We often talk about the AISB community and how important it is in the life of past, present and even future students. Whilst we need feedback and help from alumni and parents, there is an onus on the school to provide information that invites discussion and presents data that has the potential to maximize the learning experience for their children, our students. Teachers can only achieve so much in exploiting such potential; it is our partnership with the parents and alumni that really fosters such latent talents.
There was a remarkable piece of research from Australia that studied children, over time, on how the home environment influenced a child’s learning. Their findings – Longitudinal Study of Australian children (LSAC) ( highlights factors that affect future academic performance. The study applies to younger children but the outcomes, in my opinion, relate to all students as they build traits for life-long learning and also to how a school develops its curriculum and extra-curricular activities.
To summarize the outcomes, students achieved to a higher academic and emotional level if:
- The child is encouraged to play games, or gets involved in arts and crafts activities;
- A parent regularly reads to their child;
- There are a many books in the household that accommodate the child’s curiosity and reading level;
- There is involvement in regular out-of-home activities.
So, how does this translate to older students and the challenges of a maturing child? If there is one word that springs to mind it is balance. The ability to relax and understand the value of play, whatever your age; to surround yourself with books, papers, magazines, kindle, i-Pad, or tablet that give access to alternative sources of information, ideas or perspectives; to create a lifestyle that connects on a regular basis with the outside world and the environment; an activity that literally grounds you in the present; and, importantly, to create mechanisms that keep you informed, to read, to enquire, in order to challenge comfort levels and outlooks on life.
Thus, we must use the resources of our community. Over the coming months it is my hope to enrich the afterschool program to offer other alternatives that engage and inspire our students and present a more diverse, challenging and resource-rich community.