From the Head of the Preparatory School
It has been an exciting week at the Prep School as the Llandilo Development continues to take shape. On Monday, the boys were captivated by a large crane carrying 250kg metal frames up to the top level of the building. The building is progressing on schedule and is only a matter of weeks away from the main exterior being completed. Obviously, there are significant internal works and landscaping that remain, but it has been exciting to see it beginning to take shape.
As the builders work on the physical building, the teachers have been hard at work with the students as they continue to develop their practice in readiness for the new learning space. As previously communicated, we are adopting a new style of teaching and learning that we are calling Flexible, Personalised Learning. More information about this can be found at this link.
We recently held a review meeting with the Year 5 and 6 to evaluate the impacts of our new approach on the students’ growth and development. The teachers reported that the most significant and noticeable point of growth was the students’ self-management skills as they have embraced the chance to accept additional responsibility for their learning, their time and the way they learn. The teachers reflected that the flexibility of the learning spaces has supported them in more easily grouping and regrouping students to support differentiation (meeting boys at their point of need). At the beginning of the year we collected data from the students and teachers about their learning experience and plan to do so again at different points of the year to analyse the effects of the new approach. I look forward to continuing to share this as we move forwards.
Another recent focus of the development has been working with consultants on the selection of furniture for the new space. Whilst there is nothing wrong with our existing furniture, we are looking to provision the new learning spaces with furniture that specifically supports flexible, personalised learning.
Parent Helper Information session
This morning we held a Parent Helper Information session for nearly 50 parents who are keen to assist as volunteers in our classrooms. It was tremendously exciting to host this event as it was the first time for over a year that we have been able to conduct such an event. I commented that it felt ‘right’ to finally have parents back into the school for these types of community-oriented activities. I reflected with the parents that their engagement with the boys’ learning as ‘helpers’ has multiple benefits including increased levels of partnership and trust, aiding student learning outcomes, and a heightened sense of community.
Parent helpers can take on a variety of roles in our school ranging from supporting a Reading Group through to being a guest speaker to support a Unit of Inquiry. Whilst the former is the more regular and obvious form of parent support, it is the latter that often has the biggest impact on student learning. As primary teachers we are typically ‘generalists’ in that we know a little bit about everything. On the contrary, many parents and members of our community are experts in the field. As we engage students in Units of Inquiry, we are always looking for primary sources or guest speakers to come into school to allow the boys the chance to engage in authentic inquiry. If you do have expertise in an area that is unique, please let us know by completing this form. From my experience and discussion with parents, it is common for people to under-sell their expertise. I would encourage you to embrace it and see this as an opportunity to contribute to the learning of our boys.
Next Wednesday morning we are holding our first Auxiliary Meeting for Term 2. The meeting will take place onsite at School on Wednesday 5th May at 8:30am. I encourage all parents to join us for this meeting as we discuss matters relating to our School community.
I want to express my sincere thanks to the members of the Auxiliary who are busy at work preparing next Friday’s Mother’s Day Stall for our boys to be able to purchase a gift for their mum. It is always cute watching the boys take time in carefully selecting just the right gift. Please see the details of the stall in the following sections of Prep News.
Communication with Parents – Prep News, School Calendar and the Record Book
Prep News is our main vehicle for communicating with parents about the week’s activities, upcoming events and important information about School life. In addition to the general updates and news, we also publish class-based newsletters every three weeks to provide parents with a window into the students’ learning, both past and future.
Whilst the Record Book continues to be an important and reliable source of information about upcoming events, the online version of the School Calendar provides additional information about upcoming events. I encourage parents to bookmark this site http://community.trinity.nsw.edu.au/navbar/calendar/calendar.html so that it can be used to as a reference point, particularly for week to week activities. The contents of the calendar can be filtered to only list Prep-specific events.
The Record Book is an important document for each family in the Preparatory School. It acts as a tool for your son in helping him to organise himself with his homework and providing information on school events and expectations. It is also an effective communication tool for parents and teachers. Additionally, parents can see upcoming Preparatory and whole school events. Please note the colour scheme for diary entries in the Record Book is; Black – Whole School, Dark Green – Middle and Senior School, Light Green – Preparatory School, and Blue – Junior School. I encourage all parents to monitor their son’s Record Book on a regular basis.
Safety of our students – nuts and sharing food
Peanuts and tree nuts (almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, chestnuts, hazelnuts, hickory nuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts) have been responsible for the highest number of fatal anaphylactic reactions in schools. Trinity has many students across all year groups who have anaphylactic reactions to peanuts and tree nuts. The School Canteen as well as catering at Trinity Grammar School, does not use peanuts and tree nuts in the food it prepares. Whilst the School cannot not claim to be peanut or nut free or to have banned peanuts or tree nuts, to reduce the risk of potential contact, we request that parents/students do not send/bring peanuts and tree nuts to School. We would also ask parents to remind the boys about the importance of not sharing food with other boys. Whilst it is a lovely gesture of friendship to share, the safety of our boys must be maintained.
Our Enrolment Department is about to embark on the process of interviewing prospective students and families for next year’s Pre-Kindergarten cohort. Over the last few years demand for these places has greatly increased. Whilst siblings have priority in the enrolment process, it is essential that enrolment applications have been received prior to the interview process beginning.
‘Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.’Romans 8:1-2
Chris Wyatt | Head of the Preparatory School
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