From the Head of the Junior School

From the Head of the Junior School

Dear Parents and Friends of the Junior School,

Our week of scheduled Learning Conferences has now concluded and I trust that parents have appreciated the opportunity to meet together. We have certainly appreciated the chance to build our partnership with you and to have you back in the Junior School. We have encouraged the older boys to listen and to have a voice at the meeting as agents of their own learning. Our hope is that you have valued the experience to reflect, share perspectives and set goals together, and that this process is part of an ongoing learning dialogue. Parents should feel free to contact teachers with any concerns or to arrange follow-up discussion as needs arise. At the end of each semester, you will receive a comprehensive Semester Report which will include grades for achievement and application in approaches to learning across all learning areas, but our reporting to you goes well beyond that document. It is our aim to engage in ongoing communication between home and School, and to provide all parents with timely, regular and meaningful feedback regarding their son’s achievement, growth, future goals and application to their learning. We are confident that if you engage with Seesaw posts, Canvas announcements, rubrics and work samples across the semester you will gain a detailed picture of your son’s growth and learning targets.

I commend our Junior School Debating Team, for their strong performances and wonderful conduct across the ISDA Friday night season so far. On Friday afternoons and evenings, when most of us are winding down, these boys are preparing for the most rigorous and mentally demanding task of the week. Debating is not for the timid! There is no place to hide when the floor is yours and you have to make a case and counter the arguments of those with an opposing view. Hence, it is an extraordinary activity for developing confidence, resilience, teamwork and expression. This season, the development of our boys’ ability to reason, articulate and rebut arguments is already evident and they have been rewarded with many victories and a guaranteed place in the next stage of the competition (with a qualifying round to spare!). Nathan Jones, Owen Li, Maxwell Leung (Captain), Eamon Turner and Roman Urbano train each week, share the roles and work as a team. They are wonderful ambassadors for our school. Thank you to Mrs Taylor who works with the boys each week and on Friday nights. Across the year, a wider group of Year 6 boys will participate in House Debating for the education and entertainment of all our primary boys. Next term, we also begin to prepare boys for a different form of inter-school debating in the IPSHA competition, with a greater number of boys, including many Year 5 students likely to be involved in debates.

It is a delight to advise you that the final figure raised this year by students in the Junior School for OIC Cambodia is $21506! Well done and thank you, Junior School boys and families! This surpasses any total we have raised previously for this cause. 3N is the highest fundraising class (once all funds including cash donations were allocated) and the boys will be thanked for their efforts and generosity with pizza lunch next week. We are proud to support this cause (now for seven years) and look forward to hearing about the impact this has on the provision of Cambodia’s first speech therapists. We are also grateful to be able to contribute $1306, generously given by families at last Sunday’s Family Service, to the Red Cross NSW and Queensland Flood Appeal.

Australia is one of the most highly vaccinated countries in the world. Around 95 per cent of Australian adults are fully vaccinated. Over 50 per cent of 5 to 11 year-old children have received a first dose. This is ahead of vaccination rates in other countries but there is more we can do to ensure our children and our community stays protected. The School is seeking the ongoing support of parents to have their sons vaccinated. Many families have already done so. However, for those that haven’t, first doses are still available for all children aged 5-11 years old. Second doses are also available eight weeks after the first. COVID-19 vaccines are a safe way to protect children, their families and friends from getting sick. Currently two vaccines are available – Pfizer for 5-11 year-olds and Moderna for 6-11 year-olds. Vaccines reduce potential disruptions to learning, allowing children to continue to attend school and co-curricular activities. Vaccines have been through a rigorous testing and approval process and it is critical that we stress to parents the safety of getting a vaccine. A fact sheet is linked here for your reference and consideration. The Vaccine Clinic Finder can be used to book a vaccination appointment for children, and more resources are available on the Department of Health website – linked here.

As we approach the end of term, I remind parents of some important events that will take place next week:

  • Kindergarten – Year 2 Theatre excursion on Monday
  • Year 6 Visual Arts and Mandarin excursion on Monday
  • Amazing Me sessions for boys and parents in Year 4 (5.30pm) and Year 6 (7.00pm) next Monday, as well as the subsequent in-class session for Year 6 boys on Thursday. It is pleasing to see so many families have already registered. If you have not already done so, Year 4 families can register here and Year 6 families can register here. Please refer to the information emailed to you previously for further details. Links to the sessions will be emailed to registered parents on Monday morning.
  • The Kindergarten to Year 2 Easter Hat Parade and Chapel Service will be a lovely way to finish next week and we look forward to seeing lots of parents next Friday morning. The boys have been hard at work this week making their hats, with a little bit of help from their Year 6 buddies.

I remind you to note information distributed about the co-curricular programme for Term 2. Expressions of interest must be lodged by Monday morning to be considered for next term’s activities. We aim to confirm offers of places before the term concludes. If you can not access your son’s personalised registration link, please contact the Office first thing on Monday morning.

I also bring to your attention some important parent events early in Term 2:

  • On Friday 29 April (Week 1) we will hold our postponed Auxiliary Welcome event, Movie Under the Stars. The Auxiliary are organising a showing of Aladdin on the big screen in the Centenary Centre precinct with options to purchase or bring your own food and drink. The evening will start at 5.30pm with the movie scheduled for a 7pm start. Details will be distributed next week including how to reserve beanbags (numbers are limited) to enhance the viewing experience.
  • On Wednesday 4 May (Week 2) we will hold a Mother’s Day Breakfast for boys in Years 3-6 and their mothers (and K-2 brothers) at school from 7.00am-8.20am. Registration details will also be distributed next week.
  • On Friday 6 May, the K-2 Mother’s Day morning will be held with the boys in Kindergarten, Year 1 and Year 2 hosting their mothers (and grandmothers) in the classroom and for a picnic morning tea from 9.00am. Invitations will follow.

We are progressing with Winter Sports Trials amidst the inconvenience of regular rain and wet fields. Mr Robinson will keep parents and boys informed of the status of tomorrow morning and next Thursday’s sessions via announcements and the School app.

Term 2 begins for students on Wednesday 27 April and boys should be dressed in winter uniform with an appropriate haircut.

Mark Dunn | Head of the Junior School

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” Psalm 46:1-3

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