There is great potential for a student to grow and become independent at boarding school

STAY: The Hamilton and Alexandra College in Victorias Western District has a boarding environment that encourages and prepares students with life skills in good time management and life-long learning techniques.
STAY: The Hamilton and Alexandra College in Victorias Western District has a boarding environment that encourages and prepares students with life skills in good time management and life-long learning techniques.

The boarding school of today is a place of friendship and support with boarding staff providing a "home away from home" and a warm and secure environment for their students.

The happy memories of contemporary boarding life will last a lifetime. Some of the best examples of excellence in boarding are now found in Australia, according to the Australian Boarding Schools Association.

The excellent boarding house encompasses within its walls a right and proper mix of private and public space, the former to honour the individual, the latter to honour the group.

Boarding is not a holding pen between bouts of academia, but a place of learning in its own right, an academy which teaches the skills needed for life.

It evokes in its students not the awful tale of deprivation or the delicious account of cruelty, but rather, the memory of friendships and experiences which have enriched and equipped for a lifetime, and perhaps even beyond.

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The ultimate packing list

Often it's hard to know what to pack for your child if it's their first time at boarding school, but rest assured, it is the little things not listed on the official school packing list, which can be the most useful.

If you're son or daughter has already started school, don't forget that magical feeling of receiving a package in the mail, as they are the highlight of their week. Put the essentials in, maybe some new school socks or a headlamp to take to school camp, but add a packet of Tim Tams or some jelly snakes as well.

Writing letters is one of the best ways to maintain communication and to remind them that you are thinking of them. Encourage your child to write letters back telling you about their boarding experience, their new friends, and their plans for the weekend.

For boys and girls...

Writing paper or nice cards and stamps to send thank you letters to parents that take you out for the weekend.

Overnight bag - for weekend trips out of the boarding house

Beach towel

Underwear bag - so your underwear doesn't end up lost in the mysterious vortex called Boarding School Laundry

Padlocks with a number lock

Your own pillow and doona cover from home (if you can bring your own)

Torch - for midnight missions and ghost stories

Favourite photo of your family and of home for when attacked by homesickness

Clock Radio/ IPod Dock for dorm parties, study music and to help you get up in the morning

Ear phones

Playing cards or Uno

Football, soccer ball, tennis balls

Permanent marker to write your name on your clothes

This is a list of handy suggestions not instructions.

Writing the first letter home

Sending a letter by snail mail is only one way of writing home these days, but putting pen to paper, taking time to get your thoughts in order, and your best handwriting on the page is worth the effort. Good fun to read, here is one such communiqué from the past.

Dear Dad,

$chool is ace. I have made lot$ of new friends -$imon $tephen and $tanley. I really can't think of any $tuff that I need just now. If it i$ okay with you though, $end me a note or letter a$ it would be $o $o nice to hear from you

Your loving $on.

The reply came....

Hello Son,

I kNOw that EcoNOmics, oceaNOgraphy and AstrNOmy are more than eNOugh to keep you busy. The pursuit of kNOwlege is a NOble and hoNOurable task so you can never do eNOugh studying.

Take care hope you have enjoyed receiving my NOte.

Love Dad

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