From the Head of the Junior School

Welcome back to all members of the School community for Term 3. By the end of term, I hope that we are reflecting on a brief period of ‘remote-ness’ and a majority of the term spent in face-to-face learning on campus. We wait with hope to see. Regardless, we can be sure that the ten weeks of this term will be full of challenges, rewards and rich learning experiences, for boys, parents and teachers.

Despite the restrictions that grew across the semester break, a pleasing amount of work has been achieved on the site across the last month. The most striking developments are evident inside the fence-line along Seaview Street where the landscape has been transformed for our Green Patch. We are indebted to Mrs Bargwanna for working with landscapers across the holiday to realise her and the boys’ vision and plans. All the works and resources have been made possible through the financial commitment of School Council and the considerable generosity of the Junior School Auxiliary. We are now deciding which of the remaining works must continue and which should wait for the boys’ return, so that their hands can touch, labour and own what we are growing. You can view the developments via video updates posted by Mrs Bargwanna on the School’s social media sites.

I remind parents that Mrs Ormes will be acting in the role of Junior School Deputy and Mr Hoare will be Acting Curriculum Coordinator this term, as Mr Hassall enjoys Long Service Leave. Mr Hassall escaped to far North Queensland just in time, is pretty happy in his current location and sends his greetings! We welcome Miss McGrory for her term-long practicum this term. Miss McGrory is the recipient of a scholarship developed by the school in collaboration with the University of Notre Dame so she is already well-known to the staff and Year 3 boys from her weekly attendance across Semester 1.

As we prepare for at least another fortnight of remote learning, I thank and commend parents, boys and teachers on your approach and achievements in Week 1. We remain aware that this is far from an ideal experience of education, and one that poses challenges for families and boys, especially our youngest and less-independent learners. Please continue to articulate and practise the mantra of ‘doing your best’ and utilise the supports available. My own observation from dropping into check-ins, watching over the shoulders of boys and teachers, and listening to the questions and feedback offered by boys and parents, is that much has been achieved despite the obvious challenges. We can be extremely grateful for and proud of everyone’s efforts, achievements and growth this week.

As communicated yesterday, there will be some small but significant developments next week. Given the relative ease and pace which our students have settled into this week’s routines, our teachers are planning to supplement the tasks and check-ins with some direct-teaching each day, either in the form of pre-recorded videos or via an extension of Teams sessions. We will also be releasing a daily summary of the learning for each class which will be available at 8am each day via Canvas or Seesaw. We will also re-introduce ‘Hungry for More?’ which will be populated by challenging activities and fun games (some new and some old favourites) that boys may choose to attempt if they are looking for stimulation once they have completed assigned tasks. I do emphasise the need for parents to be particularly mindful of regulating the amount of screen-time in coming weeks. We are attempting to diversify and set tasks that engage boys’ minds and bodies, without always requiring them to watch a screen. For some boys, doing more activities via Canvas or Seesaw at the end of the school day will not be helpful.

I will continue to ask for your assistance in using the dedicated Junior School email addresses (included in correspondence and published in Remote Learning Protocols) for feedback and parent questions. Please do not email teachers directly during this period as they prioritise managing remote learning and student contact. The boys are encouraged to pose their own questions about their learning via the daily Check-ins or post them via Seesaw and Canvas.

The calendar events listed in the Record Book for the first three weeks will not take place as scheduled. It is likely that later events will also be impacted depending on community restrictions across coming months. We understand the disappointment caused by the cancellation of events for boys and parents, and we are discussing the possibility of creatively conducting ‘usual’ activities in unusual and remote ways. We will continue to inform you of the status of events as decisions are made.

Thank you for your continuing to support one another and your sons.

Mark Dunn | Head of the Junior School

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Psalm 46:10-11

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