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avondale school principals blog



08 September 2017


In recent years educators have voiced a concern about the diminishing levels of resilience in students at school compared with 50 years ago. What is resilience and why has it diminished?


Resilience is an individual’s capacity and ability to cope with changes and challenges, and to bounce back during difficult times. Growing up in Sydney over 50 years ago in Infants I rode my new scooter 2km to school every day, rain, hail or shine. In Primary School, I rode my bicycle every day. After school, I spent time playing cricket (on the road), soccer, marbles, jacks, tadpoling, stamp swapping, exploring bush areas on my bike, riding billy carts, climbing trees, throwing rocks, burning rubbish in the back yard and playing cowboys and Indians with home-made bows and arrows. I believe it was these activities which helped develop resilience, creativity and persistence.


Too many children these days spend many hours indoors on electronic devices rather than quality time in the outdoor classroom. At present children between 6-13 years average 31.5 hours of screen time per week. Is it time for families to have a digital detox?


If we really want our children to develop resilience and persistence, which are the cornerstones of future success, we must allow them to face adversity and work their way through it. Not insurmountable adversity, but never the less, real problems and challenges that will enable them to struggle and eventually overcome and succeed. Several years ago I gave a physical hand-eye coordination puzzle to over 30 Avondale School students and staff which tested their persistence and resilience. One boy, after many attempts of failure, refused to give up when everyone else had. His legs had never worked properly and so he had already fallen over thousands of times which had taught him persistence and resilience.




If you want your children to stand up to the inevitable challenges they will face in the future and keep going despite disappointment or frustration, we need to help our children develop resilience and persistence.




1. Give your child independence to try new things they initiate, such as climbing at the playground or opening a container, even if you think it is too hard for them. 2. When your child wants to find something, encourage them to look for it. 3. Give your child responsibilities such as making the bed, feeding pets, doing dishes or putting out the rubbish. 4. Teach your child to identify struggles as challenges to overcome not struggles to avoid. Teach that every challenge met makes you stronger. 5. Encourage your child to maintain a positive attitude towards chores and homework. 6. Introduce new experiences to your child which will help them step out of their comfort zone, such as playing with new friends or trying new foods. 7. Help your child to learn self-control regarding electronic mediums and entertainment by demonstrating your own restraint. 8. Do not give your child every single thing they desire (toys, food, clothes etc.) even if everyone else has it. 9. Remind your child to always do their best in schoolwork even if it takes longer. 10. Teach your child to be grateful for what they have rather than what they want.


Graham Head

Primary Sports Coordinator



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