Gippsland Grammar newsletter: Aug 21, 2020

Aug 21, 2020 | Community News

In a meeting with our Executive team last week we had a discussion about things that make us happy and what we feel grateful for. I said, “that every day when I open my wardrobe, Kermit the Frog, is looking at me with a big smile on his face”. I can’t help but smile back.

To explain, Kermit is a stuffed toy that was given to me at Christmas when I was eight years old. At that time I loved the Muppets and would sing Rainbow Connection for anyone who would listen so I was so excited when I received him. So now when I see Kermit every morning, I am reminded of how happy he is and how fortunate I was to receive him as a gift. At the time he would have been expensive, which makes me treasure him even more. I wonder if my parents knew then that their gift would be still making me happy all these years later.

This week we have been talking about gratitude. Coincidentally, Kermit has a famous quote on gratitude: ‘Be thankful for the bad things in life. For they opened your eyes to the good things you weren’t paying attention to before!’

I think many of us can relate to this quote since COVID-19 has placed us in the position of dreaming of our next holidays, visiting interstate relatives, and celebrating special milestones with parties, which are just a few examples of some things we are currently missing out on – all everyday life events that perhaps we took for granted before this pandemic.

Showing gratitude can also boost our own mental health as it allows us to recognise the things that others have done for us. Practicing gratitude can help you shift your focus to positive memories. My positive memories are there for me each morning as Kermit smiles at me and I am very grateful for the reminder Kermit provides me each day.

Finally, don’t forget that next Friday (August 28) is a student-free day as all staff will undertake their annual Compliance training. All campus offices will be closed.

Warm regards,

Leisa Harper


Gippsland Grammar’s two Early Learning Centres in Bairnsdale and Sale have remained open during this current lockdown and I would like to send my personal thanks to the large team of educators for their commitment, professionalism, and good humour during this testing time. Apart from their usual duties, all of the ELC staff now have many extra hours of cleaning each day to ensure that the rooms, playground and all of the toys and materials are disinfected regularly so that the children are able to play and learn as safely as possible.

Despite this, our programs continue as usual and are providing the children with rich, stimulating and interesting learning. The ELC teaching team are planning to ensure that the educational program continues meeting the needs of our youngest students and their families during these unusual times. Particular attention is being paid to nurturing the children’s emotional wellbeing and developing their ‘toolbox’ of strategies to deal with change and uncertainty.

While unfortunately families can’t enter the rooms at the moment, we are using a variety of creative ways to ensure that they are still able to be involved and stay connected. Using VOS the teachers have filmed the inside of their classrooms, loaded pictures of artwork and room displays and have filmed the children doing activities such as craft, singing, acting out stories and using puppets. One really easy way to stay involved is for families to check into their VOS page for their class’s ‘Weekly Reflection’. This is a weekly document, with photos, produced to keep families updated on the educational program for their child’s group. In it you will find descriptions of learning activities, links to curriculum, teacher reflections, tips how learning can be extended at home, emerging interests, literacy and numeracy learning, physical skill development programs, specialist classes and much more. It is always a fantastic read and is a great way to start conversations with your little ones about what they have been doing all day, especially if they say “nothing”!


Sale ELC Reception students were inspired by the story ‘Alexander’s Outing’
before they took part in a floating and sinking experiment.

BAIRNSDALE CAMPUS NEWS by Head of Campus Virginia Evans 
I handed over the reins to Hudson and Emily this week for our Wellbeing Wednesday and as a result we all enjoyed the Bairnsdale Campus Trivia Quiz. It was all terrific however the highlight for me was watching Mrs Carr and Mrs Harper dancing the Nutbush with the students cheering them on in the background. Congratulations to Blackwood for winning the Trivia Quiz. This afternoon the Gippsland Grammar staff will celebrate the end of the week with a Trivia Quiz hosted by Mr Evan Lamb from the St. Anne’s campus. It is very important to maintain and nurture our connectedness.
I was pleased to see how well our Nasturtiums are growing as we came together for Wellbeing Wednesday and to also hear of the good deeds our students are doing for their families, friends and neighbours, again to ensure our community feel cared for during COVID-19. Thank you for supporting your children with these initiatives.

Safety of our Community: The restrictions we are facing within Victoria challenge us all, I ask that we always consider others in your decision making, allowing us all to feel safe and reassured as we take this journey together.

Science Week: The theme of this year’s National Science Week is ‘Deep Blue: innovations for the future of our oceans’. Exploring our world through Science this week has been shared amongst parents, teachers and students and I am thrilled with the results. Science always creates terrific engagement with students and the photos below provide the evidence.

Foundation student Mitch (above left) was all smiles at the success of his walking water experiment and Year 5 students learnt about turtles as part of the Deep Blue theme with each student creating an information poster to share with their families (above right).

ST ANNE’S NEWS by Head of Campus Jie Van Berkel
Parent Information Session: A big thank you to the 40 families who joined our Learn@Home 2.0 information session on Zoom earlier this week. This session was aimed at providing an overview, along with specific information for families to get the most out of Learn@Home 2.0. Remote learning is further developing our student’s resilience and independence. Our Team Leaders, Mrs Julie Jago and Mrs Rebekah Tayler, shared their top tips for parents and students.

They included:

  • Help your child establish, and stick to, a routine.
  • Be in tune with your child’s and your own wellbeing needs.
  • Check-in with your child’s teachers and class VOS pages regularly. You are not expected to be a teaching expert and resist the urge to sit in on all classes with your child.
  • Ensure that your child has a designated place within the home to learn from. It should be away from distractions such as TV or younger siblings.
  • Encourage regular daily reading at home. Discuss what they are currently reading and also talk about their work quality. Things like neat handwriting, ruling up a page, using the right writing utensil and setting out the page. We want to encourage the continuation of high standards.
  • Be creative and adapt learning tasks when and where possible based on resources available.
  • Take breaks, encourage healthy snacks and physical activity.
  • Children should not be playing on a phone, iPad or another device while learning.
  • Learn@Home lessons should be treated like normal class time – everyone needs to be respectful and responsible online.

Remember, you do not have to be the teacher. Try to be consistent and develop good routines. And most of all – be kind to yourself. Everyone is doing the best they can!

Mr Steve McAnulty, our School Psychologist, also spoke about two great resources that may benefit families during COVID-19 stage three restrictions. Both resources are from the Positive Parenting Program Initiative. Our School community may remember we held two parenting seminars at School last year, which were run by this group. This first resource is succinct and easy to digest. It includes their Top 10 Tips for parents and carers during COVID-19. The second resource is more in-depth and goes into greater detail on how parents and carers can support their children during this pandemic. 

Fellowship: This morning’s Fellowship celebrated all the incredible learning happening during Learn@Home 2.0. It included videos and photos of our students demonstrating resilience, independence, responsibility and excellence. Our St Anne’s Singers, with the assistance of Mrs Katie Germaine, sung a fantastic version of 10,000 Reasons. We were also able to see behind the scenes footage of the cast of Mary Poppins, which we are still hopeful of putting on a performance … stay tuned! Chaplain Jackie shared her blessings for our School Community, urging us to stay connected. 

Parent and Carers Morning Tea: This morning we had our first morning tea for Parents and Carers via Zoom. This will be a weekly catch-up at 10am each Friday. This time is to provide parents and carers within our Campus community an opportunity to connect with each other, share a laugh, a story or ask a question. If you are available, make yourself a cup of tea, and click on the Parent Morning Tea Zoom link on VOS.

Music: During FlexiLearn, our amazing Music Department is still providing meaningful opportunities for our students to engage with their learning. One fine example of this is from Miss Laura Evans and our Year 2 Strings program. Through VOS, Miss Evans has created high-quality resources for our Year 2 students, to immerse themselves in our Strings Program.  Below are some of the key times our students can engage with their music program during Learn@Home 2.0:

Year 2 Strings: Thursday 2.15pm
Year 4 Training Band: Wednesday 2.15pm
Concert Band: Wednesday 3pm
Paganini: Thursday 2.15pm
St Anne’s Singers: Friday 1.30pm

Getty Museum Challenge – Talbot Family: The #GettyMuseumChallenge encouraged people into re-creating themselves, their families, and their pets into well-known masterpieces of world art and posting them online for all to enjoy. Our resident artist, Mrs Louise Hulls, encouraged our school community to do the same. One lucky school family, the Talbots, had their re-created masterpiece selected to be in the Getty Museum book. Congratulations to Aurora and Ed Talbot, on their artwork depicting The Last Supper by Leonardo Di Vinci.

Parent-Teacher Interviews Our optional Parent/Teacher interviews for students from Foundation to Year 6 will be held on Tuesday August 25 and Thursday August 27, via Zoom. Parents will need to log onto VOS to gain access to the relevant teacher’s Zoom links. This will be available closer to the dates. Important information about our Parent/Teacher interviews is already available on VOS.

Year 1 student Jeremy loved learning about the ocean during Science Week (above left) and Year 3 student Milly making her weathervane.

GARNSEY NEWS by Head of Campus Jan Henry
Science Week: This year’s theme of National Science Week is ‘Deep Blue: innovations for the future of our oceans’. With this in mind, the theme embraces the innovative technologies, capabilities and skills needed to achieve economic, environmental and social sustainability of our oceans. It features insights and inquiries into workable solutions that generate healthy oceans, healthy economies and healthy communities.

Congratulations to our Head of Science Mrs Nadine Williams for all her work to promote Science to our students and wider community this week. Our week has consisted of quizzes, brain breaks, at-home experiments and many opportunities for families to engage in and explore their curiosity about Science. I was particularly impressed with the wombat falafel “recipe”. There was also a wonderful report on WIN TV news about Gippsland Grammar’s Science week and a must-see ELC explanation of dolphins on Facebook. Embracing the challenge of at-home learning, this week was a great celebration of Science. Well done, Mrs Williams.

Soiree: On Wednesday night it was a great pleasure to attend our Middle Years Soiree, via livestream on our School’s YouTube channel. Seven of our middle years students performed: Jess Martin (voice), Georgia Shell (violin), Izzy Goss (voice), Pippa Young (voice), Tess Venables (violin), Annie Perkins (violin) and Andrew Crawford (voice). It was lovely way to relax at home and watch the soiree and the student performances were excellent – I loved seeing those with a passion for music have the opportunity to perform again. I look forward to our virtual Spring Concert in October.

Students Georgia Shell (above left) and Annie Perkins (above right) performing at the Middle Years Soiree on Wednesday evening.

Irving Mosquito makes his debut: Congratulations to Irv (Class of 2019) who will make his debut with the Essendon Football Club in the Dreamtime round in Darwin tomorrow night. Irv studied at Gippsland Grammar from Year 7 after spending some of his primary years at Briagolong Primary School. A brilliant sportsman, we are all so thrilled that he achieved his dream and has been able to pursue his passion to play football. I’m hope some friends and family will be able to watch him play in Darwin this weekend and, of course, we’ll all be watching proudly for that big Irv smile from home as he makes his contribution to the game. The Dreamtime round is a special one and provides a powerful message to us all, so I’m thrilled by the significance of Irv debuting in this particular game.  In honouring Irv this weekend, I encourage families to think about engaging in some way in the message of Michael Long’s Long Walk. More details can be found online:

Good luck Irv, we couldn’t be more proud of you.

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