Enriching the Dilworth experience through community bonds
Dilworth’s unique boarding school model is an integral part of the Dilworth experience. Often, this is the first boarding school encounter for both the boy and their parent(s)/caregiver(s). For over thirty years, Dilworth Family Connect (DFC) has been a close community of parents, caregivers and wider family that is there to support students through this transitional period as they adjust to the new opportunities and challenges. All parents and caregivers of Dilworth students are automatically members of Dilworth Family Connect and are encouraged to be involved.
President of DFC, Anna Dunwoodie joined the community in 2016 so that she could connect with other parents at all three campuses. Now, having two boys at the school, she has relished in sharing her experiences with new parents and caregivers, helping them transition into boarding school life. “Often we get questions about homesickness, so we've created a resource that we can give new parents and caregivers. It's been collated with information from the school and parents and caregivers who have gone through this with their boys”, says Anna Dunwoodie.
The key aim of DFC is to foster networks within the Dilworth community to enrich the experience of families attending the school. Events, Facebook groups, regular newsletters and emails are all ways in which the group keeps the families at the school connected. Anna says “we want to continue to provide social events for the parents and caregivers, and also make sure they have good lines of communication available, to ask the questions that can seem insignificant, but make a world of difference to a concerned parent”.
DFC President Anna Dunwoodie with son at Dilworth Senior Prizegiving 2019
One channel that has really helped open the lines of communication has been the closed Facebook group. Anna explains that there has been a lot of valuable input from parents and caregivers through this channel. Everyone has a slightly different journey and people are able to share their own unique experience through the Facebook group.
Anna believes that Dilworth Family Connect is important to the school because engaged and connected families helps make the experience and journey for the students more enriching. “I’ve made so many friends through Dilworth Family Connect and several who are now parents of old boys. These friendships will last forever and it’s fantastic to have the experience of parents who are a few years ahead on the journey to confer with.”
Her advice to parents considering applying for a place at the school is “while it may seem like a sacrifice sending your boys away to school, it’s an amazing opportunity for the whole family. The opportunities my boys have been offered at Dilworth would never have been available to them at our local college.”