Letter Home

During this new experience of school away from school and living our lives quite separately from each other, we have looked at different ways to connect. Predominantly, social media and all things IT have provided the means to communicate and learn. Throughout this time, we have needed to rethink ways to connect, and it has been through beautiful acts of kindness that we have seen many people reach out.

We are all hearing about and seeing Random Acts of Kindness. Many people are going out of their way to lifting someone’s spirits and show they care. Being kind and caring can start with a friendly smile and greeting. Saying thanks and showing that you’re grateful for someone’s friendship or generosity can simply bring happiness to someone’s day. The research proposes that we are likely to feel satisfied with our lives and have a greater sense of wellbeing if we are kind and compassionate.

Acts of Kindness

These past weeks we have seen many acts of kindness. The most recent was a massive acknowledgement to Year 5 teacher Matt Chambers, a surprise guest on the Channel 9 Today Show. Matt’s sister decided she would nominate Matt for the Today Show due to his work as a teacher, his role as dad to 4 children, and his support of his partner, Nat, who works various shifts as a radiographer assistant at Frankston Hospital. On national television, Matt was acknowledged by his family and students Maia K, Charlie P, and Benjamin P from his Year 5 group, who expressed their appreciation of Matt as a parent, partner, and teacher. Matt was rewarded with numerous gifts and towards the end of the segment, very much enjoyed the brief conversation with Saints footballer, Jack Billings. Matt is a staunch St Kilda supporter!

Before Matt’s appearance on television, Matt presented at an International Baccalaureate/PYP Teach Meet PD. Matt shared various Maths projects that he had introduced to our Year 5 students this year. A most concise and professional presentation, Matt can be congratulated for his diligent work as a teacher and his love and care to others.

Beautiful performances, Matt! 

See Matt's performances here!

Students Take the Lead

Continuing the initiative to reach out to others, several of our Year 6 students who love to dance created a series of online Zoom discos for Penbank families. Held on Friday night, three discos for children in Prep to Year 2, Years 3 and 4; the final disco that included several special effects was for Year 5 and 6 students. It was an absolute treat to participate in such a fabulous occasion and impressive to see the involvement of many families. The music, games, costuming, and screen backgrounds gave the whole event a terrific sense of fun and laughter. Congratulations to students, Daisy B, Charlie T, Maya H, and Issy H for an outstanding effort. You brought much happiness to many children and families on Friday night.

Last week commenced with our usual Monday morning dance session. The dance set was a little different, led by students Alexia B and Emma M. In addition to sharing their interest in dance, these girls learned how to engage an audience through sequencing, routine, and energy. They were fabulous teachers! Congratulations, and thank you, Emma and Lexi.

Supporting all student learning and initiatives are teachers who go above and beyond to create opportunities for children to explore new ideas and take the lead. This year, our Year 6 students have not been able to lead our student community as usual; however, learning online has opened up new ways to investigate, interact, and create. I congratulate this group of Year 6 girls and their inspiring teacher, Katherine Gordon, who encouraged them all the way! Very grateful for your creativity and energy, Katherine – many thanks!  

Learner Profiles Support Personal Growth and Understanding

Routinely students are prompted to consider who they are becoming as a learner. Most definitely, as IB learners, our students have demonstrated their desire to care for others.

The IB Learner Profile describes a broad range of human capacities and responsibilities that go beyond academic success. A commitment to learning to respect self, others, and the world around them children frequently analyse the learner profile to assess their capacity and contribution as a learner. All are doing a great job!

Caring - We show empathy, compassion, and respect. We commit to service, and we act to make a positive difference in the lives of others and the world around us. 

Caring for Others – Teachers

Our thoughts have been with teacher assistant, Chris Dinnage, who has been considerably unwell these past few weeks. An incredibly hard worker, rest is what Chris needs right now.

We wish Chris, our love and best wishes for a speedy recovery. A long-term participant of the Wugubank Partnership and special friend to the community, Chris received a delightful message from the Wugularr children to cheer her up. Very gorgeous!

We have also welcomed back Jenny Smith to Zoom school! Jenny has been absent since the beginning of Term due to a severely sprained wrist and elbow. No more bike riding for Jenny! 

Britt and the preps are delighted to have Jenny return to support them with their learning. Take care, Jen!

It is my pleasure to acknowledge all work that is being delivered by staff. I have been so uplifted by each staff member’s enthusiasm and ability to learn, literally, on the run! Many thanks to all team for the unwavering caring, sharing, and support.

Interesting Reading and Upcoming Parent Ed session

Included in this Letter Home is an interesting article titled, ‘Tiny Acts of Stunning Grace’ – a must-read for all parents; and an evening Parent Ed session co-ordinated by the Mornington Shire for parents of Year 6 students. The Parent Ed session, Supporting Your Child Through Transition During the COVID 19, features Arne Rubinstein and Andrew Fuller. I also highly recommend this series of events for parents.

To all Penbank families, staff, and the Woodleigh community, be safe, diligent, and strong. As a school, we are incredibly grateful for your support and understanding that we receive every day.

Deputy Principal – Head of Penbank Campus