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Last night the Year 12 Drama Class sat us down in the Hall for 'Christmas Down Under', and the experience of live theatre was just the balm our culture-starved souls needed.

Like many family Christmas tables, there was a mix of humour, sadness, pathos, insight and empathy on display as the self-devised ensemble pieces unfolded on stage.

The creativity, stagecraft and smarts employed to put together two mature and nuanced pieces of theatre were unmistakable, and our congratulations go to all students and staff involved.


​If you wanted to put together an order for the perfect conditions for Cross Country Running, yesterday would have made a good template.

Overcast, threatening rain, slightly damp underfoot, but not soft; cool, but not freezing, no howling wind.
100% good for a run.

And in those perfect conditions, it was the good folk from Homestead 4 who came home in first spot, with Homestead 7 finishing runners-up.

Ted Meysztowicz Y10 and Tilly Boadle Y8 were our fastest individual runners on the day, while in the Tutor Group stakes, Homestead 4s Year 10s continued their Homestead Sports dominance, with Homestead 7 winning the Year 9 comp, Homestead 6 taking out Year 8, and Homestead 2 got the chocolates in the Year 7 race.

Well done to everyone who participated, and we look forward to seeing our SIS Cross Country Team compete in a couple of weeks.

While the coming federal election has seen many pollies head home to sure-up things in the hope of being re-elected, Canberra hasn't been left entirely empty.

Last week, our Minimbah and Penbank Year 6 students were on the ground in our nation's capital, discovering democracy, science, history and ... roundabouts.

The Canberra Study Tour is a fantastic, hands-on, engaging way to uncover how our country is governed, who it is governed by, and how it all came to be this way.

If two outta three ain't bad...

Then six outta seven has got to be pretty damned good!

Our SIS Sporting Teams have had a mighty fine week flying the flag for Woodleigh, with everything from crushing home-ground wins, to the tightest of last-minute victories.

Six wins from seven contests is a fantastic effort. Well done to all competitors, and best of luck for next week!

RESULTS

Junior Boys Volleyball – 2 sets to 0 v Cornish College
Senior Boys football – 152 – 3 v St Peters – Cranbourne

Junior Girls Netball – 25-3 v Padua College Tyabb

Junior Girls Soccer – 4-3 v Bayside Christian College

Intermediate Girls Indoor Cricket – 93-54 v Bayside Christian College

Intermediate Boys Football – 37-34 v John Paul College

Intermediate Boys Volleyball 0-2 lost v St Johns Regional College

Woodleigh's Year 10 University visits are a vital part of our Careers Program.

90% of Woodleigh students go to University after Year 12; so putting one's feet on the ground and experiencing the feeling of campus life is not only an exciting way to spend a day, it's also incredibly relevant and a welcome return after two years of forced absence.

Thanks to the staff who made the day possible!

What ho!

The aforesaid king David I, by thee counsel of all his barons and pedagogues, for the promotion of tuition and the observing of skilled accomplishment, decreed that on Friday, 6 May, all scholars in the year of eight should be in Medieval dress and doings.

Twas a day of dancing and battle and levity and toil, as many as was necessary and not more; the faithful making their sigils and banners ready for siege by blade, arrow and armour.

Huzzah!

There are motivational speakers, and then there's Mandy McCracken.

A simple bug resulted in the sepsis that took Mandy's limbs. Waking from a coma as a quadruple amputee, it would have been understandable had she fallen in a heap. But she chose a different mindset.
"I decided to laugh my way through. I named each thing that I had attached to me. My tracheotomy was Trevor, my bed, Harley because it had wheels, and down the track, I named my arms Alana and Alan after my prosthetists. My new legs are Stan Ding and Neil Ling."
Mandy visited our Penbank Year 3 and 4 students last week to talk with them about how innovations in technology change the way people live, her own experience, her zest for life, and why mindset is an important part of how we live our lives.
Thank you, Mandy, for sharing your stories with us and for sharing Alana and Alan too.

We're proud to be Friends of Mandy.

In what has become something of a Mother's Day tradition, the Minimbah Foundation class pampered their Mums after last Thursday's Assembly in their special Wellness Spa – with expert hairstyling, makeup and massage treatments on offer for their Mums.

We hope the weekend continued in a similar, if somewhat more professional, pampery vein for you all!

Woodleigh Mums, we salute you!

We thank you, and we are so grateful for everything you do.

Our Minimbah and Penbank campuses both celebrated the ladies who make our lives complete on Thursday, before Mums from all campuses joined us at Merricks General Wine Store for our 2022 Woodleigh Mother's Day Out.

After two years in hiatus due to you know what, Mother's Day Out was a beautiful way for our mums and special ladies to reconnect over lunch and laughter.

Thank you to the businesses who donated goods and services to our goodie bags and door prizes!

Both Yoga, Burnley Brewing, Johnny Ripe Main Ridge, Diaco's Garden Nursery , Endota Spa, Southern Plants, Foundation Bulk Food Store, Crittenden Estate Wines, Peninsula Skin Co, Santé Wines, Smoke & Vanilla, OnStone, , >span class="nc684nl6">Lumiere Art + Co., SMART Business Solutions, Hawkes Farm, Envie Aesthetics, Half Moon Meadow, Skinbetter Science, Progress Signs and DAMN Gorgeous
We hope you all have a wonderful Mother's Day, with pampering, care, good food and great company!

SIS Swimming was back at MSAC yesterday with the Division A Championships attracting Woodleigh's top swimming talent to the pool.

An overall 5th place was highlighted by two pennant wins, with the Under 13 and Open Boys teams both victorious.

Our small team put in a massive effort against the much bigger schools, with lots of students stepping up to make sure we were represented.

We like hands-on, experiential learning here at Woodleigh.

So when our Penbank Preps are looking at How The World Works for their Term 2 Unit of Inquiry, it makes sense that we'd organise a visit from Hands On Science to help us unravel the scientific mysteries of nature's life cycles.

Inquiry-based, experiential learning is the perfect way to nurture passions and talents in young children.

We love it when past students come back to share their stories!

Today, Tahnee Burgess (2011), Dylan Bolch (2019), Caitlin Russo (2012) and Vanessa Weir (2011) returned to Senior Campus for our 'Making a Difference in the Community' Careers Assembly.

Addressing a crowd of Year 10, 11 and 12 students, Tahnee, Dylan, Caitlin and Vanessa spoke of their post-school journeys through tertiary education, employment progression and the twists, turns and reinventions that make up the passion and purpose-finding process that is building a career.

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience and insights with us!

"Good morning, class. Today we will be learning about the Battle of Hastings; please open your textbooks to page 93."

😴😴😴

Or...

"Good morning, class. Today we will be learning about the Battle of Hastings by crafting our own weapons, creating armour from newspapers, and re-enacting the key moments of the Norman's victory against the Saxons."

🤩🤩🤩

This is why experiential education works.

Living your learning is the most powerful way to bring about transformational outcomes – lessons that last, understandings that are... well... properly understood.

It's why we teach this way at Woodleigh. And why we love T. Ryan.

The Big Freeze was ON in the Woodleigh Gym on Thursday 7 April.

Staff vs Students Fundraising Netball, winner takes all, in support of the fight against Motor Neurone Disease.

What the Staff gave away in age, they made up in wit, guile, and determination to win through in the end, with a narrow 9-8 victory over their Year 12 opposition.

Congratulations to all players and officials and to the student organising committee, led by Tessa Cox Y12, who wore a very refreshing bucket of ice-cold water for her troubles! 🥶🥶🥶

​Hattah is 545 kilometres away from the Senior Campus, but it might as well be a million miles from COVID, classes, houses, showers, TikTok and the fridge.

And yet, no one seems to mind.

Our Year 10s rise early, plan their routes, and get onto the tracks as quickly as possible. The rhythm of Hattah life dictates that you get an early start, ensure your nav' is good, and reap the rewards of getting into camp early, with time to chill, refresh, and ready for the next adventure.

They're well into that groove now.
Hattah is working its magic.

Students from the Classes of 2020 and 2021, look away now. You don't need to see these images.

Okay, now that they scrolled past, it is my great pleasure to share a few photos from last Friday's Year 12 Formal.
It was a top night at The Epicurean Red Hill, with staff and students donning their finest attire and keeping the dance floor packed from go to whoa. And after two years where we didn't get to host this event, it was awesome to be able to share this time again.

Thank you to Lila, Pippin, Chloe, Nikki and everyone else who helped put together the awards, and to Rex for a top set on the decks.

First Nations perspectives are embedded into the Early Childhood curriculum at Woodleigh School.

We talk about them every day, and visitors like Lionel Lauch from Living Culture Ltd stop by regularly to share stories and culture from the local Bunarong/Boon Wurrung people. Our home is the Peninsula, and our understanding of local First Nations history and culture is vital to understanding our place in the world. Thank you, Lionel, for working with the bubups at Minimbah!

Tara Minton (2003) is a London-based harpist, vocalist and songwriter. She's currently back home in Melbourne, touring her promoting her current album, Two For The Road.

Tara dropped in last week to chat with Woodleigh VCE Music students about her art, career, and songwriting process. All while playing songs from her catalogue. It was an exceptional lesson.

Tara has an upcoming performance at the Melbourne Recital Centre on Saturday 9 April at 8pm. Playing with Owen Downie on Double Bass, this show blurs and redraws the lines between Jazz and Chamber Music.

Purple Day is a global initiative dedicated to raising epilepsy awareness, dispelling myths, and increasing support for those affected.

This year, Year 8 student Isabelle C. ran a fundraising day to support Epilepsy Action Australia's Purple Day efforts.

With help from her mates Dash, Nox and Cooper, and Year 12 students Lou Lou, Rupert, Nikki and Gigi, Isabelle raised more than $600.

Congratulations and thank you to everyone who made donations!

No one expected this. No one expected Homestead 2 to blitz the opposition ... but they did.

After years in the Homestead sporting wilderness, they didn't just run away with the Homestead Athletics win; they ran away and hid around the corner, lying in wait for those who had tormented them for the past decade. Then, at just the right moment, they jumped out from their hiding spot and yelled "AAAARGHHHH!!" or something like that to scare their former persecutors.

In short, it was a big win. Their first since 2012, and judging by the reaction, it meant a bit. There was a bit of pride in yesterday's result, and it was glorious to see.

🥇🏆🥇🏆

Penbank Year 6 Students have recently spent two days dialling up their lifesaving skills with the help of sports teacher Pete McGettigan and the crew at Mornington LSC.

Rescues, beach games and first aid training were all addressed on the picturesque sands of Mills Beach.

As Woodleigh students and families, we live by the beach, and we love it, but it's important that we understand and respect it.

Charlie's Clipper Cause.

Today's Homestead Session saw Year 10 student Charlie Stevering get his ears lowered by the full margin to raise funds for the World's Greatest Shave.

His donation tally is well on its way toward his $600 aim, and I reckon we can blow that figure out of the water and do our bit to help Charlie raise funds to go toward the fight to defeat blood cancer.

You can donate to Charlie's efforts here.

There are 97 years of Woodleigh's history in this first photo.

Ninety-seven years of teaching, mentoring, coaching and leading our students well beyond the classroom.
And last Friday, we said farewell.

Relationships and experiences are what we base education on at Woodleigh, and it's fair to say that Helen Billett, David Baxter and Geoff Rogers have enough runs on the board in the relationships and experiences department to best all comers.

It's hard to find a domain where these three Woodleigh Legends have not had an impact.
Academia, The Arts, Sport, Community Engagement and Community Partnerships have all benefited from the hard work, leadership, stewardship and care of Helen, David and Geoff.

David, after 27 years, and Geoff 39, we hope you enjoy your very well-earned retirements. And Helen, after 30 years with us, we wish you every success as you continue with new and exciting challenges.
The legacy that these three teachers leave totals far more than 97 years. The thousands of young lives they have impacted during their time at Golf Links Road will live on far longer. Thank you for your tireless dedication to Woodleigh School, its values and its students.

Harmony Week celebrates Australia’s cultural diversity. It’s about inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone.​

Last week, the Woodleigh community came together at Penbank to share a night of music, food, family and fun.
Thank you to Jess Hitchcock, the Stiletto Sisters and IOP Hiphop for bringing such warmth, creativity, and energy to our school!

What would Daryl think?

'Horses' is likely to be D. Braithwaite's most significant release. A true Australian classic, one that he performed at the Penbank Campus' Between The Bays festival a few years back...
But does it compare to 'Me and my horsey, goin' through the mountains'?
It's a tough call.

So... grab a nice apple, and indulge in these videos from the beaches, mountains, caves and kitchens.

More Camp Content

The natural beauty you'll find down at the Prom has few peers in the state of Victoria.

Some would say it has few peers across the globe.
I'm interested in what Penbank's Year 5s would say. Because today, those lucky campers are seeing it in its absolute prime.
Twenty-three degrees and sunny.

Perfect memory-making conditions.
Perfect exploring conditions.

Perfect learning to surf conditions.

Perfect, perfect, perfect.

Woodleigh Camps are the best!

With Frankston putting on this weekend, we thought we'd share the sweet, sweet images that David Booth AKA Ghostpatrol put up on the Canteen walls at Minimbah last week.

Students from Years 5 & 6 worked with David to put together a design featuring all your favourite Australian creatures; then, they spent the week throwing it up on the walls to entertain and delight hungry kids for years to come.

Massive congratulations to Kaitlyn Everett Y12 2021, for taking out this year’s Woodleigh Emerging Filmmaker Award at the Peninsula Film Festival.

Woodleigh has been partnered with the festival for nine years, and we’re rapt to be able to support the production and promotion of creativity and The Arts by young people, not only on the Peninsula, but in the wider community.

We farewelled the original in late 2020. And we welcome the new in early 2022.

Homestead 4 is reborn.

Renewed.

Revisited.

Revitalised.

The latest in Woodleigh's Homestead Renewal Program, it's fair to say students and staff are excited to be back home.

We're excited too, to invite the wider Woodleigh community to the official opening, in a couple of months' time.

Learning by doing. Responding to, and caring for your environment.

Growing with a sustainable mindset.

Our Year 10 Marine Science students put their classroom learning into action when they headed out into Port Phillip Bay to investigate and catalogue the sea life that calls it home.

Swimming with the seals at Pope's Eye and Chinaman's Hat a definite highlight!

Well, it had to happen...

After being taken downtown by Homestead 6 last year, the good people of Homestead 3 put their heads down in the Pines Pool to paddle and swim their way back to the top of the victory dais.

Congratulations to all the students who got amongst it, both in and out of the pool. The colour, support and camaraderie were all top notch!

SPORT IS BACK AT WOODLEIGH!

Here's a bit of wholesome fun for your Sunday.

Mr Kenner's Year 3s put this video together for their assembly last week, but, because of COVID, they couldn't share it with a live audience.

So we'll share it here!

Hopefully, we can invite parents back for our School Meetings and Assemblies soon. It's great to share what our students are learning in person!

Year 7 Science pracs are pretty marvellous things.

First of all, you get lab coats. Cool

Then, there's all the new apparatus – bunsen burners and flasks and tubes: the strange coloured liquids, powerful magnets and all the chemical reactions, with their pops and bangs to entertain.

Our Year 7s have been getting stuck in, working hard to investigate, record and understand how science influences our world.

Adventurous Minds seeking out wisdom.
Year 7 Science pracs are pretty marvellous things.

How can painting portraits build empathy and understanding in a community?

Inspired by 'Anh Do's Brush With Fame', Minimbah Year 5 and 6 students are painting portraits of a classmate – part of their 'Who We Are' Unit of Inquiry.


By asking meaningful questions, recording information, and persisting with refined sketching and painting skills, students not only produced impressive artworks, they developed an understanding of others' stories and supported each other through the artistic process.


The reveals of Minimbah's 'Inspired by Anh' portrait project produced some beautiful reactions, as students appreciated the care, respect and attention their classmates had taken when interviewing, painting, sharing and reflecting on their work.

Where thoughtful questioning and active listening lead, shared understanding, and empathy will follow.


Everybody in!

Everyone got involved both in the pool and out at Penbank's Swimming Carnival on Monday, where cheering, swimming, and sweeping through the water on pool noodles were the order of the day!

After the last two years being so disjointed, it's been fantastic to be able to get back to some off-site activities! Next up: Senior Campus Homestead Swim Sports on Tuesday and Minimbah later this term!

Outdoor Ed trips can be dicey...

You might get wind;
you might get rain;
you might get windy rain.
But every now and then, you get an absolute pearler.

Last week, our Year 11 OES crew took the sea kayaks out on Western Port and made their way to French Island. Land of koalas, mangroves, and, of course, mosquitoes.

And they had a pearler.

No wind, no rain, no worries.

Not sure how they fared with the mozzies, but that's how it is in the precious, amazing, diverse, protected, mangroves.

There is romance, heartbreak, pathos and comedy in this year's Senior Campus Production, 'Almost, Maine', a show where nine different couples explore what it means to love and be loved.

Rehearsals are well underway, with cast and crew working to avoid lockdown enforced cancellations, ready to pivot to a filmed, or streamed show at any moment.

Lock out the evenings of 24 and 25 August, you won't want to be anywhere else, but Almost, Maine.

Do you remember your first day at school?

Your first week? Your first friends and teacher?

They are exciting times. Emotional, nerve-wracking and quite possibly overwhelming... though that's mainly for the parents.

And just in case Minimbah's Foundation students need a little reminder of the fun they had in their first week at school, we went ahead and took a few photos.

Turns out it's almost impossible to stage a school musical during a pandemic...

Try as we might (and believe me, we tried!), the repeat lockdowns of 2021 meant we couldn't get Urinetown on stage.

Despite all the challenges, the cast persevered, and we are excited to bring you Urinetown, The Documentary.

The doco explores the challenges the arts continue to face through the pandemic, and features songs from Urinetown and other musicals as well, to showcase the talents of our cast.

Enjoy!


Stories buzzed across the yard as students returned to Minimbah and Penbank on Monday morning.

Summer tales of holidays with the family, barbecues with friends, hot days on the sand and in the surf, Christmas surprises and the joy of reconnecting after so long apart.
2022 promises so much – new teachers, new friends, new ideas and activities and lots and lots of adventure and fun!
Buckle up, everyone; there's much work to be done!

The Class of '27 kicked off their Senior Campus careers today.

And here's the big tip, guys...

Grab all the opportunities you can, take responsible risks, don't make your comfort zone your home – get outside it, get amongst it!
Try new things; if you don't get there the first time, have another crack.

Make great memories, hone your skills, build wisdom – in six years, you'll have a true sense of who you are and what you stand for.

​ After a VCE journey defined by lockdowns, remote learning, and the constant challenges and pivots this has necessitated, I couldn't be more proud of our 2021 Graduates.


95+ ATAR achievers – LtoR: Haydn Flanagan – Head of Senior Homestead, David Baker – Principal, Ben Fewster, Bella Gosling, Alexei Guy-Toogood (held by Bella), Ned Murdoch, Ainsley Paton, Isabel Allen, Jack Shalekoff (held by Izzy), Alyssa Schneider and Nat McLennan – Head of Senior Campus.

This cohort was supposed to have a better year in 2021. Instead, their VCE comprised six lockdown periods, constant flip-flopping from onsite to online, and dealing with the stress, loneliness and difficulties this constant change presented, all while trying to focus on study

The work done by both teachers and students in the past two years has been exceptional, so to be able to share the news that their drive and persistence has been rewarded fills me with pride.

This year's VCE results celebrate the efforts of the Class of 2021. As educators, we see students grow into themselves as they move through the years, gaining confidence and ability. When we farewell them, we know they are taking a wide variety of real-life experiences to draw on in their lives. They leave with so much more than a list of academic achievements; they leave with communication and problem-solving skills, empathy and an understanding that they can impact a situation based on their attitude and contribution.

An ATAR does not tell the whole story of any Woodleigh student. And, given the diverse abilities and aspirations of our students, it is wonderful to see those whose paths require a high ATAR will achieve this, and so much more along the way, at our school.

The Class of 2021 performed brilliantly. Our 2021 Dux is Bella Gosling, who achieved the most impressive ATAR of 99.35. Jack Shalekoff also excelled, achieving an ATAR of 98.3, while Ben Fewster, Alexei Guy-Toogood, Ned Murdoch, Ainsley Paton, Isabel Allen and Alyssa Scheider must also be lauded for their efforts, each achieving outstanding academic results, with ATARs above 95.

Congratulations again to Bella Gosling, who received a perfect study score of 50 in Literature.

I also recognise the work of Alyssa Schneider and Laura Jarvis, who have been shortlisted for the Top Arts at the NGV, VCAA Season of Excellence Exhibition.

In 2021:

  • 12% of Woodleigh students achieved an ATAR of 95 or more.
  • 21% of Woodleigh students achieved an ATAR of 90 or more.
  • 42% of Woodleigh students achieved an ATAR of 80 or more.
  • Our median study score was 32.
  • Our median ATAR was 77.4

Excellence comes in many forms for Woodleigh students, and we applaud the entire cohort for what they have achieved and, most importantly, for the amazing young adults they have become.

I wish all students from the Class of 2021 the very best for next year as they move on to tertiary studies and work, or for some, a well-earned gap year. All the best.

DAVID BAKER
Principal

At Woodleigh, we expect that students will take increasing responsibility for themselves as they grow. We believe that every child can be a compassionate and active contributor to society and make the world a better place. More than this, Woodleigh students should be prepared to play a role in contributing to social justice globally. We aim to develop young people who embody their values and understandings and act upon them both at school and beyond.

Effective character education is not achieved through a series of isolated interventions but rather a sustained and ingrained approach to teaching and learning. Character education is enhanced and brought to life through planned, integrated projects, experiences and adventures within the schooling experience.


The principal objective of Woodleigh's Community Partnerships Program is to add breadth, depth and enrichment to our young people's experience – and to share these experiences with our outside partners. Of critical importance is that these programs empower students to feel that they can make a difference and leave a positive legacy that enriches the lives of others.

Woodleigh's Community Partnership Program aims to challenge young people to engage in authentic experiences that strengthen our communities while embedding the 3Rs – Respect for Self, Respect for Others and Respect for The Environment. It is not about saving people; it comes from the heart. It is about two-way learning, solid connections and long-lasting relationships.

Woodleigh's Community Partnerships Program aims to:

Provide practical opportunities for learning which develop initiative and perseverance, enabling students to experience how they can make a difference within our community.

  • Offer genuine experiences that will require courage, generosity, imagination and resolve.
  • Deliver authentic experiences that demonstrate the importance of service to others.
  • Facilitate learning opportunities that enable students to listen to community partners' wants and needs – allowing partnerships to co-develop long-term, sustainable projects and tackle relevant and important issues.
  • Avoid tokenism or creating beliefs of superiority, and challenge students' thinking.
  • Promote the opportunity to foster understanding, goodwill, respect and friendship between individuals.

The Background

Kurt Hahn has, both directly and indirectly, impacted our Community Partnerships philosophy and practice. His approach to learning influenced Michael Norman's thinking around many aspects of school life, especially linking academic curricula, activities, and involvement with broader community life.

Community Partnerships align with Round Square and the International Baccalaureate (IB) framework. Round Square schools share a commitment to character education and experiential learning built around six IDEALS – International Understanding, Democracy, Environmental Stewardship, Adventure, Leadership and Service. This international schools network promotes values-based education, which explores personal qualities, attitudes, personality and strength of character.

These evolve through experiences, real-world learning and periods of reflection. Round Square experiences can instil a passion for lifelong learning and provide the 'noise filter' necessary for students to develop higher-order thinking skills, both of which are essential for the constantly connected, communication-rich i-Generation. The Round Square community cares passionately about the future of our world and educating students on the variety of cultures and communities it supports. It aims to create communities that thrive and prosper and care about each other in mutual cooperation. To achieve this, we need courageous and compassionate world leaders who are prepared to discover and embrace different cultures in ways that promote meaningful understanding and respect.

Today's students are the next generation of leaders. Education plays a pivotal role in shaping how our young people understand, prepare for, and respond to the world's challenges both today and in the future. Ultimately, students should understand that whatever field of work or career they enter, they can make a positive difference in the world. They don't have to wear a backpack and hiking boots to experience adventure. They don't have to be a doctor to save lives. They don't have to go on a community service project to help a community in need. They don't have to run a charity to be a compassionate leader.

Hahn was a key architect of the philosophy, structure, and content of the IB and the founding father of both Outward Bound and The Duke of Edinburgh's Award. Indeed, his theory of Outward Bound inspired the Creativity, Activity, Service element of the IB Diploma, most notably a sense of compassion through service.

IB learners strive to be caring members of the community who demonstrate a commitment to service – making a positive difference to the lives of others and the environment. Service as action is an integral part of each IB programme. In alignment with the International Baccalaureate (IB) Learner Profile, all members of the Woodleigh School Community are encouraged to be:

  • Inquirers, by nurturing curiosity and a lifelong enjoyment of learning.
  • Knowledgeable, by developing conceptual understanding across a range of disciplines.
  • Thinkers, by applying thinking skills critically and creatively.
  • Communicators, by expressing ideas confidently, listening carefully and collaborating effectively.
  • Principled, by acting with integrity and honesty, a strong sense of fairness and justice, and respect for people's dignity and rights everywhere.
  • Open-minded, seeking and evaluating a range of viewpoints, and showing a willingness to grow from this experience.
  • Caring, by showing empathy, compassion, and respect to make a positive difference in the lives of others and the world around us.
  • Risk-Takers, by approaching challenge and change with courage, determination, resourcefulness and resilience.
  • Balanced, by understanding the importance of intellectual, physical and emotional balance in achieving personal wellbeing in our lives.
  • Reflective, by thoughtfully considering our ideas and experiences, strengths and challenges to nurture our growth as learners and people.

When compared to more traditional classroom learning, service learning does not fall short. If anything, it shines. In a survey of 4000 students (all involved in service programs), 75 per cent reported learning 'more' or 'much more' through their service than through their regular classes (Conrad and Hedlin, 1991). More recent educational research is singing the praises of allowing students to work for 'real audiences'. Service activities are a wonderful expression of this. Generally, service is performed both with and for other people, and in this way, it fuels learning and develops a student's sense of educational competence. The experiential component and the importance of applying content and skills in a real-world environment for real-world benefits lead to tangible improvements in student outcomes and increased motivation to learn. (Kaye 2010)

The MYP IB Inquiry Learning Cycle

The System of Service Learning

Building on the MYP Learning cycle, the stages of service learning that Kaye proposes are valuable to add rigour to the entire process. If we imagine that the skills and knowledge we aim to impart in our students as the ingredients, then the six stages are the recipe. These stages constitute a key to students' effectiveness and are critical to learning transferable skills and content. Even though each stage is referenced separately, they are linked and often experienced simultaneously.

  1. Awareness, Inventory and Investigation (What is the need?)
    1. Begin with a personal inventory:

i. Interests
ii. Skills
iii. Talents
iv. What is the need
v. Analyse the community problem
vi. Start to gather partners

2. Preparation and Planning (What is the plan for accomplishing this service? What are the roles? Responsibilities? A timeline? Resources needed?)

    1. Find a partner (in school, at home, local, regional, international)
    2. Is anyone doing work on this already? Make contact!
    3. Make calls, contacts
    4. Design a way to monitor your progress (what is the need, what changes have been made, what other changes have taken place, describe the evidence of your progress, provide a summary of your findings).

3. Action (Carry out the plan through direct or indirect service, working individually, with partners, or in a group).

    1. Letter writing
    2. Excursions
    3. Research projects
    4. Events
    5. Crafts
    6. Fundraisers
    7. Tutoring sessions
    8. Awareness campaigns
    9. Various service projects

4. Reflection (What did I learn? What benefits did my service provide? How did I feel during the service cycle? What difference did this make?)

    1. This should take place at many stages, not just the end. It is too late then!
    2. Recheck, redesign, change, improve.
    3. Think about what you learned; feel better about your work.

Students can reflect on their experiences with:

  • Group discussions
  • Journal entries
  • Worksheets
  • Essays
  • Blog posts
  • Videos
  • Poems or songs
  • Visual art submissions

5. Demonstration This can lead to more questions but may include:

    1. Final presentations (parents, Assemblies, external audience)
    2. Newsletter articles
    3. Videos
    4. Graphs or charts
    5. Books or portfolios

6. Celebration

This may include:

    1. Making thank-you cards or gifts for peers and community partners
    2. Being recognised at the next school assembly or on social media
    3. Discussing the impact their efforts have made

This shows the stages of learning, the many different skills used, and evidence that the experience matters. It can inspire other people to take action and helps students understand that they can do this again at another time, in another subject or facet of their life.

The Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

The 17 SDGs are integrated – they recognise that action in one area will affect outcomes in others and that development must balance social, economic and environmental sustainability.

The 17 SDG's are a handy tool to assist students in exploring or developing their interest in these areas, especially during the initial stages mentioned above.

Wellbeing and Engagement

Numerous studies have recorded increased personal happiness, life satisfaction, hopefulness, open-mindedness, self-esteem, and connectedness due to involvement in service activities. Key elements of service programs (such as positive relationships with adults, opportunities to develop social competence, and involvement in a local community) are cited as influential protective factors for young people. Recent Australian studies have demonstrated a correlation between service activity and reduced rates of depression, isolation, mental disorders, psychological stress and (in some cases) even physical health conditions (Berry, 2007). It is proven that adolescents need to contribute to society and, by doing so, can safeguard against anxiety and depression (Johnson, 2020). These activities must have personal meaning rather than serving as padding for university applications (Scientific American 2021). While people impacted by misfortune benefit from the support of volunteers, evidence indicates that volunteers also benefit from their service.

First and foremost, engaging with and building Community Partnerships is an excellent way to make a connection. They connect our students, school and others in our local communities to better mental wellbeing or potential pathways to employment (Volunteering Australia, 2021). Research confirms (Beyond Blue, 2017) the inextricable link between connectedness and good mental health. Indeed, as social distancing and isolation became our new norm, the value we place on connectedness has increased.

Definition

Connected with the IB creativity, activity, service approach, Community Partnerships can be defined as an unpaid and voluntary relationship that has a learning benefit for our students and our community partner. The rights, dignity and autonomy of all those involved are respected.

Cathryn Berger Kaye (2010) encompasses Woodleigh's aspirations in her statement: (It) "connects school‐based curriculum with the inherent caring and concern young people have for their world – whether on their school campus, at a local food bank, or in a distant rain forest. The results are memorable, lifelong lessons for students and foster a stronger society for us all."

A Commitment to Connection

A commitment to the philosophy of building connections is part of Woodleigh's culture. We strive to spread the excitement and inspire the engagement that leads right back to the classroom integration of service learning. A key feature is an expectation that all students will engage with local and broader communities through voluntary service activities. It is very much a distinguishing feature at Woodleigh that the needs of our community partners guide the actions within these programs.

By defining and promoting this spirit of service, we encourage responsible social action based on a deep understanding of challenges, and issues faced by individuals and communities in need of support throughout the world. At Woodleigh, we offer programs and projects (both individually and collaboratively) that engage students and role-model positive, sustainable, community partnerships locally and further afield.

The connections listed below provide a glimpse into the raft of opportunities at our school. However, it is important to remember, the purpose and magic lie beyond the programs themselves. We must look beyond the 'doing' of volunteering, mentoring, charity, community engagement and fundraising and see the 'being' within our students. By engaging with service, we instil in our students a culture of teamwork, transcultural understanding, and knowledge of world issues – fostering compassion, empathy and creativity in our community.

GARETH BOLCH
Deputy Principal – Community, Culture and Student Experiences