Heathdale flower 23rd February 2024

‘Thriving’: Not Just a Slogan

'Thriving in God's Grace' is the theme of our 10 Years in Melton celebrations in 2024. This slogan not only captures the essence of God's story here at Heathdale Melton over the past decade, but embodies the everyday reality you see here on campus in the most practical ways, including as children learn about friendships and what creates healthy community.

Heathdale flower

I revelled in attending my first Prep to Year 2 Assembly last week.

As you are no doubt aware, we are celebrating 10 Years of Heathdale Christian College in Melton. Our theme for the year is Thriving in God’s Grace. By this we mean that it is God who has the ultimate vision for the College and who brings provision. This is very much what our Executive Principal, Mr Grace, means when he states that, “no one is at Heathdale by accident.”

Scripture would affirm this: “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labour in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.” (Psalm 127:1)

Our heart is for the school and for the city of Melton. But the labourers do need to labour! The efforts of our staff, student leaders and yourselves are very much a part of the fabric of the school.

I was overjoyed to observe that the verb ‘thriving’ does not just appear in the anniversary slogan, but is embedded in the daily life of the school.

Our Prep to 2 students were in full voice as they sang the song, ‘Friendships Thrive When You Do the Five.’ I have never experienced the power of a behavioural support anthem. The five steps in making friendships thrive are listed below and are focused on dealing with challenges respectfully and supportively.

Step 1: Ignore.
Step 2:
Walk away.
Step 3:
Tell them to stop.
Step 4: Tell them you will tell a teacher.
Step 5:
Tell a teacher.

This simple approach effectively communicates great complexity. The focus is on teaching what a healthy relationship looks like. It is too easy to focus on the dangers and challenges instead of affording children the right to enjoy play. These healthy relationships are fostered by clear boundaries to establishing strategies to protect yourself. The process effectively supports recognising that your boundaries have been crossed. We are creating a culture that prizes healthy relationships.

We are also emphasising self-government. These are simple strategies that an individual can undertake to protect themselves. They are effective and not likely to escalate a situation into a conflict. That is the great virtue of the process. If we don’t escalate too early, then we can make sure that relationships don’t strain. The goal of any conversation is to identify a solution whilst remaining connected afterwards.

We are also ensuring that students know that remaining connected to staff who support them is essential.

There is a lot to learn here for us all, and I value that this process is thriving at the centre of our community.