Letter Home

Dearest School Families,

We continue our work at Penbank, yet again, in another lockdown. As difficult as it is, I am genuinely grateful for the encouragement we receive from families, including the personal acknowledgements to teachers who are doing their absolute best to engage children in learning, whether at school or online at home.

It is an extraordinary time. Right now, there is much unrest in the world that is hugely confronting. We are all sitting with the discomfort of the restrictions that govern our lives and the burden we carry in not living as we did pre-covid freely. However, as frustrating as it is, we can be grateful for the area in which we live and for the ongoing effort that everyone is making to ride through this troublesome time. We are all doing our best.

A Camps Term – For some, yes, and others, no!

Traditionally, Week 6 and 7 are significant Activities and Camps weeks for Woodleigh School. It is this time of the year that our Year 6s usually head to Wugularr. However, this is not to be. As with all Woodleigh camps during Activities Week, they have been cancelled, and you know why! Nevertheless, we can re-direct our thinking involving these experiences and consider how to engage differently.

As inquirers of learning, embodied in the PYP Curriculum Framework, is the Learner Profile that recognises the importance of developing students as lifelong learners. These learner profiles support students to develop specific attitudes and aptitudes.

PYP Attitudes and Attributes

  • Inquirers.
  • Risk-takers
  • Knowledgeable.
  • Thinkers.
  • Communicators.
  • Principled.
  • Open-Minded.
  • Caring.

In my last Letter Home, I commented on the Caring learner profile that focuses on the importance of kindness in showing respect, compassion, empathy, and care towards others. The coordination of the Kindness Awards each week by our Year 3 students is an example of what we can do to look out for each other. Many thanks, Justin, for your work with these children in this way.

The Learner Profiles guide us with our learning. If we cannot learn from the experiences of camps, we can certainly draw from these attributes to ensure we are considering the many perspectives that enable us to learn well.

Our Year 6's are not going to Wugularr, but there is plenty to do to connect with the community and learn about Australia's vastly different and beautiful area.

Our Year 6 students will be encouraged to make their inquiries as researchers by interviewing, reading, mapping, reading and writing. They will discover the various language groups of the region and the exceptional talents of the Beswick artists. The children will learn why Wugularr and Beswick are both names for the community. Importantly, sending emails is a quick and easy way to communicate and connect. Already, some emails have been sent and received. Great work!

So, what's happening at Wugularr? Plenty – they have been relatively COVID free!

Festivals, family, visiting unique places, and many school achievements have kept them all very active and engaged!

Amazingly, our Year 5s participated in their annual expedition to Sovereign Hill in Week 4. It was a pleasure to accompany these children to this camp that provides such a wonderful experience through role-plays, live exhibits and re-enactments. Many loved activities such as the troopers and redcoats, gold-panning, visiting mines and shops were a great attraction for our little goldrush students. As part of the museum by role-playing 1850's children of the goldfields who were lucky enough to attend school, our Year 5s morphed into their roles when they donned their applicable outfits. Sir and Marm, too, played their parts exceptionally well! Acknowledging the Wadawurrung and Dja Dja Wurrung people, the

First Nations Peoples of this Ballarat region, so much was learnt as the children immersed themselves in this period of our history.

The next camp is for our Year 3s and 4s who venture to Camp Jungai during the last week of term. Located in the scenic Rubicon Valley, Camp Jungai offers students a unique and engaging range of meaningful and powerful experiences. Developed with specialist input from the Taungurung people, cultural sessions are the centrepiece of Jungai's offerings.

A variety of activities include bush tucker, bush medicine, crafts, cultural heritage and artifacts, storytelling, and a cultural evening that inspires students to continue learning about our shared history. We optimistically hope it is a 'yes' for our Year 3s and 4s!

Farewell Ashton – Baby on the way!

It is now time to farewell Ashton for the time being. It certainly has come upon us exceptionally quickly! With great excitement, Ashton's baby girl is due next month, so it's time for Ashton to take a break before her little one arrives.

We have all appreciated the dedication to teaching and learning that Ashton has provided to our Year 6 students for the past three years. Commencing at Penbank 2018, Ashton has offered a highly professional approach. I am most confident all children and families who have had the pleasure of experiencing her as a teacher will be immensely grateful for her contribution to the education of these students. Ashton's strong leadership as a Year 6 teacher has been outstanding and highly recognised by her Penbank colleagues.

We thank you sincerely, Ashton, for your involvement and commitment to Penbank and wish both you and Alex the love and joy that a baby brings. We can't wait to meet her!

Hopefully you all received the email about Penbank's Big (virtual) Camp Out. Please contact reception if you haven't.

It seems that the last few issues of the Letter Home have been written during a lockdown. Optimistically, I hope this changes and that we'll be back together by the end of next week. I thank you for your support of your children and their teachers. You are all doing a fantastic job.

Take care and stay safe.

Deputy Principal – Head of Penbank Campus