Dear Parents, Caregivers, families and friends,
Here we are at the end of Semester 1! Thus far, many rewards, experiences and achievements by students have been acknowledged due to each student’s dedication to improve their skills and extend understandings. Well done to you all!
I have recently completed reading all students reports. A time-consuming task, I always enjoy reading about each child. I get very excited when reading about their progress that reflects their personality and special interests. We do have the privilege of spending considerable time with your children – I expect you have read your child’s report that was emailed on Friday afternoon.
Thank you, teachers and admin staff, for the hours of work that is involved in this process.
Teaching children to be good people – a very important job!
Teaching children values is one of our most important jobs. Values are the internal mechanisms that guide our behaviour. They help us to make choices, and to make judgements about what is right and wrong, good or bad, fair or unfair. While cultures differ in the emphasis they place on particular values, all people strive to live in communities where there is harmony, respect, understanding, consideration and kindness.
Learning how to develop and understand relationships is lifelong and is a big part of developing personal values. As adults, we continue to interpret and improve our interactions with others, and as parents, have a huge responsibility, as role models for our children.
As educators, we work together to create a respectful and inclusive environment, facilitating honest and open connections with the children in our school. Conversations occur with individual children, in small groups and during class meetings. Relationship building is embedded in all elements of teaching - listening to others, in an ensemble or choir, sporting team, project work, camps, small teaching groups with children with likeminded capabilities and interests. The whole school environment provides continual practice for children to learn how to navigate their world with respect at the forefront.
We all know that parents are children’s first teachers, so it is to be expected that children will naturally turn to parents and caregivers when certain circumstances are not quite right. Children also need other reliable people in their lives, and teachers play a key role. For parents, it is important to encourage children to speak with teachers when a difficulty arises, as issues are best dealt with at the time, rather than simmering away in the background. Working together to understand situations and empower our children to make good choices, is of utmost importance.
I thank all parents and teachers for your involvement this semester. Many parents comment on the school focuses at School Meeting that provide a springboard for discussion at school and home. They are always values based, addressing school and community perspectives and issues – aspirational concepts to enable our students to be discerning and considerate of others, while striving for a better world.
Regarding our age-group at Penbank, it is just the beginning. Learning continues as students enter the adolescent years at the Senior Campus. Working in collaboration continues to be a prominent feature of their work, while developing a social conscience for the greater good .
Having two daughters go through Penbank and the Senior Campus, and now a boy in Year 12, I can only commend the school on the values that are now within them. In addition to family, the Woodleigh experience has undoubtedly shaped and influenced their decision-making, sense of self and the ability to live purposeful adult lives.
Time for a break, I congratulate and thank students and staff for their hard work. A dynamic learning community, continued development is clearly evident every day.
Relax, refresh and enjoy!
Grounded in Truth – Walking Together with Courage
We were delighted to welcome special guests and visitors to Woodleigh School during National Reconciliation Week. At the Penbank Campus we welcomed Wugularr School teacher, Mitch Noy, and teacher assistants, Libby Turner and Lucas George, to our school. Their visit was a part of a teacher exchange with Wugularr School. In return, Lorraine Ford and Chris Dinnage travelled to Wugularr to mentor staff. A most successful time for teachers to model practice and brainstorm ideas, we also enjoyed the times when Libby and Lucas shared their culture with children through art, drama and storytelling.
From Stephen’s perspective (Wugularr School Principal) he would like to see this professional exchange occur more often. Stephen highly valued the expertise of our staff, especially learning about our processes for creating an active learning environment through inquiry and planning.
The Reconciliation Week Dinner was also a delightful evening. Held at Minimbah, it was a pleasure to share with families and friends the relationships that are deeply embedded through the school’s partnerships with Northern Territory communities, Wugularr, Laynhapuy, Ampilatwatja and locally, Willum Warrain.
Students and teachers expressed their commitment to Reconciliation, and we were all thrilled to hear Jonathan announce the implementation of the Woodleigh RAP (Reconciliation Action Plan) and the establishment of the Woodleigh Indigenous Education Fund. It was very impressive to see everyone provide feedback and input to the RAP following Jonathan’s address. Guest speaker, AJ Williams-Chen, spoke of the importance of sharing stories. AJ shared his personal story – a challenging story common to many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Embracing the National Reconciliation Week theme, AJ’s presentation was certainly ‘grounded in truth.’ For us as a school, we proudly ‘walk together with courage.’
Thank you to the many students and staff members who were involved in creating this very special event; and thank you for joining us.
Last week we all received the news that Principal, Jonathan Walter, has accepted a new principalship at Carey Grammar School from the commencement of 2020. One of Jonathan’s many accomplishments has been the successful merger of Penbank with Woodleigh School, 2015. Since then, it has been a very big responsibility amalgamating the schools, and I personally thank Jonathan for his commitment to bringing the schools successfully together. It has been a pleasure working with Jonathan throughout these years and I congratulate him on this next exciting step as a school leader.
Deputy Head to the Penbank Campus, Brenda Karnowski, too, has decided it is time to conclude her time at the school. Involving 35 years of devoted service, Brenda’s contribution to the school throughout this time has been momentous. Classroom teacher, Deputy Head, including her responsibilities leading curriculum change, have been highly valued. As with Camelia (you’ll read below), the lure of retirement, travel and being with grandchildren are all exciting enticements ahead. We will have the opportunity to farewell Brenda later in the year. Brenda will also conclude her time at Penbank at the end of the year.
Camelia Boulten has been a much-loved educator in our Early Learning Centre. Camelia has largely worked in a casual capacity relieving at lunchtimes and when staff are away. Camelia has decided she is now ready to fully retire. Camelia and her family have planned a trip around Australia next term, which will be an exciting way to begin her retirement. We thank Camelia enormously for her support to our ELC and wish her great times ahead for the coming years. Thank you, Camelia – the children and staff will really miss you.
Although few of our existing families will remember Deanne Thomas, we also recently farewelled Deanne for 29 years of service to the school as Finance Director of the Board. Deanne had significant influence concerning the direction of Penbank School and was instrumental in numerous developments including milestones such as the purchase of the Springs, which enabled the school to develop the wonderful outdoor facilities that our children enjoy today. In 2001, Deanne was invited to take on the same position on the Woodleigh School Board. Deanne’s knowledge of both schools and exceptional professionalism has contributed to the overall success of the school. On behalf of the Penbank community, I thank Deanne enormously for her contribution.
National Reconciliation Week was such a thrill… but not without its spills! While at Wugularr School, our Year 5 teacher, Lorraine, had a fall that resulted in quite a severely fractured elbow. She is now in recovery mode following surgery. Due to Lorraine’s absence, her Year 5 reports were unable to be distributed with the other student reports. We are hopeful they will be distributed by the end of term. We all wish Lorraine well with her recovery. I thank fellow Year 5 teacher, Matthew C, Franny C and Sally C for their support to Lorraine’s Group while Lorraine has been away.
We were very excited to hear the news that baby Albie arrived safely on 16 May. Both Mel and Seb are thoroughly enjoying parenthood and little Albie is doing exceptionally well. Little Albie is already having play dates with Sophie’s little Grace, born a month earlier! Both Mel and Sophie are former Penbank Prep teachers and I know will be lovely mums. We loved meeting the babies at a recent staff gathering. Congratulations to the Roper and Powell families.
Message from Brenda K...
Every week we celebrate ‘kindness’ at Penbank. I thoroughly enjoyed this article from psychologist Scott Mautz, and thought it may be an enjoyable holiday read to add to the Letter Home.
Best wishes for a most relaxing holiday,
Deputy Head of Penbank Campus
Kindness leads to success – in business, life, as a human being
We want many things for our kids: for them to be happy and successful, to do well in school and to ultimately be better prepared for the real world. We also want them to become many things, none more important or impactful than if they turn out to be honest-to-goodness kind.
Kindness has such a multiplicative effect – it's the antidote to so much of what's wrong in the world today. And being kind is like having your cake and eating it too, because studies like this 2007 research from the Centre for Creative Leadership show kindness and empathy are critical for leadership success.
But we may deprioritize or even forget to reinforce this character trait with our children.
Harvard psychologist Richard Weissbourd has been working to spread kindness through the Making Caring Common project, whose stated mission is to help raise kids who "care about others and the common good." The psychologist found that 80 percent of kids said their parents were more concerned about their achievement or happiness than they were about whether they cared for others.
Additionally, the child interviewees were three times more likely to agree that "My parents are prouder if I get good grades in my classes than if I'm a caring community member in class and school."
Wherever you fall on the spectrum, there's always opportunity to better foster the vital trait of kindness, and Making Caring Common researchers can help.
The initiative first got press via The Washington Post in 2014 and has been going strong ever since. In March 2019, the project published a study on how to ensure students and parents act ethically in the college admissions process (in the wake of the recent college admissions scandal).
So, what can you as parents and leaders of children do? I blended Weissbourd's advice with my own research and experience to offer five kindness kick starters.
1. Don't just role-model kindness. Live it as a core value.
Values are those little things we do each day that exemplify who we are. The daily little impressions that leave a huge permanent impression. If I were to ask you to write down your core values on a piece of paper, could you? In conducting research for my first book, Make It Matter, I discovered that 75 percent of people could, within two minutes.
The bigger question is, might you include kindness in that values set and would you live it each day as a non-negotiable value? That goes beyond mere role-modelling – to moulding.
2. Verbalize kindness as a priority.
Weissbourd says instead of saying to your kids, "The most important thing is that you're happy," say "The most important thing is that you're kind." It's about getting the child to balance their needs (achievement) with the needs of others. It also requires holding the child to high ethical standards.
My wife and I ask our daughter to consider her obligations to others before she quits any sport or activity she has signed up for, something Weissbourd recommends. The psychologist also recommends making sure your children always address others respectfully, even when they're tired, distracted, or angry.
3. Expand your child's circle of concern.
Every child starts out with a small universe of people they care about. It's our job to help them extend that circle out to include that new foreign-language student, the elderly neighbour, or those less fortunate.
Weissbourd says children need to "zoom in and zoom out," meaning, be attentive to their immediate inner circle while also taking in the bigger picture and considering what others say and need – especially for those who are vulnerable or who aren't like them (in ethnicity, background, culture, etc.). It's also critical here that children learn to consider how their decisions affect others (like the example of quitting a sports team).
4. Help children manage destructive emotions and avoid mean-spirited behaviour.
This is a good practice for you, too. Anger, jealousy, and similar negative emotions can derail anyone from acting as desired, especially already-emotional children.
Weissbourd says kids need to know that all feelings are natural, but not all ways of handling those feelings are OK. He prescribes simple advice, with a twist. The old-fashioned method of defusing anger works – stop, pause, breathe through your nose, exhale through your mouth, count to five. The catch is to practise it with them first –when they're not in the middle of an outburst. My wife and I have found this approach ‘heads off’ at least some of the most unbecoming behaviour.
5. Practice, practice, practice.
Daily repetition is key, as it is with the formation of any habit. It's especially powerful when your child practises expressing gratitude. Weissbourd says studies show that those who habitually express gratitude are more likely to be helpful, generous, compassionate, and forgiving as well as happier and healthier.
Thanks to all of the Penbank students who continue to participate in so much of the Music Program at Penbank. As I was writing reports, I realised how many students are learning an instrument and participating in ensembles every week. Your commitment is to be commended and your hard work is really paying off!
The Bunjil Concert in Week 6 was a fantastic example of your developing skills, persistence and love for music! We heard a great variety of instruments being played by beginners and more advanced students; all an inspiration to each other. During these winter holidays, it is a perfect time to keep up your practice and experience as much music as possible, both locally and in the city.
A special thanks to our students who sang the “Wadawurrung Thank You To Country” at the Reconciliation Dinner. Twenty students from Penbank, Minimbah and Woodleigh SC put in many extra rehearsals to open the night. We are very proud of all of you!
Boite Schools Chorus – Dhungala Choral Connection
Both Junior and Senior Choir have started working on the beautiful songs for the Boite Schools Chorus. By now your child/ren involved in choir will have received a beautiful resource book called Dhungala Choral Connection Songbook. We encourage families to sit down together with the book and have a look at the map that explains the origins of different Indigenous languages and Aboriginal tribes around Australia. There is also a page with all the translations and stories of each song. Especially for the younger students in the Junior Choir, your interaction with the material will help their understanding of Aboriginal Australia and give them an enriching educational experience that you can share together.
I am including a link for all the Boite Schools Chorus material. It would be great to put the songs into a playlist for your child to listen to, especially over the three-week holiday. This will help them retain what they have already learnt at school in rehearsals.
Enjoy your break,
It has been a superb first semester in ‘The Studio’. We are dancing and acting our socks off!
Our energetic Preps, Year 1 and 2 students continue to build basic jazz and hip-hop dance skills three mornings a week during ‘Morning Dance’. The dance steps we use incorporate cross brain co-ordination, body isolations, walking to different beats with swag, and following me in warm-up exercises. As the children build confidence with the choreography of each dance, they begin to get a better sense of their bodies. They have become more comfortable in their own skin, and their confidence and self-esteem has improved. We LOVE it when the parents and special adults in our lives join us for a boogie! So, pop in next semester and join us Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, but no watching… dancing only!
Our drama studies this term have covered a variety of different focuses. Our younger students have explored their dramatic expression through a series of Movement Journeys where they are guided through a narrative and are the main actors. Students have been dogs visiting the beach and toys in Mrs Magoo’s Toy Shop Emporium. This has developed into connecting their dramatic skills with the fairytale genre and we are building our very own fairytales that we hope to share with you in Term 3.
Our Years 3 and 4s have used drama to explore life cycles, as well as applying their understanding of narrative storytelling through small group plays. This process has allowed students to build their ability and willingness to work with many different types of people and personalities.
Our Homestead students, in Year 5 and 6, have been exploring scripts and are working towards presenting a short play. Their excitement to perform is commendable and I am proud of how they are working to remember their lines, as well as stage directions.
Finally, as we head into the school holidays, you might be interested in supporting your child’s spark in dance and drama. If you are interested in any recommendations, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Enjoy the well-earned break!
Kepada keluarga Penbank yang baik,
During Semester 1, the junior and middle school LOTE faculty have been working hard at implementing a consistent approach to delivering lessons primarily based on the E5 model of learning; engage, explore, explain, elaborate/extend and evaluate. The E5 model enables students to discover their own connections and links to curriculum content and complements the PYP and MYP model of the International Baccalaureate. It has been great to watch students work with a variety of resources and become more confident with each class.
At Penbank, we have focused on singing and songs to improve pronunciation and intonation whilst also incidentally consolidating basic grammar. We finished off the term with an introductory incursion using the Angklung (Javanese bamboo instrument). All students enjoyed the day and I hope to use our set of Angklungs across the school more regularly next semester.
What another amazing term it has been for physical and outdoor education at Penbank! Throughout Term 2 we have seen some outstanding displays of skill, sportsmanship, resilience and persistence from all students across the school. Major events this term and late last term have included the Year 5/6 Summer and Winter Lightning Premiership Days, Woodleigh Sports Day, Year 6 Canberra Study Tour, and the Penbank and District Cross Country Events.
Late last term our Year 5/6 students played in the Summer Lightning Premiership matches. They all performed extremely well and I would like to congratulate all the students on their efforts, sportsmanship and skill shown throughout the matches. The results for the day were:
- Rounders – 2nd
- Basketball Boys – 4th
- Basketball Girls – 4th
- T Ball – 6th
- Lawn Bowls Boys – 6th
- Lawn Bowls Girls – 2nd
- Cricket Boys – 5th
- Cricket Girls – 5th
Well done and thank you to everyone involved!
The last day of Term 1 was also the inaugural Woodleigh Sports Day where students from each campus competed in a number of fun sports events and games. The focus of the day was cooperation and inclusiveness and it was a huge success. The Prep-Year 2 students’ events were held at Penbank, Year 3–4 students at Minimbah and Year 5/6 students travelled to the Senior Campus. Thank you to everyone involved, especially the parents and friends who came along to support and encourage our wonderful student athletes.
I was also lucky enough to attend the Year 6 study tour of Canberra. It was an amazing experience and I feel very grateful to have had the opportunity to see all the wonderful sights and get to know our amazing Year 6 students throughout the week. Thank you to Mick, Ashton, Vivienne and Franny for an amazing week!
On top of all these school events, we have focused on another three main sports - Netball, Soccer and Football. It has also been amazing to see the development of the Prep and Year 1s in their weekly PMP lessons. Thank you to all the parent volunteers who assist during these sessions. Your support is greatly appreciated.
During our Year 3–6 Friday afternoon sport sessions we have been preparing and training for our upcoming Winter Lightning Premiership Day. All Year 5/6 students have been chosen to represent our school in one of football, soccer, netball, volleyball and softball. During these times our Year 3 and 4s have practised these sports in preparation for when they will be representing our school. I would like to thank all the Year 3–6 teachers for their ongoing support during these sessions and wish all our wonderful students all the best in their matches on Monday 17 June. Go Penbank!
Weeks 4 and 5 saw our school host the Penbank Cross Country and District Cross Country events. Firstly, I would like to say thank you to Lindsey and Marc for their support and assistance. They are truly amazing. Also, to the PFG for their outstanding stalls, BBQ and support. It was unbelievable to see the whole school community thriving. Well done to everyone involved!
I congratulate all the students who ran at the Penbank Cross Country and especially the students who finished in the top 3. An unbelievable effort and you should be very proud of yourselves. To the students who represented our school at the District Cross Country, once again a huge congratulations and pat on the back. It was incredible to witness your persistence, resilience and determination on the day.
A special mention must go to Lucy L, Andy B, Isla G, Jacob C, Jemima S and Molly M who made it through to the Division Cross Country and to Andy, Jacob, Jemima and Molly who made it through to Regional Cross Country held on Thursday 20 June at Hastings. Well done!
Thank you to everyone who has assisted, supported, contributed and encouraged our Physical Education program during Term 2. I cannot put into words how much I appreciate the support and I very much look forward to Term 3.
2019 Penbank Cross Country Results
The Penbank PFG are working with local charity WAYSS for their WINTER COAT DRIVE to coincide with HOMELESSNESS WEEK, 4 –10 August.
Please clean out your wardrobes over the holidays and in Term 3 bring in your coats, in good condition, to donate.
Your unused coats will help someone keep warm this winter!
- Staff Professional Learning Day (PYP) – Monday 15 July
- Staff Professional Learning Day (PYP) – Tuesday 16 July
- Students Commence Term 3 – Wednesday 17 July
- Sovereign Hill Camp Year 5 – Wednesday 17 – Friday 19 July
- WLP playoffs – 23–26 July
- Term 3 Commences NT – Tuesday 23 July
- Beanie Festival – Saturday 27 July
WEEK 3 – Maths Week
- PFG Meeting – Wednesday 31 July 9.00am
- Year 12 Dinner Dance – Friday 2 August
- Boite – Thursday 8 August
- Penbank Year 6 & Woodleigh SC students leave for NT – Friday 9 August
- Woodleigh Comedy Night – Saturday 10 August
WEEK 5 – Activities Week & Wugubank Week NT
- Students return from NT – Friday 16 August
WEEK 6 – Snowsports & Book Week
- Penbank Athletics Day – Year 3 to Year 6 @ Ballam Park ALL DAY – Wednesday 21 August
- SC production – Wednesday 21 August
- Book Week School Meeting – Thursday 22 August, 8.50am
- Bunjil Concert – Monday 26 August
- Father’s & Men’s Breakfast and School Meeting – Thursday 29 August
- Father’s Day – Sunday 1 September
- PFG Meeting – Wednesday 4 September 9.00am
- Camp Jungai Year 3 & 4 – Wednesday 4 – Friday 6 September
- District Athletics, Ballam Park – Thursday 12 September
- Parent/Teacher Interviews – Thursday 12 September
- WL Tour F–2 – Friday 13 September
- Parent/Teacher Interviews – Tuesday 17 September
- Penbank Soiree – Wednesday 18 September 7:00pm
- Year 10 Formal – Wednesday 18 September
- AFL 9s – Wednesday 18 September
- Term 3 Ends – Friday 20 September
Woodleigh's Adventurous Minds Scholarships for Year 5 and Year 7 entry in 2021 open on Monday 15 July 2019. Applications are welcome from current Woodleigh students entering Year 5 and Year 7 in 2021 as well as other students from the wider community.
- Scholarship Applications OPEN: Monday 15 July 2019
- Scholarship Applications CLOSE: Thursday 5 September 2019
- Examination Day: Thursday 12 September 2019