Gippsland Grammar news: June 4, 2021

Jun 4, 2021 | Bairnsdale News, Community News, Garnsey News, Principal's News, St Anne's News

I hope that this newsletter finds you all well. What a blessing it is to be back at School today. Please keep our metropolitan cousins in your prayers as we hope the restrictions in place will enable them to get back to normal daily life as soon as possible.

I wanted to share some parts of an article I found at the end of last year titled ‘Why Your Kids Might be Experiencing a Digital Hangover?’ by Dr Kristy Goodwin. Kristy writes and researches digital wellbeing and neuro-productivity and has a range of articles on her website for people who feel like they are a slave to their social media/technology. (Here is the link to her parent page if you are interested:

During periods of home isolation like we have just experienced, many students may have been spending more time than ever plugged-in and on devices (I know my kids were). Their digital devices became their portal for leisure and learning: they used devices to complete schoolwork, to connect with their friends and family (Facebook Messenger and House Party usage times went through the roof) and for leisure pursuits. But now our students have transitioned back to school the process of weaning screens may inevitably become problematic. Many parents have described what appears to be like a ‘digital hangover’ as they attempt to implement some of the screen habits they had before COVID-19 turned things upside down.

Kids who return home from school and for their digital devices non-stop are often unenthused about any other off-screen activity (that they may have once loved). And kids and teens are often moody and agitated if they’re told they can’t use their devices. That then brings constant arguments about screen limits and kids who are sneaking devices into bedrooms late at night to get their digital fix. Kids who are worried that they’re missing out on valuable play time with their friends if they don’t walk in and plug in. Teens who walk in the door with their digital appendage firmly gripped in their hands and don’t want to take it out (it travels to their bedroom, dining table and sometimes even the bathroom). Generally, just bad moods all round and constant stress around screens.

With school holidays just around the corner in many Australian states, parents are worried that the lockdown tech habits will creep back in and they’ll be soon dealing with yet another digital hangover when school returns yet again.

So why are kids and teens experiencing the tech hangover? Possible reasons:
There are a myriad of reasons that might explain the digital hangover- some of them have nothing at all do with the technology (and some do).

// New habit: repeated habits can form mental grooves in our brain. Given that many kids spent more time than they’d typically spend on devices during home isolation (even if it was just to fulfill remote learning commitments), it’s logical that they would now want to maintain that habit. The problem with digital habits can be amplified because they’re usually associated with pleasurable and meet some of their basic psychological needs (for example, their need for relational connection with their peer group). Young people’s tech habits are often difficult (not impossible) to break because the habits have a dopamine-driven feedback loop that further perpetuates their behaviour (it’s a habit that feels good, so why would they want to stop?).
As humans we tend to follow the Law of Least Effort, according to James Clear. This law states that when facing two options (for example, do your homework, or play on your phone), young people will naturally gravitate to the option that requires the least effort (i.e. scrolling their phone). The human brain likes to conserve energy and so it looks for the easy option.

// They’re craving comfort and routine: The brain likes predictability. The comfort of engaging in predictable tech behaviours may have offered kids some solace during stressful times, such as a global health epidemic. Young kids may not have the emotional vocabulary to convey their feelings, but given that their entire routine and daily structures were turned on their heads, it’s likely that home isolation may have been challenging and perhaps stressful for some young people. Their daily dose of digital may have provided them with the rhythm and routines they hankered (and want to hold on to).

// Recalibrating to their ‘new normal’: the return to school left many kids and teens feeling anxious, especially if they had a positive remote learning experience. So the angry, despondent or upset after-school behaviour you may be encountering may have absolutely nothing to do with their digital behaviours. They might just be expelling their emotions when they walk in the front door, as they worked hard all day to keep it together in front of their teachers and peers. As their safe person or place, parents and home is usually where kids emotionally-combust and ‘let it all hang out’. The reason they may be craving more tech time, is to possibly alleviate or escape those big emotions- tech may be a self-soothing mechanism for them.

// Coping or avoidance mechanism: again, your child’s unrelenting desire to use their device, may be a means to cope with some big or difficult emotions and not be related to home isolation at all. It may be just a coincidence that they’re experiencing these emotions since transitioning back to school. Are they bored, sad, upset, angry, scared and looking for their devices to compensate for these emotional states?

// The online world is easy, fun and rewarding: let’s be honest, school can be mentally-taxing, requires significant effort and isn’t always fun. So after a big day of school, especially if your child has had months off their usual routine, flocking to the online world may seem like a really good option because it requires minimal mental effort, it’s instantly rewarding and usually very fun.

The Office of the eSafety Commissioner holds regular (free) webinars for parents. On June 8 and June 16 this year they will be holding a special webinar on parental controls, for parents and carers of children aged 4-13. Register here:

Some food for thought as we approach the three-week break.
Have a lovely weekend.

Warm regards,
Leisa Harper

The past few weeks has seen our Transition groups making strong connections with the broader community.

St Anne’s Transition: the children have enjoyed the Responsible Pet Program, which teaches children about how to be safe around dogs, including family pets. This program has been running for many years and responds to the shocking number of children injured, disfigured and even killed by dogs every year. The children are taught by the trained Responsible Pet educator when not to touch a dog, such as:

• When it is alone with no owner
• When it is eating
• When it is sick
• When it is sleeping
• When it has puppies

They also enjoyed a catchy song about what to do if an angry dog approaches; such as:
• Stand very still
• Keep your hands down
• Be as quiet as a mouse
• Look at the ground

The end of the session was the most exciting part – getting to practice patting a dog safely. Duchess, the very patient King Charles spaniel, allowed each child to approach, ask the owner for a pat, check it was on a lead, hold out their hand for her to sniff (make a fist, thumb tucked in) and finally, only pat her on the back. (by Lisa Burgess and Lisa Singer)

ELC students Will (left) and Jonty (right) learn dog safety.

The weather was absolutely perfect for our walk to the SEED community garden two weeks ago (Friday May 21). The children were very excited about going and knew exactly how we would get there (after we made a map each on how to get to the garden from the ELC). There was lots of incidental learning throughout our walk: road safety, nature facts, finding animals (flying foxes) and birds, looking at different trees and completing the maze together. Once at the SEED garden, the children were given free time to explore the space. We found a bench that was perfect for running along, a beautiful art mural, a fancy chook house, a tree made of wire and animal sculptures hiding. We identified lots of vegetables and herbs that were growing in the beds too. This walk is the starting point of our next topic: exploring nature and indigenous perspectives. (by Danielle Carpenter)

Clockwise from top left: Arabella and Leah walk to the SEED Community Garden with class bear Morris; Ari and dad Aaron;
Charlie at the SEED Garden; and dad Luke with Elizabeth.

Bairnsdale Transition: our Early Learning Centre has a firm commitment to a sustainability program that incorporates many different daily routines and programs. As a group, the children enjoy working in the garden, planting, weeding, and when the produce grows, harvesting. They are conscientious recyclers and are committed to waste-free healthy lunches. They diligently observe the seasonal environmental changes as they occur around them and how this changes their daily lives. The children understand that their actions make a difference and what we do as a community affects the other living things in our world. An excursion to Raymond Island with our Year 5 Buddies was organised to observe how people and nature could coexist in harmony. Working in small groups with their Buddies, the children were asked to count the number of Koalas to help with the annual Koala Inventory. This year the count was very low, with only sixteen koalas located. The children will use this as a provocation to investigate what may have influenced these low numbers. (by Sharon Smith)

We are grateful that our Early Learning Centres remained open during the recent lockdown and continue to offer our usual high standard of education and care to the school’s youngest students with our dedicated and professional team of educators.

Mitch and his buddy Beau on the Raymond Island Ferry; and Emma and her buddy Lacey at Raymond Island.

BAIRNSDALE NEWS, by Head of Campus Virginia Evans
The flip to online learning last week was extremely smooth and I sincerely thank our School Community for responding with calm and adaptability. I further commend our students from Foundation to Year 6 who just got on with learning. Feedback from teachers and parents across the campus has been excellent and here at school I have been impressed with our students’ independence and approach to Learn@Home@School. My sincere thanks to staff from the Garnsey campus, Jacinta Flemming, Amy Jean Forbes, and Kathy Bittner who willingly assisted us with the Authorised Workers children at school.

Please enjoy the following reports on the Winter Sports competition.
“Last week Year 5 and Year 6 went to the World Netball Courts to play in the Winter Sports competition. Grammar had two teams in the netball competition, and both were mixed teams. Team A won all of their games, and Team B won two games and lost one game against the other Gippsland Grammar team. It was a great day, with the sun shining and nice and warm.” (By Kael)

“Gippsland Grammar also had two soccer teams entered into Winter Sports. One team was non-competitive, and there is no next round. The other team was competitive, and we won all three games. We go through to the next round in a few weeks here in Bairnsdale. One of our students ran for the ball to shoot a goal, they ran into the goalposts and the posts broke. Thankfully the student was okay.” (By Damon)

As we seek further clarification regarding our production of Charlotte’s Web, we will need to ‘hit the pause button’, as I explained to the students today. There are many aspects of the revised regulations that will affect our rehearsal and performance and we need to make sure that we proceed in a safe and compliant manner. We will keep you informed as further arrangements are made.

Melaleuca shared with us the beautiful story of Finding Our Heart, by Thomas Mayor; the perfect book to explain reconciliation. It is a story about the Uluru Statement for young Australians. Reconciliation Week is from May 27 to June 3 each year and is 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. Our new Campus flagpoles now proudly display the Australian, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags.

Enjoy the weekend and reap the rewards of country life.

The Year 5 and 6 netball team; and one of the soccer teams that competed in the Winter Sports.

ST ANNE’S NEWS by Head of Campus Jie Van Berkel
We’re back! A huge thank you to our School Community for making Learn@Home a success during our recent lockdown. Teachers and students quickly got back into our online routine of accessing Zoom sessions, pre-recorded lessons and set learning tasks via VOS. Our Foundation teachers were pleasantly surprised by their young learners, who quickly adapted to using Zoom and learning from home. The ability of our community to quickly flip to Learn@Home in such a positive way is a testament to the strong partnership between home and School. As a parent of two St Anne’s students myself, I was appreciative of the extra effort our teachers demonstrated, making learning engaging and fun! We had a select number of students attend Learn@Home@School due to the State Governments strict guidelines. Thank you to the staff who supported these students.

Chaplain Jackie created a stir with her ‘Spell It Out’ competition for our community during Learn@Home. Families were encouraged to find physical items starting with the letter that is required to spell out your chosen word. For example, ‘cot’ could be a can, onion, and a tomato. A special mention must go to Violet in Year 1 who spelt out ‘Leadership’ in unusual fashion. Thank you to those students who had lots of fun with this activity.

Mia Goold played in the School Sports Victoria Primary Girls Tennis State Final at Boroondara on Monday May 24 and made the Grand Final after winning three round-robin matches and the semi-final. Mia fought hard but fell short at the grand final and became runner’s up. Congratulations Mia!

Wellington Division Cross Country:
Year 6 students Maizy and Alanna have written this report on last week’s Wellington Division Cross Country:
‘On the 24th of May, 10 students from St Anne’s competed in the Wellington Division Cross Country in Yarram. The first race commenced at 11am with the under 10 girls. Our first competitor of the day, Charlotte Greenwell, placed 4th! Next we had the under 10 boys with Henri Duggan, who placed 1st! Then we had the under 11 girls and competing in that was Lacey Drew coming in 7th and Sophie Moy in 9th, following that, in the under 11 boys we had Cruz Duck in 2nd and Max Shaw in 9th, all who put in a huge effort. To finish off the day in the under 12s division, for the girls, we had Maizy Duck in 3rd and Alana Crawford in 9th, and finally, for the boys taking home the win, we had Louis Lazzaro in 1st!’
Overall, we had a fantastic day. Everyone put in an enormous effort and tried their very best, and we were all fortunate enough to get through to the next round (Regionals). We want to thank Mrs O’Toole for making this day possible, and we couldn’t have done it without you and other big thanks to all the parents who came to cheer on the Grammar team and even some for marshalling!’

Inter-School Winter Sport // Stacking Tournament: the first-ever Sport Stacking Tournament at Gippsland Grammar was held as part of the Winter Sports Day on May 25. A group of 22 students from Years 5 and 6 competed on the day. Students competed grouped by year level and gender and 75 per cent of competitors achieved personal bests and were recognized with a gold star pip that they attached to their competitor or place ribbons. Thank you to the parent volunteer and Chaplain Jackie for making the day possible. 

Soccer: Daniel Neilan in Year 6 reported on Soccer: ‘On Tuesday May 25, the Years 5 and 6 soccer team went to the Garnsey Campus and played multiple teams in the 2021 Winter Sports Competition. There were 18 teams competing on the day. All of the matches were 19 minutes long, and we ended coming 2nd for the School, and we were all absolutely stoked about it! We all had a fabulous time, and it took tons of energy to complete the five games that we played! The ending score in The Grand final was 0-3, us having the score of 0, credits to the team Guthridge that won the round-robin.’

Football: Our AFL football team also competed well against some challenging competition. William Braden from Year 6 reported: ‘The Winter Sports Football was very fun! Everyone in our team continued to improve with enthusiasm, which led us to beating the top team. Overall our team played very well together and deserved to win. Still, we unluckily lost to St Thomas’s in the semi-final.’

Netball: We did have a successful mixed and girls netball team go undefeated throughout their competition. Both teams will be heading to the Wellington Division in the coming weeks.

Thank you to the teachers and parent volunteers who supported our teams during the Inter-School Winter competition.

Most improved stacker Year 6 student Sydney and overall tournament champion Year 5 student Pippy; and the Years 5 and 6 winter sports netball team.

Garnsey Campus news with Acting Head of Campus Kate Ray
The Garnsey Campus was abuzz with the voices of our students as they returned back onsite earlier today. I would like to thank each of them for their commitment to the Learn@Home; our teachers have commented on the positive attitudes and, when needed, their problem-solving capacity. We know that this is one of the key reasons that made this latest transition so smooth. A big thank you also to our parents and the assistance you provided your children at home. From what I hear, that could mean more food in the fridge for some households with students studying home economics!

As a result of the recent lockdown we have once again rescheduled the exams, which will now be held on Friday 11 June (Week 8) and on Tuesday June 15 and Wednesday June 16 (Week 9). We are currently finalising this schedule and will publish it on Monday June 7.

Garnsey was very proud to host the Reconciliation Day Assembly last week. The artwork that we received from Mrs Harper is just beautiful and when you are next able to be at School please pop into the Reception as it is already on display. I was so proud of our students Kelsey and Tara who had asked Mrs Harper to read their stories as part of the assembly. The girl’s experiences give us much to reflect on and as this year’s theme says: More than a word; Reconciliation takes action.

I also wanted to acknowledge the wonderful success of Blackwood House’s celebrations during National Boarding Week. Thank you to Mr Stuart Llewellyn and the Blackwood House Staff for all that you do.

Unfortunately, we had to reschedule our Family Fun Day that was planned for the Abbey on Raymond Island last weekend. We look forward to confirming a new date in July for this special day. Our Prefects have a wonderful range of activities planned and they are excited about this important whole-school environmental project.

Mia Johnson and Sophie Alexander (pictured below) recently competed against three other students in the Plain English Speaking Award State heat, which was held at Garnsey. Mia won the heat with her speech on ‘Australia needs a Bill of Rights’ and her impromptu speech on ‘The Pursuit of Happiness’ and will now travel to Melbourne at the end of this term to compete in the State final.

YEAR 7, 2022
Over the past few weeks I have been interviewing many students who are seeking a place at our campus in 2022. These conversations have been very positive and I am already excited about these young people joining us at Gippsland Grammar next year. If you know of anyone who is interested in attending Garnsey in 2022 across Years 7-12 please encourage them to make contact with our Admissions team at as I would love to meet with them.

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