Parenting the focus of Queen's 60th
FACED with what it describes as deficient behaviour in some of its students, The Queen's School will be using the occasion of its 60th anniversary to strengthen the gap in the relationships among teachers, parents and students.
"We are finding a great deficiency in a number of our ladies from homes where family support is broken and we really want to use the 60th anniversary to see how best we can motivate them and a lot more family-home involvement in the life of the children," chairman of the school board Vincent Lawrence said yesterday.
This, he said, was an integral aspect of the celebrations geared towards reinforcing a positive attitude among the student body.
Lawrence was speaking at a thanksgiving service to mark the start of the celebrations under the theme 'Continuing the Journey of Excellence as We Celebrate 60 Years' at the St Andrew Parish Church.
Lord Bishop of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands Howard Gregory, who gave the sermon, emphasised the need for good parenting if future generations are to excel above the standards set in the past and at present.
"It is a matter of interest to us as to the way in which the girls who come to this school are prepared for life by the dynamics of the home and by the contributions of the school. There are to be clear limits to what the school can do if the home is not fulfilling its responsibilities," Gregory said in reference to an article he wrote entitled 'Paternity and Identity in Jamaica'.
Gregory said the focus of the article -- absentee fatherhood -- is a sensitive issue in the Jamaican society but is a popular occurrence which impacts bonding and identification issues in children.
"It provides the module for bonding, identification and modelling for children in terms of remedial relationships, male-female relationships and vocational aspirations and goals," Gregory said.
He added that the consequence of this is that the transition children make from childhood to adult life becomes more traumatic for them.
According to Gregory, both parents and the school need to recognise the need to affirm children if they want to see them excel.
"There are children who spend their lifetime and even adulthood trying to gain the approval and affirmation of parents. We have a culture to say don't praise you pickney, else you will mek him head get big. Hopefully this school is a place where children are affirmed," he said.
Lack of affirmation, he said, usually leads to frustration in children, which may lead to abnormalities in their behaviour. He added that failed parenting was a contributor to the challenges schools across Jamaica face.
"There is much evidence of abuse in the homes, neglect of responsibilities leading to an increasing number of children becoming wards of the state. This becomes more evident when the school has to call in parents concerning disciplinary problems...and [some] parents disregard the schools saying 'a no nothing' or turn and show violence toward the agents of school," he said.
He went further to say that if the school is to be successful it must broaden its reach to parenting education.
The board chairman agreed, and added that development of morals, values and attitudes among students is a top priority at Queen's.
"At the service we had representatives from the Red Cross, Girl Guides, cadets, dance group, choir and speech choir. We are getting the ladies involved in a number of things as part of the socialisation process, which helps to build the person," he said.
At the preparatory school level, vice principal Allison Tai said involvement of parents was integral and she mentioned that parents will be integrated into their spin of the 60th anniversary celebrations.
Jean Shaw, head of public relations for the planning committee of the preparatory school, said planned activities include a brunch, a banquet, a photo gallery to display the journey of Queen's Prep, and a cultural event dubbed 'Back A Yard'.
Jennifer Williams, principal of the high school, said their plans for the 60th year will include a mentorship programme inclusive of past students, a banquet and Eisteddfod which is a festival of the arts.
Other activities will be the launch of a book by Etheline Aiken, past principal of the high school, who served in the position for over 20 years, and the building of an auditorium. Aiken's book will show the transition of the Queen's School since 1971.