Living away from home is a big step for everyone, but these four young Wenona students have taken things in their stride as they joined Wenona's boarding community this year.
Eleanor Wyndham, Year 10, hails from Scone and is loving the friendliness and structure boarding provides for students.
"Boarding has given me a sense of stability in the academic field. The solid structure to afternoons is different from what I was familiar with, and I am already able to recognize how I have benefitted from regularly completing homework. Of course, some things still stress me out, but this is one less thing to worry about because I know I have set time to get all my academic work done."
Valeri Choi and Sophia Li come from Hong Kong, and are taking advantage of a range of music, drama and sport activities. Living onsite allows boarders to participate in many extra-curricular activities offered before and after the school day, including water sports at nearby Balmoral, which allows students to try sailing, kayaking and paddleboarding in a recreational setting.
And while the Boarding House has some (necessary) rules, Sophia recognises their value. "Boarding has a lot of restrictions, but the restrictions are helpful to me in terms of achieving a healthy sleep schedule." Valerie agrees. "The rules in the boarding house help me become more disciplined and develop a healthy schedule in my life."
Lucy Heagney, from Dubbo, feels duties such as making her bed every morning really help with being organised and developing independence. She too has embraced her new life, especially because the small size of the Boarding House of 48 boarders encourages connection with girls of all ages. "A really wonderful thing about the Boarding House is that it's small, so it's easy to get to know everyone. The older girls are so easy to talk to and the boarding staff are so helpful and do their best to make you feel as comfortable as possible."
Eleanor has joined Wenona's Environmental and Busking Clubs, Stage Band and Rock Band. And she has found other Wenonians who plays electric guitar, and who share her passion for music! "I am looking forward to my musical career here at Wenona, and creating many memories."
Wenona's Head of Boarding Nonie Ayling takes great pride in the close friendships in the Boarding House. "I take pleasure in seeing the strength and warmth of our interactions here and the way in which the older girls nurture the younger students." She also believes participating in a range of social and sporting activities, as well as Wenona's close proximity to Sydney, serves to enhance each student's boarding experience. "It's definitely a very special community," she says.
Set on more than 169 acres of Southern Highlands countryside is The King's School, Tudor House, a boarding primary school where children grow their boarding wings.
A campus of The King's School, Australia's oldest independent school, Tudor House is renowned for offering a nurturing, family environment where children are immersed in a positive co-educational boarding experience from as early as Year 3 and celebrates 125 years of exceptional education this year.
At the very heart of the Tudor House campus is the boarders home-away-from-home, warmly known as Medley House.
Boarding not only provides the ideal environment for young students to study to their full potential but also enables them to take advantage of the expansive and adventurous campus which is the ultimate playground for young bodies and minds according to Head of School Adam Larby.
"When the bell rings at the end of the school day, Tudor House boarders head out to catch yabbies in the creek, climb trees, play sport or ride on the BMX track," Adam said.
"We encourage our boarders to be active, fun-loving, curious and adventurous.
"The staff of Medley House aim to foster our students to achieve their full potential, to cultivate their love of learning and stimulate their love of life.
"With well over a century's experience, we know primary school-aged boarders flourish in an environment where hard work, integrity and originality are both valued and rewarded."
When it comes to academic excellence, Tudor House is renowned for its educational program that delivers an inquiry-led, transdisciplinary framework that challenges students to take responsibility for their learning.
As the only authorised International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP) School in the Southern Highlands, students' learning is enriched by a global outlook on education.
This not only encompasses a rigorous and engaging academic program, but it is also evident in the School's commitment to character development.
"The Tudor House Kahiba program is just one of the many opportunities for Tudorians to embrace challenging and adventurous experiences," Adam said.
"From the Aboriginal word 'young', Kahiba challenges students physically and intellectually as they navigate many outdoor life skills."
As one community living and learning together, the boys and girls of Medley House learn the benefits of teamwork and friendships as they grow and thrive within the vibrant community.
"Learning is an adventure at The King's School, Tudor House. And with adventure comes the opportunity to develop young people into leaders of the future," Adam said.
The Kings School, Tudor House regularly hosts campus tours and Virtual Boarding Webinars.
To learn more about Tudor House go to: www.tudorhouse.nsw.edu.au
THE joys of life on the land are endless with more positive yarns to spin than moments in the day to tell them.
But there are challenges, too, especially when thoughts turn to choosing the education path suitable to your children and family.
As Boarding Schools Expo Australia (BSEA) director Amanda Ferrari puts it, finding the right boarding school for your child can be an overwhelming process.
Do you listen to the neighbour? Do you send your child to the same school you attended, and if you weren't a boarder how can you make sense of it all?
Sydney-born and raised before finding her farmer and settling in Trangie where she and husband Ross run a mixed farming and grazing operation, Ms Ferrari is a wizened voice on the matter.
"One aspect of raising country children I was not prepared for was sending them to boarding school," she said.
"Boarding Schools Expo provided us with the information we needed and I know the Expo works. It has a mandate to support rural, regional and remote families.
"Our values are steeped in transparency, authenticity and kindness and we hope our Expos mirror those values and help families build relationships with their child's future school."
Over its 17 years the BSEA has forged strong relationships with various sectors including the Isolated Children's Parents Association, schools and families.
Besides events in Dubbo (May 13-14), Wagga Wagga (June 3-4), Moree pop-up (July 21), Tamworth (July 22-23) and Mount Isa (October 14-15), BSEA offers Boarding Expo 365, a new virtual expo available 24/7.
On the new virtual platform visitors can explore schools, wander between virtual booths, chat with people from the schools you're 'visiting' and examine their videos, seminars and images. Then there's the inaugural Boarding Summit 2022 where expert panelists will discuss the business of boarding school life.
Time passes swiftly so don't miss registering for the upcoming events or Boarding Expo 365 if you cannot attend in person.