What do we tell our students when their world changes so quickly?

Dear Families,

At this time of year I usually send a welcome message and hope that everyone has enjoyed a restful, rejuvenating break.

But the events of this summer mean many are settling into the new year with a heavy heart, confusion and sadness.

Students in our community directly felt the impact of the tragedy of the White Island volcano, experienced changed family holidays due to the bushfires, and now many are coming to terms with the loss of friends in a shocking drink driving incident in Oatlands over the weekend.

What do we tell our students when their world changes so quickly, and they struggle to comprehend the events around them?

As teachers of the creative arts, we create space for students to acknowledge their experiences, and help them recognise that their feelings are valid.

We can encourage them to express their feelings, concerns and passions through their artistry and creativity.

We teach them to have hope. Hope for recovery for our landscape and wildlife, hope for the communities that come together in times of need, hope for care and compassion for those most impacted by loss. Hope that members of the community take greater responsibility for their actions and how they impact others. Hope that we don’t see similar accidents again.

We also teach them to be leaders, and that being a leader means being a listener and observer of the world around them.

The last few months have shone a spotlight on leadership and what it takes to be a leader.

Strong leadership starts with inspired communication, and inspired leadership is carried by strong communication.

Over the holidays we saw some of our national leaders grapple to find the words to express themselves, struggle to connect with members of the community, and insufficiently listen to the people around them.

Other leaders emerged from the crisis, like Shane Fitzsimmons, who continually communicated with honesty and compassion, in a way that built trust between him and the community.

This year at the studio, we will continue to teach the students to be the best communicators they can be. To have a heightened awareness of their verbal and non-verbal communication, to be informed speakers and performers, and to have the tools they need to express themselves articulately and with confidence.

We will continue to expose them to poetry, prose and scene work that helps them comprehend big ideas and broaden their perspective on current topics and affairs.

We will remind them that connecting with each other is innately human, and that building relationships and belonging to a community can carry you when you need it most.

Below is a poem some of our students have been looking at this week in memory of their friends who have passed away.

We look forward to sharing 2020 with Viva Voice families.

New students are welcome to join our community of speakers and learners at Viva Voice. You can view the current timetable and register for a complimentary introductory class. We’d love to welcome your child to our special studio and help them grow as a speaker and communicator this year.