Gippsland Grammar news: Feb 18, 2022

Feb 18, 2022 | Bairnsdale News, Community News, Garnsey News, Principal's News, St Anne's News

Sleep, amongst other things, is an incredibly important factor in coping with a busy school day.  As an educator I have noticed the number of students of all ages who appear to be physically tired during the school day is on the increase. This appears to be a common problem across Australia, but one that as parents we often tend to downplay in a world where there are so many other stressors and anxieties. Yet, ironically perhaps, it is these stressors and anxieties that may be at the root of our children’s tiredness which, in turn, results in further stress.

The Mater paediatric respiratory and sleep medicine unit’s Dr Sadasivam Suresh believes that sleep is the foundation of good health. He warns that many adult health issues originate during adolescence and a number of these can be linked to poor sleep habits developed during this time. He states that parents should ‘make sleep time, sacred time’. The Australian Sleep Association states that a reduction in nocturnal sleep of 1.5 hours for one night can reduce daytime alertness by up to 32 per cent.

The National Sleep Foundation Scientific Advisory Council has recently revised the recommended sleep ranges for a number of groups. A summary of the new recommendations includes:

  • Pre-schoolers (aged 3-5): Sleep range widened by one hour to 10-13 hours (previously it was 11-13)
  • School-age children (aged 6-13): Sleep range widened by one hour to 9-11 hours (previously it was 10-11)
  • Teenagers (aged 14-17): Sleep range widened by one hour to 8-10 hours (previously it was 8.5-9.5)
  • Younger adults (aged 18-25): Sleep range is 7-9 hours (new age category)


In an article by Leanne Edmistone she states that there is ‘a looming global health crisis based on lack of sleep. A fast-paced, achievement driven society, 24-hour access to information and entertainment, coupled with ingrained willingness to forsake sleep to fit more into our days, is taking its toll, particularly on adolescents. Australians are sleeping less and are more tired than ever, and our health is suffering as a result.’ (2013)

Lack of sleep can be linked to numerous medical conditions, including anxiety, depression and heart disease, as well as emotional and behavioural problems.

One of the reasons that adolescents are sleeping less now than ever before is, of course, due to their connection with technology 24/7. For many, there is no longer a downtime; with computers, iPads, game stations, smartphones and smartwatches all residing in the bedroom. A number of teens, tweens and children sleep with their phones under their pillows or on the bedside table, with the vibrations interrupting their sleep when a friend decides to text, message or post online during the night. Parents of adolescents have told me that when they do take their child’s phone during the night; messages often come through between 1am and 4am in the morning! Sleep expert Dr Sarah Blunden discovered in a survey conducted of 12,000 adolescents, that when parents limited media usage by their adolescent children the result was better sleep, better relationships between parent and child, and improved wellbeing and appreciation of life. Good news indeed, but how do we do it?

There are a number of ways that parents can help children to maintain, or even develop, good sleep habits:

  • It is certainly worth the initial trauma to demand that all technology be placed in a central area, such as the kitchen bench or dining room table, prior to bedtime.
  • If necessary, most phones can be set for wake-up alarm with the actual messaging/internet/phone functions being turned off. (Of course, there is the old-fashioned way of waking up to any alarm clock!)
  • Screen time leading up to bedtime should also be limited; no screen time, including TV, for at least 30 minutes prior to lights out.
  • Regular exercise, preferably in the morning.
  • Bedrooms should be dark, quiet and comfortably cool.
  • A set bedtime and wake up time, with a maximum of one hour’s difference on weekends (I find this one particularly hard!)
  • Do muscle relaxation exercises, have a warm bath, listen to soft music prior to turning in.

If you or your child have been struggling with sleep problems for a while and none of the obvious hints above are of any help, then it is important that you seek medical advice. It is also worth your while to visit the website:

May the weekend provide you time to enjoy our beautiful region and take time out with your families and friends.

Warm regards,
Leisa Harper

Photo Permissions
We have had a huge response to families nominating their preferred photo permissions, which is how you can give your approval for how our School can recognise student news and achievements in public ways, such as in this newsletter or in our School magazines. As we are currently implementing a new system, we require all School families to make this nomination by Thursday February 24. Please refer back to the email sent last week for a simple guide on how to complete this important task via VOS on your desktop. If you have any questions about this process you can email or phone IT Support on 5143 6364 during business hours.

Early Learning Centre news by ELC Director Lisa Burgess  
If is difficult to believe we are already about to head into our fourth week of the term. This week I have invited our three-year-old Reception teachers to share what has been happening in their programs. Hats off to this amazing group of educators as they settle in and soothe the nerves of our youngest students (and their parents). I truly believe that it is one of the most physically demanding jobs in the school as they don’t stop running all day long but are still ready with a smile and gentle encouragement for each and every child. Though opportunities to chat with your child’s Reception teacher can be a little difficult with the current sign in procedures at the door, please feel free to contact us at any time. Over the coming fortnight the Reception teachers will be ringing each of our new families to let you know how your child is settling in.

Bairnsdale Reception teacher Sommer Lea Collins
The current circumstances and restrictions have prevented parents from entering our classrooms on morning drop off and afternoon pick up. The children in the Reception group have responded well to this, showing independence and resilience upon entering the classroom without their parents. We call them our ‘Reception Stars’. Our goal is for all of our students are to feel recognised and respected for who they are as individuals and to begin to show an interest in other children and being part of a learning community. This week each of the children were able to make a star name and photo. They have been hung on our ELC gate, allowing the children to identify themselves and the Gippsland Grammar learning community they belong to.

St Anne’s Reception Cygnets (Monday/Wednesday) teacher Tammy Lopardi
The Cygnet children have had a wonderful start to the year. In Term 1, we focus on the children feeling safe and secure at the ELC because, of course, at the beginning of the year there are many mixed emotions for the children as they start in a new environment and, for some children, it is their first time leaving their parents. To assist the children in verbalising how they are feeling to educators and peers confidently, we have been singing songs, using puppets, and reading books about emotions. This week we enjoyed reading the book ‘In My Heart’ written by Jo Witek and illustrated by Christine Roussey. The book explores a full range of emotions, describing how they feel physically inside, with language that empowers children to practise articulating and identifying their feelings. The children enjoyed pasting materials on a heart shape. They were then encouraged to choose an emotion and describe what makes them feel that way. It was so lovely to hear the children confidently express their feelings.

St Anne’s Reception Cygnets (Tuesday/Thursday) teacher Elise Edgar
The Reception class began to use climbing frames and balance beams this week. The children were very pleased to see the obstacle course when they went outside in the morning. Each child was encouraged to complete the obstacle course as an educator stood close by at all times to teach, assist and encourage the children how to climb safely. The climbing will change regularly throughout the term with different obstacles to extend their climbing ability and gross motor skills. The children have been enjoying many different outdoor play scenarios including bathing dolls, pretend fishing, construction and lots of water play on the hot days.

It really is so much fun to be three at the ELC!

Reception students Alice, Freya and River show off their heart pasting artwork.

Bairnsdale Campus news by Head of Campus Virginia Evans
My sincere thanks to all parents and carers who joined our Meet the Teacher Zoom meetings this week. I view this meeting as a vital link for families to their child’s education, even more so during these times of limited access to your child’s classroom.

It is important for you to understand the expectations of the classroom so you can support your child in their learning, and it is also important for you to know who is teaching your child each day. The teacher/family partnership in educating your child is a priority and we need to work together for the best result. The purpose of the meetings was to gain information as to the routines and requirements of the classroom and to gain an insight into the classroom environment. I hope you found the sessions informative.

We are focusing on our CLERR value Responsibility and that involves empowering our students to be organised, to be prepared and as a result be ready to learn in a consistent and calm manner which is conducive to learning. As a working mum, I know the craziness at times of trying to bring everything together – I truly support you there, but I also encourage parents to hand over some responsibilities to your children to not only help you, but also allow them to grow in this capacity.

Here are three areas of responsibility that you could encourage:

  • Being prepared for swimming lessons – remembering swimming gear.
  • Being prepared for music lessons- two parts to this – remembering their instrument and ensuring they practice.
  • Looking after their belongings – hats, blazers, water bottles and masks for our older students.

After the inconsistencies of the last two years, it is a matter of working together to re-establish these habits and routines – I appreciate your help going forward.

Speaking of responsibility, I am very grateful to four of our Year 3 students Georgi Witham, Emily Schilling, Ella Stephenson and Hannah Evans. for volunteering to be our Cubby House Captains. Their role is to encourage collaborative play and respect for the items in the cubbies.

We have been fortunate to have the opportunity to provide table tennis sessions after school to students from Years 3 to 6. There are a few places still available. School families can enrol via the link in the VOS version of this newsletter.

Wishing you well for the weekend ahead.

Cubby House Captains Georgi, Emily, Ella and Hannah.

St Anne’s Campus news by Head of Campus Jie Van Berkel
To say I was excited as our new playground slide was delivered on Thursday morning is an understatement. Before and during lockdowns, our active Parents and Friends group actively fundraised to create our new campus adventure playground. COVID-19 put a pause to this initiative but as we are now thankfully able to see this project through, for me, the slide is a symbol of connection. Our Parents and Friends group organised a range of events that brought our School Community together while fundraising. And on Thursday morning, many of our students gathered around our slide, enthusiastically describing to each other how they could not wait to try it out. When installed, I know our new adventure playground will connect our students. It will allow them to learn, explore and to communicate with others. Over the coming weeks and months, I look forward to sharing the development of our new adventure playground.

House Swimming Carnival
A great deal of planning and preparation went into this year’s House Swimming Carnival. With support from our teachers, Simone Langshaw organised and ran a fantastic whole-campus sports event. The weather was fantastic and going by the smiles and laughter, our students had a great time. Thank you to parents and friends who volunteered in a variety of roles on the day. This year, Wellington Binks was our winning house, Tisdall Hotham came second, Cranswick Dargo came third, and Blundell Bogong came fourth. Our Age Champions was closely contested again this year, with the following students winning their age group:

U/12 Boys: Eamon Brady
U/12 Girls: Ellie Brown
U/11 Boys: Toby Turnbull
U/11 Girls: Adelaide Ripper
U/10 Boys: Levi Vardy
U/10 Girls: Sophie Arnup
U/9 Boys: Thomas Williamson
U/9 Girls: Freya Czosnek

Year 6 Leadership Roles
At St Anne’s we see all our Year 6 students as both leaders and School ambassadors. We aim to provide a range of opportunities for our students to develop their leadership skills. This includes students being a part of our Student Representative Council, Green Team, our Buddies program, guest speakers and more. Last year there was a review of student leadership across our whole School, which included limiting the number of roles, having defined position descriptions, and clarity around how students are elected. With that in mind, I am really excited about supporting this year’s Year 6 leaders. I would also like to acknowledge that some Year 6 students have missed out on an official leadership role as I know how disappointing missing out on something special can make someone feel. When possible, we will have a Fellowship dedicated to acknowledging our 2022 Year 6 leaders. Our 2022 Year 6 School Leaders are:

Service Captains
Alyssa Alcock
Ellie Brown
Edward Greenwell
Mehek Kishan
Jack Pownall-Lee

Library Monitors             
Andre Wasserman
Ebony Running
Isaac Ward
Mason Lancaster
Melina Beanland

Music Captain                  
Dillon Meredith

Sports Captains
Addison Aurisch
Lacey Drew

Digitech Captains            
John Brewer
Sebastian Buchanan

Japanese Captains          
Charlotte Biram
Immi McAllister

Art Monitors
Angus Smith
Leila Grattan
Pippy Johnson
Tara Lambert                    

Parent Teacher Interviews (March 1 and 3)
Our parents and teachers will have the opportunity on Tuesday March 1 and Thursday March 3 to meet in a more formal setting to discuss your child’s social, emotional and academic progress. Over the past few weeks, our teachers have been working hard with students to build positive relationships, identify their learning needs, and begin the learning process. Having open, honest communication between our students, parents and teachers is important to us. We will aim to have our Parent Teacher interviews face to face; however, if the current COVID-19 restrictions do not allow us to do so, we will have these meetings via Zoom. I will have more information to share in the coming week.

Canteen Assistance
Our canteen supervisor Prue Cliff is after regular assistance to help with food preparation. Our Canteen is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Prue creates delicious and healthy snacks and meals for our students. This often requires extra support, particularly on a Friday. If you would like to find out more, please contact Prue via her school email address at A reminder that if you would like to assist, parents will need a current Working With Children Check and complete our Gippsland Grammar Child Protection expectations.

The new slide being installed at St Anne’s; Year 3 students Tom and Sonny celebrating their freestyle wins in freestyle at the House Swimming Carnival; and Mr Van Berkel with Wellington Binks captains Ella and Sophie holding the winning house trophy at the House Swimming Carnival held earlier this week.

Garnsey Campus news by Head of Campus Kate Ray
Reflecting on events this week, my mind goes to our Year 9 team and students. I have been fortunate to spend time working with the Year 9 team and our Outdoor Education staff on preparations for their upcoming bushwalk and Melbourne experience.

The team have worked hard to ensure that, where possible, our Year 9 students can participate in these important rites of passage as these are the opportunities that help our students grow and learn more about themselves when they are confronted with challenge or discomfort.

On Tuesday evening, Year 9 families had the opportunity to join together via Zoom to hear from Head of Outdoor Education Cass Booth; Year 9 Program Co-ordinator Richard Ogilvie, and Head of Year 9 Michelle Reynolds. The mentors also had an opportunity to meet in small breakout groups with the students and their parents or guardians.

Watching the faces of the parents and students as they hear Ms Booth talk about the challenge but also the rewards that students gain from participating in their four-day hike to Lake Tali Karng, always reveals a range of reactions. Some are of excitement and eagerness, some are of trepidation but there is always the same exhausted but satisfied reaction as the students get off the bus when they return to school on the Friday. Mr Ogilvie outlined the plans for the Melbourne experience where this year all Year 9 students will be spending two weeks together. Accessing the staff and the resources at the Melbourne City Cite classroom, as well as having the opportunity to hear guest speakers and make their way around the city with a certain amount of independence is another opportunity for growth and awareness for these young people.

These are both experiences that come with their own unique set of risks and because of the planning and preparation that the staff put in we feel confident in sending our students out into these environments.

This week we also shared our Year 9 Council representatives for 2022 at our Garnsey Assembly. These students will all play an important part in the life of Year 9 and I look forward to seeing what they achieve as leaders. The Year 9 Council is as follows:
Year 9 Council President: Nate Shields-Strong
Minister for Public Relations: Mia Humphris  
Social Minister: Krista Walpole
Arts Minister: Regan Leeson
Facilities Minister: Connor Rogalsky
9A Minister: Aishah Hanafi 
9B Minister: Indiana Hicks
9C Minister: Lachie Davine  
9D Minister: April Harrison  

Following our first group of hikers return next week I look forward to sharing some images and reflections from the students from their time away.

Performing Arts news by Director of Performing Arts Dr Kevin Cameron
The Music Centre has re-established the usual gentle hum of teaching, learning and musicmaking and we look forward to producing some memorable performances in the months ahead.

Music Scholarships
During this week I have started to meet with our Music Scholars to discuss their activities and plans for the year ahead.  We are fortunate that our school offers students with talent and potential in music the opportunity to attend this school and enjoy the benefits of our music program.  In return, our Music Scholars provide leadership and advocacy for our program and the position of Arts within our school community, and they inspire and entertain us with their special musical skills.

Applications for Music Scholarships for 2023 are now invited and are open to both Gippsland Grammar students and those in the wider community.  Further information is available at:

Instrumental lessons
These lessons have now commenced at all campus sites.  Lesson timetables will appear on VOS.  Given the current COVID-19 situation, we advise that there are likely to be frequent changes to teaching arrangements and timetables with limited notice. Communication between parents and the Music Centre is key to notifying absence and implementing alternative arrangements. We have the capacity to utilise our existing Learn@Home structure to deliver instrumental lessons remotely, where possible and appropriate to do so.  Please be in touch with the Music Centre as soon as possible if your child will be absent from their instrumental lesson, or away from school for a period of time.

Playing at Home
One of my wise mentors summed it up this way: If young musicians don’t practise, they don’t improve. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many routine aspects of our lives – and this has extended areas including homework patterns, sport training, and music instrument practice.  It is important for all students learning an instrument to take on the feedback from their teachers and to refine and consolidate the concepts taught in their lessons at home on a regular basis.  We ask all parents of music students to assist us with this by reminding their children to play at home regularly, to leave instruments in a safe and accessible place in the home, and to develop playing as part of a regular home routine. Motivation becomes intrinsic when students see (and hear) the benefit of their hard work in the form of improvement.  

Catch up on last week’s newsletter here:


Gippsland Grammar background:
Gippsland Grammar is one of Australia’s leading co-educational Anglican schools, with a tradition of excellence in education extending almost 100 years. Located in the heart of Gippsland, the School has more than 1100 students across three campuses including St Anne’s junior campus and the Garnsey senior campus, both at Sale, and the Bairnsdale junior campus in East Gippsland. Enrolments at both junior campuses begin with a 3s and 4s kindergarten program at their respective Early Learning Centres (ELC) and Garnsey caters for students from Years 7-12. Gippsland Grammar is also the only boarding school east of Melbourne’s suburban fringe and is a home-away-from-home for students from far East Gippsland, South Gippsland, Victoria’s High Country and the Latrobe Valley as well as for a cohort of international students.

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If you’d like to join our Gippsland Grammar Community please phone us on 56143 6388 or email to request a Prospecus, book a campus tour or simply inquire about a future enrolment. Or click here to read our Gippsland Grammar Information Book.

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