On Monday July 1, the college will go back to the future by experiencing a school day without the use of devices. The only exception will be Senior Leaders being allowed to communicate on their phones in case of an emergency. Otherwise teaching and learning will be conducted without devices and students will be reminded not to use their phones, if they have to bring them to school, until the end of the school day. Again, any emergency should be communicated either to reception or the student’s Whanau Assistant in the normal way.
Our strategic plan includes the desire to promote a balanced lifestyle for our students. We encourage teachers to use a blended approach to teaching so that not all activities require a device. We also encourage participation in healthy physical activities, connecting with each other, ourselves and with nature during numerous camps and trips. We have many activities during DEEP and in our extra-curricular programme which help students to gain this balance and this day will reinforce our resolve as a community and Tāne Forest is being developed as a sanctuary for students and staff to practice mindfulness.
May I urge parents to continue this initiative by ensuring students minimise screen time at home. Tips from articles I have read include:
- eating together as a family without the distraction of phones or devices;
- stopping the use of devices at least an hour before bed to ensure that students get quality sleep;
- not allowing devices into bed-rooms during the night;
- buying an alarm clock so the phone is not required to wake up in the morning;
- have your own device free day or time every week.;
- setting a good example to our children – sometimes we need to detox as much as them!
Research is increasingly being publicised of the harmful physiological and psychological effects of excessive use of digital devices. As teachers and parents we must be reminded of the incredible positive aspects of digital technology but caution over-use.
So let’s talk to each other face to face, do exciting activities which include movement and being outside, read, write, debate, discuss and collaborate directly with others. This will enrich our lives and remind us of what it is to be unplugged members of the human race!
Growing greatness/Kia mana ake!