From the Head of the Junior School

Dear Parents and Friends of the Junior School,

As you are aware, it is currently my practice each Thursday to provide parents with an update of the week past and a forecast of the week ahead. The key points in yesterday’s update were:

  • We are appreciative of the feedback that helps us to gauge boys’ capacity and address emerging needs.
  • We continue to balance pastoral check-ins, independently completed tasks, daily ‘teaching’ lessons, providing feedback, and special events. For many, this balance will not be a perfect ‘fit’. We continually but carefully adjust this balance, aware that any change that will be welcomed by some families will likely be difficult for others. Our sense is that it is the appropriate time to offer and expect a little more of the boys, given that routines are well-established.
  • Next week, the schedule for boys in Kindergarten to Year 4 will include at least one shared Reading Group session with either their teacher or another member of staff. Younger students, as emergent readers, will have multiple sessions across the week. The class teacher will communicate the schedule of groups and the day/s and time/s that each boy will participate.
  • Boys in Years 5 and 6 will have two (rather than one) explicit lessons per day in addition to check-ins and independent tasks.
  • Three- Way Conferences and Interviews will be scheduled this term to allow parents, boys and teachers to discuss progress and goals together. Details will be communicated next week.

In my position, I have the opportunity to visit all of the virtual classes, join check-ins, observe lessons and access the array of tasks boys are submitting, as well as observing first-hand the small number of students on-site as they undertake remote learning. It is a privilege to have such access and it gives me a unique perspective on the challenges and efforts of boys and teachers undertaking learning at this time. I am astounded by the ever-developing adaptability, resilience and good-natured cooperation of boys despite their dislocation, as well as the professionalism and dedication of our teachers, most of whom are also facing the challenges, isolation and impracticalities of working from home. The volume and quality of learning is extra-ordinary and it inspires me to also persevere and rise to the efforts of boys and staff each day.

That is not to deny to that there will be some aspects of life at the moment that may overwhelm some boys. If that is the case, please mention this to your son’s teacher next time they contact you or reach out via a pastoral email (juniorschoolpastoral@trinity.nsw.edu.au). A distinctive of Trinity is the generous resourcing of skilled psychologists to support boys and families. They are very resourceful in providing support to those who need even with the challenge of remote-ness. The Junior School Welfare Team continues to meet every week with only one agenda item: the wellbeing and support of boys at risk in the current circumstances.

I extend appreciation to Mrs Bowden, Mrs Case and Mrs Indari, as well as the class teachers for the Book Week experiences organised this week which included games, learning activities, virtual incursions with Gus Gordon and Andrew Daddo, and of course, some reading! It was not our usual Book Week extravaganza but was still an engaging celebration of literature. We will keep our annual Character Parade as a possibility to look forward to when we return to school.

Next Friday is Science Day which will be another great opportunity to mix-up the routine, with fun scientific activities planned for all classes across the morning in place of other lessons. Specialist teachers will still post tasks in the afternoon, for the boys to undertake in the week ahead. It should be lots of fun and hopefully will be something boys can anticipate eagerly. Mr Slabbert has listed materials needed to fully join in the fun in this newsletter, click here to read more.

Mark Dunn | Head of the Junior School

I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Psalm 16:8


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