Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,

Last week I was lucky enough to accompany the senior class on their annual camp. This year it was a winter camp with winter alpine activities a major focus.

As always it is a real privilege to watch the development of our pupils over the week attempting and
succeeding at challenges which at first overawed them.

It is the real nature of outdoor education that makes it so important in our pupils overall education. Too much of what young people do now days is done in a virtual or contrived sense. Reality shows are not real they are stage managed to appeal to popular myths and conceptions. There is nothing contrived in tramping or luging or sailing. In skiing if you don’t have the correct technique and skill then you fall and you hit the ground. If you are faced with getting from point A to point B without falling then you problem solve, you improvise, you use what skills and equipment you have to reach the desired outcome.

Technology is a tool albeit a powerful one, but a tool none the less. Tools require a person using them who: knows what he is trying to achieve, how to use the tool and which type of tool is best. Michelangelo didn’t use a screwdriver to carve David, he used the appropriate tools, he obviously had great skill and he knew what he was trying to achieve.

One of the key factors for success in life is resilience; that is getting up when you are knocked down.

People who succeed in any field know that they wont always win. Sometimes you lose or aren’t selected. Some people at this stage quit or move on but winners refocus and re evaluate. Set new goals and move forward. I have mentioned before about my daughter Grace and her success in hockey and she has achieved a lot for someone so young. But the thing I am most proud about are the two major times that things have not gone her way. The two times she wasn’t selected in teams. She put the obvious disappointment behind her said I’m in the development team and I’m going to do the best for that team. She did and proved her doubters wrong. But more importantly she showed resilience and proved to herself that she was able to overcome adversity.

Have a great week


Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,

As you read this hopefully I will be skiing on a beautiful sunny day down the slopes of the Remarkables ski area. Mrs Stevens will be the acting Principal in my absence.

The weather that we have been experiencing recently has been to say the least, variable. Going from mild temperate to frigid arctic.

But they say that variety is the spice of life and certainly in Education this is the case. At primary school we aim to keep the curriculum as broad as possible for as long as possible so that our pupils are given every opportunity to specialize at a later stage knowing that they do so having been exposed to a range of possibilities.

Subjects that foster creatively are the way of the future. We now have devices that can spell and punctuate for us, they can even correct our grammar or suggest different vocabulary but they can’t be creative. They are a tool like a hammer or a fork—a good tool, a smart tool but a tool non the less. People use tools to construct things. People are creative, so we encourage our pupils both at school and extra-murally to become involved in the creative arts. But also in outdoor activities that encourage problem solving in a real setting or situation e.g. should I ski down that slope? What may happen? What most likely will happen? No I’m not an experienced enough skier I’ll stick to the cat track!

Have a great week

—Mike Brosnahan


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,
Next week I will be away for most of the week in Queenstown with the senior class on their ski camp.
Our winter camp is always a highlight of the year for our senior school.
The class get to experience adventures that they don’t usually have access to. They also get to test
themselves in challenging and meaningful situations that are very real. L.E.O.T.C/ (Learning Education Outside The Classroom) covers a huge range of topics and activities. Strictly speaking it is every activity that takes place outside a classroom setting. Camp is obviously focused on the more adventurous components of outdoor education but the children do a lot of learning that is less adventurous. One of my favourite activities is the Arrowtown Museum.
Aside from the direct teaching a large amount of non-directed learning takes place; looking after your
possessions, being at the right place at the right time, working together as a group and being prepared to help others.
Camps are a challenge, they require a huge amount of planning, thank you Mrs Baines—money and time but the benefits they feel make the effort worthwhile.
This was supported in our recent health questionnaire where overwhelmingly our parents support the idea of a camp.
Have a great fortnight
—Mike Brosnahan