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Preparing for the weather…come what may!

Recently, I spent some time visiting the lovely Victorian high country to relax at Falls Creek. I was overwhelmed by the beauty of a place carved out over time by the elements, and after standing on the tallest point near where we were staying, I couldn’t help but feel completely immersed in the natural environment. I could feel the wind in my hair and the sun on my skin; I could hear the bird calls and touch the flora and fauna around me. And, as a career English teacher, the metaphors start flowing…and across that week, so did the extremes of the weather!

It dawned on me how prepared the village is for their core business – snow season! Floors are heated, windows are glazed and protected by wire to hold back the weight of the snow, road markings are yellow, a terminal exists for car parking, and unique transport gets people in when the roads are buried under the ski fields! They know what’s coming in the Winter and are absolutely prepared for it! But they also need to keep profitable in the Summer and have catered for mountain bikes, hiking, and other outdoorsy stuff!

I couldn’t help but think of all of the times I have spoken with school teams about the climate in their learning environments. As school leaders and parents, we support teachers to be ready for any weather pattern that might roll in during their core business – the gentle breeze that moves the Maths lesson along, the tsunami of excitement about the Science experiment, the storm clouds and hail that follow a falling out in a friendship group, the avalanche that swallows up the whole day when something very unexpected causes a landslide, the gentle rain that waters the growth of our little seeds of learning and emotion, and the heat of friction when students inquire and learn through frustration!

We also know that in any environment, human beings can influence how to respond to the changing weather and impact the larger contributing factors that underpin the climate. They can throw a proverbial match on the dry hinterland that starts a raging fire. They can build a dam that floods the surrounding valley. They can introduce recycling systems to counteract the impact of waste. They can invent new technology that reduces carbon emissions. They can introduce policies and procedures that serve the environment or mine the heck out of it!

So, when we think about school culture, we are talking about the collective noun for the behaviours we most want to see – we are talking about creating the conditions for all learners to grow and survive the world around them.

What policies and procedures do you establish to contribute to a high-quality learning environment? What inventions have you stumbled upon to reduce environmental damage or enhance the existing environment? What stored responses do you have to respond to a change in the weather pattern? What mitigation strategies have you got for dealing with sudden weather changes or ensuring that the insurance policy covers any damages and allows repair after the harm? How are you contributing to the sustainability and growth of the seedlings you are responsible for during the learning process?

I challenge you to dance in the rain and talk with your colleagues, students and parents/carers about how to create the best possible climate that meets the needs of your community to flourish and thrive and be set up for whatever the weather throws at them every single day!