From the Head of the Preparatory Schooldeveloper
It has been a busy week in the life of the Prep School despite not being together in person. The highlight of the week has undoubtedly been the morning Book Parades. Put simply, they were so much fun! It was so encouraging to see all of the students (and parents) go to so much effort to get their character costumes ready.
There were also a host of other activities that have been on offer for the boys to explore and have fun with literature. My sincere thanks to Mrs Nel and the Library team for their efforts in organising the events of this week and for bringing such a great sense of fun!
Week 6 Update
Yesterday I wrote to parents to share the latest updates about remote learning as we head into Week 6. I hope that parents take the time to watch the video that was contained in that email. In case you haven’t had the chance, here is the link again (or watch the video below).
A common observation about the rhythm of school life is that Weeks 5 and 6 are often the hardest. This makes sense given they are the weeks that are the furthest from a holiday break. Learning fatigue often sets in before the final stretch towards the holidays becomes a reality. My reflections on our current experience are that this is even more the case than usual. The mid-term fatigue is coupled with the challenges of increased screen time, feelings of frustration about being locked down, etc, etc. All of this is to say that we are entering a period where balance and grace are increasingly becoming important. I want to continue to encourage parents to be conscious of their son’s personal experience and feel comfortable to take steps to create the right balance for him. We are very aware that students will go up and down with their ability to engage with the online learning experiences. Please keep the classroom teacher in the loop with this so that we can adjust expectations as necessary.
Our focus at the moment needs to be balancing the academic, pastoral and emotional wellbeing of the boys. Given the current remote learning context, this is best achieved in partnership between parents and teachers.
Next Thursday, 19th August we will be holding our Prep Olympics! Inspired by the recent Olympics in Tokyo and the upcoming Paralympics, we are holding our very own celebration where boys will compete in Houses in the Octathlon…a unique event consisting of 8 challenging, unusual and fun events. More details will follow in coming days but for now, get excited! No class learning tasks will be provided on this day so boys can focus on the Octathlon challenge. Boys will be competing in their House groups and are encouraged to dress in the colour of their House on the day.
I want to once again encourage parents to show discretion about their son’s level of involvement. Please get involved in as much or little as you deem appropriate!
Our very own media personalities, Macca and Kenny, have put together a brief video to get the boys excited about what is to come. More information will be provided early next week so the boys know what the day is going to look like.
Next week is also Science Week! Mrs Newton and Mrs Evans have planned and collated a range of interesting Science activities that the boys can engage in as they wish. These activities will be found in the Time for More section of Seesaw / Canvas. I strongly encourage the boys to look out for the cooking videos and recipes…there are some very impressive guest chefs!
We are excited to let parents know about the upcoming Three-way Conferences which will take place on Friday 27th August. These conferences will be held online via a Microsoft Teams meeting. Information about bookings will be sent home early next week.
Given the unique situation we are currently in, we will be taking a different approach to the Three-Way Conferences this term. Typically, we would share the most recent MAP Growth data, however, we have been unable to conduct these assessments with the students. Instead, we would like to use these conferences as an opportunity to bring all stakeholders together to discuss each student’s learning journey throughout remote learning, to reflect on his growth across all areas of learning and personal development, and to set goals for the remainder of remote learning and his return to school. More than ever, we are conscious of the partnership that we share in supporting the boys in their learning and want to use this as an opportunity to ensure we are working effectively together.
In the coming week, we will be sending home a scaffold that we hope parents will use to have a conversation with their son prior to the Three-way Conference. This will help to promote a positive and constructive learning conversation between parents, teacher and student.
Auxiliary Annual General Meeting
On Wednesday, it was great to be able to connect in a more focused way with the parents who attended the Strathfield Auxiliary Annual General Meeting. The key aim of the Auxiliary is to work with the School to promote a strong sense of community. I want to express my sincere thanks to the outgoing Auxiliary Executive who have led the parent community so well over the last 12 months (and longer) and for their efforts in promoting such a positive and supportive community. Most notably, I want to thank Wasfieh Nwiran (outgoing President), Kathein Galettis and Anna Wakim (outgoing Vice Presidents) and Faten Oueik (outgoing Fundraising Coordinator).
We also elected the new Auxiliary Executive for the year ahead. I am very appreciative to the following people who have accepted positions of responsibility:
President – Loredana Brown
Vice Presidents – Verena Di Maria, Wayne Fotheringham
Secretary – Jennifer Nguyen
Treasurer – Noella Tsang
Canteen Coordinator – Clara Furfaro
Parent Liaison Coordinator – Chau Tran
Fundraising Coordinator – Eman Kirkland