A Most Eventful Term!
Dear families and friends,
It has been a most eventful term, with all children actively participating in the breadth of our school programs and experiences. In addition to their day-to-day learning, children from Year 3 to 6 have enjoyed camps to Wilsons Promontory and Philip Island and have successfully contributed to swimming sports at a school and district level.
I congratulate all students for their energy and positive attitude towards these activities that take them out of their comfort zone – a nice amount of risk-taking to stretch one's capabilities!
Learning in the outdoors – extending beyond to camps
Participating in outdoor pursuits provides many opportunities for discovery, creativity, problem-solving, and, specifically, understandings and knowledge in science education. Interacting with natural environments allows children to learn by doing and experiment with ideas. In nature, children think, question, and make hypotheses — thereby developing inquisitive minds. Our school environment is one that allows for a variety of outdoor pursuits during playtimes and in more structured ways through activities programs, special interest groups, projects, and camps.
Extending beyond the school environment, camps provide a powerful means for children to experience how to live and learn in peace and harmony with the environment. Camps are very different from school, home and even their own community and show children alternative ways of living while supporting them in their own personal change and growth. Camps encourage children to take the initiative for themselves and others and broaden their horizons.
I thank all teachers involved in the Term 1 camps for creating the adventure that all camps bring and providing wonderful care and attention to the children while away from school and home. The next camp for our students is a study tour to Canberra – an excellent week for learning about Leadership and Citizenship for Year 6 students. Specifically, Peter McGettigan, PE and Outdoors teacher, is instrumental in leading Penbank's outdoors and PE programs. I thank Pete enormously for his attention to detail with all things sport and outdoors!
Big steps for little people
It is with much delight that we see the children in our younger years taking big steps in confidence. Our youngest children in Tracy's 3-Year-Old Group are assuredly entering our Early Learning Centre each Monday and Friday. They are settling in beautifully to the day, exploring different activities while playing alongside their friends. The children In Lacey's 4-Year-Old Group are likewise enjoying their three days of learning and playing with friends. They especially enjoy their time in Penbank's bush kinder, immersing themselves in this beautiful bush setting.
Our Preppies are likewise very pleased with their move into school and are well on the way to reading and writing. Learning how to form letters and read phonograms for spelling words is key to becoming a proficient reader and writer.
All children in Prep to Year 2 have been learning about themselves through the Unit of Inquiry, Who We Are. Children have investigated their family's history, which has prompted some wonderful discussions and investigations. They are all doing very well in this early part of the year and are always eager to come into school each day.
Cultural Diversity Week – Everyone Belongs – Connecting Through Culture
Throughout the year, Woodleigh School is involved in celebrating special days or weeks by bringing people together to honour or pay attention to significant times or people in our lives. These special occasions create opportunities, memories and recognition and connects us to the significance of an occasion.
Cultural Diversity Week is the first of these events for our school. It is an occasion that brings communities together to celebrate the colourful sounds, sights, movements, and tastes of our country's rich multicultural communities. Multiculturalism is a core part of our identity, character, and way of life. As home to people from all corners of the world, we want our country to be a place where anyone can contribute and belong.
Cultural Diversity Week invites us to reconnect, share and express ourselves creatively through this year's theme, 'Connecting Through Culture'. Harmony Day, March 21, is the United Nation's International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This day reminds us that while celebrating multiculturalism is vital, so too is supporting and advocating on behalf of multicultural communities.
The Harmony Day Twilight Picnic held at Penbank acknowledges our school's commitment to peace and harmony and to use our voice to ensure all levels of racism are eliminated.
I thank Andy Khoza for her expert coordination of the Harmony Day Twilight Picnic, all staff for their work with the students throughout the week, special guests and artists and the broader school community for your personal contribution. Thank you for being there to connect through culture.
School Meeting – The Penbank Assembly
School Meeting is held each Thursday morning and is led by Year 6 students. It is a school gathering that incorporates presentations by teachers and students. Each School Meeting includes a values focus with reference to the PYP Learner Profiles. Throughout School Meeting, students can express themselves through public speaking, sharing learning and experiences, music, special acknowledgements, and celebrating achievements. Teachers, too, introduce important matters and events.
School Meeting focuses have included: Who We Are as Australians, Respect – our school's values, Camping – bush and beach, and Sharing Learning -cultural connections and friendship. Singing as a community is a feature of each School Meeting. Songs this term have included: I Am Australian, My Island Home, Lean on Me, Wonderful World, Octopuses Garden, Count on Me, I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing, Black Fella White Fella, Salam Dunia, and Vukani Ekuseni will be the song to wrap up the term in Week 10.
Thank you to the parents who attended our Parent Volunteer Briefing with Andy Khoza. We are delighted that we can now have parents in the school to assist with reading, cooking, and other activities. Parent volunteers/helpers must have a Working With Children Clearance and be fully vaccinated. It was terrific to see parents attend the first of our Bunjil Concerts and School Meeting. The parents at these occasions are invited visitors due to their child performing or presenting an individual item. We look forward to the time when we can have a greater number of visitors at our School Meeting but are grateful that at least we are able to have a few parent guests each week.
It is also with great excitement we were able to have the whole school community participate in our Twilight Harmony Day Picnic. We do love the opportunity to connect, and it is through our events and general parent involvement that we can start to come together again.
Children in Years 3 and 5 were involved in the first test practice run of NAPLAN held at Penbank last Thursday. This test run was in preparation for the online NAPLAN - a national literacy and numeracy assessment held in May each year for all Australian students in Years 3, 5, 7 & 9. As schools are transitioning from paper-based to computer-based assessments, this test run is designed to expose and rectify any potential ICT problems that may impact the school. Information to parents and carers concerning the NAPLAN has been forwarded to parents via school bags – you may need to have a look if your child has not handed you the information sheet.
We head towards the end of term extremely grateful that we have been able to provide the quality of education and interaction that is so important to building relationships with our children. Penbank is a big, happy family enabling children to learn many of life's challenges through a variety of experiences. With the support of dedicated and expert staff, children are guided and supported in all areas – academic, social, physical and emotional. The school's values provide a sound framework of which children can grow and develop with respect. Respect for self, others, and the environment.
We have two weeks to go before it is time for a break. Within this new COVID climate, I feel we have done well to keep our community as safe as possible. I thank you for your support and commitment to our school.
Deputy Principal – Head of Penbank Campus