Update from the Dean of Student Life and Wellbeing
As campus closure continues and we, like parents all over the world, adjust to a new way of living, many challenges and opportunities arise as we navigate uncharted waters. I’ve had many conversations with parents who’ve experienced increased tensions at home associated with the dynamic of spending much more time with partners and children. While these tensions are completely natural, they can place a strain on family relationships. Yet, many parents to whom I’ve spoken have also conveyed appreciating new emotions throughout this time, like the bonding that occurs when people go through challenging circumstances together. Others, especially parents of older children, have expressed new found gratitude for family dinners, events that didn’t happen too frequently prior to social distancing. Still, others have mentioned feeling conflicted during this time, especially about their sons’ use of technology. I know I’ve spent many hours struggling with my two teenagers in recent years about being on their phones too much, but now social media, and even gaming, seem like critical platforms through which they can maintain connection with their friends.There isn’t necessarily a right answer to this dilemma, but wellbeing research is very clear about the positive impact of peer relationships, particularly through times of hardship and struggle. Indeed, helping your son to stay connected with friends is endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO). For more on this tip and other strategies, please see the WHO’s Parenting in the time of COVID-19 resource page.
We ask that you continue to keep a watchful eye on your son’s social and emotional wellbeing. The College’s Health Centre team is available by phone and email to provide advice for any physical illness your son may be experiencing or for any confidential counselling for social and emotional needs.
During advising at the Upper School, boys continue to discuss important aspects of wellbeing, including: positive mindset, gratitude, self-management and motivation. Thanks to Ms. Fraser and Ms. Marshall for their work in developing meaningful content for our boys. Ms. Jagdeo from the Prep and Mr. Evans from Norval are launching a series of age appropriate challenges to engage boys in wellbeing minded activities and initiatives. The first challenge encourages boys to use their culinary skills to make a family lunch and send in a photo of the meal.
To further support your son’s wellbeing we will be asking boys in Year 6 to Year 12 to complete a short online pulse survey to measure many of the wellbeing dimensions that were part of the more comprehensive survey the boys completed last year. Indeed many of the same questions will be asked to ensure consistency and continuity of data gathering. The survey will be anonymous and entirely optional.
UCC’s SAS video site, featuring Mr. Buttery, Strength and Conditioning Coach, demonstrating home fitness and exercise techniques, now has over 225 instructional videos.
As always, your feedback is appreciated. Please contact me with any comments or suggestions you may have relating to our support of your son’s wellbeing.
Thanks for reading,