A Magnificent Start to 2022

Greetings Penbank families, friends and the Woodleigh School community,

​We have been thrilled to welcome you to the new school year. New teachers, new children, staff returning from Maternity Leave, others taking on new roles; it has all added to the excitement for a refreshed start.

As a learning community, we have commenced the year with a clear focus on the school's fundamental belief that we all learn well when we learn by doing and learn by caring.

Learning by doing: children at all levels have actively participated in the school program. Excited by new experiences, specialist classes in Music, Art, Library, PE, Indonesian and Dance and Drama have been approached with enthusiasm. In the classroom, exploring Maths concepts using a variety of materials, or taking responsibility for leading our School Meeting for the first time as a Year 6 student, are all examples of an environment that promotes learning by doing. Our outdoors programs, such as Bush Kinder for our four-year-olds and our first camp to Wilsons Promontory for Year 5 students, have been met with wonder and awe.

Learning by caring, the PYP Unit of Inquiry, Who We Are, explores the nature of self, who and where we are in the world, our beliefs and values, and our relationships, including families, friends, communities, and cultures. At Penbank, 'Who We Are' is where we begin as we learn about each other with genuine care and respect. The Year 6 students recently presented an Expo highlighting their work with this Unit of Inquiry. In addition to documented projects, there were exhibits of whip-cracking by Harry, who would love to be a stockman and demonstrations of gymnastics techniques by Mia and Mia-Bella, to name a few.

Special times are when we can come together and share our learning and experiences. School Meeting, held each Thursday morning, is an important time of the week. It has been my pleasure to work with the Year 6 students who lead School Meeting each week. Thus far, we have congratulated students who have been appointed to Chook Officer positions, have participated in swimming sports (some students moving onto the district level) and performed a musical item or interesting piece of work.

We are looking forward to welcoming parents to School Meeting in the coming weeks.

Overall, it's been an excellent start!

IB – PYP Authorisation

Beginning Monday 28 February, members of the IB organisation will be visiting the junior campuses as we head into the authorisation process in the Primary Years Programme – PYP. This visit will involve classroom observations and meetings with leaders, teachers and students across both campuses throughout Week 5.

A little background info…

IB Mission Statement

The IB develops inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through education that builds intercultural understanding and respect.

The IB organisation works with schools, governments and international organisations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment. These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.

Woodleigh School began investigating the International Baccalaureate in 2018. It was agreed the principles and values of Woodleigh School could be enhanced through the introduction of the IB at the primary and middle years – Year 7 to Year 9.

Following a rigorous investigation period, implementation commenced in 2019. Jodie Kirchner was appointed to lead the introduction of the IB – Primary Years Program (PYP) to the junior campuses, Penbank and Minimbah. This three-year period is referred to as the candidacy phase, in which the school is required to learn and plan through the PYP Curriculum Framework. Extensive professional learning and implementation occurred throughout this time, and we are now ready for the authorisation that takes place across the junior campuses this week.

Image: IB Learner Profile

Through newsletters and your children, we have introduced you to terms such as Learner Profile and Units of Inquiry. As an example, to commence the year, some groups have been working on the Unit of Inquiry, Who We Are. As learners, children have been investigating the importance of being caring and considerate of others – focusing on the Learner Profile – Caring.

A transdisciplinary approach, the PYP connects learning to include classwork, camps, excursions, School Meeting, events and more. A community of learners, we value the integration of the more conventional disciplines or subjects with organised teaching and learning through real-world problems and connected experiences.

We are excited that we are now at this stage, and I thank Jodie and all staff for their commitment to this ongoing work. It may be a little ahead of time, however, I congratulate you all on what has been achieved through this implementation process of the PYP. A great achievement!

Past students return to the Penbank community

Beginning the year, it was our pleasure to welcome back to Penbank former students, who like their children, are starting out in Early Learning and Prep. I welcome back Jacqui Hamilton (nee Churcher) with Lewis (Prep) and Theo (Early Learning), Candice Hourigan (nee McGaw Prep) with Woody, Vanessa Brodziak (nee Lane) with Augie (Early Learning) and Tim Manuel with Tiger Lily (Early Learning).

It is also our pleasure to welcome Sammy Nutt and Daisy Everett to teaching positions at Penbank. Both Sammy and Daisy commenced Penbank as students in Early Learning, progressing onto the Senior Campus for their secondary education. Sammy is the teacher of one of our Year 6 groups, and Daisy is working in a relief position supporting class programs, camps and other activities. I have very fond memories of these wonderful young people commencing at Penbank as little ones, and it is a delight to see them return in a professional capacity or with their own children.

Many thanks

To all parents and staff, I thank you for supporting us in a very smooth start to the year. Due to COVID, your involvement continues to be somewhat regulated. However, we're extremely grateful to be onsite at Penbank where the children are thriving in the beautiful environment both indoors and out.

The systems in place, including our drop off and collection routines, are working well, and our early finish on Wednesday has likewise run efficiently. In these early weeks of the year, we cannot have parents participating at school, but we are hopeful of a change to this requirement midway through the term.

We will continue to provide you with communications from the school that will include The Messenger – newsletters from the Principal and Heads of Campus and other notices uploaded on the school App. I encourage you to download the Woodleigh App on your phone if you haven't done so already.

Looking forward to continuing exciting times at Penbank.

My warmest regards,

Deputy Principal – Head of Penbank Campus