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The Essence of Woodleigh…

This year, we continue to face the challenges of COVID-19. We have been in and out of lockdowns, trying to stay positive and flexible as we juggle working, learning and living at home. It has been testing and stressful, and, at times, exhausting, but I think we've come to realise that Schools are much more than places to learn – they play a critical role in our children's social and emotional development. Schools are also an extension of our homes where families' develop strong connections through their children.

Woodleigh is a unique community with a strong set of values. Our 3Rs – Respect for Self, Respect for Others and Respect for the Environment – underpin everything we do and remind us that our respectful interactions create a sense of belonging. A sense of community.

I have watched our students navigate the challenges of COVID, manage online learning and cope with multiple transitions between home and school. They have learnt to be more flexible and used a variety of learning tools whilst learning to be more understanding and supportive of each other. I couldn't be more proud of how they have transitioned so seamlessly to online learning during this fifth lockdown. They have developed greater empathy and patience and learnt to collaborate more effectively – all skills our children will need to thrive in the future, beyond the relative safety of this wonderful School.

There has never been a time when schools have felt so integral to maintaining a sense of normality and connection for families. Remote learning gives us routine and connectedness in an otherwise online, disconnected world. The lack of connection we experience during lockdowns has encouraged us to value more those times when face-to-face interactions are allowed between friends, family and loved ones. During lockdowns, I find myself missing the smiling eyes above masks, the cheery hellos from students, parents and staff at the crossing, incidental conversations around campus and the care and warmth that people at Woodleigh show on a daily basis. People say that absence makes the heart grow fonder. In my case, it's certainly helped me to realise what I value most.

Homestead Night – Take 3!

I genuinely believe that our Homestead communities are an integral part of the fabric of this School.

Homesteads are more than a building – they are an extension of home. They are a community, and it is a family. Homestead is about the people, the place, and the sense of belonging that develops as you do things together and grow and develop as a community.

Our recent Homestead night was not the 'normal' event well known by our community. Usually, it is produced on a larger scale at the beginning of the year. Unfortunately, COVID played havoc with these plans more than once this year.

Our reimagined Homestead Night finally came to fruition in Week 1 and was a wonderful evening. It was well attended and really drove home how important it is to come together face-to-face and enjoy each other's company. It really is critical at this time. I have received multiple messages about the evening, but I wanted to share this particular note from a parent:

'I just wanted to say thank you so much for giving the parents a Homestead Night. It really reminded me of how much I love Woodleigh and what a special place it is. The staff are just wonderful, and I'd like to thank them for all their time. As high school parents, there isn't as much connection to the School, especially during COVID – but last night was an important way to reconnect with a special community. Thank you for seeing the value of parent involvement and giving us the opportunity of a Term 3 Homestead Night. I really enjoyed it.'

Thank you all, and I look forward to connecting with you again face-to-face as soon as we can. Take care and stay safe,

NAT McLENNAN
Deputy Principal - Head of Senior Campus

Thanks to, to this little lady (or fella), who made it out to the Senior Campus for Homestead Night. #HelloPossums