From the Head of the Preparatory School

An evolving tradition

The last year has created many opportunities to reflect on the way we do things, as we have been forced to adjust existing practices in light of COVID. During 2020 we needed to rethink the way that we conducted weekly Assemblies and Chapels. Fortunately, restrictions have eased to allow us to gather face to face for these occasions in 2021, however, the experience of change has allowed us to reconsider some of our practices.

This week we began a new tradition as we gathered Years 3-6 around the top basketball court in their House groups for our Monday morning assembly to present the House Swimming Championship. Without trying to perfectly replicate it, the idea’s origin was the High School’s tradition of gathering all of the Houses around the Quad each morning for their morning assembly.  Upon reflection, it was an effective way to increase the significance of being part of a House, a concept that typically has only found relevance in sports carnivals. Having tried this for the first time, we think this might become a new tradition for the Prep School that we can build on.

Swimming Championships

Speaking of the presentation of the House Swimming Championship, I am pleased to announce the results from last week’s carnival.

1st place – School House 259

2nd place – Hilliard 219

3rd place – Archer 200

4th place – Henderson 152

Llandilo Development

This week the Llandilo Development took a significant step forward as the concrete slab for the southern extension was poured. On top of this slab will be three levels of learning spaces, including our new STEAM Lab, and two additional labs; one for all year levels to use as required and one that will form an integral part of the Year 5 Learning Centre. Over the next month the structure of the building should begin to take shape quite quickly.

COVID Coffee Catch ups

One of the things that we hold dearly at the Prep School is the partnership we share with parents in the boys’ education. We have worked hard in recent years to ensure there is transparency about the way we are seeking to educate the boys so that parents can encourage and support this at home. This has traditionally been achieved through a series of Parent Information Sessions that take place on a termly basis. The current COVID restrictions have made this challenging so we have come up with a new idea to try and provide parents with an opportunity to learn more about what we are doing and to engage with key staff…COVID Coffee Catch ups.

How will COVID Coffee Catch ups work?

We are planning a series of Microsoft Teams meetings that parents can drop into with their morning coffee. The sessions will take place each Friday morning between 9:00-9:45am and will range from open question and answer sessions with the Prep Executive Staff through to information sessions targeted towards a particular group of parents on a specific topic. We hope that parents will use these catch ups as an opportunity to increase the connection they have with school during this unusual time. We will try this approach for the remainder of Term 1 to see if it helps to fill the void that currently exists.

The schedule for the COVID Coffee Catch ups for the remainder of the term and the links for parents to join these sessions are as follows:

  • Week 5 – Friday 26th February 9:00-9:45am – Q&A (or a general chat) with the Prep ExecutiveAudience – all parents
  • Week 6 – Friday 5th March 9:00-9:45am – K-2 Reading – What does Reading look like at school and how to support him at home? Audience – K-2 parents. 
  • Week 7 – Friday 12th March 9:00-9:45am – Spelling – Learning more about Spelling – how is the same and different from when we were at school? Audience – K-6 parents. 
  • Week 8 – Friday 19th March 9:00-9:45am – PYP for beginners – learning more about the PYP framework and how best to engage with the boys at home about their learning. Audience – new parents to the School or those wanting a refresher. 
  • Week 9 – Friday 26th March 9:00-9:45am – Q&A (or a general chat) with the Prep ExecutiveAudience – all parents. 

These sessions will replace the regular sessions we typically run in Term 1 and the session that had previously been gazetted for Wednesday 3rd March.

Auxiliary Matters

On Wednesday 3rd March we will be holding the next Auxiliary Meeting. Our usual pattern is to hold one meeting a term in the early evening to allow more parents to attend. I am pleased to say that we will be holding the next meeting onsite at the School beginning at 6:00pm, which allows us to avoid any of the usual student events that take place on a normal day. The event will be held in the Mozart Room with a maximum of 50 people which will allow for appropriate social distancing. If you are planning to attend the Auxiliary Meeting it is essential that you register through the following LINK. Parents will not be able to bring children with them to this meeting. I look forward to connecting with parents at this meeting.

Unfortunately, the Community Event which had been planned for Friday 26th February has been postponed indefinitely due to the current COVID restrictions. This is a great disappointment as this event is a wonderful way of enhancing the sense of community that we have at the Prep School. (It is also a pity as the teachers were looking forward to defending their volleyball title from last year.) It is hoped that a potential easing of restrictions later in the year might make it possible to reschedule this event.

Kiss and Ride

Kiss and Ride has been an interesting journey this year. We are thrilled that we have generally managed to return to the regular 3:30pm finishing time. I am enormously grateful for the cooperation of the vast number of parents who have helped to make this possible by following the Traffic Management Plan and using the name signs in their car windows (or in their hand) upon arrival.

A couple of additional matters that I would like to bring to your attention are the need to follow the parking signs and not parking over our neighbours’ driveways. The parking guidelines have been established by Local Council to ensure the safety of our students in a busy road and it is important to respect our neighbours by allowing them to enter and exit their driveways as required. Unfortunately, I have noticed that a small minority of parents who appear to be prioritising their own convenience over the safety of our students and the rights of our neighbours. I would appreciate your support in adjusting this practice in the coming weeks.

Further to my comments above, I strongly encourage all parents to read the Head Master’s Bulletin item this week as it addresses a similar theme. Parents dropping off or picking up students from the Summer Hill carpark are asked to follow the guidelines that are in place for that campus. This includes not parking in the drop off / pick up zones. 

Archer and Henderson House Chapel Service

I am sorry to announce that the Archer and Henderson House Chapel Service that was scheduled for Sunday 14th March has had to be cancelled. Mr Smith is generously putting together a pre-recorded service that families can engage with at their leisure.

Chris Wyatt | Head of the Preparatory School 

‘My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.’

John 15:12-14

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