Gippsland Grammar news: Nov 6, 2020

Nov 6, 2020 | Community News

When I visited our Bairnsdale Campus earlier this week I met up with a good friend, someone who makes me feel positive and provides me with a real boost when I see them. Of course, this could be anyone in our School Community but today I am referring to Wilson, our fabulous therapy dog.

The research is clear that the effect of therapy dogs in schools shows higher levels of confidence in students as well as increased motivation. When I was at Bairnsdale I enjoyed watching children read to Wilson and witness how the opportunity provided a confidence and self-esteem boost as the students completed each reading book. As you can see below, I also had a fabulous time saying hello to Wilson as I gave him a well-deserved pat and cuddle for all that he does for our students.

Principal Leisa Harper giving therapy dog Wilson a cuddle at the Bairnsdale Campus this week.

Speaking of the improved self-esteem of the students when interacting with Wilson, I recently came across the following article outlining the importance of self-esteem, which I thought many of our families may also find useful.

Self-esteem is the degree to which the individual values themselves, believes they have worth themselves and to the world around them, has confidence in them and in their ability to cope successfully with life’s challenges.
Self-esteem plays a large role in whether a child will be successful as a human being; part of its power lies in the fact that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.  As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right.”
It includes how willing a person is to try new challenges and to persist in the face difficulty, how they react to failure and mistakes, how they deal with setbacks and disappointments, how content a person feels, how safe they feel with themselves and their world, how competent they feel, how willing to take risks, survive losses, and to reach their potential and to thrive in life.
The current trends in self-esteem includes the following elements:
– loving and cherishing our children just because they exist so that children can feel lovable and worthwhile; and
– acknowledging children’s strengths and accomplishments so that children can feel capable by:
– pointing out mistakes so our children can learn from them,
– holding them accountable for their behavior,
– giving them the opportunity to cope with failure and to delay gratification, so that they can see that they can handle life’s challenges.
Children need to fail and to feel disappointed, frustrated, worried and angry so they can learn to deal with these inevitable life experiences when they are young and still within the safety of a loving family. They also need to be held to certain realistic standards, have expectations placed on them that they strive to meet and be held accountable for their behavior. Children can learn to cope with failure and disappointment, they can realise they can learn from their mistakes, and they can learn to delay gratification. From meeting expectations and persevering they will gain a belief that they can master their environment, and experience feelings of accomplishment. Through handling challenges with persistence, they will begin to see obstacles as challenges to overcome and develop into strong problem solvers.
Read the full article here:

I’d like to thank all who have so far supported the Foundation’s wine fundraiser, Grammar’s ‘Gippsland Dozen’. As you may recall from the previous notifications, this innovative fundraiser sees four Gippsland wineries with links to our School come together in every box of ‘Gippsland Dozen’ (or half-dozen) and this is also the first time customers have been able to buy a carefully curated selection of premium Gippsland wines in a single transaction. It’s also a great way to support these four Gippsland wineries which have faced their own challenges over the past 12 months due firstly to the drought, then the bushfires and now the devastating global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Read more about the fundraiser here:
And order your own ‘Gippsland Dozen’ here:
Remember, all orders must be placed by November 23 and the wine will be delivered in early December.

Finally, don’t forget that Monday November 16 and Friday November 20 are both student-free day across all of our three campuses so our teachers can complete report writing and also for 2021 rollover preparation.

I hope that you have a wonderful weekend,

Warm regards
Leisa Harper

At this time of the year we spend a great deal of time preparing the children for the transitions they will make as they move from the Reception to Transition program or from Transition into the junior ‘big school’. Though we are incredibly fortunate at Gippsland Grammar ELC to be a part of a ‘whole’ school environment with only a short physical move from one room to another nearby, we still honour this process as an important one for each child’s wellbeing. Learning to get used to a new classroom, routines, extra time at school, new friends and new teachers can be a stressful time for children and their families. The step from ELC into school can be particularly emotional for families as they enter the next stage of their child’s life, one in which children will spend more time at school than at home for the first time. Parents of three year olds can also be experiencing their first-ever separation from their child. Needless to say, there will be lots of tissues on hand for parents during the first weeks of term!

Transition to ELC
This year has been especially challenging as we have been unable to invite parents into the ELC to be a part of this process. Despite this, our educators have been innovative in finding new ways to begin to build trusting relationships with our 2021 classes. Over the past few weeks, Transition group teachers have been visiting their new class members for storytime and ‘get to know yous’, and new students are scheduled for an individual orientation visit. We will conduct the ELC Parent Information Nights via Zoom and families have been sent home comprehensive handbooks with the A to Z of what to expect at ELC. The children can also expect mail from their new teachers in weeks to come containing projects to do at home, books with photos of their new teachers and rooms and details of their daily routine. The Reception children have a family photo book to fill with special memories to share with their teachers, and they will have small group orientation sessions early next year, outdoors as to comply with current COVID-19 regulations.

Transition to Foundation
Those children moving from our ELCs to our two junior campuses have met their 2021 Foundation teachers and are familiar with the layout of the campus from their specialist lessons during the year. There is a comprehensive handover between Transition and Foundation teachers, and a variety of opportunities for them to work with their new class teacher will occur in the coming weeks. Of course, our wonderful ‘Buddies Program’ is especially important as the children will have their known and trusted older mentor ready to greet them when they walk through the gate dressed in their school uniform in January.  This year’s orientations may look a little different but rest assured the class of 2021 will arrive at the ELC and Foundation well prepared and ready for the adventure of the year ahead.

Important dates:
ELC 2021 Parent information sessions (via Zoom): Tuesday November 10 at 7.30pm (St Anne’s) and Wednesday November 11 at 7.30pm (Bairnsdale)

Melbourne Cup day provided us with not only a mid-week break but also a beautiful day to enjoy the outdoors. I had an enjoyable morning on the lake kayaking (a great way to spend the day!) and I hope many of our families also went camping, hiking, bike riding or just enjoyed the day in the garden.

Mrs Penny Rankin and I commenced the Stormbirds program this week, which saw us working with three groups of students who all shared their story of the bushfires. Having the opportunity to talk through their experiences, enables us all to acknowledge that each and every one of us has been impacted in some way, while varied in intensity. We will continue to unpack our stories over the next four weeks.

Principal Harper’s visit
We were delighted to have Mrs Leisa Harper visit us on Thursday with teachers and students all keen to welcome her into our classrooms and share our learnings with her. From working on the floor with the Foundation students, to walking the river with the Kurrajong students, joining in the Year 2 strings program and presenting certificates to our ELC students; a great day was had. Mrs Harper received an extra big welcome from Wilson (see the photo above) and I’m not sure who was happier!

Junior Athletics
Today, after a number of postponements, our junior students finally got to participate in their House Athletics. The long anticipation allowed for a day of fun and celebration. For Acacia, it was a new experience and they lapped it up full of energy and enthusiasm. Our Year 6 leaders supported Mrs Elisha Froud in the running of the event, encouraging the juniors and working hard on each station. Adding to the fun of the day was the teacher versus the Year 6 relay (though we missed our parents greatly) and with some tricks up their sleeve, the teachers were hoping for success, but it was not to be thanks to the with our speedy Year 6’s. As this event was still going at the time of finalising this newsletter, I will share further results next week.

Lots of smiles on the faces of our junior students at the House Athletics held at Bairnsdale today.

School Photos
Following the recent changes to regulations around school photos, John Ansell Photography have been booked to come to the Bairnsdale Campus on Thursday November 26. Please check that you have this date correctly recorded as we have needed to change it more than once. On this day students are to be dressed in their full Summer uniform. Further details regarding the new ordering process for these photos will be emailed in the coming days. Photo envelopes will not be distributed as usual.

Melaleuca Fellowship
Today’s Zoom Fellowship was led by the Melaleuca class and focussed on kindness. I would like to share with you their prayer.
Dear God,
If I cannot be brilliant, let me be kind. If I cannot give away riches, let me be loving. Let me be known for kindness, for it is the greatest glory.

Last night we had ‘virtual’ full house for our 2021 Foundation Information Session via Zoom. The aim of the evening was to pass on key information to families who are either currently in our ELC or new to Gippsland Grammar with a child is starting in Foundation next year. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we have had to be innovative in how we engage with our School Community but a positive of streaming this information session meant working parents, as well as those who would have usually travelled from out of town, to be able to attend with perhaps less of an inconvenience.
Foundation teachers Bree Alexander and Rebekah Tayler provided important to families and this morning both teachers visited their 2021 students in the ELC. Having the close connection with our ELC allows for a smooth transition for our students.
Below are the remaining transition sessions for our 2021 Foundation students who are currently at the ELC.
Friday November 13: 2nd Transition session for students from 9-10am
Friday December 4: 3rd Transition session for students 9-10am

Barton Fellowship
Our Year 2 Barton students, along with teacher Alison Fraser, have created this week’s pre-recorded Fellowship.  Our Barton students began by recognised our First Australians with a meaningful acknowledgement of Country, as well as communicating that the 2020 NAIDOC Week will be from November 8-15. The focus of the Fellowship was about caring for all creatures, great and small. Students shared that our School values (compassion, leadership, excellence, responsibility and respect) underpin the caring for animals and plants. Barton students spoke specifically about the plover chicks that we have on our grounds, and how we can care for them. They also spoke about looking after the wonderful trees and plants in our School grounds. Our Barton students included a montage of photos showing the people, pets and plants that are special to them. School families can watch this Fellowship on VOS.

Our Pulse initiative is a quick wellbeing survey that students in Years 5 and 6 undertake each week. It identifies ebbs and flows in how our students are feeling about their health, learning, emotions and other key areas of wellbeing. This week our Pulse check-ins have identified a rise in the respect and emotional bond between students and their teachers. This was expected as teachers and staff have been striving to build strong connections with students on our return face to face teaching.

Term Dates
For next year’s term dates, please refer to the end of last week’s newsletter, which you can find here:

As our Year 12s prepare to begin their examinations, our Years 10 and 11 students are also entering their own examination period. Students have been well supported by their teachers to prepare for the examinations, which are the first of their kind for Year 10s, and this has been our focus at Garnsey campus this week. Encouraged to put the strategies presented by Elevate Education into place, most senior students have been focussed on preparation for the week ahead.

Peer support
Year 9 students undertook Peer Support Training this week, which was an opportunity to meet their Year 10 Mentors for next year and to work in teams to develop their skills and some strategies to enable them to support our new Year 7 students. More than ever, their role will be critical in assisting the Year 7 students in their transition to the Garnsey campus. Students used this training to consider what friendship looks like, how to engage in group discussions which build trust and positive relationships and ways to manage groups in respectful ways. I wish the Year 9s well as they take on the important role of Peer Support leaders in 2021.

Student Free Days
Monday November 16 will be a student free day at Gippsland Grammar and at the Garnsey campus, teachers will engage in report writing. We have now completed most of our assessments and curriculum for the year and our planning for Rollover at the Garnsey campus is well underway with a new timetable and classes being finalised.
For some students Rollover means new Mentors and Mentor Groups and I know students will be excited to know what these groups will look like in 2020. Students going into Years 8-12 will be notified of these groups in the week prior to Rollover.
A further student-free day will be held on Friday November 20 to enable staff to prepare for their Rollover classes and Mentor Groups.

Spring was in the air at our Garnsey Campus this morning when this mother duck and her two ducklings were spotted enjoying the wide open spaces of our campus oval.

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