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All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten

Last Monday, 9 October was our Senior School Leadership Assembly. We were fortunate to have the 2023 Prefects parents and guardians join us as we celebrated their child’s service and leadership to the School, and gifted them with a book, as a sign of our appreciation.

But as we all know leaders are only able to lead if people are willing to follow, and often the sign of true leadership is when the line between leadership and followership is blurred; each coexisting to form a larger team of individuals galvanised through a common vision and experience. For me, this symbiotic relationship is very much how the layers of leadership operate at Ivanhoe Girls’ as I have witnessed our Year 12 cohort lead our community together.

I am sure that our Year 12s have mixed feelings about their final days of secondary school. I am hoping they are excited about what the future will hold for them and the contribution they can make to the world they will lead. I am also hopeful that in the future they will reflect fondly on their time at Ivanhoe Girls’ and stay in touch.

Many, many years ago when I graduated from Year 12, my English Teacher, Mrs Lowe read to my class the following excerpt from the book of short essays by Author Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten. For me, the message was both simple and wise. Since then, I have shared it with every group of Year 12s I have had the privilege of learning with.

At Assembly, I read these words to our soon-to-be newest graduates – the Class of 2023. In the hope that it would mean as much to them as it has to me, over the years.

All I really needed to know about how to live, and what to do, and how to be, I learned in kindergarten.

Wisdom was not at the top of the junior school curriculum but there in the classrooms and playground….

These are the things I learned…

Share everything.
Play fair.
Don’t hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
Say sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life.
Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
Take a nap every afternoon.

When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
Be aware of wonder.
Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup?

The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.

And then remember the Dick and Jane books and the first word you learned – the biggest word of all – LOOK

Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation, Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.

Take any one of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated and adult terms and apply it to your family life or work or your government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm.

Think what a better world it would be if we all – the whole world- had cookies and milk about 3 o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all the government had a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.

And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

Another significant moment in our Leadership Assembly was the announcement of our new Prefect Team. This year we symbolically captured this moment with our 2023 Prefects presenting a beautiful bunch of flowers to their respective counterparts for 2024 to show the ‘passing of the baton’. The smiles on both leaders’ faces were beautiful to see, as well as the massive applause as each Prefect was presented to the student body.

Congratulations to:

Class of 2024 Student Leadership Team
Iliana Z
School Captain
Josie E
School Vice Captain
Charlie B
House Captain of Locksley
Penny B
House Captain of Rotherwood
Annabelle B
Social Service Prefect
Em C
Captain of Debating
Georgia E
Captain of Drama
Chanuthi G
House Captain of Oswald
Angelina H
Year Level Liaison Prefect
Cindy L
House Captain of Ashby
Quincy L
House Captain of York
Issy M
House Captain of Rowena
Matilda S
Year Level Liaison Prefect
Eloise S
Captain of Music
Harri S
SRC President
Monika W
Year Level Liaison Prefect
Imogen W
Captain of Sport

I am so very excited about working with this wonderful team of young people in 2024.

Ms Louisa Scerri
Deputy Principal/Head of Senior School