Final letter home

The 2022 school year has brought back joy, wonder and excitement in learning! All children have significantly developed their skills and understanding. They explored many concepts, learning creatively every day. They have learned to be compassionate through the many experiences that enable our children to be thoughtful of others, while building personal resilience.

We were delighted to return to the many experiences that we know enhance the learning for all students. Parents and visitors have been able to participate and contribute, supporting the school to regain its energy and vigour.

We have seen the children in our younger years taking big steps in confidence, and our older children actively involved in experiences that we have not been able to provide in three years.

Extending beyond the school environment, our camps provided opportunities that encouraged children to take initiative for themselves and others, as well as broadening their horizons. We were thrilled to see all camps return including the Year 2 sleepover.

Cultural Diversity Week was the first of numerous occasions that brought our community together. An occasion celebrating our country’s rich multicultural communities, Cultural Diversity Week invited us to reconnect, share and express ourselves.

We were extremely pleased with the outcome by the International Baccalaureate Organisation approving the junior schools for authorisation to offer the Primary Years Program across our junior campuses. The report was comprehensive and affirming of our structures and practices recognising the strength of the school’s philosophy, values, and overall educational setting. All teachers are to be congratulated on their amazing work implementing the PYP including Jodie Kirchner, as PYP leader, for her delivery of the PYP across Penbank and Minimbah.

Being on-site has enabled us to be true to our school’s philosophy and values. As a campus we have provided an inclusive space for students, ensuring feelings of acceptance, value, and self-worth; being seen, listened to, and heard.

IDAHOBT Day and National Reconciliation Week were important times that encouraged children to reflect, share and discuss the diversity they already engage with; in their school, families, and broader community. Engaging with the school’s values of respect for self and others, these opportunities build understanding and knowledge about inequality and the processes that lead to discrimination and exclusion.

Be Brave, Make Change, the theme for National Reconciliation Week enlisted us to contribute locally and beyond through organisations such as Willum Warrain and with our friends from the Beswick community and Wugularr School. The Woodleigh Reconciliation Action Plan was launched during this week.

In the Spirit of Reconciliation, Andy Khoza and Arcadia Shannon-Jones visited Wugularr several times. We worked with the Wugularr staff to plan the program for the Year 6 Wugubank NT visit in March next year. We hosted Faith and Hope Ryan, Year 4 students from Wugularr, for 8 weeks during Term 2 and the last month of Term 4. They thoroughly benefitted from the new experiences, enjoyed making friends, and significantly developed many skills during this time.

Understanding the importance of learning by doing the return of our camps were greeted with excitement and anticipation. Enabling the children to extend themselves through these experiences, our camps provided opportunities for children to lead, follow, share, problem solve and discover their capabilities as independent and resilient learners and contributors. Scaffolding these experiences, children confronted challenges by being away from home while learning about the society in which they live through these opportunities. We were extremely grateful to involve our students in camps at Golden Valleys Ranch and Alexandra Adventure Resort for Year 3 & 4 students, camps to Wilsons Promontory and Sovereign Hill – Year 5, the study tour to Canberra; and the amazing Wugubank experience at Wugularr School, Beswick Community for Year 6 students. In all, it was wonderful to see our older children thrive and extend themselves through these experiences.

Sharing learning across our campuses fostered a close relationship between staff and students. The Early Learning team were highly acknowledged and congratulated for their work that prepared them for the National Quality Framework Assessment and Rating. Along with the authorisation of the PYP our Early Learning Centre was awarded, Exceeding the National Quality Standard. Another wonderful accomplishment for our campus and ECC staff involved. Lisa Coxon is a dedicated leader of this team.

Across the year, Expos showcased the student’s work giving purpose to their inquiries. Always well supported, parents were invaluable in their support on excursions, helping with cooking, reading, sport, attending School Meeting and the PFG.

The Rock Quiz was a tremendous night for parents and friends. The contribution of our music staff showcased their talent as the band, The Overhead Projectors, on the night. It was fantastic to see the return of the PFG (Parents and Friends Group). We have enjoyed excellent community collaboration throughout the year.

As a thank you, the PFG provided lunch to the primary students on the last day of term with the Johnny Ripe food truck and Gather Round gelati truck filling our bellies with delicious treats. We so enjoyed having our Year 6 PFG members contribute to our end of year celebrations.

The final part of the year involved Woodleigh Arts. The positive experience of the school year reignited our appetite for creativity, community connections and fun. The Book Week theme, Dreaming with Eyes Open, likewise inspired our imagination that then morphed into our Performance Arts Finale, Dreaming with Open Hearts. An amazing night! The Indonesian Pesta celebration again took place coordinated by the Senior Campus Year 9s. There were multiple achievements in athletics, music, drama and more that have been enjoyed by many students. And finally, our whole school community came together for the Arty Market and Perberkoong. Such wonderful events exemplifying who we are as a school.

Colour Run Raises $$$!

In Week 8, students were very excited to welcome back our annual Colour Run, raising money to help save the endangered orangutans. Thanks to our student’s hard work and families’ generous donations, we were able to raise over $22,000. Ibu Prue will be taking a group of students to visit the Melbourne Zoo early next year to present the raised money to the Zookeepers. Well done, everyone.

It is farewell to several people and families. We say farewell to staff members Sharren Dredge and Sally Brown who between them have given many years of service to our school. Beginning as parents, Sharren in 1995 with little Philip, and Sally who has provided 25 years of assistance in the Early Years, in addition to her role as mum to Josh and Mitchell, their contribution has been momentous. We also say farewell to Mieja Wood who leaves to take on a position at Mansfield Primary School. Mieja has diligently taught and nurtured our little Year 1’s this year, her quiet demeanour exemplifying her extremely professional approach. We farewell Mel Roper from our Early Years too, as Mel is taking leave to have her next baby in March. Very exciting for the Roper family! And finally, to our Year 6 students and families, you are all heading onto the senior campus, which is an exciting new stage in learning with many more opportunities, skills and ideas to develop.

We thank and say farewell from the Penbank campus to the following Year 6 families – the Bradley, Chapman, Ness, Lockston-Banks, Hosking, Douglas, Kenny, Wersham, Burgess, Bush, Cook, Moloney, Basso, Curtin, Gay, Griffen, Griffiths, King, Lucas, Rae, and finally the Hart family who has been in some way connected to our campus since its inception in 1974. We thank these families for their dedication and commitment to Penbank.

The Penbank team, an amazing group of educators, relentlessly give of themselves to serve our school community and educate our children. I thank them all with great heart and especially acknowledge Andrea Khoza, Deputy Head, for her highly valued support and skilled co-leadership of our campus.

We are a part of a big school with big ideas and exciting aspirations. Thank you to all Woodleigh staff, fellow colleagues in the Senior Leadership Team; Rod Davies and Nat McLennan Heads of Minimbah and the Senior Campus, and School Principal, David Baker.

May the festivities of the season bring you joy and happiness and a well-deserved rest.


Head of Penbank Campus

From Penbank You Go

So, it’s now that time,
At Penbank, that is…
To say our farewells,
Congrats, best wishes … gee whiz!
The time comes so quickly,
The achievements, so many,
You’ve all learnt together
Your joys have been plenty.

So, leave with great heart,
Your chests full of pride,
As to the future, you all may glide.

Take courage, take care, of course, be jolly.
Be careful, be wise, be mindful – avoid folly!
You’ve accomplished so much,
You’ve all pulled together,
To venture away, to learn, to be better.

You know who you are,
By the friends that you meet.
You know that true bonds,
Are more than a greet.

Our actions are our words,
Our stand is what’s strong.
Be listeners and doers,
You know what is wrong.

Your journey ahead
to the Senior Campus you go,
With much to experience,
Just go with the flow.

The joys will be plenty,
So, leave with great heart,
Your chests full of pride,
Take off on your ride.

To your parents,
We thank you so much.
It’s all for the good,
Forget the money and all that stuff.
The treasures ahead will appear in a flurry,
Remember, there’s time,
No need to hurry.

Remember your teachers,
The words of your Elders,
The memories and pleasures,
Their guidance and standards.

To the door you now go.
The excitement is building,
As you leave this one
For all that is brewing.

So, leave with great heart,
Our chests full of pride.
As together we cheer,
Feeling so good inside.

Celebrate well,
Congrats once again,
We wish you farewell,
But never the end.