From the Head of the Junior School

Dear Parents and Friends of the Junior School,

I would be surprised if you have not heard from your son about at least one of his learning experiences in Green Patch lessons this term. All boys have been inquiring into the most effective conditions to promote growth by experimenting with light, moisture and soil types. They have also been familiarising themselves with the opportunities and constraints of our site as they plan and prepare the Patch for planting in Term 3. The 7 Ps of the Green Patch Process are: Planning; Preparing; Planting; Pampering; Protecting; Picking; Plating. In these early stages, Mrs Bargwanna has been apprenticing her 299 Junior Landscape-Architects, focussing on growing their curiosity, knowledge and understanding so that they will be able to successfully and responsibly grow our environment. Over the rest of this term, Mrs Bargwanna will continue to work with classes fortnightly whilst also wearing her own landscape-architect’s hat as we plan site developments for the next phase of this initiative. Enjoy the photos!

We are yet to re-schedule our K-2 Mother’s Day morning due to the extension of community restrictions on singing and dancing that impact the activities the boys and teachers have planned. As soon as these restrictions are eased, we will confirm new arrangements. K-2 mothers are asked to ‘pencil-in’ the morning of Friday, 28 May which is our next opportunity to access the Centenary Centre gymnasium if restrictions are lifted. Fingers crossed!

We had great success in the ‘Hello Mandarin’ Competition Final in which 21 of our Junior School boys competed last weekend. With 150 contestants ranging from Kindergarten through high school to adulthood, it is testament to the hard work of the boys and the programme of learning overseen by Mrs Wang that three of our boys won their age group championship, ten received gold medals, four received silver medals and four of our boys took home first prize in the family category. A most pleasing aspect of these results is that our students from Mandarin-speaking families as well as those who learn Mandarin exclusively at school are excelling in their language development. Special congratulations go to:

  • Champions: Mimo Kim (Non-Chinese background Years 1-2); James Saunders (Non-Chinese background Years 3-4); William Saunders (Non-Chinese background Years 5-6); Gabriel, Raphael, Paul and Dimitri Karlos (Family group)
  • Gold medals (Chinese background): Kyle Ye; Nathan Zhang; Zihao Ji; Felix Yao; Tianyang Zhao; Nicholas Ma; James Fang; Charlie Yao
  • Gold medals (non-Chinese background): Alex Anastasi; Jordan Buultjens
  • Silver medals (Chinese background): Dewey Chen; Marco Guan
  • Silver medals (non-Chinese background): Arjun Roy; Charles Russell

As a follow-up to our recent ‘Safer Internet Week’, I wish to remind parents of the important role you play in modelling good habits, establishing boundaries and supervising your sons regarding technology and media access. I raise this in part due to the ever-increasing demand on teachers to resolve issues between students at school that arise from time spent on media outside school. Many issues that once played out in the playground now start, continue or escalate on media platforms via mobile phones or devices in the home. The School is clear in its recommendation that parents are vigilant and exercise caution in regards to student social media use. Whilst many younger students are yet to use social media, parents of boys who use connected devices (even for brief periods of time) should not assume that their son is too young to be active on social media. Under-age participation on social media sites is increasingly an area where young students are making mistakes. The boundaries between private and public domains on social media sites are often blurred in the minds of younger users. Many fail to realise their images or words are being launched into the public domain where they sacrifice control. Sites which often have a very personal feel about them may be accessed by anyone. Images or text sent to someone else’s device in a moment of rash excitement can be forwarded to many others and remain accessible forever. Young children do not necessarily have the judgment required to make sensible decisions in these environments and can be exposed to ideas and images that they are not mature enough to comprehend or filter appropriately. Children can be tempted into inappropriate behaviours they would never contemplate in the real world, such as bullying, verbal abuse, or sharing of inappropriate images. We continually urge parents to heed media age guidelines as the boundaries you put in place for your children can promote your own child’s safety and the safety of the other children in their network. Parents will find the e-safety Commissioner’s website (follow this link) a great place to access advice and resources. It is worth bookmarking. 

I extend a thank you to many parent helpers who have been spending time at school in recent weeks or will do in coming weeks to assist our staff and benefit the boys. Last week we had parents assist with the Mothers’ Day Stall on every day of the week. We have also had Year 1 parents attend training to become a Reading Group assistant. Many parents attended Monday night’s THRASS training session to be able to better support their son’s literacy development at home. Yesterday and in weeks ahead, groups of parents will support our Visual Arts staff in preparing collaborative artworks being made by boys for auction later in the year. Thank you to all of you!

Even on Friday afternoons, our campus remains busy. The week may be winding down but many of our boys and staff continue to learn through opportunities such as the IPSHA inter-school debating competition, inter-school Chess, the Year 3 sport programme, and co-curricular clubs such as Mandarin, swimming, and rugby. We are not quite a campus that never sleeps but I do wonder sometimes whether some of our boys and teachers ever do!

Mark Dunn | Head of the Junior School

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:4-7

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