From the Head of the Preparatory School
Week 6 Updates
This week has been another positive step forward as we have resumed a normal timetable with students benefiting from Specialist lessons and engaging with all of their usual teachers. We have continued to prioritise cohorting (keeping grade levels separate) at play times and ensured that movement around the school is monitored and controlled.
As we move forward, we are continuing to be guided by the advice of NSW Health and the Association of Independent Schools. From next week there will be a number of additional changes to day-to-day operation with a view to providing greater learning opportunities for students and a greater sense of normal school life.
- The Canteen will resume for lunch orders only from Monday 8th November. Orders will need to be made through Flexischools www.flexischools.com.au as per previous practice. Please be aware that students will not be permitted to visit the canteen in person.
- Individual instrumental lessons will recommence within school hours from Thursday 11th November. Further information about this will be communicated to relevant parents.
- We are exploring the possibility of recommencing Speech Therapy and Occupational Therapy sessions during school hours. Further information will be communicated to families accessing these services once this has been confirmed.
Flexible Personalised Learning in Stage 3
Our Year 5 and 6 students have now been in their new learning centres for two and three weeks respectively. I am pleased to report that the use of these spaces is going from strength to strength. As we have moved into these learning spaces, we have been very conscious of ensuring that students, and teachers alike, are prepared for a different approach to learning and teaching where there is increased flexibility. The major benefits of this are two-fold; there is greater opportunity and flexibility for teachers to differentiate instruction through grouping and regrouping across the grade, and there is a greater sense of personal choice and responsibility for students in their learning. The latter is developmentally appropriate and is critical in supporting students as they transition from primary to secondary school.
Suffice to say, we have been thrilled with the results so far. Here are a few photos to showcase the style of learning that the students are engaging in.
Stage 3 Parent Information Session – Monday 15th November
As we begin to look to next year, we are keen to share with parents of students entering Year 5 and 6 about the exciting learning journey that awaits them in 2022 and how it will be similar and different. On Monday 15th November at 6:00pm, we will be running a parent information session for families of students currently in Year 4 and 5 to unpack Flexible Personalised Learning and to provide a glimpse into what it currently looks like. The session will take place via Teams and there will be an opportunity for a Q&A at the end of the session. Please RSVP via this link to indicate your attendance. The link also provides an opportunity to ask any questions that you have about next year so that we can ensure that these are covered in the presentation.
The Year 6 students are forging ahead with their small group inquiries into local and global issues as part of the PYP Exhibition. One of the major sources of information for their research comes from primary sources. This week alone, there have been more than a dozen Teams meetings with experts across a range of fields of expertise. This has included the following wonderful resources:
- Dr Peter Banks, Sydney Uni – Professor of Conservation Biology
- Edward Santow – University of Technology Sydney (Artificial Intelligence)
- Owen Ziebell – Australian Institute of Disaster Resilience
- David Humphries – NSW Fire Brigade
- Dr Ashwin Garg – Local GP (Food Addiction)
- Therapist from The Cabin Sydney – Addiction
- Ronny Grewal – Genetically Modified Organisms
- Daphne Knudson – PhD Student at University of Maryland
- Renee Charalambous – Animal Scientist in Conservation and Physiology
- Trish Barry – marketing and media executive
Whilst the Exhibition focuses on becoming an expert in an issue and considering possible action that could be taken, the value of the learning experience for students lies in the multitude of skills they learn, and use, throughout the process. As you consider the scenario described above where students meet online with an expert, they are using all manner of skills including, but not limited to the following: networking to find and connect with an expert, email etiquette and use of a calendar to set up the meeting, social skills, manners and respect in engaging with an adult, minute taking, summarising and interpreting and synthesizing, and the list goes on. These skills are not part of the regular curriculum but they are critically important for life, both in secondary school but also beyond.
The PYP Exhibition will go live on the evening of Tuesday 23rd November. I hope that you might take the time to join us and engage with the remarkable learners that are graduating from the Prep School in 2021. Further information about how to do so will be communicated in the coming weeks. The animated logo below has recently been finalised and I hope it gets you thinking about the issues the boys have been inquiring into.
Tracking Student Wellbeing
One of our annual practices is to gather data about our students’ wellbeing. The purpose of doing so is to assist in the process of reviewing and evaluating our wellbeing programs and initiatives. This week our students in Years 2, 4 and 6 completed the ACER Wellbeing survey which helps us to track general trends in our student body as compared with schools across Australia. Our Year 5 students also completed the Motivation and Engagement survey. This is a research-based self-assessment instrument that provides valuable information that can support goal setting with students and parents for next year. I look forward to sharing the data from these surveys with the appropriate audience once we receive it.
On Wednesday the Strathfield Auxiliary held its final official meeting of the year. Whilst it has been an unusual year, particularly in terms of opportunities for the community to be involved in face-to-face activities, I have been incredibly appreciative of the ongoing support of the Auxiliary. At the meeting we discussed a range of ideas designed to promote community in the year ahead and to friend and fund raise. We were also joined by Mrs Phil Lowe, Trinity’s Director of Marketing and Communications, who provided an update on the newly redesigned School website. I encourage families to engage with the site in the coming weeks as it will increasingly be a source of dynamic content and become the place to visit for all information for existing and prospective Trinity families. If you missed last week’s newsletter it is worth visiting this link to watch the video Phil created to explain the new website.
One of the current Auxiliary initiatives is the Christmas Cake drive. I understand that supplies are limited and encourage families to place an order before they run out. Information about how to order a Christmas Cake can be found below.
IPSHA NetFit Saturday Sport program
It has been really encouraging to hear about the engagement of the students in the NetFit program that is being run online each Saturday morning. Tomorrow is the third of five sessions and it can be accessed via this link.
Chris Wyatt | Head of the Preparatory School
Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!Psalm 117:1-2
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