Penbank Letter Home

Welcome to the term, everyone!

The beginning of Term 4 is always an inspiring time at Woodleigh with all year levels from Early Learning through to Year 12 focusing on the Arts!

Commencing with a wonderful Opening of Woodleigh Arts at the Senior Campus, Year 12 exhibits, including a musical performance, highlighted the artistic talent and achievements of the students. Throughout the week, families were able to participate in a film night with movies produced by students. Other creative opportunities were held at all campuses throughout the week.

At Penbank, the Week 2 School Meeting officially launched the CREATE Program, which is an electives program offering a range of choices involving the Arts. From dance to drama, script writing, set design, music and much more, activities are arranged in multi-age groups selected by children with similar interests. An opportunity to work with others and make new friends, the CREATE Program certainly encourages children to imagine and develop ideas.

I congratulate a group of Year 6 students who presented their play, ‘Nose Dice Airlines’. It was brilliantly performed and very humorous. The senior choir concluded the Meeting with a wonderful rendition of the very famous Queen song, ‘Someone to Love’. It was an outstanding arrangement led by vocal teacher, Stephanie Crowder. Throughout the School Meeting, Arts teachers, Janine, Andy and Katherine displayed their love of the Arts and entertained the students with their very own improvisation of the story, ‘Where’s Your Creativity’ by Aaron Rosen and Riley Watts.

The concept that Literature and the Arts are Vital to our Lives underpins this Arts focus. It blends beautifully with the PYP transdisciplinary theme, ‘How We Express Ourselves.’ Involving all groups, the Group News recently distributed by teachers informed parents of this inquiry into the ways in which we discover and express ourselves through ideas, feelings, through nature, culture, beliefs and values. Investigating this concept by exploring different themes at each year level has certainly captured the imagination and interest of all children. Inspiring times!

Creativity and Learning - Nature’s Atelier

Rod Davies (Head of Minimbah) and I were delighted to participate in a conference at Nature’s Atelier, a new and immensely inspiring Early Learning Centre situated in the Margaret River region, WA. Owned and managed by a former school principal, Gillian McAuliffe, the belief is that every child has the right to a respectful environment that fosters harmony through balanced and creative relationships and possibilities. In such an environment, and in the company of caring adults, children develop an understanding of themselves and the world, building confidence and respect as a citizen of the earth.

While at Nature’s Atelier, Rod and I were delighted to spend two days with guest speaker Alise Shafer-Ivey from LA California. In addition to being presented to in this stunning setting, we also enjoyed the opportunity to hear about Alise’s work opening a play-based centre for refugee children in Lesvos, Greece. She has opened four more of these centres since.

Much of the conversation throughout the weekend focused on developing and maintaining curiosity in children. The general approach is based on the philosophy of Reggio Emilia, including the wisdom of Nature Education, the engagement of creative and scientific learning and developmentally appropriate learning opportunities. 

It was most inspiring being with such visionary thinkers and doers!

Celebrating Teachers – World Teachers' Day

World Teachers' Day enables us to honour the work of teachers. This annual celebration is held on the last Friday of October. Thanks to the Penbank PFG, it is a significant date on the calendar to acknowledge the work of the Penbank team. An incredibly committed group of teachers and support staff, their dedication to our students is outstanding. Always a team effort, the teachers work diligently together to create the best possible environment for children to learn. 

To acknowledge and thank our teachers, each child was encouraged to bring a flower to school. All piled together in the kitchen area of the hall, the flowers were arranged into multiple vases to adorn classrooms and school spaces. The flowers were being arranged while School Meeting was taking place. Discreetly, the vases of flowers were placed on the stage for all to see. By the end of School Meeting, there was a vase of beautiful flowers for all staff. Very special! A morning tea provided by the PFG was also very much appreciated.

We thank our teachers and staff sincerely for the wonderful work they prepare each week and the care that is extended to all students every day, and often, nights and weekends!

On behalf of the staff, we thank the PFG and school families for the thoughtful acknowledgement that encourages and motivates us to keep on keeping on!

What teachers do…

A quick trip back to Term 3… The term concluded with the Penbank Music Soiree. It was a wonderful occasion showcasing the achievements and love of learning music by many students. Over 50% of Penbank students learn an instrument. Motivating students beyond individual tuition occurs through ensembles, bands and choirs. The Soiree certainly highlighted the talent and joy for learning music. Congratulations to all students involved and many thanks to the Music teaching team that inspires all children in music making every day.

In all, it has been a very uplifting start to Term 4.

My warmest regards,