A Place Where Everyone Belongs

Karen Mahar, Assistant Principal and Deputy Head of Junior School.

By Karen Mahar, Assistant Principal and Deputy Head of Junior School

Harmony Week (20-26 March) is celebrated annually in March. It is a time when each of us can celebrate Australian multiculturalism. It is a time to explore and experience the richness that diversity brings to our culture and take advantage of the opportunity to nurture and promote more harmonious relationships within our community.

Harmony Day is about inclusion. It is about respect for others and cultivating a sense of belonging among all Australians. Such outcomes are best achieved through perspective - seeing things from other viewpoints and coming to appreciate that while we may hail from different origins, people commonly have the same life interests, goals and intentions.

Harmony Day in the Junior School invites students to celebrate Australian multiculturalism.

So often, one of the greatest challenges we face in life is how we manage fear, including how we confront disputes and deal with differences of opinion, among others.

Stories of bullying in schools have become all too familiar, but Radford College is committed to providing a safe and caring environment that fosters respect for others. We do not tolerate bullying.

The effects of bullying can be long lasting and directly impact one’s mental health, self-confidence and overall well-being. It remains an ongoing priority to educate our community on how to recognise bullying, prevent it from happening and take action against it when necessary.

This website can be a great resource for parents: https://bullyingnoway.gov.au/

Radford College aims to:

  • provide a school that is safe for all members;
  • minimise the amount of bullying that may occur;
  • monitor levels of bullying and take immediate, appropriate action; and
  • regularly review both our prevention and intervention strategies.

We aim to ensure any response to bullying or conflict, along with our systems and procedures adopted, align with best practice.

Here are the Nexus Wellbeing pages parents can access:

Like many schools, Radford is committed to contributing to a community of well-being, providing a safe and caring environment that fosters respect for others.

In the Junior School, we use shared language and understandings offered by the URSTRONG Friendology program. We explicitly teach children how to resolve conflict by respectfully putting out 'Friendship Fires'. This is where they learn to listen and truly try to understand their friend’s perspective on a point of difference, strengthening their ability to empathise with others, understand that everyone is different and that their perspective can be different on the same matter.

With students in upper primary, the concept of 'Mean-on-Purpose' is introduced. The word "bullying" is specifically avoided, because it can be a confusing term for children who lack clarity around the meaning and misuse of the term. Therefore, the URSTRONG program classifies conflict into two categories: Friendship Fires (normal conflict) and Mean-on-Purpose behaviour.

URSTRONG’s Friendology website is rich with videos and helpful resources that can assist parents with coaching their children through tricky friendship dynamics. To access the full range of resources on the URSTRONG website, you will need a parent membership (free). Radford encourages parents to become familiar with Friendology principles and language to best ensure a consistent language and approach at home and school.

Like many things in life, it is often through conflict and times of challenge that things strengthen. Friendships are no different. Relationships which can successfully navigate conflict and accept differing opinions with mutual respect and empathy are often the strongest, most resilient and most lasting. These are commonly occurring principles worth understanding if we are to live a meaningful life. Understanding that a meaningful life is one that confronts and manages conflict, rather than one that avoids conflict, is a lesson well learned.