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The power of journalling

 

It was a joy for me to visit the School’s Outdoor Education Campus at Finniss where our Year 5s have spent the last 4 days and 3 nights. Donning a helmet to join the boys on the mountain bike trail, then swapping my head gear for a life jacket and jumping into a kayak and inspecting the carp caught by the boyss fishing on the dock was an awesome midweek diversion from daily routine!

Amongst all the activity of orienteering, setting up new camp sites, building fences, climbing hay bales, playing card games, football with the School Captains, and of course eating, each

Year 5 class paused…….

One of the rituals repeated by all students involved in SPSC Outdoor Education programs is to pause, reflect and journal. Offering children an opportunity to reflect on their adventures and write their thoughts down, gives them a private space for self-reflection and for processing the experiences of the day. Seeing the students sit silently, some writing hurriedly, some deeply pondering before putting pencil to paper, made me think about why humans journal.

I know I am not alone in having kept a journal. Starting in Primary School and continuing beyond University (I’m fairly sure being a parent and working full time interrupted this routine) I recorded events, feelings, highlights, lowlights, hopes and dreams. Again, why did I spend the time writing all of this down?

Smiling Mind Psychologist, Therese Sheedy, says thinks the reason we turn to journaling is to try and find answers that are already there. We don’t know that we have the power within…. But, when we start to journal, we realise we do. (Journaling for Mental Health: Where do you Start? (smilingmind.com.au)

Dr Dan Siegal, founding co-director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA ,has evidence to suggest that journaling allows the brain to enter a state of integration—the simultaneous activation of both hemispheres, allowing for better thought and emotional processing.

“Writing in a journal activates the narrator function of our minds. Studies have suggested that simply writing down our account of a challenging experience can lower physiological reactivity and increase our sense of well-being, even if we never show what we’ve written to anyone else.”— Dr Dan Siegel

So I guess the answer to ‘why journal?’ is because it influences our wellbeing, in a positive way!

I will not be sharing what I wrote in my journals but know the words I wrote exist as a time capsule of who I was at different points in time. Our students will also have their own documented time capsule, captured in the words and drawings they put to paper whilt on camp.

Even though camp is over for the Year 5 students, and the journals will be carefully stored until their next venture, I’m so grateful they have been given an experience of journalling. I hope the ritual and strategy of diary writing students is something our students are able to use outside of the camp context and beyond school life too.

Journaling might be something the boys find hard to squeeze in between homework, cocurricular and music lessons, but getting into the habit of adding to the What Went Well, Gratitude and Service section of their Diaries might be a really good place to start.

I look forward to seeing you around the grounds soon!

Kind regards,
Jasmine Taylor

28 May, 2.30pmYears 5 and 6 ChapelChapel
29 May, 9.00-11.00amYear 1 IncursionHiggins Hall
29 May, 9.00-11.00amPrep/Reception ExcursionBotanic Gardens
31 May. 8.45amPrep to Year 6 AssemblyMemorial Hall
31 May, 9.40amBehind the Book FestivalLibrary and Classrooms
3 June, 9.00amELC Grandparent and Special Friends MorningELC
3 June, 7.30pmJSFOS MeetingFunction Space
4 June, 9.00amPrep to Year 2 Grandparent and Special Friends MorningClassrooms and Higgins Hall
4 June, 2.00pmPrep to Year 2 ChapelChapel
4 June, 2.30pmYears 3 and 4 ChapelChapel
15 June, 7.00pmJSFOS Quiz NightFunction Space
25 June, 1.30pmYear 5 and 6 Matinee ConcertMemorial Hall
25 June, 7.00pmYear 5 and 6 Evening ConcertMemorial Hall