Back 24 November, 2023

Community and belonging at Carey Baptist Grammar School

Community can mean many things to many people. In the past, community was local and often geographic. However, these days, the idea of community has shifted, and we now also see people take part more in global and digital communities.

Regular contact with in-person communities remains so important for our wellbeing and the development of our children, and the strength and connectedness of the Carey community is one of the most special aspects of the School.

While Carey is a big school with students from three-year-old kindergarten to Year 12, we are regularly surrounded by the same group of people with a shared interest and goal – the education and empowerment of Carey students – and with a range of shared values and beliefs. We come together both in times of need and times of celebration.

One of the five strategic priorities we launched at Carey in 2023 is ‘A connected community’. In this priority we seek to build and strengthen community connections to promote a sense of belonging, utilise our rich resources and strong partnerships to enhance our learning programs and operations, and support the development and success of our students as tomorrow’s thinkers, leaders and changemakers.

There are many communities at Carey that bring with them rich resources for our students, staff, parents and alumni while still providing a traditional sense of community, including:
– student communities, where students join interest and passion groups such as the environmental group and social justice group and build relationships with like-minded peers
– staff communities, formed through shared dedication and passion for educating and empowering our students
– parent communities, established through parent associations and school-wide community groups where our passionate parents support Carey’s extensive co-curricular program through events and support networks
– alumni communities, where Carey alumni connect with their peers as part of the Old Carey Grammarians Association and can participate in business and career sessions, reunions and social impact endeavours to create positive impacts on other communities.

The benefits of being part of communities like these at Carey are innumerable, but include the sense of belonging, understanding and support provided; the opportunity to pursue interests and passions with peers; being part of a network of professionals with an interest in providing advice and mentoring; increased morale amongst teams of staff, cohorts of students and groups of parents or alumni; and the chance to learn and develop together.

Wendy Seidler, Director of the Early Learning Centre (ELC) at Carey’s Kew campus, says that many prospective families and other professionals often ask her, “What is special about Carey’s ELC?”.

Wendy says that one of the standouts – “as well as excellence in teaching, educational opportunities and the forward-thinking and innovative approach,” she says – is the sense of community.

“In our ELC we go out of our way to ensure every person experiences a strong sense of belonging. It is consistent, safe and secure – there for the long haul, as evidenced by the saying, ‘Once a part of the Carey family, always a part of the Carey family’.”

In the ELC, there are many instances, small and big, throughout the year, that encourage the children to feel a part of and safe in this community. One example of this is the annual performance the Year 7 students create for the ELC children, which Wendy says makes them “feel like royalty and is always such a joy to be involved in, especially as we get to see many of the Year 7s who attended the ELC themselves.”

Carey is a strong community and connections within Carey between the year levels are so valuable, as it teaches the children that they are a part of something bigger. This is the cycle of our community – those same students will eventually become part of our engaged alumni community, and many return as parents of children who continue the cycle, experiencing and benefitting from the many connections and communities at Carey.

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