Penbank Letter Home
Dear Parents and Friends,
We have experienced a wonderful Term 1. Including camps, numerous sporting events, the introduction of the IB (International Baccalaureate) PYP (Primary Years Program) and Wugubank Week, there is much to excite us about learning.
Little children in our Early Learning Centre and Prep have made significant gains learning how to learn in their environments, while meeting the new challenges of the daily routines. Other new students to our campus have also settled in extremely well.
Core focuses at each School Meeting bind us together in our quest to have children learn how to be considerate and mindful students and friends. It is all part of a most important journey.
At our School Meeting in Week 9, the focus on friendship reminded us that it is a learning area as significant as any other. A quote from Aristotle reminded us that…
Woodleigh’s 3Rs – Respect for Self, Respect for Others, Respect for the Environment.
These school values underpin our work and guide us in our interactions.
Respect for Others
Respectful and cooperative behaviour from students and the broader school community is vital to ensure that everyone is working positively together. As a school, we aim to provide a calm and orderly environment where learning can readily take place. Teachers and students alike need an environment where the focus is on the teaching and learning.
We expect high standards of work and behaviour where self-discipline is encouraged. How we teach our children to negotiate certain situations, and think before they act, is also vitally important. Manners, too, are fundamental. When using good manners, we are thinking about the feelings of other people and being the kind of person that others will like and respect. Manners are more than simple courtesies of please and thank you.
As parents and educators, we want to raise our children to make moral choices that will lead them towards an honourable and successful future. Building a moral compass that gives them a sense of direction, when faced with life’s difficult decisions, and learning how to interact with others while learning right from wrong, are all skills and attitudes that build character. Very simply, enabling children to develop empathy towards others, with the capacity to understand and follow rules, is our most important duty as parents and teachers.
Managing Mobile Phones
The use of mobile phones and devices is a serious matter. Many parents are unaware of the social media that children are accessing. This year, we have experienced an increase of children with phones at school. Apart from phones being a distraction, it is becoming too easy for children to be on phones without the appropriate supervision. Smart watches have been equally disruptive. Consequently, we have introduced a phone and smartwatch register of all children who have a phone and smartwatch. The procedure will be that each child with a phone and/or smartphone at school hands it/them in to Reception at the beginning of each day and collects it/them at the end of the day.
We do understand that for parents with children travelling on buses, that a mobile phone may provide a sense of security for parents and children travelling to and from school. However, in reality, no child needs a phone for these purposes, as the drivers on the buses have a rigorous approach and responsibility to the children in their care. Most importantly, if a child is feeling vulnerable in any situation, parents must encourage children to go to the supervising adult.
Due to increasing issues regarding social media, the school is currently reviewing the Mobile Phone and ICT Policy, and User Agreements. These policies will be forwarded to parents early next term. For parents seeking guidance with ICT usage and social media, I’ve included in this Letter Home the ICT article that was published in the first Letter Home for the year. This is most useful information.
Developing respect and responsibility through the PYP Learner Profile
The PYP Learner Profile keeps these attitudes, values and dispositions at the forefront. The learner profile represents 10 attributes that support students to become responsible members of local, national and global communities.
The various projects offered at our school, including class and school focuses, camps, initiatives such as local community projects ('i sea i care'), fundraising and partnerships such as Wugubank, enable our students to learn through these empowering experiences.
The Capabilities Project – Woodleigh School and Deakin University
In 2018, Woodleigh School launched The Capabilities Project, a multi-year innovation initiative focused on advancing the assessment and reporting of students’ skill development in areas such as self-management, communication, teamwork, problem solving and critical thinking. This project emerged from a broader review of teaching and learning conducted at the school in 2017, with the challenge of finding authentic ways to capture and report on student growth in relation to critical 21st century capabilities identified as an important strategic focus.
Over the past 12 months, the school has partnered with DeakinCo., the e-learning and innovation arm of Deakin University, on the development of a ground-breaking model of capability assessment and real-world learning. Underpinning this work is each organisation’s commitment to preparing students for success in life, study and the workplace by moving beyond traditional, narrow academic boundaries to provide environments that stimulate the development of 21st century capabilities and skills.
Through their collaboration, Woodleigh and Deakin have built an experience-based model for the recognition of core, specialist and leadership skills that students develop through the school’s experiential learning programs. The model combines teacher-led modules and student-led projects, with the skills that students develop through their personalised learning experiences mapped to DeakinCo.’s credentials framework. With mentoring and support, students reflect on their progress and achievement, developing artefacts that result from their learning and provide the testimony and evidence requirements for the credentialing process. The model is based on and aligned with international qualifications and industry skills frameworks, and the national system of qualifications in Australia encompassing higher education, vocational education and training, and schools.
The four key aspects of the Woodleigh and Deakin model for capability assessment are:
‘Learn & do’ – Develop mindsets and attitudes that cultivate skills through action-based, blended learning experiences, combined with experience in real world projects.
‘Share, care, support’ – Support students through peer collaboration, pastoral care and mentoring; helping them to reflect on actions and relate to others’ experiences.
‘Connect & cultivate’ – Form and develop authentic connections and relationships to build a personal knowledge and support network.
‘Validate & celebrate’ – Gain external, transferable recognition and confirmation of their capabilities via PPC’s and celebrate their achievements.
During this year, as a pilot study, our Year 10 students will be provided with the opportunity to earn credentials through the completion of the regular learning tasks associated with Woodleigh’s experiential learning programs. Upon the completion of a given program, students will be able to choose to submit their course work, projects and assignments for external assessment. Student submissions will be reviewed by a team of assessors, with the appropriate credentials issued where the student work has been verified to meet expected standards. As a complimentary addition to the school’s assessment practices and written report, students who opt into this process will also receive a transcript from Deakin University at the end of the year that details the credentials they have earned from their studies.
Building on this pilot project, the school hopes to expand the model to include other year levels, with an initial focus on the senior secondary years. Complementary to qualifications gained through the completion of a VCE or VETiS course, the micro-credentials will provide an externally verified way of measuring and recognising the skills and capabilities for which Woodleigh graduates have long been known. The project has drawn considerable interest from other schools and institutions, with the Woodleigh–Deakin collaboration opening up future-focused pathways for our own students, while providing sector level leadership for the wider education community. Further information about this project will be shared through the newsletter and other parent forums in the year ahead.
Dr Richard Owens
Head of Teaching and Learning
My Number One Go-To Resource for ALL Questions Regarding eSafety!
Often parents come to me with questions regarding their child’s use of technology. Questions relate to many different things, such as:
- How much screen time should I allow my child?
- My child wants an Instagram account because all his/her friends have one. How do I say no?
- Do you know about a game called Apex Legends? My child wants to play it all the time!
My first response is to direct concerned parents to the website of the Office of the eSafety Commissioner. My second response is to go to this resource myself to see what I can learn.
This website is provided by the Australian Government as a resource for all Australians, young and old. Formerly a resource for parents and children, the organisation now recognises that technology and the Internet can cause problems for vulnerable elderly people just as easily as for children, albeit often of a different nature (think elaborate scams).
I urge parents to become familiar with The Office of the eSafety Commissioner as a matter of duty to help us raise children that are responsible, resilient and respectful digital citizens who are capable of reasoning. These 4 Rs were the focus of Safer Internet Day on 5 February, and they sum up neatly the fundamental tenets for being safe and well-functioning members of a digital world:
- Respect – I treat myself and others the way I like to be treated.
- Responsibility – I am accountable for my actions and I take a stand when I feel something is wrong.
- Reasoning – I question what is real.
- Resilience – I get back up from tough situations.
The Office of the eSafety Commissioner is a valuable resource. As always, we welcome your questions and we are happy to offer our support, but nothing will take the place of informed adults who actively monitor and manage their children’s use of technology. It is my belief that children should have no expectations of privacy regarding the use of technology, and it is up to parents and caregivers to impose rules governing how, when and why technology is used.
All the best,
We welcome an open dialogue between parents and the school.
The teachers' priority each day is to ensure that the day begins in a well prepared, positive and harmonious way. Teachers do avail themselves to parents for brief greetings each morning, however, if there is an issue to be discussed, please arrange an appointment or contact Brenda Karnowski if the matter requires immediate attention. I am also available if Brenda is not.
Regarding emails, we ask that parents email teachers via admin email@example.com. Emails will always be forwarded on to the applicable staff member. Our teachers work incredibly hard and long hours. They need personal time to be with their families, refresh and plan for the beginning of each school day, especially on weekends. I am sure you would appreciate the importance of teachers having this time that enables them to deliver the professional level of teaching that we expect. We highly value your support with this request.
For general information, Reception is your first port of call! A weekly update is posted on the Woodleigh App. Don’t forget to install it if you haven’t done so already. The Woodleigh website also publishes information concerning the school calendar and events.
Otherwise, just give us a call – we will always be happy to help.Click here to download the Woodleigh App
Wugubank Week – Celebrating Cultural Diversity Week
It was such a busy week last week with all that Wugubank Week encompassed – gorgeous children, Close the Gap/Cultural Diversity/Harmony Day, terrific activities etc.; a fabulous success all round due to the support and involvement of our families and teachers at school and home.
Overall, it was an incredibly positive week. Even by the last day, all children continued to maintain an active level of interest and fun. At the Werribee Zoo, such a beautiful location, all were engaged, inclusive and responsive. The children must have been extremely tired following our Twilight Harmony Day Picnic, so it was terrific to see the positive effort. As for the Wugularr kids and staff, it was an exhausted but contented group who embarked on the plane on their final night. They all managed so well considering the incredible contrast of experience and lifestyle in every capacity. There were actually children who said they weren’t ready to go home!
The Harmony Day Twilight Picnic was a great success. We received very positive feedback about the event. Students from the Senior Campus arranged activities and stalls, and the PFG did an amazing job catering for the very hungry crowd. The entertainment was likewise excellent. It was wonderful to have special performances by Kucha Edwards and Benny Walker. We were delighted to welcome back to Penbank, former student, Xani Kolac, who accompanied Benny on the violin. A highly accomplished violinist, we remember the many School Meetings where Xani performed. A love for the instrument as a little girl, we congratulate Xani on the many years of dedicated work and study that has brought her renowned recognition as a musician and violinist.
Involvement by children in the footy activities, run by the VFL Roadshow, performing on stage in choirs and hip hop, showcased the learning that had occurred throughout the day. We also appreciated the involvement of a number of community choirs who joined the children on stage with Kucha. Such sharing and two-way learning was palpable. It was a very happy week sharing culture with families and friends.
All of these experiences provide amazing learning opportunities, not only for the children, but for us as parents and educators too. I thank the host families who welcomed Wugularr children in to their homes – all family members had a part to play to ensure that the quality of experience and learning enabled the Wugularr children to feel secure and loved.
The Wugubank Partnership is flourishing because of the support of both schools and communities, Woodleigh and Wugularr School, Beswick. I thank all staff and community members involved, both here on the Mornington Peninsula, and from Wugularr School towards the Top End, NT. In our 10 years together, we have seen wonderful opportunities emerge and made very special friends. In consultation with the Wugularr Principal and staff, I thank Andy Khoza for her wonderful organisation of Wugubank Week at Penbank.
Year 6 students Rani & Milla were this week presented with their 2019 Redgum Book Club Young Writers’ Award. Their captivating stories of overcoming fear and finding the magic will be illustrated and published by Redgum Book Club for distribution throughout Australia in 2020.
This annual award encourages a love of reading and writing amongst children aged between nine and thirteen. This year featured a record-breaking number of entries, with the 2019 Young Writers’ Award inspiring children to commit their thoughts and ideas to paper. An increase in the number of entries boosted by school literary group entries resulted in an exciting array of themes and topics covered by our budding authors.
Rani and Milla won the Children’s Picture Book Category with their thought-provoking story ‘Night’.
‘Night’ explores the many facets that night-time holds; peace and rest for some, while others wait anxiously for the break of day, from the shadows to the sunrise, watching, searching…
Rani and Milla will now get to see their words take shape into book from. From illustration and editing, to design, publishing and finally, availability in store. In addition to having their stories published nationally by Redgum, they also receive a $250 Redgum Book Club voucher and an award certificate plus a prior winner’s book pack.
Children’s author Cameron Macintosh joined us at School Meeting on Thursday to hand over the girls’ awards and speak about his career as a children’s story book author.
The introduction of the new school uniform for Minimbah and Penbank has been most enthusiastically supported.
These last few days has alerted us to the upcoming cooler weather, so do get down to the Bounty Shop during the school break to arrange the winter gear for your children. New items include a pinafore for girls that is to be worn with the new school jumper. The rugby top is to accompany the pants, shorts and skorts only. This item is really a mid-season garment. A jacket is also available for additional warmth during PE and excursions. We very much appreciate your support with these changes to the school uniform options.
Hats, socks and sport socks can be purchased from Penbank and Minimbah Reception! We keep lots of sizes in stock. If you need anything, and don't feel like a drive to Frankston, please see Reception!
It is nearly time for Mel to begin Maternity Leave.
All going well, Mel plans to commence her Maternity Leave on Monday 29 April; a few weeks prior to the due date of her little baby. This is at the end of Week 1, Term 2.
I am very pleased that Brittany French, Mel’s co-teacher, will assume responsibility as Prep teacher for the remainder of the year. Jenny Smith will also continue as teacher assistant.
Early next term, we will have the opportunity to farewell and thank Mel for her commitment and dedication to Penbank’s Prep Program for the past four years. Mel has provided a wonderful program for the children, which will be continued by Britt and Jenny. We will then await excitedly for the birth of Mel’s baby boy.
I thank all staff for the dedication and contribution to the year thus far.
Including information nights, camps, settling students into the routines and expectations of each year level, while providing a program that extends and inspires children in their learning, requires a huge amount of planning, preparation and talent. A round of applause to you all!
Just one day to go, and we can look forward to a well-earned break. Schools are busy places, and when you have the aspirations to achieve, as we do, there is little time for rest.
Take care and enjoy the Term 1 break.
What a start to the year it has been!
As always, Term 1 has been very busy and Physical Education has been no exception. During PE this term we have been learning all the rules and regulations of lessons, as well as ensuring we are safe and engaged at all times. Along with the 3 Rs (respect for self, each other and the environment) I always encourage each student to try their hardest every lesson. If they can bring an enthusiastic and positive attitude towards every class, we will see improvement in not only their sporting skills but also their happiness and health.
This term, we have focused on three main sports – Tennis, Cricket and Diamond Sports (kickball, rounders, T Ball/Softball). In addition to PE, it has been amazing seeing the Prep and Year 1s excel in their PMP lessons and Year 3-6 enjoying their Friday afternoon sports. During these sessions, we have practised our Summer Lightning Premiership Sports (Cricket, Tennis, Rounders, T Ball, Basketball and Lawn Bowls) in preparation for our Summer Lightning Premiership day, Wednesday in Week 10. I wish all the Year 5/6 students all the best during these matches. A HUGE thank you to the parents and teachers who have helped out during PMP, as well as supporting our wonderful school during district and division events. Your support and assistance is greatly appreciated.
We have also achieved outstanding results in the District/Division Swimming Carnival events with 35 students representing Penbank and 15 going on to Division level. Please see below the students who progressed through to division.
U12/13 boys freestyle relay - (Charlie Fa, Declan B, Harvey S, Chris C)
U12/13 girls backstroke: Milla L
U12/13 boys breaststroke: Charlie Fa
U9/10 boys breaststroke: Rhyden H
U12/13 girls freestyle relay (Amelia B, Milla L, Rani J, Molly M)
U9/10 boys freestyle relay (Fergus O, Barnaby J, Rhyden H, Louis H)
U12/13 girls freestyle: Milla L
U12/13 boys freestyle: Charlie Fa
U9/10 boys freestyle: Fergus O
U11 girls backstroke: Maya H
U9/10 boys backstroke: Barnaby J
U11 boys Breaststroke: Andy B
U12/13 girls butterfly: Amelia B
U9/10 boys butterfly: Rhyden H
Open girls 4 x 50 medley relay (Milla L, Aurelia P, Amelia B, Rani J)
Open boys 4 x 50 medley relay (Harvey S, Charlie Fa, Declan B, Chris C)
Once again, a big thank you to all parents and teachers who supported and encouraged our wonderful swimmers at these events and well done to our amazing students on their outstanding results!
Along with a brilliant start to the year in PE, the Year 5s also experienced a wonderful week at Wilsons Prom for their camp. Activities included surfing, canoeing, beach art, hiking, orienteering, movies, night walk, trivia, beach games and plenty of others. It was a tremendous week and I am very lucky to be able to enjoy these experiences with these students. Thank you to all the students and teachers, especially Chris, Gayle, Matt, Lorraine, Liz, Lindsey and Marc.
The Year 3/4s also experienced a wonderful camping experience at Golden Valleys Lodge. Activities included archery, mountain biking, obstacle course, team building, orienteering, flying fox, night walk, trivia night, sensory trail and many more. Thank you to all the students and teachers, especially Justin, Hannah, Gayle and Nicky Rae.
Friday, Week 10, will also be the 2019 Woodleigh School Sports Carnival. It will be amazing to see all three campuses come together and enjoy what will be a collaborative and fantastic event. Thank you to everyone who has made the start to the year immensely enjoyable. I am very much looking forward to seeing our wonderful students excel in the sporting environment in Term 2!
Have a safe and happy holiday everyone!
It has been an exciting Term 1 with many children creating fabulous art pieces. The students have been very busy and there is always great energy and enthusiasm coming from the Art room.
We were very excited about collaborating with the Year 11 Studio Art students, headed by Woodleigh senior teacher, Birra-li Ward. The senior students worked with Minimbah Year 5s then Penbank Year 5s creating sketches and then turning them into lino cuts. We will then print them next term in the senior Art room. I was thrilled with the bonding and excitement amongst the students while creating their art pieces, and the Year 11s showed great leadership and role modelling towards the younger students.
Wugubank Week was also a highlight this term, especially showing the Penbank students artworks from Djilpin Arts Centre, Beswick. The Wugularr students were very excited seeing their art gallery on the interactive white board.
Wishing all families a lovely holiday.
It is wonderful to see so many students immersed in the Music Program this year, trying something new or continuing on with commitment, strengthening their skill levels on an instrument they have been learning for a while.
All the Penbank ensembles and choirs have made a fantastic start with numbers and commitment at an all-time high. We have a wonderfully diverse selection of instruments, including the introduction of the double bass in Senior Orchestra and sousaphone in Concert Band. New friendships and camaraderie has formed amongst our students while learning to play music together in ensembles, encouraging and supporting each other to play through the challenges they face. Congratulations to all students who have started the year with the courage to join a new ensemble or choir. It is not always easy to make this big step, however, it is well worth it! Please see me if you would like to join any ensembles in second term! We are always welcoming of new members!
A reminder of the ensembles:
- Guitar Ensemble (Year 4–6) – Monday lunchtime 1.10–1.40pm
- Junior Orchestra - Monday lunchtime 1.10–1.40pm
- Concert Band - Monday after school 3.15–4.00pm
- Senior Orchestra - Tuesday after school 3.15–4.00pm
- Rock Band (Year 6s) - Wednesday lunchtime 1.10–1.40pm
- Senior Choir (All Year 4–6) - Wednesday after school 3.15–4.00pm
- Junior Choir (All Prep–Year 3) - Thursday after school 3.15–3.45pm
- Percussion Ensemble (All) - Friday lunchtime 1.10–1.40pm
Students from Prep to Year 5 took part in a session with our talented Brass and Woodwind teachers, John Beckley and Melanie Ford, who introduced the beautiful sounds of the clarinet, flute, saxophone, trumpet, trombone and sousaphone. The students from Year 3–5 were able to trial a couple of the instruments, while the younger students were able to hear the variety of sounds created. Many of the students from Year 3–5 showed great interest and excitement as they played these instruments. If your child is thinking of beginning something new, have a chat to them about this musical experience. It may help to make a decision of which instrument to pursue.
We all know that friendships form an important part of our lives and add to our sense of wellbeing. As adults our friends provide support, encouragement, counsel, and sometimes simply a listening board. For the young people in our lives friendships can build self-esteem and a sense of belonging which help them feel good about themselves. Having and making friends not only enhances mental health, it teaches our young people important life skills like problem solving, negotiation, and conflict resolution.
Unlike the start of a new school year (a clear point of transition as indicated by a new classroom, a new teacher, new faces and new material to cover), development in our young people occurs without regard for the calendar. When it comes to friendship, Robert Selman and his five-stage theory has frequently been cited as a way of viewing the progression of these skills. The overarching concept of Selman’s theory is that individuals move through a series of stages, each of which involve qualitatively different social and emotional skills and challenges, as they work out how to get along with the people around them. The stages described by Selman differ in terms of the thoughts, ideas, and understanding of friendship, which become increasingly complex throughout the primary school years. When thinking about these stages, it is best to hold the associated age ranges lightly and not to view them as concrete signposts because, as we know, each young person’s trajectory differs. We also know that the development of these skills is not necessarily linear and that despite showing a particular level of skill, a young person may inconsistently employ them in their interactions with others.
Stages of Development
‘Momentary Playmates’ (3–6 years)
Friendship is largely based on proximity and shared activities of interest. A child at this stage clearly distinguishes friends from others but they have a hard time seeing things from other people’s perspectives. This can result in phrases like, “She’s not my friend anymore” when another child has expressed a different opinion or simply wants to do a different activity.
‘One-Way Assistance’ (5-9 years)
There is a greater emphasis on the importance of friendship at this stage. This can mean that friendship is used as a bargaining chip and can also mean hanging onto a friendship even if that person does unkind things. Whilst friendship extends at this point beyond the moment-to-moment play of the previous stage, young people remain very concrete in the way they conceptualise friendship. More often than not a friend is someone of a similar age who does something nice for us.
‘Two-Way, Fair Weather Cooperation’ (7-12 years)
Fairness and reciprocity dominate this stage of friendship. Young people in this stage are able to view situations from another person’s perspective but there is a certain expectation that if they do something for their friend, then their friend will do something for them. At this stage there is more judgement (of self and others) and fitting in becomes a focus. Secret clubs often arise during this stage and can lead to plenty of energy and time being spent on working out who is and who is not part of the group. This coincides with an increased ability to express feelings verbally. Despite this, anger may still be the default when they’re upset. This is likely to be a peak period of complaining about friends and the reactions of others.
‘Mutually Shared Relationships’ (8-15 years)
Compromise and helping friends without the expectation of the favour being returned is an indication that the young person has moved to this stage. Young people in this stage show genuine care for their friend. There is often a desire for the friend to be a constant companion, which can lead to hurt feelings when they choose to spend time with someone else. At this time young people tend to start narrowing their peer group to close friends with whom they share secrets and jokes.
‘Mature Friendship’ (12 years and up)
Feelings of trust and support, whilst knowing that their friend will have other relationships and will want to spend time with those people, are indicators of a young person moving into the fifth and final stage of friendship skills. When this stage is reached, young people are able to endure time away from their friend and be relatively confident that the connection will last. There is greater and greater value placed on the opinions of their friends.
So, how do you support the development of your child’s friendship skills?
For those with children who find it easy to make friends it may simply be arranging playdates or sleepovers. Be available during these times but give sufficient space and time so that they have the opportunity to practise the skills needed to get along. As no friendship is perfect, be prepared to help them work through any small bumps along the way.
For those with children who find it harder to make friends, these skills can be strengthened through extracurricular activities at school and outside the school gates. You may find that role playing how to introduce themselves to others or how to invite someone over for a playdate to also be helpful.
Along the journey to mature friendships we expect there to be mistakes and conflicts. If trouble arises talk to your child and try to problem solve together. It may be that they could identify a particular game that they’re interested in which they could start at school or that they’re uncertain about the rules of a game that they’re keen to play. Additionally, teaching them how to consider situations from other perspectives, in teachable moments, through conversation, role-play, stories and debriefing is often helpful. It may then be helpful to talk to their teacher. When such moments are viewed in the context of other areas of development (e.g. language, motor and self-care), it is clear that each child will move through the stages at their own pace. As parents and teachers, we can help them practise these skills. By understanding the different stages of development, those who care for and work with our young people can provide the understanding, empathy and assistance to nurture these life-long skills.
- raisingchildren.net.au: Friends and friendships – 10 frequently asked questions
- KidsMatter: Learning positive friendship skills
- Understood: Social Problems at School – How and When to Jump In
Educational and Developmental Psychologist (Minimbah and Senior Campus)
Educational and Developmental Psychologist (Penbank and Senior Campus)