ACS COBHAM LIFE #4
ACS Cobham Life #4
Stories and features from around our school
In this edition of #ACSCobhamLife
Learning from home together... again!
Adventurers changing the world
Meet Frederick, High School Principal
Early Childhood ahead of the game with augmented reality
Lights, Camera, Action!
Sport for all
Wellbeing locked down
What really matters
Keeping in touch with ACS Cobham
Learning from home together... again!
What have we learned since the first lockdown in March 2020, and how are things different this time around?
Dr Robert Harrison, Education Strategy Director, shares his thoughts.
Learning from home together... again!
Some students around the world are rounding the corner on an entire year of learning at home, distanced from their usual school-based classrooms.
Thanks to the coronavirus, schools around the UK joined them again in January as on-campus learning was suspended for most students. In reality, handfuls of students have been cycling in and out of distance learning for months as travel restrictions, quarantines and self-isolation have kept them at home. What have learned since the first lockdown in March 2020, and how are things different this time around?
1. Consistency and connections are key
Teachers and school leaders have responded to feedback from students and parents about what they need when learning is almost all online. Divisions have consolidated learning plans so that it’s clear when things are happening, how ‘going to class’ works, and where to find (and return) assignments. Expectations for attendance and engagement have been communicated, and early warning systems are in place for students who may need some additional support. Advisors and learning support teachers are checking in, and monitoring wellbeing. School leaders are ‘visiting’ online classes and setting high expectations for engagement and interaction. Zoom breakout rooms and collaborative teaching strategies are widespread, and growing richer by the day.
2. Technology can enable learning
Not surprisingly, when schools moved online, it became more important than ever to use screen time wisely.
New platforms, resources, applications and learning engagements have become mainstream as our overall capacity continues to grow for teaching through technology. Teachers began by trying to recreate their on-campus environments, and quickly learned that some approaches don’t translate well. For many teachers and school leaders, lockdown learning has been a time of extraordinary professional growth and development. Even extracurricular sports programmes have moved onscreen, and students have more opportunities than ever to explore learning on their own since the world of education has moved online.
3. The brain is part of your body, too
Educational psychologists and neuroscientists help to remind us that learning is a whole-body affair. Where we work, the way we sit, the food we eat, the sleep we have, the exercise we take, our state of mind, our attention and cognitive arousal, the emotional condition and background of our lives – all of these things affect our ability to learn. Everyone working from home (parents and children alike) needs to attend to their physical and emotional wellbeing carefully. Staying motivated takes enormous self-awareness and benefits from social interaction. School has to be seriously fun. Most of us will need help from time to time to keep our spirits up and our minds in gear.
Learning how to stay onboard is an essential educational outcome, and there is no better way to gain experience than learning in a lockdown.
Dr Robert Harrison, Education Strategy Director
Academic stress is part of life for school-age children, and there are ways to help them manage.
4. It’s a family thing
Home is not school, and parents are not teachers…and yet they are (and actually, always have been). When everyone is working and learning from home, there are often demands on space, time, attention – not to mention bandwidth!
Families need to make a collective plan, and share each other’s challenges. Parents need to think about how much help to give, when to let their children stumble and try again, and where they can support learning most effectively by doing it together.
Our Parents’ Guide to Distance Learning has sound advice. You may also find it useful to join this conversation between Dr Alex Read, one of ACS’s digital learning leaders, and a parent who has questions about how it’s all supposed to work.
5. Real change is possible, but it won’t come easy
The world probably has months of disruption still ahead. Yet many organisations are already thinking about what comes next, and what we will be able to bring forward with us into the post-pandemic world. A few brave souls have even suggested that in some ways, kids are better off with distance learning! While we can’t wait to welcome everyone back to campus, ACS teachers and school leaders will be incorporating what they’ve learned about remote learning into the classrooms of the future.
In a recent survey of teachers in the United States, one-third report that they will use what they’ve learned by teaching online to better support student-centred learning practices such as creating individualised learning progressions, facilitating project-based learning, helping students practice new skills with adaptive learning software, enabling mastery-based learning, and keeping track of individual students’ learning progress. Will we be able to preserve those gains and make part of common practice? Time will tell.
• Remote education is just another way to deliver the curriculum
• Keep it simple
• Focus on the basics
• Feedback, practice and monitoring progress remain important
• Use the right tools and devices for learning
• Live lessons aren’t always best
• Engagement matters, but it’s only a start.
Some sensible reminders from Ofsted about remote education.
You can read about ACS’s ever-stronger remote education provision here. And you can be sure that we are always learning, at school and at home, in the classroom and beyond.
Adventurers changing the world
We report on our recent thought-provoking online event.
Adventurers changing the world
Parents, teenagers, teachers and members of the wider community learned what it takes to be a changemaker for a better, more sustainable future during an ACS Cobham virtual event, ‘The world needs…adventurers’, in November.
Featuring renowned entrepreneur, Sian Sutherland; a thriving ACS Cobham alumna, Sissel Tønnesen Engblom, and our very own Forest School trainer, Chris Hupp, the event explored why the world needs adventurous thinkers, the importance of nature in our lives now and in the future, and how taking risks and embracing failure creates positive outcomes.
‘The world needs… adventurers’ was the first in a series of events across ACS schools which will explore ‘what the world needs’, delving into the big societal and technological challenges the world is currently facing and considering exactly what kind of citizen the world needs to contribute to a better, more sustainable tomorrow.
Sissel Tønnesen Engblom
Hosted by Head of School, Barny Sandow, the event began with an explanation of what it means to be an adventurer – being bold enough to take risks and embrace change for a more sustainable future.
Former student, Sissel Tønnesen Engblom, was welcomed back to her alma mater to share her career pathway from student to urban architect and CEO, highlighting the importance of the spaces we live in for ensuring a sustainable future.
A highlight of the talk was Sissel’s thought-provoking description of her involvement with the redesign of the government headquarters in Oslo following the 2011 terror attack. Through the power of architecture, Sissel worked to redevelop the space in a way that would heal the hearts of Oslo’s community and provide a platform for them to thrive and progress from the attack.
Co-founder of A Plastic Planet, Sian Sutherland, followed with a compelling talk on how a decision at age 25 led her into a career of entrepreneurship, failings and open-mindedness. Sian shared powerful anecdotes on “what she wishes she knew at 16”:
If you choose to be an adventurer, you choose to live on a rollercoaster experiencing those ups and downs.
Sian Sutherland, co-founder, A Plastic Planet
Sian discussed her career as a restaurateur, founder of a brand agency and founder of pregnancy skincare brand, Mama Mio. All of this led to her enlightenment about the impact of plastic consumption on the oceans and the co-founding of her current venture, A Plastic Planet.
As well as her impressive ventures in environmentalism, Sian is truly an adventurer to the core – she is an entrepreneur and innovator, a risk-taker and problem solver, and most of all, a real advocate of the value of failure for personal growth and development.
She highlighted that, when it comes to entrepreneurship “if it was easy, everyone would do it”; you need to be prepared to set yourself goals and strive every day to achieve those goals. Sian left attendees thinking about their relationship with plastic and how we should use our buying power to buy less and buy better.
Wrapping up the event, ACS Cobham's very own Lower School science teacher, Chris Hupp, explored the adventure of childhood and our intrinsic need to connect with nature in order to foster an ecological identity.
Chris discussed the benefits of outdoor learning, such as the development of resilience and confidence, as well as the ways it improves wellbeing, creativity, and cooperative teamwork. He urged viewers to critically reflect on the modern mechanistic worldview which keeps us disconnected from nature and is a key driver of climate change and the widespread loss of biodiversity.
Chris added "we must rediscover a more holistic perspective of the complex systems that support life, considering how humans are an integral part of nature".
Education, in particular Forest School, is a way to restore our relationship with the natural world and bring balance back to our lives.
Chris Hupp, Forest School leader and science teacher Lower School
“It was a pleasure to welcome three such engaging and insightful speakers – they all truly summed up what it means to be an adventurer, and why it’s so important for us all to think a little more creatively to build a better, more sustainable world of tomorrow," said Barny Sandow, reflecting on the event.
"For us, adventurers are not just explorers of the world and things in it, they are risk-takers, independent thinkers and entrepreneurs, open-minded to new opportunities. Adventurers not only want to explore the world around them but want to preserve it and all the things in it.
"At school we encourage all students to think independently and creatively, and provide many opportunities for students to make a positive impact on the world around them. We are also home to a large green campus, perfect for escaping the hustle and bustle of cities and exploring nature.
"As such, the topic of ‘adventurers’ and their critical role in building a better, more sustainable future aligned perfectly to our school’s ethos and we were keen to learn from individuals who live and breathe these characteristics.
While Sissell and Sian did an excellent job of defining the grown-up adventurers we need to build a better world, Chris framed beautifully what we can do now to foster the children of today to become the changemakers of tomorrow.
Barny Sandow, Head of School
'In all, the three speakers gave us a lot of pause for thought. I personally feel more mindful of how I interact with the world around me, and I hope our students will feel inspired to take action to be the adventurers of the future."
Stream the ‘The world needs…adventurers’ event here.
Meet Frederic, High School Principal
Read about our new Principal's vision and his reflections on an eventful first semester.
A welcoming start at ACS Cobham
Frederic Bordaguibel-Labayle, High School Principal, ACS Cobham
I am very pleased to take this opportunity to reflect on my first semester as High School Principal at ACS Cobham and thank all those who have helped welcome me into this exciting new role. I have been working in international schools all around the globe – including the UK, Turkey and Ecuador – for quite some time now, and what attracted me to ACS Cobham was the fantastic reputation it has and its rich, international community.
Although ACS Cobham is a much bigger school compared to where I have worked previously, I am incredibly heartened to have had such a warm reception here. It’s a tribute to what the school does well – welcoming all kinds of people from all different cultures.
I really value the rigour and quality of ACS Cobham's High School programmes. However, the international feel of the school was probably the most important element for me and my family when making this move.
Joining at the beginning of the school year in August 2020, I was certainly thrown in the deep end with the new COVID-19 restrictions, but I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved as a school community. The level of adaptation of our teachers has been phenomenal; to enable safe face-to-face education, and to allow students to access learning through different channels when needed. Our students and parents have shown an incredible level of resilience this year and, despite unprecedented circumstances, have worked hard to ensure we can maintain the successful delivery of our High School programmes.
As I look ahead to our plans for 2021, I think there are certainly some key learnings from this experience that we will take forward with us to build a better, more efficient educational programme. In particular, the way we use technology to enhance our learning and ensure that students can be present in the classroom, even if they are away from school, is immensely valuable and must be incorporated into future teaching and learning opportunities. Similarly, I would like to use technology to connect more with our parent community.
Conducting our Open House events virtually this year has meant that parents from all around the world have been able to join us. We have been able to put a face to a name and connect in a meaningful way, even when travel has not been possible.
Looking forward, this virtual communication could also be used to enhance student voice and put students at the heart of their learning. Rather than having teachers reporting directly to parents on student achievement, we would like to get students more involved in parent-teacher conferences, enabling them to talk about their own growth and areas of improvement. This is so important for helping students to develop ownership of their own learning.
Another area which is already in place, but I would like to focus more on, is personalised learning. I think it is wonderful that High School students at ACS Cobham have such a rich choice of pathways – from the High School Diploma to International Baccalaureate (IB) to Advanced Placement (AP) – and this aligns perfectly with my belief that there is a path to success for every student.
I think we have an opportunity to use data more to inform how we support students as they progress through their chosen pathway. For example, when High School students take MAP tests, it is important that we have healthy conversations about the results. It is not about the number they get, it is about their growth up until now, what they are yet to achieve, and how we get there. Every student is supported by teachers and advisors as they progress on this journey, setting goals and gathering new data to propel them forward.
For me, the keys to success are to ensure that every student is not only on the right pathway for them, but they are able to direct and control it. I want to make sure that every student's High School experience is a memorable one and that they can develop to become global citizens with the skills to equip them for higher education and life beyond school. This is a huge responsibility, but seeing how the school community has thrived this year, I am certain we can rise to the challenge together.
Our students are ahead of the game with augmented reality
Learn from our resident expert, Lyndsey Stuttard, about how our students are using the latest augmented reality (AR) educational programmes
Our students are ahead of the game with augmented reality
In these uncertain times of COVID and distance learning, teachers have been working hard to expand their digital repertoire to continue providing engaging learning experiences for their students. This has required creative thinking outside of the box. Beyond online activities, assessments, and video calls, what other ways could we provide engagement?
Lyndsey Stuttard, ACS Cobham's Apple Distinguished Educator, explores how we're innovating.
This thought began back in the summer of 2020 and has grown in the following months, as teachers began to develop their skills with iPads, as a prominent tool for teaching and learning. But it did not stop there. Teachers have become increasingly confident using their iPad knowledge to develop their own resources, videos, and materials to meet the needs of their students. New to their toolkit has been designing immersive experiences with augmented reality (AR). This has been key to how we engage with our students.
In the past few months, we have seen our staff push themselves to create deeper and more meaningful experiences for their students with the iPad and augmented reality. This has included interactive AR scavenger hunts, where students answer questions and interact with 3D objects that appear virtually, and are made by the teacher, relating to the content covered. All the initiatives are supported by me, as the school's in-house Apple Distinguished Educator, a role which is unique to ACS Cobham.
We have integrated it into our curriculum from Early Childhood onwards. Just before Christmas, we saw the Polar Express train arrive and visit our Early Childhood students, sparking delight and imagination with the belief that what they were experiencing was so real, they could almost touch it.
Our Lower School students embarked upon building AR book museums, and taking video tours highlighting their favourite texts to be shared with others in our community.
In Middle School, our 5th Grade teacher, Leslie Taylor, has truly embraced the opportunities and developed escape room projects which the students have thrown themselves into. Mrs Taylor went above and beyond to design an escape room around the content area of Ancient Mesopotamia, while ensuring that her students were learning, growing with their digital skills, and fully engaging with the materials provided.
I find that the use of AR has impacted more than just my confidence with technology, but it has impacted the desire of students to want to engage in the classroom. Students are excited to be part of class and look forward to what I have next. They are remembering the details, especially when paired with 3D assets in the hunts or the escape room.
Leslie Taylor, 5th Grade Social Studies teacher
Mrs Taylor is now working on future AR escape rooms. Even in lockdown we are still able to develop these projects which enhance our distance learning programme.
I love the fact that we are not stuck in the classroom. Getting to learn outside is so much better.
5th Grade student
With ongoing professional development from Apple Professional Specialists, we are taking steps to ensure that we invest in growing and developing our knowledge and use of iPads in education, and in particular AR. We are truly empowering our teaching staff to see the full potential of technology like AR as being a permanent fixture in the classroom.
Lights, Camera, Action!
How our High School turned to movie-making to replace live performance
Lights, camera, action!
Faced with the all-too-familiar pandemic, 25 High School students turned to movie-making as an innovative way to continue and evolve the school’s performing arts programme. Created to a professional standard with help of industry experts, their uplifting film is due to be screened at the Everyman Theatre in Esher, Surrey, later this year.
Recognising the importance of the performing arts, and as a way to ensure students were still able to showcase and develop their drama skills, the film was created as an alternative to the school’s annual musical production. Drama teacher, Georgia Sidell, managed the project.
To support the students, she brought in industry professionals comprising scriptwriter Bethan Leyshon from BBC Wales and award-winning production company, Slick Showreels, whose crew included a full team of cameramen, sound technicians and a director of photography.
Over the course of six weeks, the students chose a prom theme and worked together to create a script, choreograph dances, rehearse, act and film the production. Bethan Leyshon, who spent three weeks getting to know students, helped them develop a script that embedded their own experiences and anecdotes.
Working with Bethan was really cool because she has so much experience with what she was doing that it was fun to make and really came out well.
It was great to have a professional writer as she was able to pull our ideas together into something coherent.
Performing arts student, ACS Cobham
Purposely set in a world without COVID-19, camera techniques were used to create a pre-COVID authenticity throughout the film. The majority of the film was shot outdoors, utilising the open and varied spaces of our wonderful 128-acre campus. Louis Russell, director of the Slick Showreels team, held a Q&A session with students covering filmmaking, insider knowledge on the film process, what to look out for on set and how to ease nerves before filming commenced.
On set, the safety of the students, teachers and crew was paramount and the team worked with a COVID-19 advisor to ensure masks were worn, temperatures were checked and all necessary safety restrictions were in place
The arts are invaluable as a profession, a past time and a form of entertainment – seeing our students working on a production that is of equal quality to a professional film has been an absolute pleasure. As a result of this project, not only were students able to work with and learn from professionals, they now have a film they can keep for years, and even use in their portfolios should a career in film-making or acting beckon. The students did this working together under very tough circumstances. I’m looking forward to seeing the final cut.
Barny Sandow, Head of School, ACS Cobham
Sport for all
Babis Mamas, Head of Sports, explains how the pandemic has led to a new approach to our outstanding sports programme.
Sport for all
Earlier this year, amidst the first Coronavirus lockdown in the UK, I was struck by a quote from the YoungMinds organisation.
Mental health is the strength and capacity of our minds to grow and develop and be able to overcome challenges making the most of our abilities and opportunities.
To me, this unquestioningly relates to the field of sport. On top of all of the benefits of being outside and moving, sport is the best context within which young people can develop their abilities, their mental strength and resilience. Through sport, students are provided with a safe environment in which they can take risks, make mistakes and adjust quickly. You can give them the tools they need to grow, in a place that they love. So, with not just the physical health, but the mental wellbeing of our students in mind, it is with great determination that we started the new school year with a full sports programme for as many students as possible.
As soon as the UK first went into lockdown, the ACS Cobham sports team started thinking about what a Covid-safe future school sports programme could include. Careful planning followed. We’re in a very privileged position to have contacts with international schools all over Europe, so from April to June we were busy consulting with colleagues from Switzerland to Brussels.
Many faced different levels of restrictions, so their experiences were useful. From these conversations a plan emerged. July was our ‘re-socialisation period’; we opened up with soccer and tennis clubs following strict social distancing and guidelines. It was a way to bring students together – many for the first time in a long time – and help them to feel better about themselves.
With school re-opening in August, our goal to offer a full programme – including soccer, tennis, volleyball, cross-country, track and field, basketball, swimming, barre classes and even strength and conditioning – posed a huge logistical challenge. Simon Tomlins, the sports centre Operations Manager, was working around the clock examining guidelines closely to ensure all risk-assessments were in place and our provision was as safe as possible. My aim was to create a happy place through sport, his job was to keep everyone safe. The wide range of facilities on campus here at Cobham made everything possible.
With a renewed programme this year, we have also eradicated the traditional team system. No longer are students split by ability, they are now in ‘groups’ defined by their bubbles. This has given us a fantastic opportunity to ensure that all students can get involved in the co-curricular sports programme. While previously students tried out for teams, this year everyone can do any sport they signed up for. Despite the logistical challenges, it’s been so worth it – our sports facilities have never been so full of students’ joy.
Without the drive of competitions, we questioned whether students would be motivated to do sport. Our fears were not realised – this year has seen the biggest participation in co-curricular sports ever. Out of the 950 students across Middle School and High School, we have around 720 participating in at least one after school sport with similar participation in Lower School. The difference this year seems to be the reduction in pressure to compete and the students desire’ to get out and do things with their friends. They are so appreciative of the simple opportunity to participate that they take the new rigorous hygiene regime in their stride; never before have we had to stop a volleyball session every 20 minutes to sanitise the balls, or clean 15 bags of footballs after every session!
This notion of ‘getting on with it’ is one of the main reasons why sport is so valuable for students’ mental health.
Babis Mamas, Head of Sports, ACS Cobham
Sport allows young people to play and learn with immediacy. You shoot the ball and miss the basket – that’s failure straight away, and you get to do that 50 times in half an hour. You try and try again and learn how to deal with the failure until you see results. That ability to persevere and overcome challenges is what helps students’ deal with adversity and build resilience.
Looking back on the past year, I am so proud that we have been able to offer such a robust sports programme, and I am overwhelmed at how flexible and appreciative the students have been.
Looking ahead to the future, competition will be back. We have ambitions to expand our national and international competition opportunities as well as the matches against local independent schools, depending on where the world is.
But, our learnings from this year means we are also looking at developing an ongoing two-tier system of development and performance. We hope to maintain the inclusivity of the sports programme, alongside the return to external competitions. It will provide high-level training, but will also give context to those who just want to participate. Sport for all has never been so important.
Wellbeing locked down
It's easy to feel overwhelmed. Every day kindnesses and mind exercises are important for wellbeing. Health and Safety Manager, Eddy Schlachter, explains.
Wellbeing in lockdown
The coronavirus pandemic has not been good for our mental health, something on which almost everyone can agree. Experts are particularly concerned about children, many of whom have expressed feelings of increased anxiety, social isolation, and depression.
Never has it been more important for us to talk honestly about how the last year’s interruptions in routine and new ways of living in the world have affected the wellbeing of our families, schools, and communities.
Building resilience relies on routines, reassurance and reflection, all of which are critical to our mental health.
We all benefit from the confidence that comes from exerting control over our little corners of the world. We can remind ourselves that this will not last forever, and that we can all still grow through adversity by making progress where we can. And we can remember that even in amongst the uncertainty, we have much to be grateful for, including strong networks of caring adults and a wide range of resources to support each other when times are tough.
Wellbeing is a broad concept that wraps around a holistic vision of education. Our wellbeing strategy at ACS takes a broad view of concept, identifying five areas that were defined in a 2016 paper from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD):
- cognitive wellbeing: the knowledge, skills and foundations students have to participate in today’s society, as lifelong learners, effective workers and engaged citizens
- psychological (mental) wellbeing: how students view their lives, their engagement with school, and the goals and ambitions they have for their future
- physical wellbeing: their health, engagement in physical exercise and the adoption of healthy eating habits
- social wellbeing: the quality of their social lives including their relationships with their family, their peers and their teachers
- material wellbeing: the resources that make it possible for families to provide for their children’s needs and for schools to support students’ learning and healthy development.
Wellbeing is not just the absence of disease or illness, but is more a complex combination of a person's physical, mental, emotional and social health factors which is strongly linked to happiness and life satisfaction.
In a pandemic like the one we have all been living through, every dimension of wellbeing is under pressure. Are students learning enough? Are their futures being compromised, and their mental health impaired? Are our families safe from illness? When can we be reunited with relatives and friends? How will the world return to normal, and where will we find the resources to rebuild large segments of society that have been devastated by a virus that thrives on human interaction.
Eddy Schlachter, Health and Safety Manager, ACS International Schools
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. CASEL, a global leader in best practice for social and emotional learning, suggests some ways we can take care of each other in a crisis, even when we don’t know all the answers yet:
- reaching out to others individually and communicating that we value them and their contributions to us and to the wider world
- following up on topics that are of importance to the people with whom we interact, to show them they are known and cared for
- planning conversations and activities that cultivate a culture of personal connection and belonging
- inviting others to identify feelings, reflect on experiences, and talk through what’s happening with family and friends
- exploring and affirming diverse identities and cultures, taking time to learn about each other’s lives
- asking open-ended questions to surface thinking and invite those we love to elaborate on their responses
- reflecting on what makes us feel successful or challenged, and making small plans for step-by-step improvement
- recognising that some problems are too complex for friends to manage with each other, and referring each other to more skilled helpers when that happens.
These everyday kindnesses and habits of mind are important for wellbeing. They represent the broader principles of our strategic wellbeing plan for the ACS community. Our whole-school approach is building a strong collaborative foundation that will outlast the COVID-19 crisis.
We are creating partnerships to support health, safety and wellbeing for parents, students, teachers, school leaders, senior managers, and trustees. By working with leading organisations, we are benefitting from their expertise and experience, extending the skilled and caring community of advisors, counsellors and safeguarding leads who look after our students’ wellbeing every day.
We are expanding our capacity to identify people in distress by training all staff in mental, as well as physical, first aid. Our new student mental health policy looks closely at the connections between community, wellbeing, diversity and inclusion.
In the end, wellbeing is about retaining our balance in a wobbly world.
Our aspiration is well-expressed in the IB Learner Profile, above.
We understand the importance of balancing different aspects of our lives – intellectual, physical, and emotional – to achieve wellbeing for ourselves and others. We recognize our interdependence with other people and with the world in which we live.
IB Learner Profile
For few times in recent history, have those words been so important, and so true.
What really matters
Anneke Theron, Lower School Counsellor, reflects on what's important during tough times.
What really matters
I wonder if any of us could have anticipated the difficult year that 2020 turned out to be. From an initial lockdown observing winter turn into spring and clapping for our NHS on Thursdays, to the marathon of never-ending battles with Covid, melting into yet more restrictions, lockdowns, and the stress and strain on our already fatigued mental health. In addition to our own stresses, we may also have been concerned about family members, many of whom we have not been able to see. Last, but not least, there has also been worry over the impact of this strange year on our children and young people.
With a much-needed break behind us, I am hoping that many will have had the opportunity to take stock of what really matters. During this winter break, we may not have had the chance to meet up with families or even have big get-togethers with friends, but, despite the restrictions and the continued challenges we all face, we could still choose to invest in our children and immediate family members in a way that is real and impactful. Perhaps 2020 was a year of connection, or maybe through the trials and tribulations, we have drifted apart and feel lonelier than ever. What we all experienced last year has affected people in many different ways.
The pressures and distractions on our children and families have been, and remain, significant. It may be hard to focus on the positives right now. When our biggest focus may be ‘surviving’ these hard times, it may not feel possible to be entirely engaged in and enjoy the moment.
I would like to encourage you all to take a deep breath and look up. Notice the sky and find the people you love.
Anneke Theron, Lower School Counsellor
It may be hard to reconnect with ourselves and each other after such an exhausting year. It may be difficult to block out the noise and distractions in a 24/7 notifications world, but I would like to encourage everyone in our community to ensure they take some time away from your screens and discover each other again and the natural world around us. I remember the advice of a stranger one day in an awkward ‘stuck-next-to-each-other’ conversation about raising children when mine were still little and he was right in the middle of parenting during the tricky adolescence years: “Talk, talk and talk, even when you can’t think of what to say anymore, but just keep on talking”. I have remembered this, and I think it is relevant advice for us all!
A new year brings new seasons and new intentions. I personally cannot wait for the first signs of spring to reappear on campus and watch the seasons change as they do so predictably every year. May your 2021 be renewed with new energy, hope and possibilities for the future!
Keeping in touch with ACS Cobham
Find out how to join our expanding social media platforms
OUR SOCIAL MEDIA CONTINUES TO GROW AND INFORM OUR COMMUNITY
With the ever increasing importance of our social media platforms, ACS Cobham has expanded its presence over the last year to ensure our community is aware of all the wonderful activities that take place day to day on our campus.
See the details below to join our community!
ACS Cobham Facebook - @ACSCobham
ACS Cobham Instagram - @acscobhamschool
ACS Cobham Sports Instagram - @acscobhamsport
Here are a couple of highlights from our recent social media posts on our main platforms at ACS Cobham.