, communicating together rather than yelling.”
Children will often not communicate if they feel like they might get in trouble or disappoint their parents.
“You just don’t dob yourself in.”
This does not mean that you let your teenagers be rude to you
Parents should still have boundaries when communicating with their child.
If your child is not communicating respectfully, Dr McAlpine suggests asking them to calm down and come back when they are ready to problem solve together.
“Role-model what you want, be positive in terms of how you approach things with teens.”
News & Advice
The importance of early childhood education
Early childhood education gives children important opportunities to learn and develop. Early Childhood Education allows your child to socialise, gain independence and learn new habits.
NSW and Victoria are investing into early childhood education to provide a free year of preschool for all families. The importance of early childhood education in supporting the transition to primary school benefits many families.
The importance of early childhood education
The importance of early childhood education is being recognised globally.
“Early childhood care and education (ECCE) is more than preparation for primary school. It aims at the holistic development of a child’s social, emotional, cognitive and physical needs in order to build a solid and broad foundation for lifelong learning and wellbeing.”
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
Why is early childhood education important?
Early childhood education enhances cognitive abilities
A child’s cognitive development is their ability to think, explore and solve problems.
Experiences such as learning to hold a pencil, sharing, and taking turns help your child’s developmental skills and build a strong foundation.
At preschool, your child will learn a lot through playing, creating and experimenting.
Playing helps your child develop skills such as:
Self-esteem and confidence
Increases their vocabulary
Increases their ability to understand concepts such as ‘bigger’ vs ‘taller’
Sharing and collaboration
Allows for more independence
Planning and thinking ahead
Understanding the concept of time
Research also revealed early childhood education also assists with ‘pre-literacy’ and ‘pre-math’ skills like sorting, counting and recognising patterns.
Early childhood education builds social and emotional skills
Children begin learning how to experience, manage and release emotions early from life.
Research shows children who develop strong emotional skills early in life manage their everyday social interactions as an adult better.
A pioneering UNICEF program revealed that play, exercises and storytelling in early childhood education allowed children to:
Better express their feelings;
Get along better;
Have empathy for others; and
The emotional skills your child learns in preschool allows them to build strong, positive relationships.
Again, play and activities such as ball games are a simple way for young children to build relationships.
Examples your child is gaining emotional development from early childhood education includes:
Showing affection for others (this may include their friends or teacher)
Forming healthy friendships
Being aware of their own feelings or other’s feelings (this could be done through words including “I’m sad” or “is mummy sad?”)
Expressing a positive self-image or being proud of accomplishments
Learning from errors
Early childhood education helps your child build emotional resilience and teaches your child how to self-regulate.
Early childhood education gets children ready for school
Early childhood education helps adjust children who are starting kindergarten or ‘prep school’. Research demonstrates children who attended preschool are able to concentrate and cooperate better.
Enrolment in the Yarra Valley Grammar Early Learning Centre makes for a seamless transition to primary school. The development of school readiness skills begins from the time of commencement, building a strong foundation for learning. Purpose built facilities and an elite on campus bush program provide the children with engaging experiences and teachers who make it a priority to learn about each child and to cater for their individual needs and education.
Mrs Nicky Callow, Director of ELC Yarra Valley Grammar
Children also experience a consistent structure and routine, like at school in early childhood education.
Many independent schools also have an ‘Early Learning Centre’ or Preschool on premises to ensure a smooth transition to school.
At Alphington Grammar School our Early Learning Centre teachers focus on building strong foundations and learning opportunities for all children using self-directed, experiential learning in relationship-driven environments.
Ms Danielle Munro, ELC Leader at Alphington Grammar School
At Alphington Grammar School, the children also undergo language acquisition in the early years.
“Our Greek Immersion Program has recently been recognised by the Department of Education as an example of “best practice” from a service provider in language learning. The program creates an immersive and engaging learning environment by encouraging the children to communicate in Greek while undertaking their daily tasks and activities. We believe that naturalistic language acquisition in the Early Years is the most effective type of language learning, and it is also an essential component of the transition into our language programs in the Primary School.”
Early childhood education leads to a successful future
Attending early childhood education has shown successful outcomes in adulthood.
Children who partook in early childhood education were more likely to reach a higher level of education by age 35. Kids who underwent the further years of school were more likely to achieve a post-secondary degree level qualification.
The emotional intelligence learnt in primary school also can deliver long-term benefits that extend into adulthood.
News & Advice
6 Tips for preparing your child for the HSC
Preparing your child for the HSC can feel overwhelming for the whole family. With little time to go, make sure your child has an appropriate routine.
There are many ways to battle exam stress as a parent. Preparing your child for the HSC is the final stretch.
Tips for preparing your child for the HSC
1. Help them set goals
An important component of HSC study is setting fixed, tangible and realistic goals with your child. Have a discussion with your child about how much time they have left to study.
You may wish to be with them to help set a realistic but high goal. Depending on which stage of HSC study your child is at you could brainstorm:
A specific ATAR goal
Goals for marks at school or marks in HSC trials
Goals for different university courses
Goals for how much study to complete
You may even associate rewards with their goals. For example, studying for HSC could equate to working towards a car or holiday.
Make sure they are rewarded for their study goals. Let them watch their show, see friends or any other reward they wish after completing their daily/weekly goal.
2. Help them consolidate their knowledge
You can play a role in helping your child consolidate their study knowledge before the HSC. Helping them out this way may be a less intensive way to get work done at home outside of their study area.
Ask your child questions about what they have studied. You may also volunteer to be their ‘student’ as they teach you HSC concepts and materials they have learnt.
You may wish to assist your child by helping test them with their notes or flashcards, especially for history or science-based subjects.
3. Do what you can to take the load off
Preparing your child for the HSC can include the whole family. For this short period of time, try to do your best to assist your child, opening up more time to study.
This may look like:
Taking up chores or asking other siblings to help out for a short while
Provide healthy, nutritious meals and study snacks
Help create a distraction-free study space for your child at home
Make sure they are taking breaks, socialising and exercising
Try not to bombard your child with too many tasks while they are studying extra hours.
4. Hold them accountable
Do not put pressure on your child, however they may ask you to hold them accountable.
If they have planned to study but they are watching TV or on their phone, ask them what they are doing and if they need assistance confiscating their devices.
Remind them that they can reward themselves after studying or HSC practice for the day.
5. Ensure you addressing any excessive stress or anxiety
Whilst the HSC is important, it is just a test.
Make sure you are taking care of your child’s mental health and wellbeing.
Speak to your child and make sure you are checking up appropriately as teenagers are not very communicative. Remind them you will not be disappointed if they have tried their best.
For tips on dealing with stress and excessive signs of stress to look out for, see here.
Remember there are alternate pathways and bridging courses for tertiary education offered by universities, TAFE and colleges.
6. Encourage them till the end
Your child has plenty of opportunity to study leading up to the HSC. It is never too late to study, unless it is the day of the exam. Make sure your child is not discouraged leading up to the HSC, even 30 days can make a dramatic difference in results.
Tip: Treat your child’s break after school and before the HSC as a regular school day of study.
Make sure your child can see the finish line. They are nearly on holiday!
The HSC should not take over the significant time in your child’s life including graduation from 13 years of school, formal and many milestones.
News & Advice
What you need to know about the HSC trial exams
The HSC trial exams are the last internal assessments to prepare students for the HSC. They serve as a ‘trial-run’ for students sitting the HSC.
What are the HSC trial exams?
Your child’s HSC trial exams are the last internal assessment conducted at school.
What does the HSC trials format look like?
Just like the HSC, your child will have a HSC trial paper for each assessment.
The HSC trial exams will usually have the same layout as the HSC. For example, if your child is doing Advanced English they will have to do a ‘Paper 1’ and ‘Paper 2’, just like they would in the HSC.
How much do the HSC trial exams weigh?
Since HSC trial exams are ‘internal’, the weighting of the assessment depends on the school.
Most schools will allocate a weighting of around 20-40% to the HSC trial exams, although they can be more or less.
The usual layout for the final HSC mark (or ATAR) allocation is:
- 50% – HSC Examinations
- 50% – Internal assessments (The majority of this mark is often from trials, and the remaining weight is from Year 12 assessments at school)
To learn more about the HSC curriculum structure see here.
Are HSC trial exams harder than the HSC?
Schools will write their HSC trial papers however they wish. However, many students believe that HSC trial exams are considered harder than the HSC papers.
If your child’s school has ‘harder’ trials will they be disadvantaged?
Not at all.
All exam results are weighted. NESA has specific algorithms when calculating a final mark to produce fair results for all of the cohort.
How should my child study for HSC trials?
Encourage your child to do past papers
Doing past papers is the best way to study for the HSC trial exams.
Tip: Many schools in Australia recommend students use the CSSA HSC trial examination papers to study. This is also used by many Catholic Schools in NSW.
Treating the HSC trial exams as a trial run or another practice paper will take the pressure off your child.
Make a to-do list
Encourage your child to make a to-do list or scheduled list of content to study each day.
This will ensure your child completes what they need to before the trials with time to study. In addition, creating a list your child can ‘check-off’ can increase productivity and wellbeing.
Study in intervals
Encourage your child to conduct interval study that works for them.
Many students use the ‘Pomodoro Technique of study’.
This entails 25 minutes of focus followed by a short 5 minute break (with no electronics or distractions). Students also commonly study for 50 minutes followed by a short 10 minute break.
Cover everything that needs to be covered by the HSC
A guideline for what could be done before the HSC trial exams include:
Learning all taught content
Written study notes for each subject
Practice essays and long responses for English or Humanities subjects
Create a bank of feedback (this may include maths equations that they lost marks on during school assessments or teachers comments on essays)
Complete past papers or practice questions from teachers
Tips for the HSC trial exams
Make sure your child is prepared
Make sure your child has all the HSC trial exam dates noted down and written down somewhere.
They could even create a study plan counting down to the HSC trials. This may help as a practice run for the actual HSC and reduce nerves following the HSC trial exams.
For example, your child will learn how to make a study plan that works by making improvements from the trials or keeping it the same.
Make sure your child has a healthy study plan
Make sure your child has a study plan pinned down with lots of balance. This includes good nutrition, time for physical activity and time to socialise with friends.
Encourage your child to communicate with teachers
A great idea is to encourage your child to speak to their teacher. Teachers and schools are a big help around the HSC period and ultimately want all students to perform their best.
Many teachers have hidden tips such as predictions of what the main focus of a question might be.
Additionally, make sure your child has asked for as much feedback as possible before the end of school. Many students ask teachers to review their essays multiple times. However, using the feedback from internal assessments is usually enough to prepare children for the HSC and HSC trial exams.
What should I do if my child didn’t do well in the HSC trial exams?
If your child did not perform as well as they wished too, do not worry.
There are many ways to help your child in general.
Mainly, remember there is time to bounce back.
The HSC trial exams are only worth a portion of the internal assessment mark.
If your child does not do as well as they wished it is not time to give up. Doing well in the HSC will be worthwhile as it still makes up 50% of their final mark.
Put in effort to encourage your child to keep going and remind them that they’re almost at the finish mark!
Mistakes in the HSC trial exams are also a great way to study for the HSC to make sure they have everything covered.
News & Advice
The benefits of games in education
Games in education have been around for years. With the growth of technology, the use of games in education has increased significantly over recent years.
What sorts of games are used in education?
The types of games used in the classroom depend on the children’s year level, knowledge and subject choice.
Commonly used games in education include:
Bingo (can be used in almost any subject)
Drawing games including colouring games or connect the dots
With the rise of technology teachers are reported to be using more digital games in education.
Research from New York University and the University of Michigan revealed nearly 60% of teachers are using digital games in education weekly.
Approximately 18% of teachers are using digital games in education daily.
Digital games in education include:
Benefits of games in education
Increased student engagement and participation
Games allow schools to break lessons up into more manageable segments. This prevents children from becoming bored or disengaged.
Brain games are designed to enhance students’ ability to strengthen their attention. Games can also help students with ADHD with their focus and attention. Virtual games can also help students with dyslexia improve ‘spatial and temporal’ attention.
Games that require memory recall such as quizzes can become a ‘classroom motivator’ for students.
Research shows that games in education also increase student active participation. Students were more engaged during periods of game play rather than during traditional classroom instruction.
Students in subjects structured with more game-based learning have a higher participation and persistence in meeting course requirements.
Increased cognitive skills
School-age children develop cognitive skills including memory, thinking, learning and problem-solving through play.
The interactive aspect of games including proposed tasks and actions allow students to develop their critical thinking skills.
What should parents be doing at home?
It is a great idea to play with your child at home too. Playing games with your child at home can help them reinforce school learning.
Playing at home can also provide the opportunity to practice skills learnt at school. For example, if you are playing Pictionary, you can ask your child to keep a tally and count how many points each player has.
Playing games at home will also help manage your child’s screen time.
Exploring STEM using games in education
Australia requires students to enter the STEM workforce in the future. Students who drop or switch out of Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths experience difficulties with the introductory courses.
Introducing games could help students wrap their head around and practice vital STEM skills.
By including games in STEM education, students can grasp vital skills and find motivation to stay in the course.
New York University research from 2013 found that maths games can enhance middle-schoolers’ (students in year 6 to 8) motivation to learn.
Students who frequently engage in games score an average higher mark than in maths and science tests.
Games in the classroom forces students to think from different perspectives and experiences.
Students receive skills and knowledge that are not present in a traditional classroom by placing themselves in a variety of positions.
For example, the game ‘Multiverse’ on Mathletics allows students to learn multiplication as ‘space traders’ in a rich, animated story world.
Learning from failure using games in education
Game-based learning allows students to embrace failure as a learning opportunity.
Your child may feel discouraged from failing an assignment, test or class.
Involving games in education will give students multiple opportunities for effort and revision in classroom learning. Allowing students to experience failure multiple times allows students to develop a growth mindset.
Using games in education has also enhanced student motivation to take risks. Risk-based learning games help your child gain long-term retention of information.
Tracking your child’s learning in the classroom
More than a third of teachers use games weekly to assess student progress and understanding of class material.
Do games in education improve my child’s grades?
Whilst research is still being conducted, many studies do show improved grades when teachers used education based games.
A study on Kahoot, a multiple-choice quiz game, revealed improved student attitudes towards learning and higher academic scores.
News & Advice
How did schools have excursions during COVID-19?
Excursions are a key way for students to develop an understanding of the real world in a less structured environment. Schools have added another dimension to classroom learning through excursions during COVID-19.
Xavier College, Victoria considers international education to be paramount to their fabric as a college and community.
One of our focuses is to reach for a greater understanding of others, for deep connections and continued discoveries of varied cultural backgrounds so our students can be men for others. They can develop the best version of themselves by reflecting on their own identity in a larger context.
International Education Coordinator at Xavier College, Marie-Pierre Deleplanque
What is a school excursion?
School excursions are trips outside of the classroom designed for students to learn in a new setting.
School excursions allow students to study, observe and interact with different settings.
The benefits of student exchange in High School
Being a high school exchange student offers many valuable experiences and opportunities.
The insistent and enthusiastic way students today are asking about when the international and interstate experiences will start again says paramount about how eager they are to participate in those essential excursions.
Educational benefits of student exchange in High School
Student exchange and excursions in general give students the opportunity to learn beyond the classroom. A U.S study revealed that 59% of students who attend field trips have higher grades than their peers.
Visual learners can build confidence through practical engagement. In addition to being a learning tool, school excursions can boost student engagement and performance.
Additionally, students are exposed to learning or environments that they may consider for their future career.
Hands-on Learning through Excursions
Excursions are designed to reinforce principles and theories taught in the classroom.
Travelling, abroad or interstate, also opens our young men’s mind and allows them to put in practice and experience first hand what they are exploring in the classroom. It is somehow ‘immersed learning’, which is one of the greatest ways for tapping into breadth and depth and become life-long learners.
Experiencing learning concepts first-hand allows children to recall better through mental markers associated with sensory interactions.
Excursions and global travel in particular promotes personal growth.
Your child can broaden their perspectives and worldview which is linked to their personal development. A survey revealed that 74% of teachers organise school excursions for the personal development of students.
According to the International Education Coordinator at Xavier College, Marie-Pierre Deleplanque, students feel similarly when reflecting on the unavailability of excursions during COVID-19.
The way they see it, ‘they have missed out on so many discoveries and connections with their peers and other cultures’.
Excursions allow children to interact with the world and learn in the community.
Our international program explores all areas of growth for our young people, from languages, academics and artistic, cultural, service and immersion and sport.
Approximately 89% of respondent students believe that field trips they took in school made them more inquisitive and engaged in the world around them.
International excursions and expeditions allow students to grow and learn about diverse cultures and strengthen their social and emotional development.
Developing a global mindset
Short-term study abroad and international education helps develop a global mindset.
It is essential in a world we all share to be able to see things through the lens of others, as it ultimately leads to a better humanity. We are so blessed, as a Jesuit school, to be part of an international network of over 400 educational institutions at primary, high school and university level.
Developing a global mindset increases your child’s critical thinking skills. Your child will also gain a sophisticated global awareness and mindset for their future workplace.
Approximately 79% of students reported an increased cultural awareness following excursions and expeditions.
How did school have excursions during COVID-19?
Excursions during COVID-19 were put on hold due to student safety, social distancing and the closure of international borders.
Xavier College had to cease all international programs due to the high risks that were associated with COVID-19 and uncertainty about sudden border closures.
“We could not take the risk to see our students unable to come back home or to fall ill overseas in their exchange family”.
The Xavier community also felt the absence of international students visiting the school.
This has been true as well in terms of welcoming international students in the Xavier community and it has affected our Modern Languages students who always benefit immensely from their immersion in another language and culture and the long-term friendships they sometimes forge during exchanges.
Students have put friendships on hold without excursions during COVID-19
Marie-Pierre says students at Xavier have missed the mixing of cultures and connections during the pandemic.
I have seen many students in the past coming back thrilled by their adventure, having improved so much in speaking and so full of joy for the relationships they created.
The students are still growing and connecting through their use of native speakers online.
So what have schools been doing instead of excursions during COVID-19?
Xavier College has found digital technology central for connecting with others to replicate excursions during COVID-19.
In Languages, some educators have facilitated exchanges with French and Italian high school students via e-mails and videos. They presented themselves and their schools to each other and discussed their routine and issues with COVID and online learning.
In fact, the lockdowns have revealed many different ways to be in touch with overseas students.
Marie Pierre notes it does not equal discussions in person or replicate ‘the beauty of immersion with all its benefits.’
Have schools gone back to having excursions after COVID-19?
Schools are getting things back to ‘normal’ for students whilst staying safe and cautious.
Whilst being cautious and conscious of the logistical matters and the level of uncertainty still at hand, the College will re-embrace international experiences and exchanges. Besides the programs offered before the COVID pandemic in Asia, the United States and Europe, we are thinking on focusing also on interdisciplinary Tours in Europe and Australia.
Schools are also focusing on Australia’s diversity more
Let’s not forget that there are plenty of amazing places and communities to discover here in our country, including creating further bonds with our First Nations culture and people.
What have students learnt from excursions during COVID-19?
The international border closures of the past 2 years taught our school community how lucky we are to participate in the life of a College that normally offers so many varied opportunities to partake in international experiences. Our students have missed the deep connections and adventures they offer and with it came the realisation of how vital they are. At the same time it challenged us to look at international connections in a different way and revisit how technology keeps us internationally connected.