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Even though COVID restrictions have ramped up this week, nearing the midway point of the year, it is with great joy that we have been able to actively increase the involvement of parents in the school this term. Starting with volunteers' meetings, both Andy and I were delighted with the response from parents, and indeed the level of appreciation, enabling parents to contribute to the education of children on site.

Although the approach for involving parents and visitors in the school is somewhat structured, we have been delighted to resume the level of support to teachers and school programs that significantly enhance the educational experience for children. Thank you for your contribution and patience.

The Term in Action!

Mums First!

Early in the term, we all enjoyed the company of our mums, nannies and special friends who joined us for a semi-outdoors School Meeting and morning tea in celebration of Mother's Day. It was a pleasure to see the whole campus together, including our Early Learning children, who confidently participated in the singing. Throughout the School Meeting, children from each group delivered special messages to their mums – Early Learning too – such confidence from these littlies to speak in front of a very grand audience. The children had made gifts for their mums and special friends and given them before the beginning of the School Meeting. To follow, our special guests enjoyed a delightful Morning Tea. It was a very happy Mother's Day at Penbank. Thank you for coming.

Canberra Study Tour

The Year 6 students headed to Canberra for a most successful tour during Week 4. We left on Mother's Day, so Janine (Art Teacher) and I enjoyed the day with 35 children rather than the two we have at home! I thank all Year 6 families for accommodating our departure on Mother's Day that significantly helped our budget. The significant increase in airfares this year was not expected when creating budgets last year.

Notably, the Canberra experience, on the land of the Ngunnawal people, enables students to inquire into concepts such as, 'The interconnection between governance, leaders and citizens.' Students establish that Canberra was created to develop a capital for the newly federated country of Australia in 1911. While in Canberra, the children learn about democracy, voting, Australia's government, the importance of science to the country's future, and the impact of Art and unique places that hold our country's memories and stories. The Australian Institute of Sport, always a highlight, showcases Australia's proud sporting history. 

Special moments included our time with the Governor-General, his Excellencies the Honourable General David Hurley and his wife, Linda, Questacon and the bike ride around Lake Burley Griffin.

I congratulate the teachers involved for their expert preparation of the children. It was evident by all that the Year 6 students were enthused to build on their knowledge through this interactive Canberra experience. We all felt very proud of the positive comments about our students from many of the guides. My special thanks to Ashton, Janine, Mick, Pete and Sammy for leading the learning with these children.

Walk to School Day

National Walk Safely to School Day is an Australia-wide initiative that encourages children to lead a healthier, more active lifestyle. We were very excited to have Penbank parent and former Olympic bronze medalist Dean Pullar as an ambassador for the program. Accompanied by many children, parents, pet dogs and puppies, we all enjoyed walking to school, starting at the Moorooduc Recreation Reserve. We continued along the country track of Barak Rd until we came to the rear entry of our school property. It was a glorious walk to start the day and a lovely opportunity for families to walk to school together. Thank you, Dean, for supporting National Walk to School Day, and also all staff, children and parents for joining in.

Cross Country Events

Last week, all students from Prep to Year 6 continued the energy in the campus and district Cross Country events. There was much enthusiasm by all students to run their little legs off! Each Tuesday and Thursday mornings, Pete's Running Club has also supported children to build up their fitness and endurance. Regretfully, parents were unable to attend the District Cross Country, but it was great to have many parents cheer on their children for our campus event. Well done to all students for giving their all, and thanks heaps to Pete for his encouragement. Also, a very big thank you to Lindsey and Marc for preparing the Cross Country running track and field for the event. Great job – loads of fun! 

The first concert for a while

Last week music students courageously performed in their first concert since 2019! 

Performing in front of an audience is very challenging, especially when you take the stage for the first time or haven't performed solo for a while. However, all children did their best, and it was terrific to see the many instruments they are learning, including voice. 

A music concert with some very talented little musicians in the making provides a lovely experience to grow in confidence and extend skills. Well done to all participating students and teachers for a beautiful afternoon of music. A huge thanks to the music staff.

Homestead Drama Performance

Staff enjoyed a wonderful evening with our Year 5 & 6 students, who wrote and performed a series of short plays produced across the semester. Regretfully, parents were unable to attend – thanks to technology-and we could film the plays and upload the theatrical performances for parents to watch from the comfort of home.

I congratulate all students on their ability to transform themselves into amazingly quirky characters! Well done, everyone and thanks for your fantastic inspiration to our students, Katherine!

National Reconciliation Week – More Than a Word – Reconciliation Takes Action!

Sadly, we are unable to be involved in the entire program planned for National Reconciliation Week. However, the theme for this very special week will still provide powerful experiences for children to share and take action. 

Students in Year 6 have written letters to the children in Nicole's Group at Wugularr School. We received a number and colour charts in Australian Kriol from Charlotte, Wugularr Transition (Prep) teacher. These charts will be displayed in classrooms and other areas around the school. By the end of next week, we will all be able to count to ten in Kriol and know our colours. Great sharing! We also hope to get together for some zoom sessions to count and say colours in language. Kriol is the most commonly spoken language at Wugularr.

Learning Through Inter-Cultural Perspectives

The PYP encourages students to become active citizens who learn to understand other people and their perspectives. Learning from a cultural perspective, children learn to appreciate and value the diversity of peoples, cultures and societies in the world. We know that it is important to 'Walk in Someone's Shoes,' a favourite Penbank song with a vital message. Developing intercultural understandings supports students to develop knowledge, skills, behaviours and respect towards others from different communities and cultures. 

During National Reconciliation Week, and of course, we highly value the opportunity to learn from our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brothers and sisters throughout the year. We extend our hand in friendship by listening, learning and being with each other close by and from afar. Reconciliation is more than a word – we learn and take action together.

Final reminders

The Woodleigh App is a terrific communication tool. Very easy to upload to your phone or other devices. You can have access to critical information in no time at all. How about doing it now!

Camp Australia After School Care – don't forget to register! It is always helpful to have your child on the list if you are unable to collect your child at the end of the day. Things do happen! We have a growing number of children enjoying the program after school. Afternoon tea is provided, along with games and activities with Anne Lane.

I hope the present COVID restrictions are lifted on Thursday – we're here for you - take care and stay safe.

My warmest regards,

VIVIENNE WEARNE
Head of Penbank Campus