From the Head of the Junior School

From the Head of the Junior School

Dear Parents and Friends of the Junior School,

Today, on World Teachers’ Day, I wish to pay particular tribute to the extraordinary teachers whose skill and volume of hard work underpins the learning for every boy in the Junior School. Parents often seek me out to pass on appreciation for individual teachers, prefacing their comments with a version of, “I know you normally hear the complaints so I wanted to tell you something good about…”. The reality is exactly the opposite. I receive regular praise for and appreciation of our teaching and support staff and only occasionally am I required to resolve a dispute or attend to criticism. Increasingly, I am aware that this is in stark contrast to the experiences of Heads in other schools, who are wearied by the weight of regular complaints. Whilst always grateful for parent tolerance, patience and a constructive approach to legitimate concerns, I attribute my experience of infrequent student and parent dissatisfaction to the extraordinary expertise, commitment and character of the Junior School teachers. I have the privilege of witnessing this team in full swing every day and say with complete confidence that every member of the Junior School staff prioritises the needs of each boy in their care, and gives considerably more than is required to enable student growth and foster a love of learning. I give thanks for the staff of the Junior School and trust that you and your sons do too!

It was a highlight of the week to welcome Nicola Olyslagers (nee McDermott), Australian champion high-jumper and Tokyo Olympic silver medallist, to the Junior School on Wednesday. It is always a privilege to be able to expose our students to men and women who have reached extraordinary heights (pardon the pun) in their field. Nicola addressed the boys in Years 3-6 Chapel, in a special Year 6 session, and at the lunchtime Cru Group. Aside from the lessons imparted about goal-setting and managing expectations, Nicola spoke with conviction of an assurance she attributes to her faith, and the peace she feels in all aspects of her life, even when competing for medals with the eyes of over a billion people watching her! Thank you, Mrs Leedow, for organising this opportunity for the boys to learn from such an inspirational role model.

Mrs Leedow is also organising for the Junior School community to have the opportunity to contribute to Anglicare’s Christmas Toys and Tucker Drive. We ask every family to make a contribution of unwrapped toys or books and/or canned items to be passed onto Anglicare for distribution to families over Christmas. Specific details will be distributed early next week and the Christmas tree accepting donations will be in place in the Office for a few weeks from next Wednesday. The Junior School has a wonderful tradition of generously supporting this cause with hundreds of items each year. Please help your boys to once again meet the needs of those in our wider community with our final charity for this year.

I have mentioned over the last fortnight the parent session with Brad Marshall offering advice on managing healthy on-line time. For those who missed the evening, you are able to view a recording of the presentation via this link.

Next week will be a big week in swimming. From Monday, the Kindergarten and Year 2 students will commence their swimming intensive, with small group lessons every day. Year 1 will do likewise from the following Monday. We hope this experience helps prepare boys to have a confident and safe summer around water. Also on Monday, our primary students will participate in our Junior School Swimming Championships in the Centenary Aquatic Centre. It will be a wonderful day of competition and House spirit with the triumphant House taking a big step towards claiming the overall House Shield for 2023. Parents are welcome to come and view some or all of the carnival, with the following caution. Whilst we are blessed with this wonderful facility on our doorstep, there is not a lot of viewing space for parents once it is full of all our boys…and it will be loud!

We look forward to hosting parents for next Tuesday’s Year 2 Open Classroom Doors session in the afternoon. The boys, Mrs Richards and Miss Stokes are very excited to be able to show you their classroom and their recent learning.

I will soon write to parents with details regarding the events in the final week of School but ask that you note the following now:

  • The final day for Kindergarten, Year 1 and Year 2 will be Thursday 1st December. On this day, the boys will host parents and guests for a Christmas Service in the Chapel, commencing at 9am. Following this service, the boys will go home with parents.
  • The final day for Years 3-6 will be Friday 2nd December. On this day, boys and parents attend the Prize Giving Ceremony at Sydney Town Hall, commencing at 9am. Following this service, the boys will go home with parents. It is expected that all students in Years 3-6 attend and are seated with their teacher throughout the service.

Year 5 parents and students who are interested in nominating for the Cape York Tour in April 2023 have now received detailed information about the tour and the process of nomination and selection. Nominations will close on Monday.

Finally, I remind boys and parents involved in after-school Mandarin Immersion groups that Mrs Wang is unavailable to take those groups from Thursday of next week and through the following week, due to her role in HSC marking. Mandarin Immersion groups will recommence on Thursday 10 November. Parents are asked to ensure their boys are aware of the change on these days and reminded of the availability to book casual attendance at OSHClub, if picking up your son on those afternoons is problematic.

Thank you to all boys who purchased and wore a bandanna today in support of CANTEEN. You looked very colourful and raised money for a great cause. Well done!

Mark Dunn | Head of the Junior School

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:31

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