School News & Blog

August 28, 2019

Support for Parents through Total Education

A free range kid in the wild

John Marsden, the renowned author of the Tomorrow When the World Began series, recently made the headlines with the launch of his new book The Art of Growing Up. In it he criticises modern day parents for cotton-wooling their children. That is, for protecting their children from normal everyday experiences which build self-reliance and self-confidence.

Where the media are concerned, it seems parents these days can’t do anything right. They get jumped on for being too hands off and not caring enough for their children on the one hand, and demonised on the other for being overprotective. Is it any wonder they are often feeling confused and unsure of themselves.

For nearly 40 years, The School of Total Education in Warwick has been providing strong support for parents in the challenging task of raising children. This support comes in many ways but very directly through its parents program – a weekly series of guided small group discussions on parenting topics, interspersed with guest speakers with specific expertise and other activities to help build camaraderie and relaxation. For example, during the last two weeks parents have had the opportunity to select from a variety of activities such as bread making, singing, volleyball, astronomy, wax wrap making and bushwalking.

Parents enjoying themselves together over arts and crafts

“Parents find the program builds their knowledge and skills and consequently, their self-confidence as parents. It also provides an extended network of support through the caring relationships that develop among the parents” says experienced group facilitator and occupational therapist, Lisa Notley. The school continually reviews the program to keep it relevant to current issues. It also has a comprehensive training program for its parent group facilitators.

The educational program for children at our school also reflects the school’s innovative approach. “Small class sizes, giving children the opportunity to make decisions, to engage with nature and to find their own motivation rather than having them be better than others for their self-worth are all part of the Total Education approach” says principal Shane Power.

Beautiful vistas are underrated