Gippsland Grammar news: Oct 8, 2021
Welcome back to Term 4. It is lovely to welcome a number of new families to our School; we are delighted you have joined our Community and it is a privilege for us to journey with you for your child’s education.
Tuesday was a day of mixed emotions as I watched our Year 12 and Unit 4 students enter the Laurie Payne Sporting Complex at Garnsey to sit the GAT. With all these students have had to manage this year, I was so proud of them as they filed through the doors and I also felt relief in this moment because after numerous re-schedules of the GAT, we got there! My sincere thanks to our Dean of Studies Ms. Judy Taylor who has been integral to the organisation of this event as well as the coordination of our external supervisors. I would like to thank all the supervisors on behalf of the School.
I also thoroughly enjoyed seeing those year levels who were also able to return to our campuses this week. It was a delight to catch up with everyone and to see and hear the campuses come alive again and, as the weeks progress, I look forward to each year level joining us on-site. I can’t wait and I know that many of you share those sentiments too.
Bill Gates once said that “We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.” It’s a great quote and one that I am a firm believer in, whether that be for me personally or for Gippsland Grammar. I have sent families an email about a survey that will be administered in the coming weeks, and I would be very grateful for your time and reflections as we move into a new stage of planning for the School. In 2022, the School will commence planning for the next Strategic Plan and your feedback will form some of the stimulus around the areas that we are keen to focus on. Throughout next year there will also be more opportunities for parents to contribute to our planning and I look forward to your involvement in that, also. So please keep an eye out for the survey notification from MMG which will arrive in your email on October 13. I thank you for your time in completing this survey so that we can benefit from your feedback.
As the weeks progress, the end of year assessment and reporting impacts all our students. I encourage all families to discuss with their young people what assessment and other commitments are coming up. (If this week is anything to go by, I think this term is going to fly!) It is good to be proactive and have a clear understanding of what is due and when. It reduces the stress on everyone and enables balance between schoolwork and other activities. Positive self-talk is an important element as we approach assessment dates and deadlines. Reminding ourselves and those close to us that “You can do it! provides vital encouragement. It is important that we talk to others about how we are feeling. The benefits of positive conversations can’t be underestimated in our lives.
Thank you to those from our Community who supported the Foundation’s online art show Art Online, which closed earlier today. We are blessed to have so many amazing artists in our community and it’s so pleasing to know their artwork will adorn many Gippsland walls.
All the best for a lovely weekend.
Early Learning Centre news by ELC Director Lisa Burgess
We have all returned rested and ready for whatever Term 4 will bring. This final term is always a magical one at the ELC as we enjoy spending more time in our beautiful natural playgrounds and begin to prepare for the Christmas season. It is also an important time for those children making their transition into the junior schools or from Reception into our Transition program. Fortunately for those children moving on within Gippsland Grammar, the transition process won’t be unduly affected by the current COVID-19 restrictions as many of the events can occur ‘in house’. The children will have many opportunities to visit their new rooms and meet new teachers as a part of their daily routines. We are still hoping to have options for parents to be a part of this process; however, this will depend upon COVID-19 settings and restrictions at that time. As with everything, it will be ‘watch this space’ situation as we all become increasingly agile with changing our plans quickly.
After last term’s period of remote learning, we were delighted to receive the news that ‘bush kinder’ nature programs could still go ahead. This meant that the Transition groups at St Anne’s could visit Stratford’s Knob Reserve on the last day of the term and it was precisely what the children needed after many long weeks in lockdown (pictured below). Enjoying a beautiful sunny day, the children and their teachers explored this magnificent redgum forest’s natural and indigenous features. Highlights were the bushwalk, climbing an enormous tree stump, viewing the Avon River from the platform and discovering remnants of first nations occupation, including the canoe tree and grinding stones. It was a fabulous ending to our term and will enrich the children’s thinking and learning over the coming weeks.
Bairnsdale Campus news by Head of Campus Virginia Evans
Looking back and looking forward is very much the theme in Term 4 and with that comes a positivity as we anticipate upcoming events and prepare for the next year.
Planning for 2022 is already well under way and last night I joined our ELC parents as they gained a further understanding of their child’s readiness for school. I acknowledged their growth from their shy “Hello” to a confident “Good Morning Mrs Evans” as I greet them at the gate each morning. I also shared with the parents a lovely conversation I’d had with ELC students Adeline and Edie about the award-winning vanilla slice from Metung and Big Bear’s donuts from Lakes Entrance. The children were great advocates for both and the interaction was delightful. Regardless of how many of these evenings you have attended you always come away with some little nuggets of gold. Mrs Liz Hadden shared that, ‘independence leads to confidence’ and Mrs Sharon Smith said regarding oral language, always remember, ‘to serve and return’ in other words, encourage your child to answer with words.
Both of those snippets of advice follow through to Year 12 where independence is vital and conversations, discussions allow us to question, to learn and to socialise.
Our staff are currently discussing the classroom structure for next year with our students always at the centre of those decisions. Mrs Amanda Jenman will be leaving at the conclusion of the school year, and we wish her much success ahead as she pursues further study. We thank her for her commitment to our students and will farewell her appropriately at our final Fellowship.
Our Foundation to Year 2 students returned on Monday after the holidays ready to learn and ready to enjoy each other’s company. The squeals of utter excitement were wonderful to hear with Mr Brett Glover commenting on our Foundation students being ‘awesome’ in their first music lesson. They also enjoyed having the opportunity to visit the oak tree for some quiet time reading.
Mrs Leisa Harper spent the day with us on Thursday and was spotted having far too much fun in the sandpit playing alongside the junior children.
Wishing you all a lovely weekend ahead.
Students from Foundation to Year 2 were all smiles at returning to onsite learning this week as they enjoyed the sunshine with their classmates.
St Anne’s Campus news by Head of Campus Jie Van Berkel
On Monday, we welcomed our students who are both onsite and online, back to school for Term 4. Speaking to the teachers across all year levels, they commented that the majority of students have quickly adapted to our routines and expectations. I have been able to welcome our Foundation to Year 2 students each morning as they enter the school grounds. They come bounding in, full of energy and excitement.
Citizen of the Term
This morning we recognised our Citizens of the Term for Term 3. It is always a challenge for classroom teachers to select just one student. Sometimes students are selected because they have demonstrated significant growth in a certain value. Other students are awarded Citizen of the Term because they consistently demonstrate all our CLERR values.
School families can watch the pre-recorded Citizen of the Term Fellowship on VOS.
Our Citizens of the Term for Term 3 are as follows:
Foundation Bass Strafer Hutton
Foundation Mawson Alice Grzmil
Year 1 Bradman Edin Bektas
Year 1 McCubbin Emily Millar
Year 2 Barton Indiana McKay
Year 2 Chisholm Alana Jansen Van Rensburg
Year 3 Flynn Isabel Morgan
Year 3 Tasman Kynan Burton
Year 4 Freeman Emilio Yanez
Year 4 Kingsford-Smith Sylvie Coleman
Year 5 Cuthbert Edward Greenwell
Year 5 Hollows Lucy Dray
Year 6 Goolagong William Braden
Year 6 Mackellar Harry Stephenson
Return to School
Due to the staggered return to school, we have had to make some modifications. Below is important information for Week 2 and Week 3:
- Students to begin wearing the summer uniform, including blazer, from Monday October 11
- Students may wear their Sports uniform on days they have Physical Education
- We have paused our Tuesday Swimming program until we receive clearer guidelines from the State Government
- All Years 3&4 students are back onsite on Tuesday and Wednesday, but have Learn@Home on Monday, Thursday, and Friday
- All Year 5&6 students have Learn@Home on Monday to Wednesday, and return onsite for Thursday and Friday
- All students who are back at School may enter any gate, however this does not include Learn@Home@School Students
- Please be mindful that the roads around our campus are busy and we need everyone to be vigilant about road safety
- Learn@Home@School students, must enter and exit via the Raymond Street entrance
I have noticed a significant rise in the amount student issues relating to social media over the past year and in many of these instances these issues involve students on social media making poor choices. They may post something online that is not respectful or responsible or they may be exposed to language or images that are not appropriate for their developing brains. More importantly, online predators are often on these same social media platforms looking for targets. I have been made aware of some St Anne’s students as young as Year 1 who have access to TikTok even though nearly all social media networking sites have an age requirement of at least 13 years old. The below information comes directly from the Australian Government:
‘As part of their privacy policies, social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and YouTube specify that users must be at least 13 years old. Parents may be unaware of this requirement.’
With this in mind, I ask parents to speak to their child/ren about social media? We need to educate our students and keep them safe online.
This week, Year 5 were lucky to be joined on Zoom by Sydney author Jacqui Jones. Jacqui is the founder of the gratefulness wellbeing program which is endorsed by the NSW Education Standards Authority and the writer of ‘The Gratefulness Book – How to think not what to think’. She spoke about recognising and acknowledging our feelings, then thinking about how we manage and deal with them.
Some interesting ideas that Jacqui posed to the students to think about were:
- Life is a journey, like a plane ride. Sometimes there is smooth flying and sometimes we hit turbulence, before returning to smooth flying again.
- We can think about shifting our unhappy feelings or worries, as moving from grey skies into the blue.
- Self-reflect – How am I feeling? What am I thinking about? How am I behaving? What decisions am I making?
Below are some comments from our Year 5 students on what they learnt:
‘Yesterday in Jacqui Jones’ session I learnt how to meditate. I also know how to stay motivated and look after ourselves better. I also learnt that the mind can be where it wants to be. This little session I think helped me a lot and more in the future.’ – Oliver
‘When Jacqui was talking to our class, I learnt that when you feel down or upset about something you can meditate. You can do this by breathing in through your nose but also breath in good thoughts and out through your mouth whilst breathing out bad thoughts. Jacqui also said that blue skies are always there but sometimes the grey clouds come in and cover the blue clouds, but you need to keep in mind that the blue clouds are still there, and the grey clouds are never permanent.’ – Milla
‘I learnt that you can meditate – breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth- and control your mind. There are a lot of techniques we can use to feel calmer such as calm music, listening to nature sounds and there is always a blue sky- you just got to find it.’ – Jon
‘The first fact I have learnt is that some people don’t breathe properly because they’re to stressed but all they need to do is breath in a deep breath and breath out. I have also learnt that to breath in the blue skies and breath out the dark gloomy skies, you could also learn it like this breathe in the good thoughts and breath out the bad thoughts. To meditate you need to keep calm and push the bad thoughts away. The last thing I’ve learnt is that everyone gets nervous and anxious with some things that they might not be sure about.’ – Vanessa
The above advice from Jacqui Jones and our Year 5 students is timely. Can I please encourage you to take time this weekend to stop and breath? We have such fast-paced lives often thinking about the past or the future, rarely being in the present.
Have a great weekend.
Garnsey Campus news by Head of Campus Kate Ray
As this first week of Term 4 has progressed we have welcomed more and more students and staff back onsite. Seeing the senior students in the quadrangle at lunchtime spending time talking in person after so much time talking on screens was certainly a wonderful sight.
I would like to thank all of the students for their patience and positive attitudes towards this staggered return to school. It will take a little adjusting for all of us as we return onsite. On Monday I was walking across to the Year 9 area when the bell rang. It was such a shock to hear the bell after so much time without hearing it!
While we have been offsite there has been some work carried out in different parts of the school. Our Year 9 students can look forward to coming back to freshly painted classrooms; students in the Maths classrooms will have a great view out the windows of the progress on our Visual Arts and Technology centre; and our boarding students will notice some new plantings on the grounds of Blackwood House.
Another change to be aware of from Monday will be the closing of the Dawson Street exit. These gates will now be closed to vehicles, and we ask anyone entering via the main gates to also exit with caution out the same way. Having these gates closed gives our junior students more space to play during the day and minimises the traffic exiting onto Dawson Street when our students are being collected at the end of a day.
For our bus travellers, there are also a few changes that you may notice in the coming months. After some business changes, students who have previously travelled on Littles Coaches will now be travelling on Dysons’ buses. The rebranding will occur in a staggered manner, but we have been reassured by our bus coordinators that the buses will be easily identified while students adjust to this change with clear signs and bus numbers posted in the door and window of the bus.
Now that we are returning to onsite learning, could I please ask for your support in ensuring your child returns to school with all their equipment, with a fully charged laptop each morning, their school hats to be worn whenever they are outside and their face masks to be worn both inside and outside the classroom. Reminder too that we expect all students on their first day back for onsite learning to be following the school rules around jewellery, facial hair, and tying back their hair. When we are welcoming back the students, we want to be able to say hello and ask how they are going without then having to follow up with ‘put your hair back’ or ‘please remove your extra jewellery’. We want to make the most of our interactions with the students by making these about more than uniform infringements.
If you are unsure of the rules around these areas, please check your child’s school diary for details.
We look forward to a very eventful and rewarding Term 4 together onsite.
Catch up on our previous newsletter here: https://news.gippslandgrammar.vic.edu.au/principals-news/gippsland-grammar-news-sep-17-2021/
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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