From the Head of the Junior School

From the Head of the Junior School

Dear Parents and Friends of the Junior School,

Welcome back to all members of the School community for Term 2. We expect that it will be a both a challenging and rewarding term for each boy and hope that parents also benefit from the learning experiences that will be undertaken by your son. Thank you to all the parents who ensured that their sons were appropriately dressed for the first day back in winter uniform.

The School marked ANZAC Day with a number of moving services on Wednesday morning. The Junior School service provided an opportunity for boys and staff to reflect upon the sacrifices of men and women in years gone by, to deepen their understanding of the significance of this annual commemoration, and consider how we may all embody ANZAC values. Our service included: participation by the Trinity and Meriden cadets in the Catafalque Party; a reading of the Trinity Roll of Honour; a laying of a wreath; as well as prayers and readings. The behaviour and involvement of the Junior School boys was fitting for such an important occasion. I trust that many families will also participate in community services on Sunday morning.

Our presence at the Royal Easter Show yielded a very exciting result. The Junior School Crop Rotation box that was entered in the Primary Produce section was awarded first prize! Congratulations to Mrs Bargwanna and the team of boys who spent considerable time harvesting and presenting produce from our Patch at the end of term.

We welcome Ms Sarah Giddy to the staff on Mondays, assisting Mrs Nikolov with the Visual Arts Programme. We also look forward to welcoming Mrs Sue Goodman in coming weeks to commence as Junior School Director of Music. Mrs Goodman is completing her service at Ascham and will be joining us from Week 5. In the meantime, high school Music staff will continue to teach our class lessons and conduct ensembles.

We are looking forward to joining with so many families from 5.30pm tonight for our ‘Movie Under the Stars’. The early evening is a time to eat, play and mingle with ‘Aladdin’ commencing at approximately 6.45pm. Whilst today is a warm one under gorgeous skies, we will keep a close eye on the radar as this afternoon’s ‘iffy’ forecast means we will consider moving the screen under the roof if rain threatens. The Centenary Centre Gymnasium is spacious and dry. With over 400 people expected, it is important that we respect our neighbours by using the carpark and being considerate of the noise level at home time. Please note other details in yesterday’s email. I extend enormous gratitude to the Junior School Auxiliary for planning, organising and funding this event.

Our mothers will be a focus of community activity in the Junior School next week:

  • On Tuesday, all K-6 boys will have the opportunity to purchase a gift for Mum from the Mother’s Day Stall. The Auxiliary Committee have done an extraordinary job assembling a wonderful collection of gifts ranging from $5 to $30. Please ensure your son has cash to purchase a gift on the day.
  • On Wednesday morning, we have almost 300 mothers and boys gathering for the Years 3-6 Mother’s Day Breakfast in the Assembly Hall. Doors will open at 7am and we will finish at 8.20am.
  • Next Friday, we are looking forward to being joined by our K-2 mothers from 8am until 9.45am for our K-2 Mother’s Day Morning. Our special guests will have the chance to picnic together, see some items from the boys and visit classrooms.

Our GROWTH focus this term is ‘Growth as a Learner’, a theme that lends itself to reflection on success and challenge, and learning about self. Against this backdrop, the teachers are planning lessons and activities that will stimulate the boys to develop self-awareness of their own strengths and areas for development as a learner, particularly as they relate to the PYP Learner Profile, agency, collaboration and citizenship.

Since 2015, the School has used a 1:1 device strategy that provided students in K-2 with iPads, students in Year 3 and 4 with school-owned Chromebooks and students in Years 5 and 6 were asked to provide a personally owned Chromebook. Over the course of Term 4 2021, we engaged in a comprehensive cross-campus review of the strengths and limitations of our existing strategy. Based on this review, it was determined that the existing strategy in Years 3-6 required refinement to support continuous improvement with teaching and learning practice into the future. A range of possible alternatives was considered and it was determined that it would be appropriate to trial the iPad with a view to broadening the strategy across K-6. This decision was based on the existing use of iPads in K-2, the strong reputation that iPads have in the education sector, and the comparative competitiveness of the iPad with other similar devices across a range of factors. Last term, we engaged in an iPad trial with Year 6 at the Prep School and Year 4 and 6H at the Junior School. Throughout the trial, Apple Educators and the Apple technical team were engaged to provide additional support beyond our school-based expertise, and the project team met regularly to review the performance and possibilities against a set of criteria. The review of the iPad considered the balance between being able to support teachers and students in replicating existing practice as well as providing opportunities for growth and innovation. The overwhelming feedback from the trial was positive. Students and teachers reflected positively about the intuitive nature of the device, the integrated ecosystem, and the security and classroom management tools. They were also impressed by obvious potential for innovation and the high level of support through the Apple Educators and network. On the basis of the trial, the School has confidently endorsed the expansion of our existing iPad strategy in K-2 to include Years 3-6. Initially, this has resulted in students in Years 3 and 4 being provided with new iPads to be used at school from the beginning of this term. Beyond this, we have also made provision for all iPads in the school (K-4) to have access to a Logitech Crayon to provide additional functionality for students. Over the next few years, this updated device strategy will be rolled forward. This will include upgrading the iPads in K-2 as well as provisioning Year 5 (2023) with personalised iPads. Further information about Year 5 and 6 will be provided later in the year, however, please note parents in Year 4 (2022) should not consider purchasing a Chromebook for next year.

Tomorrow marks the beginning of Saturday winter sport games and we wish all teams well for an enjoyable and successful round of sport. I emphasise that the first rounds are viewed as ‘trials’ and some movement across teams is to be expected, although we anticipate changes will be minimal. Once tomorrow’s first round is complete, we will use the week to address any concerns or issues that arise. The sport selection process is often an emotive experience for boys and it is inevitable that some high hopes are disappointed when selections are announced. However, the expectation is that boys will have a positive experience of sport tomorrow in their teams and will feel more comfortable with one game behind them. There is something unique about the winter ball sports that often arouses passions both on the field and on the sidelines. Coaches remind players regularly of the values of sport and the manner in which we expect the boys to play. I take this opportunity to remind all parents that the games are primarily for the enjoyment of the players and encourage all who will be attending games to be mindful of the responsibilities of spectators which are outlined in the Sporting Code of Conduct (please review it in the Record Book p33). These ensure that win, lose or draw, games are a positive experience for players, parents and staff. Thank you for your cooperation with these guidelines.

Mark Dunn | Head of the Junior School

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:12-13

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