St Mary’s is ‘on board’ with International Day of Friendship
Today is International Day of Friendship and, although it is now the summer holidays, we thought it would be useful to share our thoughts on the topic of camaraderie. At St Mary’s the happiness and well-being of our students is of huge importance to us and it’s an area in which we work hard to support our girls.
It's a common misconception that friendships at all-girls’ schools can be problematic, challenging and that conflict is the norm. In fact, as any parent or teacher knows, it is perfectly normal for there to be quarrels from time to time in any friendship group – regardless of gender mix. The key is giving children the skills they need to successfully navigate their way through disputes and the sometimes choppy waters of friendship.
At St Mary’s we take a special approach to managing friendships by following the Girls on Board initiative. This movement aims to empower girls – giving them the tools they need to solve their own friendship issues. Using specific language techniques, methods and ideas, girls are taught to understand and address friendship dynamics and challenges, with less adult intervention.
The Girls on Board approach recognises that teachers and parents often have limited success when it comes to resolving conflict between girls. In fact, girls often report that involving adults often makes matters worse. However, that’s not to say that adults don’t have a role to play. It is of course essential that teachers and parents are there to support and listen. However, ideally, grown-ups should not step in and try to take control of a situation.
Girls on Board gives girls the skills – and the confidence – to resolve friendship issues more effectively for themselves. It also aims to minimise the impact of conflict when it does arise by encouraging open, honest and effective communication.
As part of this program, we deliver sessions that bring our girls together to explore key principles around friendship dynamics and challenges. Through these gatherings, girls work together – towards the realisation that everyone experiences friendship issues at some point in their life and that they are not alone. They explore group dynamics, different personality types and behaviours and how to manage parent reactions. Knowing that they are all the same and share the same fears, anxieties, joy and experiences of friendships helps them feel like they are all in this together. We are firm believers that happier girls perform better at school, and we are proud to all be ‘on board’ together.