Each year, the “Junior School Director for the Day” item at the SMUS Family Gala generates quite a bit of excitement. This year, Grade 2 student Victoria had the chance to step into my role. It was a full day that ranged from crossing guard duty, to running assembly, to circulating around the school, as well as meeting with the Head of School querying him on the most relevant issues for the school.
Having my duties managed for me provided some additional time to further reflect on the significance of the recently launched strategic plan, Floreat, from the Junior School perspective. The Latin word floreat means “let flourish,” and is defined further as “to grow in a healthy or vigorous way as the result of a particularly favourable environment”.
Victoria and her Grade 2 classmates will be the graduating Class of 2030 and will have lived the entirety of the plan. With that in mind, I asked Victoria what she thought she and the school would be like in 10 years.
Victoria: “In 10 years, I will be 17-and-a-half years old. I think I will be more mature and will be able to do more on my own, like walk my dog and go to the movies with my friends. I know I will still love to sing. I think the school will be different because some people will retire (names omitted) and we will still study math but the projects in the Imagination Lab will be bigger. I think the Imagination Lab at the Senior School will be a lot bigger. I think there will be lots of new inventions, like headphones that can turn into earmuffs and cars that can fly. I also think Ms. Lloyd will write another book.”
While we know that many current aspects of outstanding teaching and learning will endure over the next decade, such as the importance of positive relationships, inspirational teachers and the development of the whole child, there is much about the next decade that is uncertain.
A priority of Floreat is Preparation for Life. We all want our children to be prepared to thrive personally and professionally. Global think tanks (like McKinsey & Company’s Global Institute (pdf report) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (pdf report)) have identified that our children will be better prepared with a strong social and emotional foundation developed in an environment where they are able to nurture interests and personalize their education. It has also been identified that the fastest-growing occupations will require higher-level cognitive skills in areas such as collaboration, problem solving, critical thinking and creativity. All are areas identified, along with maintaining academic rigour, as important throughout Floreat.
After spending the day with Victoria, so self assured, full of potential and curious, and contemplating the next decade, I am confident that the plan paves the way for the next 10 years for her and all students at SMUS to flourish.