Willunga Primary School Newsletter

Term 3 Week 3

Supporting your child to read using PHONICS

Learning to read is an extremely complex process and is reliant on the development of key skills. Some skills we develop throughout our entire lives and these support us with language comprehension (comprehension being the ultimate goal of reading). These include:

· Background knowledge – our understanding of facts and concepts

· Vocabulary – breadth of words we understand, the links between words and our ability to use them precisely

· Language Structures – our ability to understand and manipulate sentences to change their meaning

· Verbal Reasoning – the ability to understand inference, metaphors and figurative language

These skills can be taught from birth by providing a language rich environment. Simply having conversations, talking about words and sharing stories will have an impact on a child’s ability to comprehend the world around them.

Other skills relate to decoding words (attributing sounds to symbols) and this needs to be taught explicitly. Once we know how to decode we can sound out any word, even if we have never seen it before. The key strategy for learning to ‘decode’ is saying the sounds in order from left to right and blending the sounds together.

Phonics is taught in a specific sequence to ensure skills are obtained developmentally. This is why decodable readers are vital in the early stages of learning to read. Children get to practice the sounds they know to read words. Specific instruction in ‘sight’ words or ‘tricky’ words is also key to successful instruction. Coming across words like ‘was’ and ‘they’ can be very problematic when a child has not learnt the strategy to sound them out (but once you know that an ‘a’ makes an ‘o’ sound after a ‘w’ and that ‘ey’ makes an ‘ay’ sound it makes sense!).

Here are some ideas to help you support your child to develop their sound knowledge:

Syllables – Practice identifying these in words by placing a hand under the chin. Every time your jaw drops it is a new syllable. And every syllable will have a vowel sound! Breaking words up like this helps children to read and spell words.

Rhyming – Ask your child to provide rhyming words (these may use a different letter pattern i.e. try, lie, high). Producing a rhyming word is different to ‘picking the odd one out’ from a list of three of four words with only one correct answer. See if your child can pick the correct word or the ‘odd one out’

Blending – When we ‘blend’ we read through the word saying the sounds in order. At first children will need to read each sound aloud but eventually they will learn to do this in their head and say the ‘whole word’.

Identifying and counting sounds – Ask your child to count out the sounds when reading and before writing. Some sounds are represented by more than one letter (sh-o-p - 3 sounds, f-r-igh-t - 4 sounds, p-a-th-w-ay - 5 sounds)

Sound replacement and deletion – Have a go at changing sounds in words i.e. replace the ‘l’ in leg with another letter…peg! Delete the ‘r’ sound from the name Fred….fed!

Make sure that your child is using ‘read through the word’ as their ‘go to’ strategy. Relying on pictures and initial sounds will not support them to decode using phonics. If they do say a word incorrectly make sure they re-read the word with the sounds in order. You can cover remaining sounds to enforce this strategy and reveal them as they decode.

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Well I can hardly believe that my time at Willunga is over.  What an amazing school this has been, and how grateful I am for having had the opportunity to learn and grow alongside you.

As leader of this site, I am outrageously proud of so many things. 

  • A leadership team that works proactively, seeks solutions and ensures that teacher time is spent on leading teaching and learning.  A team that makes sure everything else is running smoothly, and then somehow manages to get their own jobs done. 
  • Teaching teams that put learning first.  Teachers that want the absolute best for the students in their classes, and continuously strive to innovate to provide the best possible options to suit all learners.  The effort and time they put into ensuring high quality practice and consistent implementation of site priorities across the school have paid enormous dividends to our learners.
  • SSO teams that work in such a wide variety of roles and really in so many ways are the backbone of the school.  These professionals ensure that bills are paid, students enrolled, learning programs undertaken and specific behavior interventions undertaken.  They work tirelessly to support all students whether they arrive at the sick bay or for an intervention session.  The care they take in their roles ensures the children receive the very best level of care and learning support
  • The families of Willunga are an asset to the school.  The pride they have in being a member of this community ensures that word travels far and wide that this school is a great school.  The effort our families go to support learning and to undertake the site focus  each term is a consistent value add for our children.
  • And the students... what can I say.... you are amazing.  You a resilient, caring, thoughtful and kind.  You make me laugh pretty well daily (even when sometimes I should be cross).  You know your rights and responsibilities and you participate in your education at this school.  I expect great things from each and every one of you in the future, because I know you have had the privilege of being at an amazing school.

To all of you, I say farewell, even though I know that for many of us our paths will cross again.  I am so grateful for the time I have spent with you.  The things I value the most from Willunga will now be the building blocks for the new school in the South.  But I don't think anything will ever eclipse the amazing time I have had here.

Keep finding your rainbows, they really are everywhere!

Stay safe, stay calm, communicate and keep washing your hands. 

Until we meet again

Alison Colbeck

Covid visiting protocols

We are still following strict social distancing and hygiene protocols at the site, but have been able to welcome small groups of parents or individuals back on site for a tour and some meetings.  We value the connection you have with the school and the class teachers and don't want to see this disappear.  If you need to meet with a teacher we can facilitate this out of hours through the front office.  You will need to sign a Covid declaration and use sanitizer before entering.  If you are unwell, please make sure that you do not attend. 

Physical distancing at school drop off and pick up

Thank you again for helping us with the drop-offs and pick-ups by not entering the site.  Remember if you need help with anything you can ring the Front Office, or come to the kiss and drop.  Please remember that parents need to maintain the 1.5m physical distance between themselves and other adults (parents and teachers) at all times, including school drop-off and pick-up. It is something that we will need to get used to for quite some time.  

 Due to current restrictions, we are unable to hold a lot of our usual events, although we are modifying many of them on site.  The attached planner provides a brief overview of our plans for the remaining few weeks working within the current level of restrictions.

  • 20th July: First Day of Term 3
  • 27th July and 3rd August: 19/21B Nature Play incursion
  • 29th July and 5th August: 23C/23B/25E Nature Play incursion
  • 11th August: Governing Council - online 7.00pm
  • 18th August: Special Food Day
  • 24th August: 1A & B Henny Penny Hatching
  • 24th-26th August: 20 & 21A Arbury Park Camp
  • 25th August: Yr 7 visit WHS

The SMS absence line: Text only 0429 632 559. Must include name, date, reason and class. Please check you are sending SMS to this number for absences

Stop the Spread

Sue Camac's Pastoral Care

Last Friday it was great seeing students dressed up in their superhero costumes and giving Mrs Colbeck a wonderful send off in her Wonder Woman outfit. She certainly was a wonderful asset to this school and will be greatly missed!

Back when I was undertaking some study in 2012 we were asked to read the Australian Childhood Foundation ‘Every Child Needs a Hero’ publication from 2006 and come up with a flyer from the part that interested us the most. Here’s what I came up with:

Did you ever dream of being a Super Hero when you were young?

Well now’s your chance!!

According to the Australian Childhood Foundation ‘Every Child needs a Hero’ and you can do just that! A survey was conducted using 10-17 year olds with an equal division of boys and girls, asking them who they most admired.

Here are the results: Ranking Most Admired %

1 Mum 42

2 Dad 31

3 My friend 13

4 Siblings 12

5 Grandparent 9

6 Other relative 5

7 My Parents 4

8 My teacher 4

9 Delta Goodrem 3

10 Lance Armstrong 3

This survey is a few years old and not sure whether Lance Armstrong would now get a ranking, but it’s encouraging to see that mums and dads were ranked 1st and 2nd.

This is the summary of the survey:

‘Children admire people who they directly know and engage with over pop stars and sports stars. This finding confirms the critical importance of relationships with children and the role that parents, siblings, other relatives, friends and teachers play in the lives of children’

You have been given the amazing opportunity to be a ‘Hero’ to the children in your life.

Maybe it’s time then to rummage through the dress-up box and dust off that old superman or wonder woman cape!


Reminders for families:

HATS -   Please provide your child with a sun safe hat. If your child needs to leave their school hat in their classroom, keep a spare sun safe hat in your child's bag so they have access to one when they attend OSHC.

Covid-19 restrictions - we are still required to follow social distancing measures with adults. When signing your child in or out, please enter through the front verandah door to access the sign in desk, please do not enter the room any further than this. Educators are still following all practices and procedures that are in place with hygiene measures. Getting creative - we will be focusing on making our own board games! Using recycled and other materials, children will have the opportunity to come up with their own design or theme. They will be challenged to come up with a new idea or their own version of their favourite game. Children are welcome to bring in any recyclable materials from home to add to their game if they wish.

Belinda Filkin - Director  

Foodbank SA

Willunga Primary School is proudly supported by FoodBank SA.

Are you doing it tough at the moment?

We are now able to offer vouchers for the Aldinga Mobile Food Hub and Foodbank Hubs at other locations for families who require assistance.

Each voucher entitles the bearer to 4 visits, one visit per week, free fruit, vegetables and bread, and reduced cost items from the Foodbank range.

Please contact Sue Camac or Jess Mason




Reminder - The schoolyard is NOT supervised before 8.30am or after 3.20pm. OSHC has exclusive use of the grounds outside of these times.

Do you have our apps? Skoolbag, Seesaw and Qkr

Enrolling Reception Students 2021

 We are currently enrolling Reception students for 2021 please contact Lynda Gregory (8556 2234 and press 1) as soon as possible to receive information on how to proceed with the enrolment of your child/ren. See attached letter for further details.

News from 25B and 25E

Term 3 Planner

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