Find out what others think about the International Football & Tennis School…
Lachlan started kindy at the beginning of this year, and although the prospect of going to a football school excited him, there was also a little angst with the thought of not attending school with his big sister Isabella, and also catching a bus on his own. With our decision to send Lachlan to IFTS being a late one, this also meant that he had missed all of the orientation days last year, and had no idea what to expect of his new school. From day 1, both Peta and Chonnie offered the perfect environment to ensure the social and emotional needs of Lachie (and I’m sure all of the others) were nurtured and supported, to make his transition to kindergarten successful.
Lachlan loves sport, and excels at anything he tries, academically however, he is not at this same level. Prior to starting school, it was scary to think of Lachlan entering a ‘normal’ classroom setting, as both Troy and I had tried unsuccessfully to sit with Lachie and try and teach him to count, to say the alphabet, to recognise and recall numbers and letters to no avail. It was as frustrating for him as it was for us. The classroom environment that both Peta and Chonnie have set up is one that has inspired Lachie to have a passion to learn, he is by no means an academic, but he is loving learning. He loves practicing what sentence he is going to write at school after the weekend, he relays sentences from the books he is reading at school and he is practicing counting and spelling words of his own accord all the time. On reflection I can recognise that I was trying to mandate that Lachie learn the things that I considered age appropriate for him to know, but Peta and Chonnie have inspired him to want to learn, and this has been a much more successful approach.
I have been so impressed with Lachie’s introduction to school, and could not have found a better fit for him, as I know the ‘normal’ (for want of a better word) classrooms where learning is mandated, not inspired would not have been successful. I love the balance of academic, social and emotional learning and support and of course the big focus on physical activity and active, hands on learning that he has been offered.
I look forward to more great things throughout the next 6 months.
Natalie Macdonald – Parent
Our son Will started in stage 4 this year. Owing to a false start at another school, he was a late enrolment, and started a couple of weeks into term 1. He travels from Sydney daily and at this stage is having no great issues with the commute.
He absolutely loves the school and from what we can see is flourishing. Yes, he loves the soccer, and the training and being with other boys who want to be the best they can be in the sport. However, what has surprised us is Will’s passion for the school work and the learning. When we talk at the end of the day he goes first to what he is learning and how much he is enjoying it. He comes home and nearly always wants to do some extra, to push himself a bit – whether it is maths, English, visual design etc… And, he likes his lunches!
For a boy who had limited interest in his previous school beyond seeing his friends to now regularly telling us ‘how much he loves his school’ and ‘he wants to learn’ is a credit to you and all your staff. So whatever you are doing, keep it up. Please feel free to pass this on as you see fit.
Barry Russell – Parent
At a recent work conference I had the pleasure of listening to Todd Sampson, CEO of advertising agency Leo Burnett and star of ABC television shows Gruen Planet and Redesign My Brain, speak about creativity and innovation.
In the corporate world organisations are becoming increasingly mechanised and standardised stifling innovation and customer flexibility. Sampson stressed that those organisations who empower their employees to be creative through collaboration, leading to innovation, will be the ones in the future that will have the competitive advantage.
Sampson lamented the fact that most school stifle and sometimes punishes creativity in their children. Children are taught to think within the norm and act within a certain structure.
With these thoughts in mind my recent experience at Kanga Cup as a parent of a under nine and under ten child competing had me evaluating how IFTS are progressing as a school and as football development for the children. Children who behave these qualities are rewarded.
Watching the four IFTS teams in nines and tens at Kanga Cup I was extremely gratified to what I saw. I saw children play with creativity and out there I saw thinking footballers.
Many of the results did not go their way and they were beaten by highly structured and organised teams. Teams that have played together since they were five years of age. Opposition teams were almost robotic in their style and thought patterns. And while they achieved the results required in terms of winning games I wonder how good this is for their future football development? Will these children be able to think and adapt as footballers when they are older? My feelings are that they won’t.
As parents it is sometimes difficult watching your children and their team mates lose games, sometimes convincingly. There is a strong temptation to yell advice that is both contradictory to the football values of IFTS and advice that promotes short term thinking/winning over the long term benefit of the child. I know I get into the excitement of a match and a bit over the top at times.
In evaluation though, I saw that the IFTS boys were the real winners in these games despite what the scoreboard told us. I saw boys who were creative, innovative and above all brave. This was particularly evident in times they were really up against it. They were not afraid to try something different to influence the game and were brave enough to lead the way for their team.
They were leaders not robots and leadership was a trait that was evident through the four IFTS teams I watched.
This is a philosophy that also carries on into their school life. The principles of collaboration, innovation and creativity are ingrained in the principles of project based learning. And while sometimes these philosophies in young men and women sometimes lead to mistakes and friction, leading us to at times question the school’s decisions, the overall teaching environment both academically and football wise are ones that will give our children the best chance of thriving in a future that will be full of change and increasingly interactive.
Have a child that is robotic, fits within expected norms and one that accepts his/her fate without question is one that will struggle with the complex nature of life, work and relationships.
Todd Sampson challenged us to be more brave, even if it is for just ten seconds. Our children already have this bravery and creativity in them. I saw countless examples of this at Kanga Cup that I didn’t see in many other teams. I challenge you as parents and I challenge the school not to stifle these qualities but to let them thrive.
Do we want our children to be the innovators and leaders of the future or the followers?
Michael Kmet – Parent
After receiving a call from trainer Danny in regards to my son and hearing how well he is progressing, I thought I should take the time to send an email of thanks to all the staff and trainers at your school.
As we have come to the end of term 1 I have reflected on the massive changes that I have seen in our son since he has started at the school at the beginning of this year. The decision to send our son to your school was one that we did not make lightly. Having been secure with three children in the Catholic School system now for over 12 years, deciding to send our second son to an Independent and very much a different style of learning school, was a nervous one for us.
I have commented to everyone I know, particularly after the information night that I attended at the beginning of the year, about the over all vibe of passion and commitment that was on display from the whole staff of IFTS. This ‘vibe’ of passion and commitment is clearly catching as this is how I would now describe my son. Having also the proud moment of hearing that he was chosen to be a year representative/leader again encourages me to know that I have made the right decision.
I again would like to thank you Paul for the school you have created and also please pass on my thanks to the teachers/trainers that are both directly and indirectly involved with my son whilst he spends his day at school, because he wakes up happy, he goes to school happy and he comes home happy. To have a teenage son, who I not only love but also love to spend time with is amazing and I thank the school for being part of his life and ongoing development during this crucial time in his life.
Jackie Currey – Parent