A chorus of change
Director Learning - Primary Years
I am delighted to let you know that we have appointed Karen Chaur to the role of Director of Learning – Primary Years. Karen brings an exceptional level of expertise in curriculum leadership, particularly within a PYP setting. She comes to us with valuable experience from her previous role as Deputy Head of the Junior School and PYP Coordinator at Mentone Girls’ Grammar School. In addition to her impressive track record, Karen currently serves as a consultant, curriculum alignment consultant, workshop leader, and school visiting team leader. Her dedication to the International Baccalaureate Education Network (IBEN) since 2014 has allowed her to conduct eight school evaluations and authorizations, both domestically and internationally.
We are fortunate to have Karen as a current executive member of the PYP Victorian Network, where she actively supports professional learning and leadership for PYP schools across Victoria. Furthermore, Karen contributes to the tertiary education sector, playing a vital role in supporting the implementation and facilitation of PYP-based units of study for pre-service and graduate teachers at Deakin University. Her consultancy work extends beyond borders, as she has successfully collaborated with schools both within Australia and internationally.
Notably, Karen’s previous role as Head of Middle Years at Xavier College showcased her ability to oversee the integration of a primary years’ model across Years 5 to 8. This experience will undoubtedly contribute to her role at Penbank and Minimbah.
We also welcome Belinda Turner to our team. Belinda has taken on responsibility for our Tuesday Playgroup and some ECC and Classroom Learning support. Belinda worked in 2022 in the ECC as an allied support worker. She brings with her excellent skills in supporting children with additional needs, and we welcome her to our team.
What’s in a name?
I am writing to let you know we are transitioning to all members of our community; students, parents, family members and wider community members addressing one another by first names. This is especially relevant when addressing teachers and staff by their first names. Using first names instead of titles, especially in a primary school setting, has several compelling rationales that can positively impact the learning environment and students’ overall development:
- Fostering Inclusivity: Addressing teachers by their first names creates a more inclusive atmosphere in the classroom. It eliminates the formal barriers between teachers and students, making everyone feel like an equal and valued member of the learning community. This inclusivity promotes a sense of belonging and ensures that all students feel comfortable and accepted.
- Building Positive Relationships: Primary school is a critical time for students’ social and emotional development. Using first names encourages a more personal and approachable teacher-student relationship. It helps children perceive their teachers as caring mentors, leading to trust and stronger bonds. Positive relationships with teachers can enhance students’ engagement, motivation, and willingness to participate in classroom activities.
- Encouraging Open Communication: Calling teachers by their first names encourages open and honest communication between students and educators. When students feel at ease with their teachers, they are more likely to express their thoughts, ask questions, and seek help when needed. Improved communication fosters a supportive learning environment, which is essential for academic and emotional growth.
- Promoting Respect Based on Actions: Addressing teachers by their first names shifts the focus of respect from an authority-based title to one based on actions and character. Instead of demanding respect simply due to their position, teachers earn respect through their interactions with students and their dedication to providing a positive learning experience.
- Preparing Students for the Real World: In the outside world, people often address each other by their first names, regardless of their age or position. By introducing this practice in primary school, students learn to communicate and collaborate in a manner reflective of modern social norms, preparing them for future social and professional interactions.
- Emphasizing a Student-Centred Approach: The use of first names reinforces a student-centred approach to education. It places students at the centre of the learning process, acknowledging their individuality and unique needs. Such an approach can lead to tailored teaching strategies, improved learning outcomes, and increased student empowerment.
- Supporting a Nurturing Environment: Primary school students thrive in nurturing environments where they feel valued, safe, and supported. Addressing teachers by their first names helps create a warm and friendly atmosphere, where students are more likely to take risks, explore their interests, and develop a love for learning.
- Encouraging Teamwork and Collaboration: The practice of using first names promotes a sense of collaboration and teamwork between teachers and students. It reinforces the idea that everyone in the classroom is part of a cooperative learning community working towards shared goals.
Students currently address many Minimbah staff by their first names across the primary school and in our ECC. Using first names across the Minimbah Campus will tidy up any inconsistencies. You and the children are invited to address staff by their preferred first name from tomorrow.
Please let me know if you have any questions or feedback on this practice.
Boite Schools Chorus
Recently Minimbah and Penbank Year 3 and 4 students joined around 300 other school children from choirs around Victoria and performed a traditional Torres Straits songs as part of The Boite Schools Chorus.
Each year its concerts have a theme.
Choir Director Stella Savy explained this year it was the identity, culture and history of Torres Strait Islander people.
‘Which is just beautiful, because how many kids down this way know a lot about the Torres Strait down in Victoria? So across the state now all the kids know all this stuff about the Torres Strait that they didn’t know before.’
For Artistic Leader and Cultural Advisor Luke Captain the project is about sharing knowledge.
‘I want really to, to give to Victoria a bit of the Torres Straits culture, because there’s hardly any of us that live here. And so it’s nice to actually see it presented on stage.’
Torres Strait Islander musicians collaborated with school teachers to get the students’ performance ready.
Twenty-one school and community choirs participated this year in performances rich in culture and meaning.
Recently our Minimbah Aerobics Squad participated in the State AeroSchools Gymnastics Aerobics Championships. The hard working and eager squad performed brilliantly on the day with several teams qualifying for inclusion in the National Competition. Congratulations!
YEAR 4- 8th place out of 33 teams- qualifying to Nationals
YEAR 6- 3rd place- qualifying to nationals
YEAR 7- 19th place out of 38 teams
YEAR 2- 1st place
Our Foundation class are supporting ‘Mums Supporting Families In Need’ (MSFIN). This local charity based in Seaford works with over 80 welfare agencies to provide material aid and support for families in crisis. Foundation have supplied each calss with a collection basket for donations of new socks, jocks & PJs for MSFIN.
On Friday, 25thAugust all students, ECC - to Year 6 are invited to wear PJs to school and bring a donation of new socks, underwear, or pyjamas for MSFIN. Any sizes, from babies to adults, will be greatly appreciated by local families in need. The class with the most items in their basket will win a prize!
Matilda The Musical Jr.
Don't miss out on this year's Minimbah Musical. Click the image below to purchase your tickets! Friday's show has sold out!
Father’s Day Breakfast
Join us for breakfast and our traditional family portraits next Wednesday morning! Click the image below to let us know you're coming!
Deputy Principal – Head of Minimbah Campus