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Principal Catherine Misson profiled in The Weekly Review

Principal Catherine Misson profiled in The Weekly Review

Principal Catherine Misson of Melbourne Girls Grammar, was recently profiled in The Weekly Review’s Talking Heads feature. 

Since it was founded in 1893, Melbourne Girls Grammar has focused on helping every student that steps into its classrooms to discover who they are meant to be. Challenges, choices, confidence building, independence and social connections are all part of the rich mix of student life.

As school Principal Catherine Misson says, “We encourage our girls to imagine a future full of opportunities and we equip them with the understanding and skills to navigate the inevitable challenges they will encounter – especially when they step up to leadership or push back against the status quo”.

“That’s why we emphasise confidence as fundamental to action – tomorrow’s women will need inner confidence to flourish in a globally-competitive world.”

Melbourne Girls Grammar has a series of initiatives for middle- and senior-year students at the Merton Hall campus with a senior years coaching program giving students an opportunity to challenge their thoughts and emotions and to develop self-acceptance. “The girls learn to overcome the urge to ignore difficult emotions and behaviours and instead face them as an observer with curiosity and kindness,” Misson says.

“That’s why we emphasise confidence as fundamental to action – tomorrow’s women will need inner confidence to flourish in a globally-competitive world.”

“Coaching is a proactive approach to developing positive life skills for good health in adolescence and beyond. The coaching relationship is individualised – what makes one girl ‘well’ may not be exactly what is needed by another girl. So, girls work with their wellbeing coach on developing their own solutions and strategies.”

At a recent coaching workshop, students were asked what it meant to them to have a wellbeing coach and responses included, “I know I always have someone to talk to” and “I’ve learnt to find balance in a day”.

The school encourages students in the middle and senior years to build connections with each other and recent initiatives have been developed to extend these connections.

“Year 10s are ‘emoji buddies’ for year 5 and year 6 girls. They organise games and activities that offer our youngest middle years students welcoming and happy places to be during lunchtimes,” Misson says.

In its 125th year, Melbourne Girls Grammar is shining a spotlight on #sisterhood as a special experience within the school. The initiative centres on girls collectively choosing to lift each other up and to encourage a strong sense of belonging.

“It can be a difficult time for students who may be struggling to settle socially and who are transitioning to a new friendship group, or who are new in our community.”

Year 12 students are ‘sisterhood buddies’ who build informal relationships with girls in years 7 and 8, while a raft of community and house activities also foster fun and some healthy rivalry. They are an opportunity for older girls to role model the school’s values of integrity, compassion, courage and self-discipline.

“The seniors guide and encourage their youngest sisters through the challenges of being ‘in the middle’ – often over a hot chocolate or sitting in the sunshine. A special treat for the girls is meeting their year 12 sister in the year 12 common room,” Misson says. “It is in our student community DNA for girls to refer to their ‘sisterhood’.”

In its 125th year, Melbourne Girls Grammar is shining a spotlight on #sisterhood as a special experience within the school. The initiative centres on girls collectively choosing to lift each other up and to encourage a strong sense of belonging.

“Looking at our history, we’ve found many photographs that illustrate the close bonds of girls from Melbourne Girls Grammar, such as the evacuation to Marysville during World War II,” Misson says.

“Separated from their parents for safety and living in makeshift accommodation, the girls gathered together and made the most of their adventure.

“The images from that time evoke a sense of humour, a courageous spirit and a willingness to pitch in to make sure everyone made it through challenging circumstances.

“Fast forward to 2018 and our girls continue this heartline of sisterhood and the bond that abides well beyond graduation and far into their future lives.”

To view the original article by Sarah Marinos, click here.