A Full Semester at School!

As we draw closer to the end of the term, we can reflect with positivity on seeing out our first full semester of school, uninterrupted by lockdowns. It seems surreal to look back on the past few years, to try and make sense of the experience but to also grow from the challenges we faced as individuals, families and a community, locally and globally. We are certainly not out of the woods yet, and as winter arrives, we are reminded of the need to look after our health, rest and recover when we need to, and continue to thrive.

The joy of leading Minimbah is seeing our community engaged and enthusiastically embracing opportunity. From conversations and a welcome smile at drop-off to supporting the literacy development of our youngest students, my heart is filled.

Staff work collaboratively to plan rich and creative learning opportunities across all classrooms and specialist areas.

Our resilience has certainly been tested these past few years, but the focus on building social skills and connections across this first semester has been so beneficial. We are reminded as members of the International Baccalaureate that we are all becoming more open-minded, better risk-takers and more caring.

Compassion in a learning community is so important. None of us is perfect; we will make mistakes; the journey should challenge and make us question, but we should do so with an open heart, open mind and compassion for others.

Part of our role as educators and as a school community is to support our children to make sense of the world and cope with complexity.

This involves teaching them how to be reflective, to deeply understand, and respond mindfully and compassionately to the challenges in their own lives and beyond, their connections to one another and their impact as individuals and as a part of a community.

I was recently fortunate to engage in professional learning at the Woodleigh Institute. The Woodleigh Institute is our innovative professional learning centre located at the rear of the Penbank Campus. Staff from our school and educators from other progressive institutions were invited to come together in a hub of shared learning, educational growth, and collegiality to begin a series of workshops focused on 'the Compassionate Systems Framework'.

Based on research from the International Baccalaureate (IB) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Compassionate Systems Framework aims to grow "compassionate integrity" in students and teachers. To foster relationships and align how we think, feel and act by an ever-unfolding awareness of inter-connectedness.

Now more than ever, I feel this work is inextricably linked to our mission and values here at Woodleigh. Our strong belief in nurturing creative, compassionate and resilient young people who we ultimately want to thrive in an ever-changing world is an over-arching goal. We cannot achieve this without cultivating skills and dispositions which support growth in "compassionate integrity" where there is alignment between how we think, feel and act by virtue of an ever-unfolding awareness of interconnectedness, sense of belonging and networking.

I look forward to sharing further reflections in this area and the ongoing development of 'compassionate integrity' here at Woodleigh.

Staffing News

Sadly we will say farewell to two Minimbah staff members at the end of term. Samantha Dominichi, our Visual Art Teacher, will leave us. Sam leaves us to spend more focused and supportive time with her young family. Sam has been with us covering Anita Harris' maternity leave and provided the students with a colourful and ever-changing array of ideas for self-expression. I am currently working on a replacement teacher for the remainder of 2022.

Our Enrolments Officer, Melissa Cranwell, leaves us to explore expanding opportunities. Melissa joined the Minimbah team many years ago as a relief receptionist before relocating to the Senior Campus and taking up a more substantial role in enrolments. Melissa has recently been working back at Minimbah, supporting the Enrolments Department and working with Kerrie as a relief receptionist. All of Minimbah will miss Melissa's welcoming smile and calm and capable manner.

I thank Melissa and Sam for their significant contribution to the life of the Minimbah Campus and Woodleigh School – more broadly and wish them well for the future.

Finally, I take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support of all that we do. Seeing more of you back on campus at assemblies and volunteering in our programs has been so rewarding. Term 3 is shaping up to be extra special as we work toward bringing you our first whole school production since 2018. Year 6 students have already begun rehearsals, and all classes will start learning their roles as the new term commences.

Disney's – 'The Little Mermaid' promises to be a sure-fire pleaser, and ticket details will be made available next term.

In closing, Semester 1 reports are being finalised and will be made available at the end of the term. Parent-Teacher Interviews will be conducted in week 1 and 2 of next term.

Have a safe and relaxing holiday, and I look forward to welcoming you back for Term 3.

Deputy Principal – Head of Minimbah Campus\

The Resilience Project

Here's a special presentation from The Resilience Project all about Mindfulness.

Mindfulness is our ability to be calm and present at any given moment. We practise this by slowing down and concentrating on one thing at a time.

Thousands of studies have proven benefits include reduced stress, reduced rumination, increased memory, increased cognitive function and physical health benefits through improved immunity.

View Part 4 of the series here - Mindulness

Mindfulness can be practised through meditation, yoga, flow-states and daily activities such as cooking.

Source: UC Berkeley, Greater Good Science, American Psychological Association

For mental health resources and support information, visit The Resilience Project's Support Page.