From the Head of the Preparatory SchoolLucas Thurston
Welcome back to Term 4! It has been a really positive start to the term with students returning quickly to classroom learning routines. Term 4 promises to be jampacked with learning experiences and opportunities to celebrate student’s growth and the year that has been.
Professional Learning and the Parent Survey
On Monday, while the boys readied themselves to return to school, the teachers engaged in a day of professional learning.
One of the major focuses of this professional learning was teacher wellbeing. I am sure that it is not news to parents of the School to hear that our teachers juggle a lot of professional and personal commitments. One of the unique realities of teaching is that the work never stops. It is very difficult for teachers to stop thinking about teaching and the little people in their class. This is the nature of working in an industry where the focus is on others. It is also what brings such a high level of joy and fulfilment. Whilst student wellbeing and learning remains our collective focus, we are also aware that teachers operate most effectively when they also have a high degree of wellbeing. On Monday, we profited from a presentation from Dr Adam Fraser who has conducted significant research into the benefits of recovery on performance. His research began with high performing athletes, before broadening into the corporate world and more recently education. He reflected that teachers are the most resilient group of professionals he has worked with, however, he also highlighted the need for a consistent commitment to recovery to ensure teachers are at their best when working with students. Dr Fraser presented a range of practical strategies geared towards providing regular experiences of micro-recovery, rather than waiting for the holidays when there was clearly opportunity for more significant periods of recovery. We hope this professional learning continues to equip our teachers in being the best they can for our students.
While reflecting on our teachers, I want to commend the work of the Prep staff for their incredible commitment and tireless effort in creating such a positive learning environment for our students. On Friday 28th October we have a small opportunity to acknowledge this work as we celebrate National Teachers’ Day.
During the second half of the day we turned our attention to a review of this year’s NAPLAN data. This is an annual exercise to ensure we celebrate growth and can respond to any trends that are emerging. I am thrilled to reflect that there has been significant growth in the students’ Writing results. This is particularly encouraging given Writing has been one of our teaching and learning priorities overt the last few years.
Term 4 has started with a bang for our Year 6 students as they have ramped up their engagement in the PYP Exhibition process. This year the Exhibition will focus on the transdisciplinary theme, ‘Where we are in place and time’. The students are exploring the way societal thinking has changed on a range of issues or ideas over time. The Exhibition promises to be fascinating as the students explore the impact of culture on our thinking and perspectives. Over the coming weeks the students will be conducting their own research into their issue by engaging with experts and reading a range of primary and secondary sources.
I strongly encourage all members of the School community to join us for the PYP Exhibition which will take place next Monday, 21st November beginning at 6:00pm. The Exhibition is an opportunity for Year 6 to showcase what they have learnt and how they have grown as learners throughout their time in Primary School.
‘The Unplugged Psychologist’ – Parent Information Evening
The School has organised for Brad Marshall, known as the ‘Unplugged Psychologist’ to present to parents on Wednesday 19th October at the Summer Hill campus beginning at 6:00pm. This event is for parents of boys in Years 5 to 8 and specifically addresses internet and screen addiction and will provide practical advice and guidance about how to manage this. I strongly encourage parents of boys in Years 5 and 6 to attend this event. Click HERE for booking information.
Transitioning into 2023 Classes and Expectations
The transition from key stages of school life to the next has been a point of reflection for the Prep Executive this year based on some feedback received from parents who have lived through the transitions described above. To better support the partnership we share in the boys’ education, and to foster an increased level of trust, we are planning to run a Parent Information Evening on Wednesday 26th October. The session will attempt to unpack the transitions in key areas of school life such as Pre-K to Kindy, Year 2 to Year 3, and Year 4 to Year 5. We will provide guidance for parents so they know what to expect and can walk this journey with confidence and trust in the teachers. This will form part of the ‘Orientation Day’ experience whereby students gently begin to transition into their new academic year. If you are planning to attend please RSVP via this link.
The next Strathfield Auxiliary Meeting will be taking place at 5:00pm on Wednesday 26th October, immediately prior to the Parent Information evening.
End of Year Dates
I would like to draw your attention to the end of year dates. The Years 3-6 Annual Prize Giving and Speech Day Ceremony will be held on Friday 2nd December at Town Hall. Boys do not come to Strathfield on this day. This event is compulsory for all boys in Years 3-6. Boys in Kindergarten to Year 2 finish their year on Thursday 1st December. Further details about these and other end of year events will be communicated in the coming weeks.
Kiss and Ride
As we begin the term, it seems timely to remind parents about the importance of safety in Kiss and Ride and surrounding streets. This link provides the most recent updates related to school zones from the Transport for NSW website.
Morning Supervision and OSHClub
Please be advised that student supervision by teachers is from 8:00am each day. If students arrive before 8:00am they will be asked to attend OSHClub, unless they have a co-curricular commitment.
We strongly recommend all parents registering their son for OSHClub. It is free to register and makes it easier if, and when, your son needs to use this service. Please note that OSHClub is an externally operated service and, as such, fees can’t be waived if a student only attends for a few minutes. Please register your son with OSHClub through this link.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…” Ecclesiastes 3:1
Chris Wyatt | Head of the Preparatory School