Letter Home – Term 2 Week 8
Nearing the end of term, we can reflect on the many productive and highly engaging opportunities that have been central to the learning for the children at Penbank.
The concept of inclusion has been a general focus for the junior campuses. Units of Inquiry at all levels have incorporated an inclusive perspective through investigative units such as How the World Works, How We Organise Ourselves and Sharing the Planet. Supporting Units of Inquiry, the PYP Learner Profiles enable children to consider their place in the world by understanding our global responsibility to look after each other in our quest to create a better world. Learner Profiles, including Caring, Being Principled, Open-minded and Knowledgeable, have been at the forefront.
Caring - Showing empathy, compassion and respect towards the needs and feelings of others by having a personal commitment to support and understand. Our children learn to make a positive difference to the lives of others and to the environment. By caring, our children show they are committed to the community, local and beyond, and demonstrate care through kind and considerate interactions.
Principled - Behaving with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness, justice and respect for the dignity of the individual, groups and communities. Our children learn to take responsibility for their own actions and the consequences that accompany them.
Open-minded - Understanding and appreciating cultures and personal histories, open to the perspectives, values and traditions of other individuals and communities. Our children learn to seek and understand a range of points of view and are willing to grow from the experience.
Knowledgeable - Exploring concepts, ideas and issues that have local and global significance. Our children learn to acquire in-depth knowledge and develop understandings across a broad and balanced range of disciplines. Learning is ongoing and developmental with children being well prepared in all areas to follow academic pathways, intellectual pursuits and interests.
In recent weeks, we have been involved in...
Rainbow Day – IDAHOBIT day
Such a colourful day, and great to see everyone involved! Discussions and activities were framed within the context of the School's values, promoting fairness, acceptance, belonging and social responsibility - all blending well with our 3 Rs and our focus on being inclusive.
We agreed, colours make us feel happy and bring a sense of fun that brightens up our day. We also know colours are different, just as we are unique in how we live our lives and who we are. What we know about the rainbow is that every colour is important, just as everyone is important in our world.
Year 6 students returned from Canberra inspired by the many experiences of the Canberra treasure trove. Learning about parliament, the role of embassies, citizenship and visiting places such as the AIS, War Memorial, Geo Science Centre, Questacon, the National Museum and Arts Galleries provided hands-on experiences about our country and significant people who have helped shape our nation. The students learnt what it means to have a say and as a democracy, the importance of voting to make a difference.
Year 5 Community Market
Being innovative and creative builds knowledge, which certainly occurred throughout the Year 5 Inquiry Unit, How We Organise Ourselves. With the central idea, 'Businesses function on the understanding of the marketplace,' students in Matt and Sarina's Groups created much excitement in the lead-up to their market day. A variety of mini businesses from food, crafted woodwork, homemade pet treats, drinks, plants, and crafts were a few of the offerings on the day. It was impressive to see the enthusiasm of the children and the preliminary planning and work required to make the marketplace come to fruition. In addition, it was a terrific community occasion for all children and parents. Everyone loved the opportunity to buy from the very skilled Year 5 entrepreneurs!
National Reconciliation Week
Heading into National Reconciliation Week, we were visited by Wiradjuri / Wotjobulak man AJ Williams Tchen. AJ worked with staff and children and generously shared personal stories about his life growing up as an Aboriginal man. AJ provided information to children in Years 3 to 6 through role-plays and a quiz show featuring students. Along with Murri woman and musician Monica Weightman and Boonwurrung, Mutti Mutti and Yorta Yorta leader Eva Jo Edwards, they spoke about the many barriers for Aboriginal people. These barriers include access to quality education, housing and health services, language and geographical barriers, bureaucracies that undermine the ability of Aboriginal people to be decision-makers, and inter-generational trauma.
It was very special to share with them, along with the school community, the School's Reconciliation Action Plan launched at Woodleigh's National Reconciliation Week Gathering. Copies of the Woodleigh School RAP are available at each campus and online.
Be Brave, Make Change
This year's theme for National Reconciliation Week enlisted many people to contribute locally and beyond through organisations such as Willum Warrain and our friends from the Beswick community and Wugularr School. In the spirit of reconciliation, Andy Khoza and Arcadia Shannon-Jones have been in Wugularr this week, providing much-needed support to the Early Years teachers and general staff. Andy also ran a music program involving all students and worked with staff to gain their input regarding the program for our Year 6 Wugubank NT expedition in August. We also hosted little Faith and Hope, Year 4 students from Wugularr, for six weeks of the term. They thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful time with their new friends and loved the opportunity to learn at Penbank. They especially loved the playground and teachers too! Thank you to all staff who embraced the little girls wholeheartedly.
Many thanks to all families for contributing to the Sea of Hearts Challenge. It was wonderful seeing and reading the avenue of hearts that lined our pathways into the School.
Make way for all of our enthusiastic and sporty kids! Rain, hail or shine, they are all actively involved. Recently, Year 5 and 6 students participated in the District Lightning Premiership – all teams experiencing success regardless of the bitterly cold and wet weather.
Cross Country has been a feature of the program. There has likewise been great success on the running track, and we wish Freya Thomas the best of luck as she competes at a regional level this week due to her excellent first placing in the District Cross Country. Congratulations, Freya, on your achievements thus far, and all the best for the regionals!
Parent involvement is up and running. Such a treat!
Parents assisting with reading, cooking, excursions, running club, as guest speakers and attending School Meeting is our way of communicating and sharing our learning face-to-face – there's nothing like it!
Look out for the upcoming Year 3 and 4 Expo that exhibits environments featuring resultant human impact and how we can improve and conserve environments. Sharing the Planet is the Unit of Inquiry that has inspired these children. Their Expo will be held in the Year 3 and 4 learning space on the last Thursday of term, 23 June, straight after School Meeting.
School Meeting is our weekly school gathering that showcases the learning of all age groups. All parents are now welcome to attend. School Meeting is held each Thursday morning, 8.50 to 9.30 am. Occasionally, School Meeting can extend a little longer if it is a special occasion. We welcome all parents to participate in our school experience.
Student Reports on the way
Not all subjects have been mentioned in this Letter Home; however, every area of learning, including the Arts and Indonesian, are vital to the intellectual, physical and cultural development of our children. You can expect to receive your child's report at the end of the week. If necessary, Parent-Teacher Interviews can be arranged if further information is required in addition to the report.
With two weeks to go before the conclusion of the semester, I am especially grateful that we can report on our students having been actively present to their learning each and every day of the semester. I congratulate teachers for their professionalism and commitment. Their accomplishments with the PYP and the recent Early Learning Assessment and Rating were outstanding. I appreciate there are still a few constraints, especially regarding illness, however, our aspirations for the semester have been achieved and we can look ahead with optimism to the school year ahead.
I thank you all for your patience, understanding and commitment to our school.
Do enjoy a safe and fulfilling break.
Deputy Principal – Head of Penbank Campus