Kristin School: A place to belongby Noted
Kristin School offers world-class education from preschool to Year 13, with student wellbeing and mindfulness built into its curriculum.
Using the strong platform of traditional pastoral care, Kristin has been able to innovate its approach to the physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of its students to meet the needs of today’s young people. The dean structure at Kristin includes dedicated deans for Year 11 students to support their development and academic success. In ‘Learning for Life’ lessons, Year 11 deans teach an Emotional Intelligence unit designed by Swinburne University which helps the students to build personal resilience.
“We have teachers and students practicing mindfulness on a day-to-day basis,” says David Boardman, Senior School Principal at Kristin. “We’re seeing positive results in the classroom around all areas of classroom practice.”
One of those areas is academic achievement. “If students feel comfortable and happy in their environment and under a positive degree of pressure, they’ll be achieving at the best of their abilities,” says Boardman.
The “positive degree of pressure” is key. Mental health and rising levels of anxiety are global issues, and the 2017 PISA report showed that 72% of students in New Zealand were anxious about school assessments — even when well prepared for a test. As Senior School Principal, Boardman has become very aware of the rise in anxiety in his students, and was recently awarded a research scholarship to compare assessment-based anxiety in New Zealand schools with that experienced in UK and European schools.
“When you compare New Zealand with students in other countries that statistic is very high,” says Boardman. “I’m trying to delve deeper to see if there are any fundamental differences in the approach to student support and assessment overseas and here in New Zealand that could be contributing to this.”
To offer young people the assessment approach that best suits their learning style and aspirations, Kristin offers a Dual Academic Pathway in the Senior School, which allows students to choose between the International Baccalaureate Diploma or NCEA in Year 12 and 13.
“We place very high value on activities outside the classroom,” says Boardman, “Participation in performing arts, sports, adventure trips or other co-curricular activities from the multitude of opportunities available at Kristin is encouraged and service learning is at the heart of everything we do. We have a dedicated Service Learning Coordinator, because evidence shows that when young people volunteer and contribute to their community in positive ways, they feel more purposeful and connected, which in turn reduces their levels of stress, loneliness and anxiety.”
In the 45 years since Kristin opened its doors, the school has worked hard to provide a community where children of all ages can feel a sense of belonging. Students from preschool to Year 13 are encouraged to think creatively, reason critically, communicate effectively and to enthusiastically embrace learning
— at school and in life.
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