Letter Home

Welcome back to Term 3 – a short time getting into the swing of school before heading into lockdown once again by the end of Week 1. Such an impressive feat to yet again see staff and children so effectively transition from school onsite to online learning. A huge thanks to the whole school community for responding so positively to the ever-changing environment in which we live.

Holiday happenings and home-based interests!

The holidays were quite tumultuous for many families, with holiday plans interrupted by the continuous disruption of COVID. Nevertheless, we accept the confrontation of the pandemic and all pull together for the greater good. Thank you for doing your bit!

So, holidays have looked a little different while responding to the changes. Accepting that it isn’t such a bad thing to involve ourselves a little differently in more home-based pursuits, I do hope you enjoyed the cold but sunny days and the delightful sunsets.

For me, I did a little more walking, reading and cooking. I enjoyed the garden, visiting my mum, seeing my children, sisters, nieces, nephews, girlfriends, boyfriends, meeting up with past Wugubank students and being with my beautiful puppies! I also had the time to listen to the radio and watch some daytime television programs that I do not get to view.

I especially enjoyed listening to a National Press Club address by Nyadol Nyuon. Nyadol Nyuon (born 1987) is an Australian lawyer and human rights, advocate. She was born in a refugee camp in Ethiopia, fleeing the Second Sudanese Civil War. Nyadol arrived in Melbourne, 18 years of age and without any money. In her first year in Melbourne, Nyadol completed her VCE, and with the support of professors and others, was allowed to study Law at Melbourne University. Nyadol now works as a commercial litigator in Melbourne, is the Chair of the Harmony Alliance and is a regular media commentator. When beginning her address at the Press Club and being NAIDOC Week, I was particularly impressed by her Acknowledgment of Country and her thoughts on Australian society.

I also listened to a radio program featuring Hugh Mackay, a psychologist and sociologist and appears regularly on radio and television. He spoke about his latest book, The Kindness Revolution. Of course, I had to get a copy! Throughout his book, Hugh reflects on the inspiring kindness that transpires through our struggles and personal sacrifices. Hugh challenges the notion of social media, commenting that it is primarily anti-social media. He dares us to dream of a more loving country in contrast to a lucky country. An excellent read!

As I mentioned in my first email to you for the term, Jodie Kirchner, PYP Co-ordinator across both Minimbah and Penbank, presented to staff a delightful Youtube titled, ‘What We Practise.’ I thought you might be interested in viewing it yourselves too.

Sharing and reaching out to others

I shared these particular resources with you, as we live in a time in which we need to reach out to one another and extend a hand of kindness both in our actions and words. As a school, no matter what age or stage, position or community member, we are all learners together, and the sharing of our experiences, discoveries and insights are precious.

We all know what it feels like when someone is kind to us or being kind to others. Kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate. It is much more than being nice. Kindness is a character strength in which we see action. Kindness is inherent in human nature and visible in today’s world as we support one another in our daily lives.

From Early Learning and throughout the school, we identify with kindnesses through our role modelling, interactions and help.

Our students consistently draw upon the school’s values to focus on what’s best for our community and country. The IB/PYP Learner Profile connects us to the broader range of human capacities and responsibilities beyond academic success. These capabilities imply a commitment to help all members of the school community to learn to respect themselves, others and the world around them.

PYP Learner Profile – Caring

We begin the semester by focusing on being kind and caring.

Caring learners show empathy, compassion, and respect toward the needs and feelings of others. They have a personal commitment to service, and they act to make a positive difference in the lives of others and the environment.

As I’ve seen much more of our Early Learning children while in lockdown, I heard of the great things these little people have been up to. Hugo and Bay were both acknowledged recently for their environmental contribution to the Mornington Peninsula.

Hugo told me about the awards he received at the Red Hill Show. He was awarded seven prizes, including three 1sts in the show’s recent vegetable competition. This past year, Hugo’s favourite time has been working with his Grandad in the veggie garden. Hugo loves the veggie garden in the Penbank Early Learning playground too.

Bay was acknowledged by the Mornington Shire as a ‘nature warrior’ due to her love of nature, especially the ocean and beach. Bay understands that ‘if you don’t look after the beach, fish, dolphins and birds can die.’ Bay regularly collects rubbish along the beach with her bucket and spade and knows that it’s essential to get rid of rubbish properly to protect the waterways.

Congratulations to both Hugo and Bay for taking care of the environment. Wonderful to see such incredible understanding and enthusiasm from our tiny ones.

After Lockdown 5. Lunchtime Activities

Lisa Cox, Co-ordinator of our Inclusion Program, has arranged an activities program during lunchtime that will commence as soon as all students return to school on campus. Lisa is passionate about embracing the learning needs of children through special interests and has been a much-loved educator about anything to do with chooks. Lisa has a massive following of children who love to visit our chooks every day.

Lisa was keen to extend the options for the children during lunchtime and has enlisted the support of other staff. Activities will include:

  • Monday - Chess/connect 4 with Justin will be held in the learning lounge
  • Tuesday - Activities with Anne in the library
  • Wednesday - Mindfulness/yoga/health with Hannah in the Year 3 & 4 learning lounge
  • Thursday - Library again with Anne and Origami with Olivia in the Indonesian room
  • Friday – Art/colouring with Lisa in the Art room

As a number of our programs have been postponed due to the recent lockdown, these additional activities will be most appreciated by the children. I thank Lisa and the staff for taking the time to involve the children in these activities across the term.

As you read this Letter Home, I am hopeful that it will be only two more days of online learning to go! With optimism, I will look forward to seeing everyone back at Penbank on Wednesday.

As we do our best to manage throughout these difficult times, my thoughts are with families coping with illness and the loss of loved ones.

Take care, everyone, and stay safe and well.

Deputy Principal – Head of Penbank Campus