It’s Woodleigh Arts – a time to celebrate the importance of the Arts to learning

I’m sure you would all agree, an appreciation of the Arts is vital to our lives. It gives us meaning and helps us to understand our world. It is integral to our very being in all cultures, providing us with a deep emotional connection to our families, community, societies, and environment.

The Arts develop foundational skills through imaginative play, drawing, speaking, storytelling, and social interactions and family gatherings. Our first contact with sound, the human voice, music, colour and movement is when it all begins. The Arts teaches us about our surroundings and opens our hearts to possibilities and experiences.

Fundamentally, the Arts is a form of communication that brings us together in our quest to understand and appreciate our humanity and world.

Commencing Term 4 has been an excellent opportunity to reflect on the importance of the Arts. For all students at Penbank, the current PYP Unit of Inquiry is, How We Express Ourselves. Inspiring children to imagine, create and develop ideas, the children can explore relational concepts of identity, culture, design, story and communication through this Unit of Inquiry.

This week, children shared their love of the Arts at our pre-recorded School Meeting. Dressed up to represent an admired artist or their favourite area of the Arts was a great way to celebrate this highly engaging focus.

Our campus will express our appreciation of the Arts throughout the term through our CREATE Program that will culminate in a theatrical performance involving dance, music, the visual arts, and storytelling. Lots of excitement to come!

Return to school

We are delighted that next week, Week 3, the children will begin their return to school onsite. We will start with the Prep children from Monday 18 to Wednesday 20 October, followed by the Year 1 & 2 groups on Thursday 21 and Friday 22 October. All other groups start with two days the following week, Week 4. See the diagram for the schedule.

Returning to school will be an exciting time for everyone. We are all looking forward to working with each other at the beautiful Penbank Campus. However, returning to school may be a little daunting for some; children may be worried about how teachers and friends will greet them or maybe concerned about the work or having the right gear.

In preparing for the children’s return, we are very mindful that parents and children may have the collywobbles! It is worrisome times. However, I wish to assure you that we have planned for the children’s return to school to be as secure and safe as possible. To ensure we can return to the optimum education we expect from our school. We are doing what is practical and hygienically sound.

We will continue to follow government guidelines and have recently attended environmental recommendations such as the school’s ventilation.

At our campus, we are fortunate to have large classroom spaces that are well-ventilated. We have conducted tests to assess the ventilation of all areas and have been delighted that our overall school environment is environmentally sound. Windows that did not have flywire screens have been fitted with screens, as we can have a fly epidemic when the days become warmer. We will not be using our air conditioning units this year. Due to our high ceilings, the school can maintain a manageable temperature.

As a staff, we have discussed approaches to increasing the natural ventilation of our campus. We will use our verandahs and outdoor spaces for learning as much as possible, including a SunSmart policy. Don’t forget hats! School Meetings will be held outdoors along with PE.

I encourage parents to be mindful of the changeable weather to ensure children come to school with the appropriate school gear if the weather turns cold. If wet, we still have the verandahs and plenty of indoor space. Hopefully, these days will be minimal.

Cleaning is conducted by our contractors twice a day in addition to domestic responsibilities that staff have in keeping their areas clean and sanitised. We are well-stocked with sanitiser. Hand washing will be timetabled as part of the daily routines for everyone. Conversations with children about general behaviour and the appropriate use of toilets will be a part of the children’s re-introduction to school to ensure they respect and understand the importance of personal space.

Returning to the school routines and expectations with which the children are familiar will provide the security they need to ensure a purposeful and pleasurable school day. The teachers will continue to provide information concerning the timetable and requirements for the children’s return. Now is the time to get ready!

Importantly, we can be confident that Penbank is an excellent place for children to learn and grow. Together, both parents and teachers can help by expressing confidence to the children. While there may be challenges, returning to school is the right decision and vitally important to the child’s growth and development in all areas of social and intellectual learning.

On behalf of the staff, I thank you for your time with your children to support them with their learning. We are looking forward to seeing everyone back and to devoting our time to educating your children for a successful and exciting school experience ahead.

Continue to stay safe and well - my thanks and acknowledgement of all staff and our school community.

Deputy Principal – Head of Penbank Campus