- Term 3 Reflection
- Learning to Thrive Strategic Plan video
- Notice of Withdrawal
- Camps and Study Tours at Minimbah
- Building a Positive Mental Health Toolkit
- The Little Mermaid wrap up
- Dazzled Daily in the Art Room
- Literature Loving in the Library
- From the Minimbah Music Department
- School Sport Victoria Bayside District Lightning Premiership
Term 3 Reflection
While I am well into my third year as Principal of Woodleigh, I am still enjoying firsts. Traditionally ‘the quiet term’, this term has been the term where community engagement has sparked back into life.
A cornerstone in Woodleigh education, this was the first year since 2019 we could run Activities Week. I was privileged to join students at both Mt Hotham and Dinner Plain snow trips. As skiing is a passion of mine, this was a perfect way to connect with students and staff while enjoying the beautiful Victorian Alps.
During my career, I have taken students skiing and on snow trips many times, both in Australia and abroad. However, I have never enjoyed the company of our students as much as I did this year. There was an overwhelming sense of gratitude and appreciation shown by all. I have never felt so welcomed by students as I was during this trip. It was a great chance to see and appreciate how insightful, positive and respectful Woodleigh students are. In three decades of teaching, this stands them apart from students I have worked with before. In particular, I must thank the cross-country students, who patiently worked with their flagging Principal as he struggled to keep up on the trails and complained incessantly about blisters and a sore ankle. Quite pathetic really.
Activities Week is a different way of learning. Yes, it’s time away from the classroom, but it's not a holiday. It’s about giving young people the opportunity to immerse themselves in an activity and a group of people beyond their comfort zone, and to have the courage to have a go. This is a big thing for a teenager, where they are worried about making a fool of themselves in front of their peers. Kids learn teamwork, communication and organisational skills, confidence, and although the focus is on the activity – whether it be ceramics, surfing, or golf – they come away learning more about themselves in a context beyond home and school. It’s a powerful form of personal development.
It's also been a term where our Junior Campus students have attended camps in areas as diverse as Sovereign Hill, Alexandra, and the Northern Territory. Yes, camp is fun, but it can also be a powerful opportunity for growth. Our Year 6 Penbank students, for example, travelled great distances to live, learn and thrive within the Beswick Wugularr community, creating lifelong friendships and developing a deep understanding of aboriginal culture. These students will be the change agents of the future; to have this understanding of first nations perspectives from such a young age fills me with hope about our shared future.
You don’t have to travel as far as the Northern Territory for camp to be a growth opportunity. When we travel, it’s the change of context that allows students time to reflect on who they are, where they come from, and who they are striving to be. The journey here is an inward one, and it can’t be underrated as they find their way in the world, at Woodleigh and beyond.
Another incredible first this term was to finally attend school productions at Senior Campus. Almost Maine and The Little Mermaid were outstanding student-powered productions that left me in awe at the depth of talent we have at Woodleigh. I loved being immersed in a live theatre environment, and was completely drawn into the subtleties and nuances of the plot and the acting. Our dedicated drama and music staff allow our students to be their absolute best through coaching, mentoring and encouragement. Several Board members commented on the fact that Woodleigh kids do everything, in keeping with our philosophy as a school. Woodleigh kids do do everything, but that’s because our school fosters a culture where everyone is given every opportunity to have a go, play a part, take a risk.
None of this would be possible without our incredibly dedicated staff – teaching and non-teaching – but also without you, Woodleigh families. The school can only be as ambitious as the people that make up our community. Your engagement as parents is the key third ingredient in your children’s education and development as young people. As we shuck the shell of Covid, I would encourage you – like our students – to take up as many opportunities to engage with the school as you can. Whether it be through attending PFG events such as Fathers’ Day Breakfasts, Rock Quiz or Christmas in July; through our regular Parent Education Program (PEP) Talks, or through attending evenings such as our strategic plan launch, we encourage you to immerse yourself in our school community. These events are a chance to meet other parents, talk to staff, connect, unpack and reflect on your child’s journey at Woodleigh.
To those who did manage to attend our Learning to thrive Strategic Plan launches at Minimbah, Penbank and Senior Campus, thank you. The Board and I are incredibly proud of our plan, and very excited about the future direction of our school and the possibilities this will bring. I am grateful for the feedback we received and, most importantly, the encouragement to continue our journey and maintain a focus on our purpose as a school:
Have a great holiday and enjoy the spring sunshine.
For those of you who missed our recent Learning to Thrive Strategic Plan launch events, here is a video upload of the Senior Campus event on 5 September.
Please note, in line with our Terms of Business, a full term’s notice of withdrawal from the School is required, otherwise a term’s fees will be charged in lieu of notice.
At our recent Parent Information Evening, many were asking about the structure for camps and study tours. Here’s what the program looks like through the children’s time at Minimbah.
· Year 2 – a sleepover here at school (Friday 14 October 2022)
· Year 3 and 4 – a two-night, three-day adventure camp on the Peninsula – 14- 16 September 2022 at The Ranch, Boneo
· Year 5 and 6 – a four-night, five-day adventure camp in East Gippsland – 24 – 28 October 2022, at Camp Licola
· Year 5 Study Tour – a two-night, three-day stay at Sovereign Hill, Ballarat for the costume school experience held in August each year
· Year 6 Study Tour – a four-night, five-day tour of Canberra held in May each year.
For Year 3 – 6 students, we visit alternate camps, so children experience a different campsite each year. The outdoor education camps and study tours build on classroom experiences and where possible, are linked to units of inquiry.
Head of Minimbah Campus
R U OK? Day is a annual event that aims to "inspire and empower everyone to meaningfully connect with the people around them and start a conversation with those in their world who may be struggling with life.”
It's a meaningful initiative, this year taken up by senior students to reduce stigma, encourage help-seeking behaviour and promote positive mental health and wellbeing.
To extend this conversation and create a meaningful and personalized resource, I want to share with you (an edited) article by Linda Stade:
Every child needs a Toolkit for Positive Mental Health.
What's in it?
Every day, our kids go off to school with a backpack full of all they need for the day. There will be books, possibly a device for schoolwork, and food or money for the canteen. Some days, there may also be special clothes for sports or after-school activities. Our children leave home seemingly ready to face the day.
All this equipment is important. However, it is nowhere near as important as the invisible toolkit our kids need to carry into school and life beyond school. They need a positive mental health toolkit and parents have the privilege of helping kids pack that toolkit over the course of their development.
Why is a mental health toolkit so important?
In Australia, research confirms 75% of mental health issues begin before the age of 25. More surprisingly, 50% begin before the age of 14. These facts are confronting but the intention here is not to scare parents. This knowledge should mobilise us into action.
By ensuring our kids are developing a well-equipped mental health toolkit, we can support them in building the resilience they need when facing the inevitable challenges life presents.
What belongs in your child’s mental health toolkit?
Trusted adults who listen
One of the greatest protective factors a child can have against poor mental health is at least one adult who is trustworthy, deeply present, listening, and who believes in them. Whether you are a parent or a trusted adult outside of the child’s home, like a teacher, counsellor, family friend, or an extended relative, you have the potential to make a significant difference.
Exercise releases feel-good chemicals like endorphins and serotonin. They can improve mood and decrease anxiety and depression. Exercise improves self-esteem which is vital during the vulnerable years of adolescence. It also has the potential to connect kids with different groups of people which decreases feelings of loneliness and isolation.
A balanced diet
Our kids’ diet is everything they put into their bodies. It is the food they eat, the television they watch, the social media they absorb, and the conversations they have. The health of our kids’ bodies and minds relies on balance in all things.
Wide emotional vocabulary
Clinical psychologist, Kristina Morgan says, “Being a human means we ALL have the full range of emotion. No one is happy all the time. No one is nice all the time. We all get sad, disappointed, hurt, and angry. The broader the emotional language you use with kids, the more space you can provide to express emotions effectively.”
Freedom to express emotion
Children who live in a home where all emotions are allowed and valued are more likely to express and process their emotions in a healthy way.
“A child needs the opportunity to practice how to live with and respond to, their entire range of human emotion while they have you as their safety net. That way they can learn to respond in a way that’s healthy for themselves, and respectful of others.”
All emotions are acceptable, all behaviours are not; our kids need the opportunity to recognise that difference.
Emotional regulation strategies
Emotional regulation is the process of recognising, labelling, and then soothing emotions. Some self-regulation occurs naturally. We might sigh more when upset as it allows more oxygen which is calming. Crying is another natural self-regulation tool; it is an emotional release. Other regulation strategies can be learned. For example, exercise, enjoying music, focusing on the mind-body connection, or connecting with people they love and trust. Working with you, kids will be able to identify what works for them.
Gratitude is proven to change the way we mentally and emotionally approach life. Noticing the positive things that are in each day, even on the worst days, buffers your child against the times that are uncomfortable and difficult.
Humans have a natural negativity bias which was designed to keep us safe in our early evolution. It paid to be suspicious when there were sabretooth tigers wandering around! However, today we need to challenge our automatic negative filter and look for the good. Teach kids to acknowledge the good in their life by starting and ending every day with an acknowledgment of at least three things for which they are grateful.
Mindfulness is the process of consciously listening to your thoughts and being aware of which ones are useful and which ones aren’t. Mindfulness practices keep the mind in the present and stop us from worrying about the future or dwelling on the past. Meditation, yoga, journaling, body scanning, colouring, and breathing exercises are all useful. There are also excellent apps like Smiling Mind.
An action we can take immediately to improve the mental health of young people is to ensure they get enough sleep. Our kids need undisturbed, restorative sleep every night to cope with the ups and downs of their days. It’s a no-brainer, yet large numbers of Australian kids are not even getting the minimum for mental health, growth, learning, and development. As a guide, a primary school student needs between 9 and 11 hours of sleep, and a secondary school student needs between 8 and 10 hours.
Regular contact with nature
Regular time in nature has been shown to evoke positive emotions as well as developing individual resilience. It can also be useful as a way of counteracting some of the symptoms of mental ill-health. Both green spaces and aquatic spaces produce well-being benefits. More remote and biodiverse spaces have a greater impact, but even your local parks and trees can lead to positive outcomes.
Good friends, who respect boundaries and behave in a supportive way, provide connection and companionship. They are strong protective forces in our young peoples’ lives. There is no magic number of friends that a child needs. Some may need very few friends, while others will need many.
Access to professionals
It’s 2022 and so hopefully we are past the belief that talking to a good friend is just as good as seeing a psychologist. It isn’t. A psychologist, counsellor, or other mental health professionals have the training, skills, and experience to help our kids reflect, explore, come to realisations, and then employ strategies for growth. They are also able to recognise mental health disorders that require more specialised treatment. Please normalise seeing mental health professionals. There should be pride in that kind of self-care.
Often kids don’t have the skills or confidence to arrange to see a health professional, but they do know how to use a phone. There are helplines for kids manned by trained staff who can listen and guide. EVERY child should have these numbers in their phone’s contact list. Have that conversation and help them enter these numbers today.
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 (telephone and online counselling for ages 5 - 25)
Lifeline 13 11 14
They should also bookmark these websites:
eheadspace to chat online
ReachOut.com (youth mental health service) Visit the website for info or use the online forum
A sense of meaning and purpose
When our kids have a sense of meaning and purpose, spiritual or otherwise, they feel grounded and as though they are part of something bigger than themselves. Research shows that this sense of meaning can be correlated with greater levels of positive mental health.
If parents, and all significant adults, truly recognised their impact on children’s emotional development, we would be humbled, honoured, and deeply cognisant of our responsibilities. We can help kids face the world with a mental health toolkit that will give them the best possible chance of living their best lives.
Director of Counselling
Acknowledgements & further reading:
The Woodleigh Hall was awash with colour, movement, and anticipation as we prepared for our three epic performances of The Little Mermaid. From dress rehearsals to opening night, to our final performance on Thursday, there’s one thing that stood out for all performers and spectators. This was Minimbah at its best. Everyone collaborated, supported one another, and together, we made the experience a positive and unforgettable one.
Here are some reflections from our Year Six cast.
In my opinion the most memorable thing about production would have to be the dress rehearsals. I say this because each dress rehearsal had a completely different experience, and they were all fantastic experiences.
The first dress rehearsal was everyone being shocked about each other’s outfit and getting used to the space we would be working in. It was awesome to get to school and see all of the different interpretations of what the characters should look like.
The second dress rehearsal was getting used to the microphones and learning more about the space we had. It was all about learning about the rules we had while we were wearing the microphones. It was a great learning experience, and the vibe was great.
The third dress rehearsal was learning about make-up. It was a very cool vibe and everyone had a laugh about their make-up. I loved this experience just as much as the other ones.
So, in summary, the dress rehearsals will stay with me even if I don’t realise it.
The most memorable thing about the production is when we would laugh for ages if someone messed up a line or action and we would all laugh at it together rather than laughing at them. An example of this is when Luca said “harpwoons” instead of “harpoons”. And when Ashanah was at a dentist appointment, Ruby stood in for her and then Jampa came in and started singing, and then we all jumped in and started singing.
I learned how to take on a character, who’s not like myself and how to be someone else. I learned how to take on feedback and challenge myself to be the best Ursula I could be. To perform in front of everyone was amazing and it boosted my confidence in performing and sharing a passion of mine.
Production really taught me to be confident with singing. I’ve improved heavily when singing solos. I know that a few of my Mersister friends were in the same boat as me, so I felt really supported. I feel like my memory has improved after having to remember my lines.
Throughout the last two terms, I have been really grateful for having the chance to be in the school production. I have loved the experience, and it has been great to find out that I had another talent in me since it got one of the main roles, Prince Eric. I loved still being able to enjoy the production and hang out with my friends. In general, the experience was awesome. In the future, if I have another chance to be in a production, I will take it.
During the production I was most grateful for my friends – they helped me get through. It would have been boring without them. Everyone pushed each other to their limits, to help us do our best and make the most of it all.
I love my job because I am dazzled daily by the artwork created by students at Minimbah.
ECC have been creating textured tiles using pasta and drawing images that are being transferred onto tiles. These are going to be put together to create a mosaic mural.
Foundation have made a wonderful collaborative collaged mural of their community. This can be viewed on the wall outside their classroom.
Year 1 and 2 students have been inspired by Paul Klee’s abstract cityscape painting ‘Castle and Sun.’ They have printed their own castle and sun art piece and added drawing details.
Year 3 and 4 are exploring Threads and Textiles by fraying edges of hessian and learning new stitches. They enjoyed taping lines on their hessian pieces and painting in between to create geometric shapes to stitch around.
Year 5 have started to make puppet heads out of Paper Mache. They are making an outfit out of fabric and embellishing their work using a variety of materials.
Year 6 students have chosen their own clay project to work on which will be fired and glazed next term.
As we come to the end of a very full term, our Library has provided Minimbah students with the opportunity to immerse themselves in a range of literature.
Foundation, Year One and Year Two have enjoyed retelling stories through puppet play as we explored the theme of Book Week 2022 Dreaming with Eyes Open. Sharing well-known favourites The Gruffalo, Where the Wild Things Are and appropriately, The Little Mermaid, children have had great fun being the star of the library show.
Year Three have been fabulous assistants in the organisation of the Book Fair to be held in Week 8. They worked hard to create posters that reflected the Book Week theme and assisted in promoting the event to the school community. Thank you for all of your help!
Year Four spent some time linking in with their unit of inquiry, creating pop art-inspired posters of significant people in the First Nations and Torres Strait Islander community. Using a range of research skills, students learned about the language group these icons had originated from, drew portraits, discovering why they are significant to the community.
Year Five have thoroughly enjoyed exploring Yahoo Creek – An Australian Mystery by Tohby Riddle. Linking into their unit of work about authentic evidence, students chose their own investigation to pursue about the Mystery of the Yahoo. Could it really be real?
One group spent a great deal of time looking at the timeline of articles from colonial times that was presented as evidence in the book. They noted that in the story, the evidence was shared out of chronological order. Students wondered what would happen to the perspective of the Yahoo if the articles were put in order? They set to work, making some interesting discoveries such as:
· The sightings of the Yahoo dropped off when search parties were sent out
· The evidence of the description of the Yahoo evolves over time
· From 1847 to 1877 the newspapers were gathering information on the Yahoo
· From 1877 to 1882 the newspaper portrayed the Yahoo in a positive light
· From 1882 to current day, the Yahoo is seen in more of a negative light
This story, bought about ongoing discussions about the use of authentic evidence and how evidence can contribute to the perspective of a story. Well done on a successful investigation Year Five.
Whilst the Year Six students have been in full swing with production, many Buddy Books have come to life. Using digital design programs such as Canva and Art Range, the illustrations are on the way to completing the process and I look forward to sharing some snippets of them in our next update.
We finish off Term 3 with our Book Fair, this is a fundraising event that supports literature for our school but also less fortunate schools in our local community. Year Six students will spend some time at the end of the term making purchases with the money raised. Thank you for supporting a fabulous event.
Finally, Book Week is coming in Week 2 of Term 4 and we cannot wait! We have some fabulous incursions lined up with authors Danielle Binks and Patrick Guest as well as a puppet performance where we can all Dream with Eyes Open. We'd encourage all families to start thinking about and perhaps even creating their costumes over the school holidays!
Well, that’s a wrap on The Little Mermaid, you Poor Unfortunate Souls! As we emerge from many Fathoms Below, from Under the Sea; we will become Human Again and be Part of Your World once more.
It was great to see and hear the students’ hard work come to fruition for three outstanding shows. It was wonderful to hear the student's beautiful singing emanating from the Senior Campus Hall. It’s been an epic voyage, with many, many hours of work put in by students, and merfolk alike.
We are now looking forward to sharing repertoire for Grandparent’s Day on Tuesday 13 September when we will present other aspects of the Music Program. The programme for the day is very full and we are looking forward to showcasing more musical items, including choirs, the rock band, a few soloists, orchestra, and a few toe-tapping favourites from our recent extravaganza.
It’s been an exciting end to a busy musical term.
SUE FLETCHER and JOHN BECKLEY
On Friday 30 August, 16 students from Years 5 and 6 participated in the annual Bayside District Basketball Lightning Premiership held at the Frankston Basketball Stadium. Twelve schools were involved with each school allowed to enter one boys' and one girls' team. Each team played eleven games scoring 4 points for a win, 2 points for a draw and 0 for a loss.
It was a great day with both of our teams playing exceptionally well. The boys won the Divisional Championship and girls team placed second in the Divisional Championship.
Congratulations to all of the students for their commendable efforts.
Physical Education Teacher