Whether it be forming new friendships, joining co-curricular activities, reducing travel time, or building upon independence, the short-stay program at Toorak College’s boarding house proves to be a beneficial option for girls and parents leading busy work-life schedules.
After witnessing the success of our Year 8 boarding experience program—involving Year 8 students joining the boarding house for a week throughout the school year—there are now increased opportunities for students to become fully integrated with all the School has to offer.
Caralyn Dea, Head of International Education and Boarding at Toorak College, sheds light on the current landscape of boarding in Australia. “Education is Australia's third largest export and Toorak remains one of the most highly sought after schools for girls in Australia”, she says.
Not only are we at our maximum capacity for full time boarding students, but we also see an increasing number of local girls who frequently board with us in a short-stay capacity. Thus, Toorak College is bucking the Australian trend of declining boarding numbers.
How does short-stay boarding best assist your busy schedule as well as your child’s wellbeing?
Assisting in the busyness of life
In today's age, our society seems to operate in an ever-present state of busyness. Whilst this encourages students to develop necessary time management skills and the ability to manage tasks flexibly and efficiently, it can also be a demanding time for both students and parents. In The New York Times, sociologist Mary Blair-Loy suggests that a busy work-life schedule is “not an individual problem, it is a social problem. This is creating a stress for working parents that is affecting life at home and for children, and we need a societal-wide response.” In 2015, studies showed that more than half of all working parents said balancing this lifestyle is too difficult. Since then, studies suggest a skyrocket in this percentage. With the increasing demand on parents to fulfil workplace, personal, and domestic duties, short-stay boarding at Toorak is a positive option to support you and your child during those busy times to calm stress and get back into balance.
Easing transport frustrations
A major benefit of boarding, is that transportation is no longer needed when life is on campus. No more car-pooling! No more back and forth school runs! Boarding on campus significantly reduces unnecessary travel time, which, in turn, increases time for the more important things in life such as family connection and much needed time for rest and relaxation.
This is also majorly beneficial for students who participate in co-curricular activities. Local students, Chelsea Gittins and Sophie Dahlenburg, were able to experience the benefits of short-stay boarding while they boarded temporarily throughout 2019. Both students’ after school commitments were still upheld and supported during their stays as they were driven to external co-curricular activities such as tennis lessons and cadets, by boarding house staff.
Building strong friendships
Socialising and feeling supported by friends is incredibly important developmentally, particularly during adolescence. Whilst team sports, House events, and other school activities build cohesion and lasting friendships between students, short-stay boarding is a unique, unparalleled program which truly establishes meaningful connections.
Teenage friendships are vitally important and should not be underestimated for the role they play in personal growth. Boarding involves broader social opportunities. This promotes the development of cooperative, trusting and supportive relationships with peers which often translates into skills for leadership, teamwork, and effective communication with others.
A global world
Living in a globalising world prompts the fundamental need for youth to collaborate and build stronger relationships with others. Although it is strongly encouraged that the relationships between local and international students continue to grow, it is also essential for students to extend their relational connections beyond their immediate friendship group and into the broader community of Toorak, and the local community. This not only prepares your daughter with a more worldly and informed perspective of others, increasing empathy and understanding, and life beyond school, but is also of large benefit to her within her schooling.
Year 11 Australian boarder, Sophie Guinness, has boarded at Toorak over the past two years. By boarding with predominantly international students, Sophie says she has gained a broader perspective about the world, socio-cultural norms, and how to communicate ideas and understanding with others from different backgrounds. This is a fundamental building block that strengthens student’s cultural awareness, sensitivity and inclusivity, essential within our globalising world. Students develop a strong sense of belonging and a valued identity throughout their schooling and within society, which is important for their social and emotional wellbeing.
Caralyn Dea hosted Toorak’s first International Alumni Event in China earlier this year, which saw past international boarders and students celebrate their schooling journey with Toorak. Toorak’s growing engagement with diverse cultures, international students and opportunities abroad, is an exciting reflection of a globalising world.
Stepping out of the comfort zone
Toorak is largely about inspiring our students to take responsible risks in which they can build confidence and character to dream, dare and do. Researcher of best-selling parenting novel, Jodi Richardson, who has more than 25 years experience in wellbeing and education, encourages parents to empower their children to build emotional resilience. The short-stay boarding program enables students to thrive in a supportive environment, whilst also taking ownership of their learning and responsibilities. It supports students to be involved in the broader aspects of the School by staying on campus and being able to easily attend the rich array of opportunities and co-curricular activities on offer at Toorak.
Our co-curricular landscape spans across sports, arts, performing arts, music, debating and more. Having the opportunity to engage in these co-curricular activities improves student's emotional and mental wellbeing by extending them from their comfort zones, empowering them to build a stronger sense of self-confidence in their abilities, and easily then to build a growth mindset.
Ranging from weekly or nightly stays, boarding is always there as an option for busy parents and ambitious young individuals. It is a dynamic, unique opportunity with countless advantages for young women now and in the future!
Discover what makes Toorak College unique by attending our small group tours and prospective parent information evenings. Enrolments now open!