Have you ever watched one of those shows where people learn to do trapeze? They start off attached to safety harnesses with large nets under the apparatus. After they build experience and progress their skills, the harnesses are removed. When they are judged to be ready, they make that first flight where they must let go of the swing, fly through the air, and trust that their catcher is capable and there for them. When I look at Prep Orientations, I think parents and our new students must feel very similar emotions as they transition to ‘big school’. They have to have that courage to let go of things that feel very familiar and safe, and take a big leap of faith, trusting that the people waiting for them are capable and worthy of their trust. It is unsurprising that all of the children and parents involved, join us with a little fear and trepidation, but also with a sense of trust and anticipation. When the session ends, all look very happy and maybe even a little relieved, that they had made their first big jump successfully. Their feeling of accomplishment and pride is very evident, and there are many animated discussions between parents and children as they leave the school.
I genuinely enjoy this time of year. I love talking with and meeting our new Prep families, and I’m always grateful and humble that so many wonderful families seek enrolment in our school. Most of you have been through the process and know that a big part of the process is the ‘walk through’ of our school. I want parents to have the opportunity to get a feel for our school – to see what learning looks like, to hear the interactions and to experience the culture of our school. We also talk about Religious Education, values, behavioural expectations and so on to ensure parents enrolling with us have a clear picture about Catholic Education and St Joseph’s in particular. From there it’s really a discussion and a choice about whether parents feel that our school is the right fit for their family. It is essential that parents feel like they belong here and that the values they live by as a family, align with the values of St Joseph’s Catholic school. People often mention that we have a family atmosphere and I’m pleased. Our school should feel a lot like home. We never want anyone to feel like they would have to change to fit in – rather that our school is a place where they will feel very welcome and very comfortable, just as they are. Like our Church, we are not a community exclusively for the perfect. Rather, we are a community who simply welcomes those who want to live their best lives and grow into the best version of themselves.