Torch - Fall 2015

Heads’ Message

Here are two examples to consider:

overwhelmed, what individual fortitude and group resolve were further strengthened?

culture and a complex social experience. One example is the adventure last June that took a group of students to Nicaragua to build a school—a trip similar to the Costa Rica and South Africa excursions happening this year. In this environment, our girls developed a perspective not available at home and acquired new skills and insights every day in order to achieve their individual and group goals. If you read the excursion blog at the time (, you’ll remember this scene: “The girls worked in small groups through all of the various tasks on the job site under the watchful and patient tutelage of our local construction crew. They were laying brick, sifting, tying rebar, splitting cinderblocks, etc.”What did each girl need to call on within herself to achieve mastery? How did she help her team to finish their task? When exhausted or

In our newly developed Grade 3 to 6 leadership excursion to the Mansfield Outdoor Centre, our younger students head outdoors to face a series of initiative challenges and group dynamics. This customized initiative and leadership development program was designed by a team of faculty representatives in the Junior School working closely with the outdoor education experts at Mansfield. The program immerses students in new and unexpected experiences that help them develop a shared practice and vocabulary of leadership. This shared language and understanding is then used throughout the year as a framework for Havergal’s ongoing emphasis on initiative, collaboration and challenge. A second illustration lies at the other end of the spectrum: the international excursions that immerse our students in a foreign

Whether in Grade 3 or Grade 12, each of these trips pushed our girls to a new limit. You can see that as they grow older, our excursions offer increasing autonomy and complexity so that students are always faced with age-appropriate challenges. A woman who makes a difference in the world draws on the values of integrity, inquiry, courage and compassion. These values are developed through understanding, reflection and opportunities for action. In other words, when our students live our school values, it is a form of practice—a way of doing built upon a way of being. Excursions provide the real-world, unscripted experiences needed to rehearse and apply the values that underlie each girl’s unique leadership mindset and voice.

Grade 3 Mansfield Outdoor Learning Centre excursion


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