Good morning and welcome to the last day of school and our Foundation Years Recognition Ceremony! Today we recognize the achievements of the Foundation Years students and celebrate the end of an excellent school year.
Stepping onto the St. Margaret’s campus, there is a noticeable buzz. This buzz is loudest at events such as Grandparents Day, Big Sister/Little Sister events and Sports Days. There is also a noticeable buzz, when the girls collaborate on a project, recite poetry, run a race or read a book. This is the buzz of engagement, learning and community. But there is also the buzz of actual bees.
As you may know, this year, we brought a beehive onto campus and helped it become established whilst nestled in our woods. We chose to have bees at school because we wanted to be stewards of our environment. As scientists and environmentalists, the FY students explored the idea of how we are interconnected with not only bees and the natural world but also each other. We discovered this formally in our Explorations time, during Outweek and OWL, and informally as we played, inquired, discovered and researched in our classrooms.
With STEM as a major focus, we encourage our students to BEE curious – to think critically so they can help solve global problems like the declining bee population, which has serious implications because of the critical role bees play in our world.
Reflecting on our year spent learning about bees, there is a clear parallel between a bee colony and our school community. Each one takes collective effort, hard work and loyalty to produce the sweet honey that we call a holistic and strong education for our girls.
As I considered the idea of our school as a hive, I quickly developed my top 10 ways SMS girls are like bees.
Bees are diverse and come in many shapes, sizes and colors: Despite the countless things our girls have in common, each is unique and has a critical role to play inside and outside of our hive, now and in the future.
Bees work hard: This is evident every day when you walk into our classrooms and it will be clear to you parents when you read their final report cards.
Bees are social: Our girls live together, play together, and learn together. The St Margaret’s School hive is a place where everyone knows your name whether you’re the youngest or the oldest. We deliberately plan our activities and learning around girls’ desire for relationships and connection. Leading by example as we teach our girls to be caring and compassionate.
Bees can sting: Yes, sometimes they’re not nice to each other. This can happen when they feel at risk. Knowing this, we take deliberate actions to make this a safe environment where girls can openly share ideas, express feelings and be themselves.
Bees collaborate: Knowing how to collaborate is an important core competency especially in today’s modern work world. We encourage our girls’ natural desire to work together learning, leading and taking on different roles depending on the challenge at hand.
Bees need a nurturing physical environment to thrive. SMS provides such a home thanks to our beautiful campus, including its canopy of trees, fields and gardens.
Bees metamorphize: That's a big word for change. Our girls change and grow though the year, becoming taller, stronger, smarter and more skilled as they tackle new challenges.
Bees communicate: Whether it's singing, presenting, writing stories or solving problems, our girls are developing the courage and means to express themselves clearly and thoughtfully.
Bees matter: Our girls can and will make valuable contributions that will shape the future of our world.
Bees spread their wings and fly. They fly far and high. Our girls can and will soar as high as their ambition takes them. At St Margaret’s school, we’re giving them the lift they need to get there.
Of course, another important group of worker bees in our hive, includes the inspiring educators, helpful support staff, committed parents, and kind-hearted volunteers, who all work towards the common goal of creating an educational experience that is as sweet and nourishing as honey. As a community, our hive has order and purpose with the common goal of developing confident, courageous girls who will grow into inspiring women.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude to all of you. Thank you for the love and care you give to our girls and for the many ways in which you support this community we call a school. Your dedication to our students never ceases to inspire me.
To say that we are “busy as bees” at St Margaret’s School would not only be cliché, but also an understatement – as all of us who have just lived through this last month can testify. In a few minutes, you will hear from a representative from each grade level as they describe some of the activities and achievements that keep us buzzing.
At this time of year, our little bees will fly far from the comfort of their school hive, collecting the nectar of life experiences, through invaluable time spent with their families who of course are the most important source of nourishment, support and love. We will look forward to having our girls return to their school hive, in September, ready to work and contribute to our community once again.
I hope you will enjoy a well-deserved, and restful summer, thank you for an un-Bee-lievable year!
[photo below: the new SMS beehive amongst the wildflowers]