Coming back from the holidays, we were all tired, but happy to be home. I had a great time in Paris with some friends and visited a few museums. We went shopping and spent a lot of time walking around the city. Even though, as an IB student, I had a lot of work to do for school and a few exams, I still tried to have some fun before going back to studying. I’m a bit scared, but happy to be back at the boarding house and at school.
We use our electronics in every part of our lives – whether at work or in our free time. However, it is the imbalance of use in our free time that can then cause issues. Who is guilty of being with friends but still checking their phone and sending messages; Or watching Netflix but sneaking in a game of Candy Crush; Or ignoring the moment in favour of getting the best picture for Instagram. Addiction is a strong word, but obsession may be more appropriate in these scenarios.
We want the students to think about the following points;
Are you conscious of how much time you spend on your phone?
Who really wins by you spending more and more time on your apps?
Here is a video that has been made by the Student Advocate Group.
This is a picture from the exhibition of art for grade 12. The artworks that are showcased and which I am working on in AP are focused to portray childhood and telling a story of my brother living with an invisible friend. I was able to work with different mediums and techniques like digital art apps, charcoal, and monoprints and that made the overall process exciting.
I see art as a great way for people to express themselves, that is why I decided to take up this AP course. It also was a great opportunity for me to make my ideas real and create anything I wanted.
When my artworks were showcased I was worried if they would look good enough in front of others, but it made me realize how everyone is different and tells a unique story which makes it more interesting. I was also proud of having the opportunity I haven’t experienced before.
In the future, I am planning to do many more artworks using other techniques as well as and I am very excited about that.
Students are not able to open Insta, TikTok, Youtube etc, without being bombarded by the Life of Influencers. It has been glamorised and normalised as an aspirational pursuit to have 1000s of followers, likes and comments.
We want the students to think about the following points;
What is our true reason for posting our pictures, videos etc online?
Why do we think society now values followers, likes and comments on someone’s post as a measure of their success?
You can create or design your Wellbeing Session in whatever way suits your house. Or below are some resources you can use.
Here is a video that has been made by the Student Advocate Group. It may prompt a discussion which you can then use for your own students to share their thoughts.
A few of our girls were lucky enough to receive tickets for a lovely classical concert on Friday evening, with the lead solo violinist from Ukraine and with the artistic leadership of the world-renowned violinist Renaud Capuçon. The concert took place at Victoria Hall in Geneva.
The girls said they had an amazing time at the concert and treated themselves to some Starbucks.
Our next pillar is online safety below are the takeaway points for this pillar
What You Send in “That Moment When … “
When we think we are being funny or witty or purposefully insensitive towards someone else’s post or picture- are we really aware of the potential harm or hurt we can cause. Being honest is important, but is there such a thing as being too honest? Comments or actions can easily escalate online when we can hide behind our screens. When is it cyberbullying?
2) Your Online Life
My Social Media Life
For most students being on some form of social media is a great way of staying connected with friends, sharing moments and keeping up to date. But it can also mean big-time distractions, over sharing, social pressures, and more. How can we navigate this?
3) Online Wellbeing
Can going online be Addictive?
The word “addiction” has a big meaning behind it. Research is inconclusive on whether it’s truly accurate when it comes to digital device use. What’s certain, however is when we use our apps, the companies are profiting from it. Most of the apps we use are designed to keep us hooked. What is the right balance?
Friendships are vital for our wellbeing and in them we create some of the most powerful bonds we can experience throughout our existence. But with that term, which is friendship, there come many broad meanings to it, that can mean different things to different people. Our overall being can impact the way we view and experience that friendship. Most of the typical friendships are formed through:
People you know and with who you have a mutual affection.
A sense of connection, companionship, support, and understanding.
Sharing time, experiences, and confidences.
Give and take such that sharing is, perceived to be a two way street.
Benefits of Healthy Friendships
Connecting with other people is one of the most urgent impulses of us humans. With examples of life experience and research, having a life with the inclusion of friends helps makes us better adjusted in life. Having healthy friends helps to deal against negative mental health outcomes. Friendships improve our confidence and self-worth, help us cope with serious life events or trauma like break-ups, illness, or losing a job, improve our feeling of belonging and encourage us to avoid unhealthy behaviors or change them when it comes to numeros things in life.
Toxic or Unhealthy Friendships
While close friendships often serve in order to bring usz positive, protective, and healthy feelings, some friendships can have the opposite effect causing antagonism, conflict, and inequality in ourselves and the overall friendship. These relationships are considered toxic, unhealthy for our us. Examples of toxic friendships include:
Encouraging harmful behavior.
Having an unbalanced relationship or a relationship that’s a one-way street (all give, no take or all take and no give)
Continuing to think and repeatedly talk about shared worries, wounds, or challenges, with no solution or alleviation.
Tips for Supporting Friends
Connect Regularly ( message or even a simple call)
Share your own struggles in order to make them like they have someone.
Know when they need help
Take care of yourself ( Don’t forget to also take care of yourself while supporting your friend)
The boarders all went to Crans Montana this weekend for a lovely little getaway.
The girls had fun skiing and snowboarding, they enjoyed the town of Crans Montana and the city of Sion as well as an escape room!
We are now in the second week of our third well being pillar which focuses on boundaries.
Boundaries! Why are they so important in building positive relationships.
We know….when you think of boundaries you think it’s a rule or a block to stop someone from doing something. Perhaps you think boundaries are a great way of keeping someone out of your life or getting closer. We want you to take this concept and turn it on its head. Boundaries are a great way of creating a very open, honest, and positive relationship. Please look at the video to find out more 🙂
We all watched this video during our weekly house meeting and had a really enlightening conversation with the girls. They seem to understand the importance of having boundaries and also enforcing said boundaries. We hope you also give it a watch and maybe learn a few things.
From all of us at New Portena we wish you a happy holiday season and a refreshing holiday and we look forward to welcoming you back in the new year. It has been a wild year filled with lots of learning and joy ❤️
We will miss you girls a lot and hope you enjoy the time you can spend with your family and friends!
Shout out to our New Portena Super stars who received awards tonight Sayuri, Rei and Zoya for boarding life. Sakura(not pictured) Cora and Coco for their participation and effort in activities. Rei, Bice and Nastya for their hard work at school and their excellence in academics.
The Girls were under some stress because of the amount of summarises they had in the last 2 – 3 weeks but it is now time to leave that all behind. We hope they have a wonderful and restful break because they honestly deserve it.
Yesterday a lot of our new Portena girls volunteered to help the lake Geneva Cleanup project. They were there to help with setting up the equipment and tents for divers and volunteers that would be the ones actually cleaning the lake. Here are some pics from the day.
Pillar 1 of our wellbeing programme in CDL is Nurturing healthy bodies and minds. One of the takeaway points from this pillar is “How important is sleep?”. We find it a crucial topic for the students to explore when discovering how to take care of themselves and how they can maintain a healthy body and mind.
The teenage years are a formative period. The brain and body experience significant development, and the transition to adulthood brings important changes that affect emotions, personality, social and family life, and academics. Sleep is essential during this time, working behind the scenes to allow teens to be at their best. Unfortunately, research indicates that many teens get far less sleep than they need. Sleep is vital for people of any age. For teens, though, profound mental, physical, social, and emotional development requires quality sleep.
During one of our Boarding House assemblies, we asked each girl the effects that can be caused from lack of sleep, and how it can impact many areas of our lives? We got a lot of good answers and have condensed it into this poster. Enjoy!
This weekend our lovely ladies went to the Leysin Mountain weekend with all the boarders. It was a full weekend of fun where they did a range of activities from acrobranching and castle visits to mountain biking and Hiking.
We are now entering the second week of the first Pillar of our wellbeing programme – Nurturing Healthy Bodies and Minds.
One of the takeaway points from this pillar is “How important is sleep?”. We find it a crucial topic for the students to explore when discovering how to take care of themselves and how they can maintain a healthy body and mind.
During our Boarding House assemblies this week, we will be talking to the students about the effects that can be caused from lack of sleep, and how it can impact many areas of our lives.
Lack of sleep reduces focus and it will make it more difficult for student’s to learn. Studies have shown that poor quality sleep, or not enough sleep, can lead poor organisational skills, a decrease in mood or behaviour, reduced attention span and even memory loss. We would like to outline the importance of sleep to our students so that they are fully prepared and they give themselves the best opportunity possible to achieve their full potential – in all aspects of their lives. Allowing the brain the sufficient amount of time to rest and recover means we give ourselves the best chance to succeed.
Also throughout this pillar, we are running a Daily Fitness Challenge across our Boarding Community. This is to encourage our students to get active, have fun and take their minds off things that may be causing them stress. The participation, competitiveness and enthusiasm the students have shown so far has been fantastic and we hope to see this continue throughout September with even more students taking part. Please find some photos below from the challenge so far…..
We had our very first movie night of the year. We have a movie jar which was filled with 3 movie ideas by each of the girls. We watch whatever is pulled from the jar.
Defne A was the first to pick a movie and she pulled out Jumanji.
We made some popcorn, s’mores and hot chocolate for the big event and gathered together for the movie.
We would like to formally welcome Ana Sofia aka Molina to our boarding house. She taught us a new card game and we taught her our very strict uno rules. She already fits in so well and we are really happy she has joined us.
On Wednesday, we came face to face with Leman in the basketball tournament. We dodged, dribbled, passed, scored and sweated, but sadly not enough to come home with a victory. Our girls played hard and well, and we are proud of them taking part in these tournaments.
We have one more tournament to go, let’s see how we match up against Olympus!
Tonight, all houses took part in an EPIC competition to find out who had the best general knowledge. We came a respectable 4th place, to Villa Du Lac’s 1st place, Leman One’s 2nd Place, and Megard’s 3rd place. Well done to Ghida and Sabine for representing New Portena and all houses. And thank you for a fun, friendly and competitive tournament.
Bonus Question: How many bones Sharks have? (Scroll for the answer!)
Answer: none, their skeleton is made out of cartilage!
The holy month of Ramadan has come to an end and the Muslim community is all geared up to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr. The religious festival is celebrated on the first day of the month of Shawwal, on which people do not observe fast on this day. Eid is usually celebrated a day after the crescent moon sighting in Saudi Arabia, which is considered sacrosanct
Observed by the Muslim community around the world, on this day, loved ones come together to break the fast. Not only that, on this day people express gratitude and pray to Allah for everything they have. They wake up early in the morning, dress up wearing new clothes and wish their loved one
Congratulations to Sakura who came runner-up in Day 9 of the May Fitness Challenge- How many cartwheels can you do without stopping? Sakura aced this challenge by doing 50 cartwheels! Well done as well to Elise and Bianka who got 20 and 25 respectively.
‘Making Safe and Responsible Choices’: Last Wednesday, we sat down in groups and discussed the positive and negative consequences of different decisions. We discussed topics surrounding; smoking and vaping; sexual activity; bullying online and in person; judging others online; underage drinking; not following your dreams.
We were very impressed with the answers and comments the girls gave us and hope they will put into practice these types of pros and cons mentally before making risky decisions.
Second week of our Pillar 5: Making safe and responsible choices.
The discus-sion points of week 2 will be around:
The ESSENCE of teen brain and the science behind decision making process.
The objectives are to :
Debunk some of the most misleading and disempowering myths around adolescence
Explore how changes in brain structure during adolescence are just part of anatural, innate and healthy development which simply prepares teens for grown-up life
Being aware of this process and honouring this unique and fascinating moment in our life, can help teens and adults (caregivers) alike to support each other
Explore how the awareness of upsides and downsides of the different cardinal features of adolescence can help our kids to develop a fully integrated mind,and reduce and contain the risks of harm and serious injuries. At the same timethis awareness can help educators (and parents) to bring a more empathic andcompassionate approach when interacting with, looking after and guiding ado-lescents during these tumultuous years.
On Sunday, we went to lovely Morges, a lovely town on the edge of Lake Geneva. Created to mark the 50th anniversary of the Vaud Horticultural Society in 1971, the Tulip Festival continues to delight the many annual visitors from Switzerland and abroad.
Our girls profited from the lovely weather and long days by going to Geneva either on Friday night or Sunday. Everyone enjoyed spending time by our beautiful lake surrounded by the wonderful mountains.
Bianka took full advantage of our beautiful weather and surroundings, by going to relax by the lake and even went for a swim! The lake was 10 degrees Celsius and Bianka felt the benefits!
Benefits of swimming in cold water:
1. It boosts your immune system
The effects of cold water on the immune system have been studied widely. Cold water helps to boost the white blood cell count because the body is forced to react to changing conditions. Over time, your body becomes better at activating its defences.
2. It makes you happier
Cold water swimming activates endorphins. This chemical is what the brain produces to make us feel good during activities. Cold water swimming is also a form of exercise, and exercise has been proven to treat depression. Cold water swimming brings us close to the pain barrier. Endorphins are released when we’re in pain, to help us cope with it.
3. It improves your circulation
Cold water swimming flushes your veins, arteries, and capillaries. It forces blood to the surface and helps to warm our extremities. Repeated exposure adapts us to the cold.
4. It burns calories
The heart has to pump faster in cold water and the body must work harder to keep everything warm while swimming. Overall, far more calories are burned during cold water swimming than swimming in warmer conditions. The idea that drinking cold water increases the number of calories you burn may be a myth, but it is a fact that cold water decreases your body temperature so much that the body must act.
5. It reduces stress
Cold water swimming places stress on the body physically and mentally. Many studies have identified the link between cold water and stress reduction. Cold water swimmers become calmer and more relaxed.
There are many disadvantages of sharing personal information online. The biggest disadvantage is that we do not fully understand privacy on the Internet. Although people think that they’re accounts are private, do we really know how private they are and how different organisations use our information ? For example, social media doesn’t provide much privacy protection for the users. They watch users and see what kind of things they put into their profiles and what interests them, through their interactions.
In addition, sharing personal information online will expose all of your privacy and can be used by people with ulterior motives. When using the Internet, people can steal your personal information. When you post things like your name, birthday, credit card number and your place of residence online, there will be a risk of your information being used by others and what they can and will do with this.
For this Pillar’s Community Project (Online Safety), we have separated the girls into 5 teams. Each team must come up with a post, either a photo, video or combination of both, and post it onto their social media accounts. After a week, we will see which team has the most interactivity from their followers and others (interactivity includes: views, likes, comments and shares). Whoever has the most wins a special prize at the end of the week! We hope this challenge allows the girls to think twice before posting as they will be able to see how easy it is to get things to go ‘viral’/ seen by other people, including people they never met!!
Good luck girls! May the most creative and best team win.
In tonight’s house assembly, we explored social media and how what we post can effect many different aspects in our current and future lives. We asked the girls questions which they had to answer with ‘yes’, ‘no’, or ‘I don’t know’ showing their answers on a piece of card. We then discussed the answers to gain a better understanding surrounding each topic and question. It was great to hear and see the girls responses. We hope this session was inspirational and educational.
Today, we celebrate International Women’s Day. It is a focal point in the movement for women’s rights. Each year there is a different theme, this year we are choosing to challenge stereotypes and bias.
‘Little Girls With Dreams Become Women With Vision’
This weekend has been packed full of activities! For the first time in months, the girls were allowed in Geneva which made them all very happy. Today some girls went on a trip to the Alimentarium in Vevey whilst others went skiing in Verbier!
Today both Marianne and Sakura spent some time helping the young boys in Champ De Bois, they took them for a walk and read to them. They both had a lovely time and the boys enjoyed have some extra playmates.
During our house-meeting we addressed the subject of peer-pressure, which is a common phenomenon amongst youngsters. Negative impulses can come from friends, classmates and social media, and can effect our decision making and behaviour. Smoking, vaping, drinking, conformism are just a few of the worrisome results of peer-pressure.
It’s very important to learn about independent decision making, and peer resistance skills in order to avoid peer pressure. It’s also essential that the students have confidence and trust in their adult caregivers and therefore, if and when, they experience peer pressure, we encourage them talk about it and ask for help.
In order to celebrate the end of the year before the vacation, we enjoyed a nice and bright winter dinner in school. The cafeteria was transformed for the occasion and it was absolutely stunning!! Everyone made an effort to be well dressed and prepared.
We all had a good moment while keeping our usual precautions, as we were sitting by house, what we’re doing for a while already.
Tonight we had the great honor to give medals to the winners of the award ceremony. We were rewarding the students for their participation in the boarding life, their participation in activities, and for their good academic results.
Unfortunately, we were missing some girls (Alison, Cherry, Yvonne) but we keep their medals and we will give them to them on their return.
Congratulations to Sabine and Bianka for the boarding life award and Ghida for her best academics achievement for GR11 / IB1!
And then we ate the “chocolate marmite” broken according to the Swiss tradition!
It represents a battle between French and Swiss people where the Swiss citizens defended themselves by throwing boiling soup onto the invaders.
The CDL Make A Difference Society (MADS) and the Parent Faculty Association (PFA) are teaming up to support the Partage food bank this year. Partage is a Geneva-based, hunger-fighting charity, which supports thousands of fortunate individuals and families each week with 3 main goals:
Social: helping those in a precarious situation and fighting hunger
Economic: providing professional rehabilitation for job seekers
Ecological: reducing food waste while maintaining a small ecological footprint
During these difficult times, it was nice to see Elise jump at the opportunity to help others. This was her individual project for the Wellbeing Pillar 2, celebrating diversity and combating against bullying.
Bianka was craving a typical Slovak dish and she wanted to share a typical dish from her country to promote diversity. Sakura, her roommate, helped her and learnt the cultural fact from a completely different country. They embrace together the art of cooking.
Some of our girls helped packing and carrying boxes for the gift box appeal as part of their individual project for this Wellbeing Pillar, which is celebrating diversity and combating against bullying.
This appeal is aimed at helping children learn about giving to others not as fortune as they are. The timing links well with the UN “Rights of the Child Day” on 20th November. A number of schools use the appeal to show that poverty is not so far away and help students to understand how others live. This is a non religious and purely humanitarian appeal. The Gift Boxes get sent to needy children in Eastern Europe children who have never had a gift, many living in unbelievable poverty. In the boxes are special treats, sweets and toys, provide toiletries and especially school needs, so helping them attend school with items not provided by the state.
This wellbeing pillar is all about celebrating diversity and protecting against bullying. Therefore, New Portena joined 2 primary boys in their a cappella singing activity. The aim was to give the students a different experience, trying something new, whilst providing support to the youngest members of boarding.
The teacher prepared a tailor-made session aiming to have a constructive exchange between students of different ages. We hoped us joining the activity helped to boost the boys confidence as well as allowed our girls to experience diverse moment out of their usual weekly routine.
This Sunday the girls took part in various activities in the house, taking time away from their books, laptops and phones. This is practicing habits learnt from the wellbeing pillar 1; healthy minds and bodies.
As you know not all the girls were able to fly home for the break. However, we try to make our best to keep healthy, fit, positive and happy. And what is the best for our wellbeing? Home made healthy snacks 🙂
Last night, we watched ‘The Great Gatsby’ starring Leonardo DiCaprio. A film request made by Mary as she is studying the book in English classes. We love when we mix education and entertainment! Our movie snack were cut up pieces of apple, bananas and pears.
Note: we do not have to wear masks in the house as we are a ‘family’.
“Nick Carraway, a World War I veteran who moves to New York with the hope of making it big, finds himself attracted to Jay Gatsby and his flamboyant lifestyle.”
We are very proud of Ghida and Alison who took the initiative of taking part in cleaning the lake! What a great way to spend a cloudy Sunday afternoon participating in this action launched some years ago.