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Croftonian Crumbs

Croftonian Crumbs was the title of the first edition of the spontaneous and playful school publication, started by Miss Ellen Bryan in 1954. Similar to how today's blogs offer writers a creative and casual space, Croftonian Crumbs originally provided CHS girls an opportunity to put pen to paper without the constraints of a conventional format. We are pleased to revive the spirit of Croftonian Crumbs, in its 21st century digital edition.

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Festive Celebrations

Posted by Stephanie Chow on Friday December 7 at 11:19AM
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Building Community

Posted by Stephanie Chow on Friday November 23 at 02:29PM
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Why Work Experience Placements are the New Ace in the Hole

By Janelle Caballero, Work Experience Placement Facilitator and Career Education Teacher

Who got hired - the student with a work experience opportunity,  or the student holding the picture perfect resume that lacked practice in the field? This chicken and egg analogy is commonplace these days, with an unspoken employer desire for work experience, but a job being necessary in order to obtain said experience. With this shift in traditional requirements, it is no wonder that baffled students are standing, edited and plumed resume in hand, wondering why they are unhirable even though they have the education and the grades.

With the ongoing conundrum of how to gain work experience in a field in which you are educated, yet unable to secure work within, Work Experience Placements are gaining momentum as a practical program at earlier career junctions. We have seen, and continue to see, the valuable shift to Co-Op programs in multidisciplinary post-secondary degrees, satisfying prospective employers by providing direct field experience, and giving students a one-up against their competitors by placing them directly in career-specific roles.

So when is the best time to start students in the field of work? It has been argued that the time is now, and the sooner the better. With over one-third of our lives estimated to be spent at work, matched only by another one-third of our lives in sleep, it is important we don’t confuse the two. That is to say, students can’t be passive about career choice opportunities.  Where we consciously spend our days, if we are lucky enough to have the privilege of being able to choose, is arguably one of the biggest - and most impactful - decisions we can make.

Work Experience Placements, unfortunately, have had a bad rap, and perhaps unfairly so.  Years ago, the Work Experience Program was a catch-all for the student who couldn’t get the grades, who somehow was seen as unable to achieve in class, or was thought to be someone who could never succeed at a higher rung on the employment ladder. Unbeknownst to many, significant learning, which was unable to be replicated in class, was taking place for this student in these placements, right beneath their noses. Students were gaining valuable experience that gave them insights into the field, taught them lessons about themselves, and gave them access to other professionals. Meanwhile, the subject field was benefiting by sharing their line of work with the next generation, securing potential up-and-coming candidates, and allowing their passion for the profession to be shared.  Today the Work Experience Program is an essential (though optional) component of the high school experience, and is no longer simply viewed as a way to pad a resume. With a cooperative Work Experience Placement, businesses, employees and students alike all emerge ahead of the game.

The benefits of Work Experience Placements are wide-reaching and varied, and this small investment of time in the human aspect of your career field will undoubtedly find its way back to you. Here are just a few of the many advantages of becoming a member of the valuable Crofton House Work Experience Program community:

  1. Primarily, as an employer, you can benefit from the opportunity to touch base with the next generation of employees who will populate your workplace. We often hear that their energy and enthusiasm are welcome additions to the environment, and that they are invaluable sources of feedback about resources and trends that are shaping their current teenage experience.  

  2. Additionally, you can be a witness to an essential growth process for students, and you can facilitate the learning environment in which it takes place, simply by being present and accessible. Students who reach you will be well researched in their area of interest. In an inquiry-driven education system, the world is their oyster - and they have selected you. Your company and career path has relevance with this new generation.  This is something to celebrate.

  3. You can guide students through day-to-day coping skills as they navigate a legitimate work day - from the basics of setting an alarm, waking on time, finding the best route to work (and navigating public transit and/or traffic) to hitting the wall at 2pm and requiring a mid-afternoon snack, or that second cup of coffee. Discussing the realism of the workplace and workforce is key. Some of the best learning takes place at break time, discussing the challenging aspects of the job.

  4. You can facilitate good employee-employer relationships by holding students accountable and responsible, reporting to a supervisor, checking in on task completion, and meeting set deadlines. You can assist them in making multitasking decisions in terms of completing one task while waiting for a response, or triaging which the items are of utmost importance and what can wait until tomorrow. In this way, you allow students to learn about time management and autonomy.

  5. You can model stylistic changes in spoken voice, tone, written communication, phone skills and email writing to demonstrate professionalism and competency while representing a company.  Just allowing them to be part of your environment, as an observer, can leave a lasting impression about your job and area of expertise.

  6. By working alongside you, you can help students make connections to what they learn in school, and the relevance of these particular subjects when set in a career framework.  

  7. You can help students make meaningful connections and understand the relationships that exist within the workplace.  Students can see, first-hand, different styles of leadership and community, as well as make note of workplace dynamics and diversity (or lack thereof).  

  8. By opening the door to your workplace, you can allow students to ask questions, wonder, and think about many things that otherwise would not be relevant, as school cannot provide the same stimulus.  Self confidence can soar when students are in touch with the real career world, empowering students to continue to reach for the top, and to know that their goals are attainable.

  9. Lastly, you can provide valuable experience for a resume. That’s right - lastly. You opening the door to this experience, just a crack, allows the metaphorical foot in the door. And although this will be excellent resume fodder, the reality is that the aforementioned skills you have allowed them to hone will have much more bearing and impact on a student than the resume blurb alone.

By participating in Work Experience Programs, additional media and public relations exposure are surefire bonuses. The real ace in the hole, though, lies in the experience, learning, and growth that you provide, as the key to deeper understanding of one’s self and her relationship to the career world.

Crofton House School will be celebrating 10 years of its Work Experience Program. Almost 500 girls have benefitted from the unique, structured 1-week opportunities that have been afforded to them up to three times throughout the year.  Through seminars, resume building, interview skills and follow-up reflections, Crofton House students are well prepared for the experience by being willing to observe, question, participate, and take on responsibility once designated.

Students, parents, and the wider community are all grateful for the many businesses that have opened their doors to create partnerships with CHS.  We are actively and continually seeking to add to our growing list of partners for the Crofton House School Work Experience Program, in all areas, particularly those in the increasingly popular area of STEM. We thank you in advance for considering creating an opportunity for a Work Experience Placement student with you and your company. If you are not located in Vancouver and cannot partner with Crofton House School, we strongly encourage you to investigate opportunities at another school in your district that offers a Work Experience Program.  As a wider community, supporting these opportunities demonstrates not only our professionalism, but our growth mindset, and our commitment to fostering opportunities that build character and resilience, along with experience - because more than ever, that’s what this generation needs.

For more information about the Crofton House Work Experience Program, or to get involved, please contact Janelle Caballero at jcaballero@croftonhouse.ca or 604-263-3255, ext. 7524

Posted by Stephanie Chow on Thursday November 15 at 10:40AM
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Time of Celebration

Posted by Stephanie Chow on Thursday November 8 at 02:53PM
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A Visit by Our Next Head of School

In September, the Board of Governors announced that Ena Harrop had been appointed as the next Head of Crofton House School, effective August 1, 2019.

Ena spent the week of October 22 at Crofton House meeting faculty, staff, students and members of the community, and starting to learn more about the School. As it was a school holiday in the UK, Ena’s husband, Glenn, and their three daughters were also able to come and explore Vancouver.

Ena visited classrooms in the ECE, Junior School and Senior School and was introduced to students at assemblies in each. Reflecting on her first week at CHS, Ena was extremely positive. “It’s been really fantastic. It’s a very warm, very close community and I’m very excited.”

Ena has long admired the Canadian education system, observing that the content and the structure of the curriculum allow more time and importance to be placed on “developing the learning skills of the individual and their own understanding of themselves and of others; in the end, these are what makes an individual successful.”

When talking about what drew her to Crofton House, she comments that “it is a girls’ school with values with which I could identify – creativity, citizenship and courage. Of course you want academic achievement, but you also want to build young women who are going to be able to face the life that is awaiting them.”

Ena will continue to work closely with Pat and the board to ensure a smooth transition and she and her family are very much looking forward to the move. In fact, Ena notes that “one of my children asked why we had to wait until September to come!”.

Posted by Stephanie Chow on Thursday November 8
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Autumn Fun

Posted by Stephanie Chow on Friday October 26 at 02:45PM
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Top Takeaways from the Whole Girl, Whole World Presentation

By Jody Harris, Parent and CHS Parents' Auxiliary Member

Parents and guests filled Manrell Hall for an evening with bestselling author Jessica Lahey as part of CHS and the Parents’ Auxiliary’s Whole Girl, Whole World speaker series. Her message was straightforward and powerful: if we don’t allow our children to experience setbacks and failure, we deprive them of the skills they need to thrive in school and in life. A robust discussion followed the presentation, with Lahey taking the time to answer and address each parent’s comments and questions.

At the core of Lahey’s message, and the foundation of her latest book The Gift of Failure, is the importance of intrinsic motivation for our children’s overall success and happiness. Intrinsic, or internal, motivation relies on feelings of engagement and pride in achievement; the sense that we have accomplished something difficult on our own. This type of motivation ultimately leads to increased success and improved performance according to the many studies on the topic. Similarly, evidence shows that extrinsic rewards, such as material rewards, like cash for good marks, undermine creativity and eventually lead to increased anxiety and diminished performance.

Intrinsic motivation requires three things in order to occur, says Lahey: autonomy, competence, and connection. Autonomy, she explained, is about giving some control over decisions to our children. These decisions can range from large to small, for instance letting children choose when to start their homework or whether or not to try out for a team. To illustrate, Lahey related an example from her own experience, one most parents could relate to. In it, she recalled watching her middle-school son neglect working on a big science fair project. Her instinct was to nag him to work on it, even help him complete it, but she resisted the urge and let him control how much effort he put into it. The result was predictable in that not only did he face the prospect of a poor mark, which was bad enough, but he had to suffer the embarrassment and bad luck of spending an entire day situated next to a fellow student’s project, complete with holograms, that could only be described as “next level.” The experience was difficult for him, but he learned from it and never repeated the mistake.

The development of competence, often confused with confidence, is another characteristic that is extremely important to our daughters’ well being. Competence, Lahey explained, is the knowledge that we are capable of achieving things, perhaps not at the moment, but that with effort and time, we will be. Confidence, meanwhile, is knowing that a task can be completed successfully. It’s subtle, but it’s the difference between doing well on a test you study for, versus getting a hundred percent on a test that you were given the answers to. Competence comes from a focus on the process of learning, the hard work and studying, and less on the result. Remind your girls, Lahey advises, that it’s okay not to know it all at first, or be good at something when they just start, but that they will get it eventually, with effort. This advice echoes a lesson we hear frequently here at Crofton House School: it isn’t that you can’t do it, it’s that you can’t do it yet. When we push our children to go outside their comfort zone, they learn more and enter what Lahey calls a “growth mindset,” a state where they are comfortable trying something new despite the fear of failure because a challenge is no longer seen as a potential opportunity to fail, but an opportunity to grow.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Lahey stressed how important connection is with our daughters. Having spent the day with our girls, and talking and exchanging emails with them, she spoke with the crowd of some of the feelings that were expressed to her. The good news: they are happy. The bad news: they are anxious. Some of the concerns expressed to her included fears of being loved less if they did poorly at school, of not being able to try new things, and of being overly managed. Lahey reminded the audience that when parents shield their children from setbacks, we communicate a message that we love them more when they succeed. And it’s understandable, she says, because we love them and want to protect them, but we must resist that urge to cushion their every stumble and fall. They are strong enough to withstand setbacks and they build resilience when they struggle and challenge.

Posted by Stephanie Chow on Friday October 26
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Hello Fall

Posted by Stephanie Chow on Friday October 12
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Future Design School Professional Development Session

By Wendy Macken, Assistant Director, Junior School

The Redesigned BC Curriculum brought the concept of design thinking to the forefront for BC educators. Specifically, the Applied Design, Skills and Technology curriculum (ADST) provides a platform for students to grow and learn through the use of the design thinking principles (BC Ministry of Education, 2018). To support teachers with this new learning, Crofton House School recently welcomed Future Design School for a day of exploration, inquiry and practical learning. Through the application of the design thinking framework, teachers came ready to ‘hack’ an upcoming unit with an objective to embed future ready skills. Units were selected based on opportunities to apply real-world connections, such as entrepreneurship, global and future vision, as well as  environmental awareness and stewardship. Our facilitators, Arianna Lambert and Rachel Franks were passionate, articulate and well informed. Their energy and enthusiasm for design thinking as a tool for educational transformation was evident and this high energy duo kept our group motivated and focused throughout.

The design thinking framework offers adopters an opportunity to re-imagine and redesign outcomes and experiences centred on the needs and perspectives of the user - in our case, the learners. Used widely in the design and business world, this framework is surprisingly versatile and can be applied to a diverse range of problems and experiences. FDS empowers educators to leverage design thinking to deeply understand their students and create meaningful learning experiences incorporating rich opportunities to develop the skills and mindset needed for the future.

Our day comprised of a number of key stages as we worked through the design thinking framework to re-imagine a learning experience for our students.

  1. Unpacking the Problem: Developing How Might We Questions

  2. User Discovery: Uncovering the unique needs of our students and summarizing our design challenge for the day

  3. Ideation: Developing ideas for learning experiences in our classroom

  4. Critiques: Gathering feedback on our ideas from our peers

  5. Design Thinking & PBL: Using design as a framework for inquiry-driven, project-based learning

  6. Iteration & Prototyping: Putting it all together using process maps

  7. Sharing our ideas and gathering feedback from peers

Teachers worked on a range of topics including our middle school discovery experience, reimagining our after school programming, as well as increased community connections for our ECE students. Time was taken throughout the day to share our initial ideations and process maps, fueling rich discussion and providing opportunities for meaningful feedback. We look forward to sharing more about how this work unfolds.

Ideation Boards - silent feedback

Ideation board - group sharing

Process map - sharing and feedback

Posted by Stephanie Chow on Tuesday October 9 at 03:37PM
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Starting the Year Off Strong

Posted by Stephanie Chow on Friday September 28 at 02:00PM
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