From the Head Master

During the week I came across a new concept that I am attempting to make use of in the interests of good mental health.

Most of us know all about the benefits of having a ‘To Do’ list, whereby we capture those things that need doing. A ‘To Do’ list can reduce cognitive load by taking things out of our working memory and putting them on paper. It can individually itemise tasks into a form that can be tackled, rather than leaving them as a collective amorphous burden of pressure. It can help to organise our working space and patterns, so that at any one time we know what needs to be done. All these are good things.

However, this week I came across the idea of a ‘Ta Da’ list. The ‘Ta Da’ list is the record of the things that got done. This is less about organisation and more about positive psychology. When we are busy, we can get so caught up in the tasks that remain to be done that we forget about the good things that did get done. The cognitive itch of unfinished tasks remains with us much longer than the sense of satisfaction that arises from ticking jobs off. The unfortunate net effect is that we can feel as though we are not getting anywhere.

The ‘Ta Da’ list is the conscious record keeping of achievements. It could be as simple as reading over the ticks on the ‘To Do’ list, but I think there is some tangible benefit from taking five minutes to write out the accomplishments in a separate place.

I am in the early days of implementing a ‘Ta Da’ list. However, I think it aligns well with what we have learned about strengths-based approaches to mental health and wellbeing, where we consciously direct our thinking more to what went well than what didn’t. Let’s make sure we celebrate the wins, not fixate on the losses!

In keeping with the spirit of the ‘Ta Da’ list, I am very pleased to launch the virtual opening of the new classroom facilities at our Field Studies Centre in Woollamia. Whereas we had hoped to hold an Open Day last Saturday, which was to include the opening, we have done it by video, which you can watch here (or see below). We were delighted that Dr Janet West, the wife of former Head Master Mr Rod West, was able to officially open the facilities for us.

The official opening of these facilities is a ‘Ta Da’ moment for the School.

May there be many more items on your ‘Ta Da’ list this week.

Breaking news:

Not for the first time, the situation has changed between drafting a communication and it being published! This morning the Premier announced a number of changes to the COVID-19 restrictions, including the extension of the current restrictions for Greater Sydney until the end of September. In effect, this confirms that face-to-face classes will not resume in Term 3.

The Premier indicated that more information will be forthcoming. We look forward to receiving this information when it becomes available and the School will do all that we can to communicate the path forward to our community. Your patience and support is very much appreciated.

Detur gloria soli Deo.

Tim Bowden | Head Master


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