Rock and Water program introduced at Blackfriars

An innovative program to help develop students’ confidence and resilience and build respect will be introduced at Blackfriars in 2024.

Rock and Water, which has its roots in martial arts, is delivered as a series of exercises and games to develop confidence and self-reflection. Students learn to stand strong, negotiate using “rock” or “water” verbal approaches, walk away from trouble, consider alternatives to aggression and develop understandings about who they are, their intuitive feelings and their personal direction.

“If you think of the characteristics of a rock – it’s hard, it’s enduring, it’s strong,” Assistant Principal: Religious Identity and Mission Angela Collins said.

“And water is fluid and flexible and moving. And, so, it’s about knowing when to be hard and strong and immovable. And when to be flexible and to go with the flow.

“There’s a Rock and Water salute. The rock goes over the heart, because what’s in a heart we value and we protect. And the rock represents what matters to me and what I am going to stand up for. But the water shows that I am always going to offer friendship first, that peaceful approach. That’s why that (water) hand goes over the rock hand.”

In September, Ms Collins, along with Heads of House Clancy Page and Alison Colombo and Head of Humanities Elizabeth Quave took part in a three-day workshop to learn the principles of Rock and Water and become accredited instructors.

Rite of Passage

From 2024, together with the Men of Honour program, Rock and Water will be introduced from Year 9 to form a two-year program, culminating in a formal Rite of Passage.

“Following the philosophy that a Rite of Passage celebrates a transition during life’s journey, we believe that there should be a Rite of Passage at the end of Year 10,” Ms Collins said.

“At Blackfriars, there is a distinct shift in the young man from the end of Year 10 into Years 11 and 12. As such, an acknowledgement of what has gone before, and a willingness to step into a new reality, is inherent in the end of Year 10.”

Year 3 students demonstrate the Rock and Water salute.

Currently, the Rock and Water program is being trialled with the Year 3 students. Ms Collins is leading the boys through six Rock and Water sessions this term, introducing them to the key concepts of the program, including teamwork and respect.

“We are testing the waters, so to speak, with the Year 3s. Year 3 can be a challenging year, when their personalities are starting to emerge … so it’s a good group to trial the program with,” Ms Collins said. “The boys have been very receptive to the concepts.”

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