Social Links via JavaScript

Crofton House News

What would it look like to be the greenest school we can be, and what steps are we taking to get there? 

These questions drive sustainability initiatives at Crofton House School, though much of the work is done behind the scenes and without us noticing day-to-day.

Leading campus sustainability initiatives is a group of passionate Senior School students and teachers, including the Senior School Social Responsibility Club and Ms Warner, Mr Ripley, Ms Hare, Ms Allen and Ms Wilson. Together, they have been gathering information on how CHS is moving forward sustainably and bringing together insights from different campus departments into how we can continue to move forward positively.

“I hope that over the next ten years or 20 years, we will be able to build in more habits for CHS families and staff,” Ms Hare explained about the future of sustainability on campus. “But how do we start planting the seeds now?”

A Glimpse Into Current Campus Sustainability 

Facilities: Did you know that the new buildings on campus were designed with sustainability in mind? Those facilities include geothermal heating and motion sensor lighting to limit electricity use—which the Senior School Social Responsibility Club got to explore on a club tour in early December. 

“We did a big unit on geothermal heating as a club…,” Social Responsibility Club Co-Captain Sophia said. “We learned a lot about what that looks like, how environmentally conscious the system is, and what it takes to implement it.” 

“And we got to do a tour of the geothermal heating as kind of our year-end project. Getting to see what that looked like and connecting with some of the facility members at our school was a cool experience.”

Various buildings also include control systems programmed to save energy where possible. The facilities team worked with BC Hydro on an energy audit across campus to consider other areas for improvement.

IT: With learning powered by iPads and Mac laptops, considering the life-cycle of devices is crucial for campus sustainability. Currently, campus IT is applying a 4-year life cycle for iPads in the Junior School and moving from a 3- to 5-year life cycle for laptops in the Senior School, focusing on repairing rather than replacing devices, where possible. The department is also consistently considering its carbon footprint when purchasing new software or programs for the School.

Waste Management: Across Crofton House, there are various options for recycling and sustainable waste management. These include: 

  • Eighteen compost locations across campus, including washrooms where paper towels are collected
  • Blue bins in classrooms and offices campus-wide for paper recycling
  • Electronics recycling through the IT department
  • A textiles recycling bin in the Senior School Textiles classroom
  • End-of-life art supplies are being recycled in a TerraCycle zero waste bin in the Senior School art classroom, and the Junior School art storage room
  • There is a whiteboard marker recycling bin in the Ideation Lab, as well as general marker recycling boxes in the copy room and Maker’s Space
  • Recently added on campus are six disposable mask recycling boxes. The sustainability-focused staff brought the initiative forward to the Social Responsibility Club team, who put the boxes into action. 

“We thought it was a good idea because our club values sustainability, environment and social justice. And this is certainly a problem today, that pollution,” Club Co-Captain Ting Ting said.

With the vast waste management availability on campus, recycling in the 2021-2022 school year has been less contaminated than in past years. Great work, CHS!

Future Steps Forward 

While the sustainable initiatives around campus are positive steps forward, there is always more we can do to create individual and systemic change across our community—reducing food waste in Manrell Hall and encouraging sustainable transportation to and from school, for example! 

Senior School students can attend Social Responsibility Club meetings on Tuesdays at lunch. At the same time, different stakeholder groups are being engaged across campus by Ms Hare, Ms Wilson and Ms Allen.

On April 28, Whole Girl, Whole World—a speaker series that presents thought-provoking topics to the Crofton House community of parents, students, faculty and alumnae—hosted its first in-person event in two years with guest speaker Amra Dizdarevic, Sc, BSN, MN-NP, a Family Nurse Practitioner based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Amra’s presentation explored current issues in mental health in a post-pandemic world, including signals to which a parent should be attentive surrounding mental health, coping strategies and practical tools to support K-12 students.

“We’re grateful to Amra for sharing such important and applicable insights with our parents, staff and community. The student experience has changed substantially in the last few years,” Parents’ Auxiliary Whole Girl, Whole World Coordinator Katherine Grant said. “Having Amra detail mental health and the current experience for children and youth, and share helpful tools we can use to discuss and settle emotions, is invaluable as we all look to support our girls!”

A key lesson from her presentation, particularly around supporting students and their mental health, was: “Be present, be open, listen and hear them out.” Be sure to acknowledge your child’s stress and feelings, recognise it with them, and convey your understanding — show them that you see them and hear what they are saying. Importantly, don’t minimise or dismiss their feelings!

Amra also shared the interesting fact that emotions only last 90 seconds. With that in mind, when an emotion comes up for students, you can encourage them to be “... aware of the emotion that goes on. If we can focus on it, be mindful of it, and let it pass, and then not perseverate on it, we can be in control,” she explained.

And, when looking to have discussions with your child, it's important to consider their (and your!) dial of emotional intensity. If anyone is between 1-3  or between an 8-10 on an emotional scale, leave that larger conversation until they sit in a more balanced state (between a 5-7).

What kinds of activities can help bring emotions into balance or ease anxiety? Here are a couple of activities Amra suggested:

DIAL-it Down Skill

Dunk your face: In cool water.
Intense exercise: Jumping jacks, star jumps, or push-ups/sit-ups for older students!
Abdominal-paced breathing: Box breathing, for example! Breathe in for five seconds, hold for five seconds, breathe out for five seconds, and hold for five seconds. 
Letting go of tension: Tighten different muscles in the body and then release them.

Name it to Tame it
Name the emotion you are feeling, so you can recognise when it feels like in your body and let it go when you feel it rise again!

5-4-3-2-1

  • Name five things you see
  • Name four things you feel 
  • Name three things you hear
  • Name two things you smell
  • Name one thing you taste

If you would like to watch the presentation again, you can view a copy in either English or Mandarin.

The Gender and Sexuality Awareness Club organised events for Senior School students on campus, including a tie-dye event, chalk in the courtyard, Dress as Your Authentic Self day, and a Kahoot quiz competition at lunch. 

The club also used Crofton House’s social media platforms to share important messages around sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, heteronormativity and inclusivity. Here are a few takeaways from their social media takeover! 

Allyship

Allyship is a verb, and it's something we can all do!

Here are some ways (there are so many more, too!) you can be an ally to 2SLGBTQ+ communities:

  • Advocate for 2SLGBTQ+ rights
  • Amplify the voices of marginalised communities
  • Question inappropriate jokes and correct mistakes around names and pronouns
  • Follow and support 2SLGBTQ+ creators

Providing Pronouns

Normalising providing pronouns benefits all of our community!
We all have pronouns! They are the words we use to refer to someone or something else.

In-person, it's as easy as providing your pronouns when you introduce yourself:

"Hi, I'm Jane, and I use they/them pronouns."
"Hi, I'm Taylor, and my pronouns are she/her.”

What Is Heteronormativity? 

Heteronormativity assumes that being straight is the only default/normal sexual orientation. It is harmful to many 2SLGBTQ+ individuals.

Example: Assuming everyone will have a mother and a father, as opposed to two or more parents with any gender identities, implies that heterosexuality is standard and that anything deviating from that is wrong.

"I defined myself as straight for so long because I thought it was normal...when I started to realize I was queer, it was really hard to cope with because it felt like I was breaking some sort of unspoken rule." - CHS Student

What is Queerbaiting? 

Queerbaiting is a marketing technique often used in the media to appeal to 2SLGBTQ+ peoples by showing/hinting at same-sex images without actually having to represent them or their history.

A typical example is where there is a kiss between two women in a TV show, only for it to be played off as a meaningless joke. Here, the creators of this show are exploiting the truth and complexity behind lesbian relationships to gain viewership and publicity.

Thanks to the GSA and all students who got involved in the various activities across campus for making Pride Week such a success!

Are you looking for more resources around Pride? Visit our Pride Week resource page.

This year at Crofton House, Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) continues to be a focus and priority across campus. SEL helps students develop positive relationships, apply their compassion, and stay open to learning throughout their lives. It also helps normalize the wide range of emotions we experience, and teaches tools and strategies to identify and share and manage these emotions–a core competency for student well-being and academic achievement. 

But what does that look like in practice? In the Junior School, Ms Kapila and Ms Kaedbey introduced “30 Days of Mindfulness” to Grade 4 students. The 30-day practice explored strategies to help students focus on the present moment with kindness and curiosity, and gave them the space to discover new practices to improve focus, manage stress, regulate emotions and develop compassion. Examples of daily activities included meditation activities, deep breathing, movement with music, mindful eating, and a weather report activity to visualise their emotions. 

“It doesn't have to actually be the weather outside, but it’s a weather that you’re feeling,” Grade 4 student Alice explained. “For instance, a tornado. I drew a tornado and a bunch of exciting emojis!”

“Students really use the strategies provided in their everyday life,” Ms Kapila said. “Not every activity is going to resonate with every student, so we remind them not to feel discouraged if an activity doesn’t yield the same results as the person next to them or the day before.” 

For Grade 4 student Zoya, the focus strategy, which as she explained, incorporates “getting on a comfy chair or pillow, or you can lie down, and then you just be mindful and breathe!” was her favourite. “When you’re trying to relax, sometimes you don’t get really into the zone. The focus strategy has really helped me. It’s better than other strategies I’ve used in the past!”

Her classmate Zoey enjoyed the ocean breathing technique. For ocean breathing, students count to three seconds and exhale for five seconds while listening to ocean sounds. “As I was relaxing, I learned more about myself and learned how I was feeling,” she said.

For Avery, her favourite activity was one from earlier in the term—bubble breath. She’s been using bubble breath not only at CHS, but to regulate her emotions at home too. “I really liked that one because it helps my brain a lot. You can think of a bubble and a line going around in circles…Sometimes when I’m frustrated that my sister takes my things, I just have to take a bubble breath and then tell my sister to, next time, just ask me.”


After each activity, students were encouraged to reflect on their experiences in their social and emotional journals. 

“It’s a book that we pick the colour of, and we write all of our social and emotional learning–we take notes on all the activities!” Zoey said. Their journals include a mood wheel, where they can assign a colour to emotions they are feeling and really consider what they are experiencing.

“The 30 days of mindfulness is just a way for them to connect to themselves and reflect on what strategies help them feel that strong level of calm and peace,” Ms Kapila said.

As a leader in all-girls education and as a School that empowers students to discover and pursue their excellence, International Women’s Day⁠—and International Women’s Week on campus⁠—hold a special place in the CHS calendar. 

So far this week, students have been reflecting on and highlighting the women that inspire them, lift them up and give them the courage to forge their paths and #BreaktheBias. On Tuesday, Senior School students put those names and thoughts into writing for a display in the upper foyer. A small sample is shared here:

Ruth Bader Ginsburg
“She was the court's second female Justice, encouraging other women to follow their dreams.”

Misty Copeland
“She broke the bias that women of colour couldn’t do ballet and now advocates for ballerinas of colour.”

Soong Ching-ling
“She was the chairwoman of the Chinese People’s Relief Administration.”

Laverne Cox
“A trailblazer in the trans community.”

Katherine Johnson
“She figured out the paths for the spacecraft to orbit Earth and to land on the moon. NASA used her main discoveries.”

Hwasa
“Broke toxic beauty standard in K-pop; she was told she’ll never be successful…but she is now very successful and thriving in the industry.”

Hedy Lamarr
“Became the first woman to receive the Invention Convention’s Bulbie Gnass Spirit of Achievement Award by creating a system which led to WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS.”

Queen Lili’uokalani
“The first and last sovereign queen of Hawaii. She supported many women during a time when women were very oppressed.”

Norah Lum
“The first Asian-American woman to win a Golden Globe.”

While many celebrated famous activists, athletes, diplomats, etc., many also wrote down their inspirations closer to home:

Celebrating CHS’s Community of Women

  • “My mom is so inspirational. She lived in South Africa, and through the discrimination against women, she pushed through and became the best psychologist ever. She has helped so many women and people around the world, including me.”
  • “My mom—she is the most beautiful, kind, and loving woman I know. I am grateful for her.”
  • “My mother because she works tirelessly and is a risk-taker.”
  • “My mom taught and showed me that women can also be strong and confident. She inspired me to be an individual and confident girl.”
  • “My sister broke the bias by simply being an empowering woman of change herself; she is a CEO and business-woman.”
  • “My mom is a strong woman who works hard giving back to others in the community; she supports friends without judgement.”
  • “My grandma inspires me as she is the strongest woman I know. She has endured so much pain but always puts on a brave face.”
  • “Ms Li, Mme Ta, Ms Warner, Ms Sorenson, Ms Hannigan, Ms Huhn, Dr Briley, Ms McManus, Dr B, Ms AB, Dr Willis, and all the female teachers.”