From the Head of the Junior School

From the Head of the Junior School

Dear Parents and Friends of the Junior School,

Over 100 parents gathered on Wednesday evening for an address by Brad Marshall offering advice on managing healthy on-line time. Brad is the Director of the Screen and Gaming Disorder Clinic and one of Australia’s leading experts in excessive internet use. I was curious to hear if there was a ‘silver bullet’, one strategy that almost always works and could give parents peace of mind in this area of ongoing concern. Unsurprisingly, there is not! However, Brad did outline and advocate for principles to be consistently applied in the context of individual families, including:

  • Cultivating an attitude that on-line time is a reward not a right
  • Establishing a known on-line time limit per day – the limit can be adjusted (not abandoned), for periods such as holidays and also in increments as a reward or consequence for other behaviours
  • Expecting students to manage their use within the limit, which should include completion of school tasks – this may necessitate parents stepping back and allowing students to experience a school consequence for not completing home learning tasks so that they learn to prioritise mandatory tasks before recreational use
  • Enforcing these limits via the home router for Wi-fi access (ideally using a router that allows individualised limits within the household) and by only providing small data capacity on devices using SIM-cards to avoid students working around your Wi-fi limits
  • Regular discussion (possibly termly) and renewal or re-negotiation of limits as students demonstrate growth in self-responsibility

Much of this should not come as a surprise to parents given the School’s approach and communications in this space in recent years. One strong takeaway from the evening was the importance of primary and early high school years as the ideal time for parents to be actively involved in applying limits and strategies. Brad’s experience is that problems are far more likely to emerge and be considerably harder to effectively remediate once students reach the middle and upper years of schooling and have not been supported by a home environment that has featured regular discussion and consistently applied limits.

In preparation for joining the Junior School community, all parents and boys starting in Years 1-6 meet with either Mr Hassall, Mrs Ormes or myself. This process commenced this week and will involve over 60 boys who will start at Trinity in 2023 (in addition to our Kindergarten starters). It is wonderful to meet new families and excite the new boys with glimpses of the many engaging activities our boys undertake every day. It is also a highlight watching the care and pride that our current Year 5 and 6 students take in being able to tour the new boys and show off their school. The tours culminate in an Orientation Day when all new students in Years 1-6 2023 will visit together on November 25. Intentionally, this coincides with Year 7 Orientation Day for our current Year 6 students moving into the Middle School, who also have their own orientation experiences, such as breakfasts, Middle School ‘tasters’ and House Master meetings scheduled for coming weeks. It is certainly an exciting time!

A new initiative from the School in 2022 is to provide students with a memento of commencement, a bag tag featuring the year of commencement. After considerable delay, it was a pleasure this week to distribute a bag tag to each Junior School student who has started this year. I wonder which of our Kindergarten boys might still have their tag at the end of Year 12 in 2034?

Next week, our Year 6 students ramp up their engagement in and preparation for PYP Exhibition. This year, the Exhibition will focus on the transdisciplinary theme, ‘How we express ourselves’ and the boys are pursuing individual inquiries of a contemporary issue of choice, culminating in producing a creative artwork. Commencing Wednesday, Year 6 will immerse themselves in seven days dedicated to advancing their inquiry and creating an artwork that represents their inquiry and emerging understandings. We will get to see the finished products at Exhibition from 6pm on Monday 14 November. I encourage members of the School community to join us in making an authentic audience for the boys to share their learning. I especially commend it to Year 5 students and parents who will undertake a similar rigorous process at this time next year.

Also next week, the K-2 boys and staff will enjoy a Friday morning of fun and competition at the K-2 Track & Field Carnival from 9am (concluding by 11am). All students are to wear PE uniform. Parents are welcome to come for all or part of the morning and watch the fun.

Next Friday we will be holding our annual Bandanna Day in support of CANTEEN. This important charity raises funds through the sale of bandannas. Please refer to the information already distributed if you wish to support this cause through your son purchasing and wearing a bandanna. They are available until next Wednesday.

Many students who learn musical instruments will be undertaking an AMEB examination next week in which they are required to perform a number of exercises and pieces for examiners. It can be a little nerve-racking, so we wish all of the participants, across a variety of instruments and grades, all the best for clear minds, strong lungs and steady fingers. All are commended for having a go and for the commitment to practising they have demonstrated in order to be ready for their exam.

For the benefit of those who missed it last week, below is a list of significant dates for this term, which in some cases are different from those listed in the Record Book:

  • 28 October: K-2 Track & Field Carnival (9-10:30am)
  • 31 October – 11 November: K-2 Swimming Programme
  • 8 November: Year 5 Parent Motivation & Engagement Seminar
  • 9 November: Evening of Music
  • 10 November: Year 6 Student Social
  • 11 & 18 November: Kindergarten 2023 Orientation Mornings
  • 14 November: Year 6 PYP Exhibition
  • 23-25 November: Year 5 Camp
  • 25 November: New Student and Year 7 Orientation Day
  • 28 November: Year 6 Parent & Son Dinner
  • 30 November: Year 6 Valedictory Service
  • 1 December: K-2 Christmas Service
  • 2 December: Years 3-6 Prize Giving (at Sydney Town Hall)

Also again, photographs of groups taken by Melba Studios throughout the year, including music, sporting teams, representatives, House, ISDA Debating, and School Leaders and Officers, are now available for purchase on-line at Melba Studios. Please click here . The password is triangle. Navigate via the ‘Prep and Junior 2022’ tile.

Year 3 parents are reminded that Friday afternoon sport recommences this afternoon and the boys will be experiencing five weeks of rugby (mouthguards are necessary). It was great to see the older boys playing team sports in the spring sunshine and gymnasiums last weekend. Weather permitting, I hope to see many of you on the sidelines this weekend enjoying the boys playing hard, playing fairly and playing with passion for one another and their School.

Mark Dunn

Head of the Junior School


Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Psalm 51:12


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