Welcome Back for Term 2

Dear Minimbah Families,

Thank you all for supporting such a smooth start to Term 2. Despite Covid continuing to impact us in various ways, we were able to complete our first full term back at school since 2020, and we look forward to all that Term 2 has to offer.

Year 6 Canberra Study Tour

As I write this Update, I have just returned from a night walk in the National Botanic Gardens in Canberra with our Year 6 students. Today, our schedule saw us make an early visit to the National Museum, followed by a walk through the wonderful National Art Gallery and time spent exploring and learning about the voting system and democracy in Old Parliament House. A highlight of today’s experiences was a visit to the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, now in its 50th year of protest. We were able to talk with a member of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy Community who gave generously of his time and answered the children’s very respectful and thoughtful questions. We can learn through stories and deepen understanding when we open our hearts and minds to the experiences of others. This was undoubtedly a key takeaway for the children and staff today.

The children’s transdisciplinary Unit of Inquiry, ‘How we Organise Ourselves’, forms the context for the study tour. As Inquirers and Thinkers, the children reflect upon their learning in the classroom and make authentic connections with real-world experiences. Canberra is a treasure-trove of national archives and collections, and its history as a planned city is fascinating. The week away provides the children with an opportunity to explore our Nation’s Capital and deepen their understanding of government systems.

The Australian Government recognises the importance of all young Australians being able to visit the National Capital as part of their Civics and Citizenship education. To assist families in meeting the cost of the study tour, the Australian Government is contributing funding of $45 per student under the Parliament and Civics Education Rebate program towards those costs. The rebate is paid directly to the School upon completion of the study tour.

Our PYP Authorisation Journey – Congratulations!

Following an earlier authorisation visit from representatives of the International Baccalaureate, we were pleased in the final week of Term 1 to receive confirmation that the Junior Campuses (Minimbah and Penbank) had been approved for authorisation to offer the Primary Years Program. This was terrific recognition of the efforts of all staff and students across our Junior Campuses. The report was wide-ranging in its feedback and acknowledged the strength of the school’s philosophy, values, and overall educational setting.

A quote from the report:

‘Observations of learning spaces and environments across both campuses demonstrate rich opportunities and support for the implementation of the programme. All children have access to extensive outdoor and natural spaces, sport, additional language and art facilities and well-resourced libraries. Learners have ready access to a range of information technologies to support their learning. Inclusivity teachers describe a range of assistive technologies that are available for students with specific needs. The learning environments are welcoming and support diversity.’

Work in implementing and growing the PYP does not stop because we have achieved the milestone of authorisation. The evolution of the PYP across the Junior Campuses continues. Staff, ably led by Jodie Kirchner, Head of Learning – PYP, will reflect on the authorisation process, and the report provided by the International Baccalaureate. It will continue to influence our efforts and inform our direction in implementing the PYP across the next five years. I congratulate Jodie and the team of teachers and support staff across both Minimbah and Penbank for their amazing work.

Modelling Lifelong Learning

We expect our children to embrace the concept of lifelong learning, so it is wonderful to see our staff also modelling this. Our recent Staff Professional Learning Day saw staff working collaboratively across all campuses on projects and professional development to deepen understanding and strengthen practice. Our Early Childhood team across Minimbah and Penbank is engaged in an exciting action research project working with Early Childhood consultant Kirsty Liljegren from the Australian Reggio Emilia Exchange. Kate Bird and Andy Khoza, our respective campus Deputy Heads are leading the way in student wellbeing, ensuring it is completely coordinated with the PYP. Several staff are engaged in individual projects to strengthen their professional practice, while others are sharing their knowledge with colleagues across the school in learning labs. We thank Dr. Richard Owens, Director of the Woodleigh Institute for his leadership and support of the staff professional learning program which ensures all our teachers continue their love of learning.

It's Definitely Time to Forge Ahead

Term 1 saw us gradually welcome parents and friends back on campus after the covid hiatus. Activities and events slowly began to run without the dread of cancellation. As we head into a new term, we look forward to seeing you more regularly at assemblies and in supporting classroom programs and being able to volunteer at the Creek or out on Discovery Day.

In Week 2 we welcomed our Mums, Grandmas, and those special people in our children's lives to a gathering in the Gym, followed by the Mother’s Day Out at the Merricks General Store. Great fun and so good to welcome so many of you to both school and the luncheon.

Cultural Immersion

All Woodleigh staff participated in a Cultural Immersion Training with Tasneem Chopra at the commencement of the term. Tasneem is an experienced Cross-Cultural Consultant and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion trainer. Passionate about female representation and as an anti-racism champion, Tasneem’s work has been widely published in journals and anthologies. Tasneem often presents on national television, radio and significant events providing expert perspectives related to diversity, gender, people of colour and social justice and cohesion.

Significantly impacted by Tasneem’s presentation, as a School we aspire to provide an inclusive space for students, ensuring feelings of acceptance, value and self-worth as an individual; being seen, listened to and heard.

In doing so, we look forward to IDAHOBT Day and National Reconciliation Week this term.

IDAHOBIT Day – Rainbows in Schools

This week, Thursday, 19 May, Woodleigh School is celebrating IDAHOBIT Day.

International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia and Transphobia.

At both Minimbah and Penbank, IDAHOBIT provides an opportunity to encourage children to reflect, share and discuss the diversity that they already engage within their school, families, and the broader community. It engages with the School’s values of respect for self and others. It provides an opportunity to build understanding and knowledge about inequality and the processes that lead to discrimination and exclusion. The children are invited to express themselves through colours of the rainbow. Dress-ups may include colourful ribbons, rainbow designs, or colourful clothes and shoes. At Minimbah, we will also welcome extraordinary guest storyteller and drag artist, Frock Hudson, who will read a variety of stories to the students. The children will also be engaged in various visual art activities throughout the day.

National Reconciliation Week – 27 May to 3 June

The National Reconciliation Week 2022 theme, ‘Be Brave. Make Change’ is a challenge to all Australians— individuals, families, communities, organisations, and government—to Be Brave and tackle the unfinished business of reconciliation so we can Make Change for the benefit of all Australians.

It is with pleasure Woodleigh School will be hosting several events across the week. On Thursday, 27 May, our Reconciliation Assembly will commence with a smoking ceremony in the courtyard at 8.50 am. All members of the Minimbah Community are invited to attend. We will be launching the School’s Reconciliation Action Plan RAP at an event held at the Senior Campus on Wednesday, 1 June. Including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander guests, speakers, and artists, we are looking forward to involving our school community in this fundamental commitment to Reconciliation. A time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia, I encourage you to put this important date into your calendar.

BDPSSA Cross Country – Friday 17 May at Senior Campus

The annual BDPSSA cross-country running event will be held at Woodleigh School – Senior Campus on Friday 20 May.

The reserve date due to inclement weather is Monday 23 May.

All parents, relatives and friends of the school are most welcome to come and support our students in their endeavours. The cross-country course is situated with the start and finish at Cruden Oval, so access is via the main entrance at Senior Campus. Please observe all parking signs and directions given. The PFG will be running a canteen at the event with hot and cold drinks and snacks available throughout the day.

Times for the races are given below, and students will require their complete sports uniform, including a weatherproof jacket, snack and drink.

There will be no charge for this excursion.

9-Year-Old Girls – 10.00am 9 Year Old Boys – 10.15am
10-Year-Old Girls – 10.30am 10 Year Old Boys – 10.45am
11-Year-Old Girls – 11.30am 11 Year Old Boys – 11.50am
12-Year-Old Girls – 12.10pm 12 Year Old Boys – 12.30pm

Students who qualify in the top 10 at this event will be invited to compete at the Northern Peninsula Division Championships on Tuesday 31 May at the Hastings Foreshore Reserve in Hastings.

Minimbah Disco – Please note the change of date

We are looking forward to the annual Minimbah disco, which will be held on Friday 17 June. Please note this is a change of date from Friday 10 June, which would have seen the disco fall on the eve of the Queen’s Birthday Long Weekend.

Deputy Principal – Head of Minimbah Campus