Gippsland Grammar news: March 11, 2022

Mar 11, 2022 | Bairnsdale News, Community News, Garnsey News, Principal's News, St Anne's News

Our School has a Student Wellbeing Committee which meets regularly to discuss current issues as well as proactively looking for ways to connect and assist our students. The Committee has been reflecting on the students’ exposure to the many challenging news items currently filling our screens and with that in mind, the following article is written by our very own counsellor, Ceci Broughton. I am grateful for the work of the Committee and to Mrs Broughton for sharing this with us and I look forward to sharing more articles and ideas from the Committee with you throughout the year.

If you got out of bed this morning, checked the news, and felt anxious about what is to come, you are not alone …

As we reflect on the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, the natural disasters impacting our shores and those suffering through the conflict emanating from the hostilities in Ukraine, it is hard to see past these events to a time when healing and balance is once again restored. We’re human and feeling overwhelmed is to be expected.

Our families and Community aren’t even through the floods and fires that were the prelude to the international disaster that is Covid-19. The screens and social media that took the place of face-to-face conversations through our isolation continue to bombard us with all the sensational events they can find, to draw on the dark side of our humanity that is so often inclined to negativity.

The biggest takeaway is that we all need space. Have you ever heard of the term ‘doomscrolling’ – it’s the art of filling your head with negative news. Mental health agencies advise us to set our fix of news and social media, a couple of times a day, and then do something relaxing and/or focused – go for a walk and appreciate creation all around you, or go to a café and reward yourself by challenging your barista to make a double ristretto half latte.

It’s okay to feel a certain way, to express your feelings about what’s going on.

Some suggestions:

  • Check in with yourself about the amount of doomscrolling you are doing and cut it down. Limit your exposure and that of your family.
  • Turn off your phone at night and avoid the continuous newsfeed alerts – you can control this. It’s sometimes hard to see what isn’t within your gift to control and this can then runaway with you.
  • Don’t avoid these topics around your children. Talk about what’s going on and give it context in a matter-of-fact style. Conversation = comfort.
  • Remember your family acts as an echo chamber – when you’re anxious, and the people you mix with are anxious, your children will pick up on it. You might consider getting some personal support. Perhaps try and identify who is best to tackle certain questions if they’re making you uneasy.
  • Tacking action works; offering some form of support for those being impacted can have a positive flow on effect, whether that is doing craft and creating your own version of the Sunflower of Peace, or donating to one of the many charities that offer support e.g. Anglicare’s NSW Flood Appeal (

 We leave you with a desire for more conversation, no awkward silences and mindful prayers for restoration.

“Words are seeds that do more than blow around.
They land in our hearts and not the ground.
Be careful what you plant and careful what you say.
You might have to eat what you planted one day.”

– Anonymous

Whole School news
We are currently planning our upcoming Open Days with our St Anne’s and Garnsey campuses hosting a combined Open Day on Saturday April 2 while the Bairnsdale Campus Open Day will be held on May 7 from 9-11am. Both events will give interested families the opportunity to discover the advantages of a complete ELC to VCE education and I encourage you to please share these dates with anyone in your network who you think may be interested in finding out more about our School. On April 2, our St Anne’s ELC and junior campus will be on show from 9-11am while Garnsey will open from 11am-1pm.

Warm regards,
Leisa Harper

Early Learning Centre news by ELC Director Lisa Burgess
This week across both campuses we began our focus on water. The children have been playing with, experimenting with and learning more about how water is used in our environment. They have also been learning where water comes from and how we need to use it responsibly. They have been exploring what needs water for survival by observing the plants on hot days and conducting simple scientific discoveries. They all know that water is essential for their own wellbeing and we have begun to reinforce the key message ‘water is the best drink’. Both of our ELC’s are accredited to deliver the ‘Smiles for Miles’ dental health initiative. Staff members receive regular training in the delivery of the program, which aims to educate children and families about ways to stay healthy. There will be a different message each term beginning in term one with ‘Drink Well’. The other messages are ‘Clean Well’ and ‘Eat Well’. For more information, visit

Classroom reports
The Transition classes have been learning about the needs of plants and linking this to their understanding of how living things need water, including our bodies. The children experimented with celery to see how plants absorb water. They also observed what happens to a celery stalk that does not get water and discussed how our bodies could wilt, just like the celery, if they don’t get enough water. The children shared how they feel when they don’t drink enough. This week, the children sliced apples and dried them to explore further the concept of being hydrated or dehydrated and observe its effects. We have also looked at the sugar content of drinks like cordial, juice and soft drink and are learning the key message – water is the best drink every day.
By St Anne’s Transition teachers Danielle Carpenter, Kristy How and Lisa Burgess

The children were asked the best drink to keep their bodies healthy at group time this week. It was pleasing to hear all the children mention water. I then asked the children where does water come from? The answers varied, with many children saying the tap and a hose. Otis then answered, “the rain fills up the rivers, which then fills up the riverbanks”. The children looked at pictures and jars of water from rivers and beaches, and we discussed whether the water in the jars would be good to drink. We then discussed how the water gets into a tap. I showed the children pictures of guttering, pipes and tanks. Mrs Banwell then took the children outside to look at the guttering. It has been a great week to discuss this message with all the rain we have had.

We enjoyed reading the book Mrs Wishy Washy. The book led to discussions about the different ways water can be used. The children’s ideas included drinking, washing, animals, plants, vegetables. The children loved having the opportunity to wash all the animals with soapy water and scrubbing brushes, just like Mrs Wishy Washy.
By St Anne’s Reception teacher Tammy Lopardi

This week in the Cygnets Tuesday/Thursday class, we discussed the importance of water. At our group time and during lunch, we talked about why we need to drink water to keep our bodies healthy and hydrated and the importance of letting educators know when drink bottles need to be refilled. This discussion led to the other ways in which we use water. The children loved reading Mrs Wishy Washy during group time and then washing the farm animals in the tub.
By St Anne’s Reception teacher Elise Edgar

This week the children learned about the importance of drinking water to stay hydrated and for our wellbeing. We began our Smiles 4 Miles program, an initiative of Dental Health Services Victoria to improve the oral health of preschool children by encouraging healthy drinking, eating, and good oral hygiene. During Term 1, the topic is ‘Drink Well’ with the children encouraged to learn about the benefits of water and how drinking it regularly contributes to keeping our bodies healthy and strong to promote our physical wellbeing. The Reception group will record our daily class water intake to support and document our understanding. We have created a special chart and when the children finish a drink bottle, it will be recorded individually. At the end of the school day, we will count the water drunk in our classroom.
Bairnsdale Reception teacher Sommer Lea

St Anne’s Campus Stay-and-Play Evenings:
– Reception (Monday/Wednesday): Wednesday March 23 from 6-7pm
– Reception (Tuesday/Thursday): Tuesday March 22, 6-7pm
– Transition (Black Swans): Wednesday March 16, 6-7pm
– Transition (White Swans): Thursday March 24, 6-7pm

St Anne’s Easter Hat Parade and welcome morning tea (Transition and Foundation families)
Transition (Black Swans and White Swans): Friday April 1 from 11am. More details to come.

Otis looks at a glass of river water; Flynn prepares apples for dehydration; Katherine and Arlo wash the animals and Xavier adds to the chart after his finishes his drink bottle of water.

Bairnsdale Campus news by Head of Campus Virginia Evans
Last week concluded on a high note with many families joining us for our long-awaited Family Picnic (pictured below). We were blessed with the perfect balmy night that allowed our families to sit, relax and enjoy each other’s company. Picnic rugs covered the grassy area and while there was food aplenty, I believe many of the children were far too busy playing to tuck in. Our staff we loved the opportunity to reconnect with families and, as one parent commented, ‘this is what it’s all about’.

Having postponed our House Swimming Carnival to allow for parent participation, we finished another week as a Community at today’s swimming carnival, cheering our students and children on happily. The weather was kind to us again, which always lifts everyone’s spirits at these events. I will look forward to sharing the results with you but, for now, I have include a photo from the parent/teacher/Year 6 race in the newsletter.

Along with many of our parents, I was delighted to be at the Division Swimming yesterday to watch our students compete in the relays. A team of nine students will progress to the regional event in Sale next week and we wish them all well at this level of competition.

Next week we continue to connect through our parent-teacher interviews, which will be held face-to-face. These meetings are vital and particularly enable staff and parents to share information that will assist in supporting our students academically, socially and behaviourally. Students from Years 3 to 6 are encouraged to attend the meeting with their parents to demonstrate to our students that we work together in a student/parent/teacher partnership.

Responsibility is our CLERR value focus for Term 1 and this week my message is for our students to be Responsible for their actions, their words, and their impact on others. With your support we will be promoting manners, respectful conversations, and kind words.

St Anne’s Campus news by Head of Campus Jie Van Berkel
Reconnecting with our Community
Our Community is what makes Gippsland Grammar so special. I have been committed to providing opportunities for our Community to reconnect and this morning was a great occasion. We invited our parents and friends to a special Fellowship and it was the first time in a significant while that we were able to have our parents in our Lorna Sparrow Hall. Our Junior Choir and St Anne’s singers both performed. We were also able to produce a virtual tour of each classroom for our parents to watch. Mrs Leisa Harper spoke about the meaning and importance of connection. I shared how parents and friends can actively connect within our School Community, which included joining our Parents and Friends committee. Our Canteen supervisor Prue Cliff also needs regular assistance in our canteen on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday. If you would like to assist with either of these, please contact us at We completed our Fellowship with a delicious morning tea outside, that allowed us to connect over a cup of tea and food. Thank you to those who were able to make it this morning.

Student voice
More and more, we are listening and acting on our students’ advice. Early this week, Lucy and Millie came to me asking if we can do something for the people affected by the floods in New South Wales and Queensland. I will be working with our Student Representative Council (SRC) to work out how we will do this. Another student Tallulah shared with me her idea for Year 6 students to assist in our canteen. Tallulah did this during her Year 6 leadership interview. We have been able to act on this idea. I know that our Canteen supervisor Prue Cliff has appreciated this extra support. Our new adventure playground, along with the dry creek bed and vegetable gardens have all come from our students. We will continue to look for avenues to highlight our students voice.

Easter Picnic and raffle
Flowing on from our willingness to reconnect with our Community, we are organising an Easter Picnic at the end of Term 1 (the date, time and location will be announced shortly). Our active Parents and Friends committee have also organised a wonderful Easter Raffle. The raffle will be drawn at our Easter Picnic at the end of Term 1.

Sporting success
On Tuesday we took a team of 25 enthusiastic swimmers to the Wellington Division swimming on Tuesday and 21 of our swimmers qualified to swim at the regional swimming carnival next week. The following students won their individual swimming event: Toby Turnbull, Adelaide Ripper, Milla Said, Max Williamson and Ellie Brown. Our 9/10-year-old boys and girls, 11-year-old boys and girls and 12-year-old boys relay teams also progressed. Congratulations to all the swimmers who have committed lots of time and extra practice during weekly swimming lessons improving their relay changeovers, technique and starts. A huge thank you to our experienced and passionate swimming teacher Simone Langshaw for what she brings to our swimming program. Thank you to Amanda Canfield, who supports our Defence students at school, for her support at these carnivals. Also, thank you to Amanda for her ongoing support of our swimmers at the carnivals.

Japanese fun fact
Mrs Jan Chalmer has given me our Japan Fun Fact #2. Did you know that Nintendo first introduced Pokemon in Japan in 1996 (26 years ago). Pokenmon started with 151 creatures, including Pikachu, Charmander, Squirtle and Bulbasaur but there are now more than 900! Pokemon was released as a game for a hand-held device called a Game Boy and the Pokemon trading card game soon followed. Pokemon is short for ‘Poketto Monstaa’ (pocket monster).

St Anne’s students won many ribbons at Tuesday’s Wellington Division swimming with 21 swimmers progressing to the regional carnival next week.

Garnsey Campus news by Acting Head of Campus Justin Henderson
Year 7 welcome drinks
Last Friday night I attended the Year 7 parent information session and welcome drinks. When listening to both Mrs Harper and Mrs Henderson speak I was reminded of the journey that our senior students take from wide-eyed Year 7 students, through to curious Year 9 students and finally to the leaders of our school in their VCE years. It was clear to the parents and guardians present that Connection within our School Community is an essential part of who we are. Both formal and informal leadership opportunities are abundant at the Garnsey Campus and it was so nice to hear Mrs Henderson recount examples of when Prefects, Peer Support Leaders and Senior Captains have inspired some our Year 7 students to display their leadership and initiative.

Contacting the School: Your child’s Mentor teacher is your key point of contact with the School should you need. Email is preferred initial method of communication however you are always welcome to contact reception and leave a message for the relevant Mentor. All our staff endeavour to respond as soon as possible, though due to teaching commitments it is unlikely they will be able to take a call or respond to an email, immediately.
Uniform Pass: If your child has an incorrect uniform item on a particular day, the uniform passes are in the student diary for you, as the parent, to use to notify the Mentor teacher.
Exit Pass: There will times where you child will need to leave School early for an appointment or otherwise. The Exit Pass in the diary is how parents and guardians notify the Mentor teacher and Head of Year. The student should present this pass during morning Mentor time, which enables the smooth exit from reception at the appropriate time later on in the day.
Mobile phone policy: While we understand the value of technology as a learning tool, mobile phones can also create some hazards within a School environment. Our policy is that mobiles phones should be locked away in student lockers from 8.45am until the conclusion of the day at 3.20pm. All details are within the Policy.

Year 11 Geography excursion (via Geography teacher Mark Bain)
The Year 11 study in Geography looks at ‘Tourism’ and we are focusing on the characteristics of ‘Ecotourism’.  Our trip to Phillip Island Nature Parks, included Ranger-led experiences at the Penguin Parade, Koala Conservation Reserve and Churchill Island.  At each location, students learnt the importance of balancing tourism and the environment.  The fieldwork requirement is an integral part of the VCE Geography study design and a fantastic opportunity for students to be out of the classroom to experience learning about the environment in some of the amazing locations we’re fortunate to have nearby.

Milla at Moomba
Year 12 student Milla Bennett is currently competing the 2022 Moomba Masters Waterski, which concludes this long weekend. Milla finished second in the U17 Girls Slalom event and competes today in the Open Women’s Slalom. We wish her all the best.

Debating (by Debating co-ordinators Zoe Hillar and Rachel Patton)
Thursday was the start of the 2022 Debaters Association of Victoria (DAV) Debating competition and we were so pleased to be back on the bus to Berwick to face our opposition in-person. Six of the seven teams that competed were victorious, which was especially exciting for the three teams who won their very first debate! Congratulations to Sienna Hill, Zara Clydesdale and Imogen Chilton for being awarded best speaker.

Year 11 Biology (by Yr 11 Biology Teacher Kylie Lambert)
Students in Yr 11 Biology have been learning about factors that inhibit the growth of bacteria. During their practical classes, they have learnt microbiological aseptic techniques and the procedures to prevent contamination from pathogens. This has given them an insight into practices that pathology laboratories use in their everyday work when completing microbiological tests.

Garnsey camps
In addition to the above, this week has seen our Year 9 Students complete their first week of the Melbourne Experience, Year 8 Students participate in the Outdoor Education Conservation Camp at Cape Conran, SEISA sports competitions and our Year 12 Physics class attended the VicPhsycis day at Luna Park in Melbourne.

The Resilience Project
Finally, this week we launched ‘The Resilience Project’ and throughout this year the Garnsey students and teachers will be working closely with The Resilience Project to support the wellbeing of our School Community.

The Resilience Project is an important part of our School’s effort to look after the mental health of our Community and it delivers emotionally-engaging programs and provides evidence-based, practical strategies to build resilience. Our Partnership Program consists of online presentations and weekly lessons for students, professional development for staff, and Parent & Carer Hub for our families. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing the Parent & Carer Hub with you.

The videos are between five and 10 minutes long and will walk through the key pillars of resilience: Gratitude, Empathy and Mindfulness. You’ll hear stories and be introduced to activities to show how these strategies can support our students learning and development, and also support families.

The Resilience Project was developed by Hugh Van Cuylenburg and this first video introduces the program background, the aims and the principles. In this presentation, Hugh shares a personal experience about his sister’s battles with Mental Illness. Please be aware of this before viewing. You can watch the video here:

The Year 9 students have completed the first week of the Melbourne Experience; Year 12 student Milla Bennett is competing at Moomba today and Year 11 Biology student Grace learning about factors that inhibit the growth of bacteria.

Performing Arts news by Director of Performing Arts Kevin Cameron
Playing, singing, and performing music is a wonderful opportunity for personal development and growth. Research shows that the benefits of playing an instrument and singing promote many positive aspects of physical health, motor skill development, and coordination. Recent studies also point to the influence of music on brain development, academic achievement, and personal wellbeing.

Coming out of last year’s lockdowns, disruptions and remote learning has presented challenges for many of us, and I am receiving feedback from our Music Centre team that some students are struggling to regain the sense of routine in terms of music lessons, ensemble rehearsals, and home practice – quite understandably! Music provides wonderful benefits – but our students need to be very engaged to gain these advantages.

How can our families help? Here are some suggestions:
– The opportunity to participate in music is not something that is offered in every school – and the opportunities provided at Gippsland Grammar are many and varied. Please encourage active involvement and appreciation – ‘give it a red-hot go!’
– Students sometimes need help knowing when their music lesson is scheduled and remembering to attend. Many class teachers assist with this, particularly on the junior campuses, but a home reminder may be very helpful (e.g. a note on the home schedule, a note on the fridge, etc.).
– Please help students to remember to take their instrument and tutor book to school on lesson day.
– Be positive about music practice at home. Beginning students will make sounds that are uncontrolled and not very pretty – but please model a growth mindset approach and comment positively on improvements.
– Ask the musicians in your house: Have you played today? Instruments should be unpacked and ready to pick up easily – not left in the case under the bed! Students will need encouragement to play at home. Establishing a time in the home routine would be very helpful.
– Some students will benefit from a task-oriented approach – so their playing time might be either short or long depending on the time it takes to achieve their goal. Playing on ‘auto pilot’ for 30 minutes of clock watching will achieve little.
– If students are a member of an ensemble or choir, they only enjoy the benefits of collaboration and teamwork if they are present, active, and involved. For success, their team needs their attendance and contribution.

One of my conducting mentors once asked me: How do you ensure success in music? The answer: Invest, invest, invest! Playing and singing requires an investment of time, energy, and persistence to succeed – but the rewards can be wonderful.

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.

Join our Community:
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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