Virginia Primary School Newsletter

Issue 5, 26/03/2020

From the Principal

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

Thank you for your continuous support, patience and understanding during this time of uncertainty. It has been an extremely busy time for schools.

Many of you would have family members who are working in such roles (doctors, nurses, ambulance, fire, SAPOL, supermarkets, butchers, therapists, community support services etc.). I also want to acknowledge that all of us, including our extended community would be impacted either personally or through connection to others with those who are struggling without work or their usual income stream due to new arrangements in place across the state/ nation. COVIFD-19 is having a significant impact on everyone, please do remember we are here to support you in anyway. 

Our teachers and SSOs have been working tirelessly to organise learning packs for students whose families are able to keep their children home during this challenging time. These packs are available at the office for collection. As well as the two week learning packs, classes have also organised an online teaching and learning platform (EDMODO) for flexible teaching and learning to take place. Please let your teachers know if you require assistance in setting this platform up, as they would be more than happy to help you. Instructions on how to download the app and register are included in these packs.

The Department has also just announced, that schools are given 4 pupil free days (from 6th to 9th April) for the last week of school for teachers to prepare for the transition  to flexible teaching and learning ready for term two. OSHC and Vacation Care over the pupil free days and school holidays will be available for children who aren't able to be safely supervised at home, including children of essential workers, however parents will need to book their children in.  I have also attached a parent letter from the Minister for Education. 

As a school, we continue to take all appropriate measures to ensure the safety of our students, staff and families. Cleaning services have been increased at all department children’s centres, preschools, schools and offices. This includes more regular and thorough cleaning of door handles, lift buttons, and wiping down common areas such as tables, administration areas (reception desks) and tables in libraries. We have received extra hand sanitizers and soap pumps which we have distributed to classes.  The Department for Education has launched Our Learning SA - a curriculum portal where staff and parents can access quality learning materials. These resources will be regularly added to the site. The Our Learning SA curriculum portal. 

On behalf of the VPS staff, I would like to thank all our families for your continuous support and understanding. Your kind messages, emails of support have  genuinely been appreciated during a challenging time. I would also like to thank all our teachers, admin and support staff for their tireless work and commitment towards VPS continuing to provide quality education to our students as well as keeping their well being close to heart by reassuring them that we are here to support and will continue to be here.

As testing as the last several weeks have been and I'm sure will continue to be, I would like to reassure you all that I will continue to do my best to lead and support the school as best as I can.

Finally – I think the following sums up where we are at as a society and also the quality of VPS staff.

Whilst we can’t control much of what is happening around us, we continue to support one another. You have all been incredibly positive and we thank you. 

Parent Letter from Minister of Education


Year 7 to High School

Starting Secondary School on 2021?

Have you updated your personal details recently? 

A form was sent home at the beginning of the term.

Please ensure that we have your correct residential & email address as this will be essential for the process of transitioning to High School in 2021.

Please read the flyer attached regarding Registration of Interest for Secondary School in 2021.

Please read click on the download button to read more


Social Media Fact Sheets - Social Media & Mental Health

Be Smart, Play Your Part!

It is great to receive feedback from parents, that they are finding the social media fact sheets we have been sharing recently very informative. 

With recent events and children seeing/hearing what is happening with the media frenzy around COVID -19, we thought it might be useful to read up on the Social Media & Mental Health advice from National Online Safety.

These fact sheets  about social media apps, online games and trending issues may help and inform discussions with your children. It is important that we as parents are aware of what our children are exposed to via social media & the internet.

We have also created an album on our school Facebook page with more fact sheets for you to utilise. 

Take a moment to have a look at the attached Social Media & Mental Health fact sheet. You might also be interested in the following Facebook page

Parenting Ideas Articles - Leading the way for children during the Coronavirus pandemic

Like many of us, I can imagine the news of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has your head spinning and your heart pumping. That’s only natural as life as we know has taken a seismic shift in recent days.

Click on the download button to read the full article

Get the latest on topics such as resilience, confidence, wellbeing and developing your children into the best they can be, through the following link


Staff Report for Governing Council Meeting 2020 Term 1, week 8

Pre-School Team:

Over the course of this term the children have continued to develop their concept knowledge through small group games and their numerical knowledge through stories, songs, games and hands-on tasks. The children are continuing to progress through the hierarchy of phonological awareness skills, we have many children that have moved on from breaking words into syllables and have begun learning about rhyming word pairs. Soon they will develop the ability to produce their own rhyming words. Since the beginning of the year we have been learning a new monster sound each fortnight or week from the SSP program. The children have responded really well to this. We have recently been learning about caring for Planet Earth and the environment. This learning has ignited many in depth conversations about cleaning up our environment, recycling and reducing waste. These conversations have also encouraged children to put their rubbish into the correct bins, for instance, food scraps go into our small green bins that then get tipped into our compost bins and paper and cardboard goes into our yellow bin. This term we have also been focusing on developing children’s social skills and learning ‘how to be a good friend’. Children brainstormed several ideas in regards to how they can be a kind friend to one another at preschool. This has complimented our learning about Harmony Day this week and being inclusive of all. This week children are participating in a ‘Buddy Play’ experience, in which they are paired up with a child to play with who shares similar interests to them or that they haven’t played with very much in order to assist them in broadening their friendship circles and learning to be inclusive of all. 

Reception – Krystal Room 1 & Anita Room 2:

In Rooms 1 and 2, we have had a very busy start to the year. In English we have been working hard to learn our phonics (sounds) using the Speech Sound Pics (SSP) program. We have been working within each student’s individualised SSP code, to ensure their level of learning is intentional and addresses their phonics needs. We have been persisting with our Oral language, particularly during our modelled reading lessons, to describe objects and characters using the Stephen Graham describing bubbles. Students have started to be  supported to write simple sentences in their books with the success criteria being to write on the line, to write from left to right, and to use fingers spaces, full stops and capital letters. During our Guided Reading sessions, we have been using level 1 texts to cover the Concepts of Print, as well as applying our phonics and High Frequency Word knowledge to attempt to decode and comprehend texts.

In maths we have been working in groups to learn different skills and strategies. The main areas we have focussing on within the number and algebra strand are:

·       subitising

·       counting, recognising and sequencing numerals

·       matching numerals, quantities and number names

·       correct numeral formation

We have also covered patterns this term with the Learning Intention: To be able to copy, continue and create a pattern.

We look forward to continuing our learning journey in English and Maths this term. 

Year 1 – Katrina Room 3 & Christina Room 4:

Rooms 3 and 4 have had a great start to the 2020 school year, learning new routines, persisting with their learning and enjoying getting to know and working with the children in both classes.

In phonics, we have been continuing to learn our sounds through the SSP program. We have explored many different variations to make one sound and have been continuing our SSP learning through our morning routine. When we are writing a new word we: say the word, listen for the speech sounds and work out how many there are, draw the lines to represent the speech sounds and work out the letters using the sound clouds. It is great to see the students persisting with this spelling strategy. We have been writing and making oral descriptions about various objects. When writing a description we write sentences about number, size, colour, shape, texture, doing and position.

This term in modelled reading we have been focusing on being a balanced reader, we have been reading with fluency and expression, paying attention to the punctuation and reading smoothly. We have been using our sound knowledge to decode words we are unsure of. We have been using our modelling reading text each week to focus on the grammar concepts, nouns, adjectives and articles.

In maths, we have been focusing on gaining a deeper understanding and automaticity of number. We have made number patterns, sequenced numbers, written numbers, located numbers on a number line and represented numbers using concrete materials. We have been focusing on the number strategies, counting on and rainbow facts (making 10).  

Year 1/2 – Mary Room 5 & Jess Room 6:

What a great start to 2020 we have had within our classrooms. All children in room 5 and 6 settled in well and are coming into the class beaming and ready to learn. One of our main learning intentions this term has been ‘to be able to work in groups/teams’. Working in groups and teams looks like everyone being nice to each other, helping each other, taking turns and respecting every ones learning.

In writing we have been focusing on writing recounts, descriptions and information reports. 

In reading we are focusing on the three areas of a balanced reader which is developing our decoding, fluency and phrasing and comprehension skills. Every child has been involved in setting their own goals to achieve. In spelling we have continued with the SSP program as well the Words their Way program for some students.

In Math we investigated number patterns and counting strategies. We looked at colour, size, shape and number patterns, increasing patterns and decreasing patterns. Next we are focusing on developing a deeper understanding of number, place value and shape.  We have also covered topics such as odd and even number, greater than and less than, numerals and writing numbers in words. On Wednesday mornings we have a fine motor morning where the children do a variety of tasks like sorting, puzzles, painting, puppet making and dominoes. During Art we have created some wonderful Harmony Day pictures and we look forward to undertaking lots of Easter activities. It is with sadness that we had to postpone our Marine Discovery Centre excursion this term but we are looking to rebook when the weather heats up again in Term 4. 

Year 3/4 Jenna Room 9 & Sabrina Room 10:

Room’s 9 and 10 have had a busy few weeks finishing off our unit of work on Narrative writing and moving to investigating persuasive texts. We are learning how to use modal verbs and evaluative language to enhance our expositions! In Maths, we have moved from Addition and Subtraction to Multiplication and Division topics. We are learning new strategies to solve problems and applying this to our RUCSAC Success Criteria method. RUSCAC stands for Read the problem carefully, Understand what the question is asking, Choose an operation and strategies to solve the problem, Answer the question and finally Check that you have the correct answer using another method. We are enjoying using this tool to support our understanding of worded problems. This term we have begun Maths rotations. Each week we engage in different stations to practise reasoning, problem solving, fluency, Mathletics online practise and once a week meet with the teacher for a guided Maths session in mixed ability groups. We are enjoying the collaborative learning opportunities! We are approaching the end of our ‘What’s The Buzz’ social and emotional lessons. We will continue to work hard in the lead up to the Easter school holiday break!

Year 4/5 – Belinda Room 7 & Rachele Room 8:

What an excellent start to 2020 we have had within our classrooms. All students in rooms 7 and 8 have settled in really well and we have worked hard together to establish classroom routines and agreements. It has been great to see students so positive and willing to work within both classrooms throughout certain lessons. We have had great success within our Literacy block this term. We have incorporated Modelled reading, Guided reading, and Writing within this literacy block. Three mornings a week we complete our Modelled reading where we read a text together and focus on a particular text feature that we need to practise further before applying it in our genre writing. In writing, we have focused on Narratives. We have worked hard to include direct speech accurately and include a range of noun groups to enhance the content and meaning. In Guided reading, students have continued to work in small targeted reading groups. Students have been learning about and practising particular comprehension skills whilst also focusing on decoding, fluency and phrasing. In Maths, we have been learning a range of concepts including place value, the properties of odd and even numbers and solving problems involving the four operations using a range of strategies.

Year 5/6 – Elliana Room 12:

What a fantastic start to 2020 we have had in Room 12. We have all settled well into our new classroom and into our new routines. We started off our term by getting to know each other, our strengths and our areas for improvement. We have worked hard to set up a fantastic classroom culture and are continuing to work together to build this further.

In Maths, we have started off with number concepts such as place value, odd and even numbers and ordering and representing numbers beyond tens of thousands. After this, we have had a big focus on the four operations. We have been thinking forward to our NAPLAN testing for our year 5 students and have been working on ensuring we all have a solid understanding of using written and mental strategies for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. We have had fun challenging ourselves with our times tables by completing the times table challenge before each lesson. In the mornings, students have made enormous improvements since the start of the year on their mental maths and continue to learn something new every day.

Our literacy block is off to a fantastic start, incorporating Modelled reading, Guided reading and Writing. Three mornings a week we complete our Modelled reading where we read a mentor text and focus on a particular text feature that we need to practise before applying it to our genre writing. In writing, we have started learning about narratives. Our main focuses with our narratives have been on our orientations and our series of events. We have worked hard to include direct speech accurately and include noun groups to give more meaning.

In Guided reading, we have continued to work in small targeted groups to develop our skills towards becoming balanced readers at our individual reading level. Students are enjoying the opportunity to work together and practise new skills.

We are looking forward to a great end to a busy and jam packed Term 1. 

Year 6/7 – Georgina Room 13 & Cathy Room 14:

The year 6/7s started the year successfully with the ZooSnooze overnight and our Leadership Conference. We also appointed students to leadership roles within the school. Classrooms have settled into a steady classroom routine. We have had health lessons around building a healthy classroom culture and started our True Colours anti-bullying program. Within the program students are learning how to react to and report bullying.

 In English we once again started the year by focusing on reading strategies through the work of Alison Davis to equip students to be successful in the reading program throughout the year. We have also started modelled and guided reading and looking into the structure of text types. Our primary focus to start with has been narratives as it coincides with our writing work. We have done a great deal of work on planning the writing process to allow students a clear and explicit structure. This week we just started moving onto persuasive texts and students are looking at the strategies and structure that good writers use to persuade their audience.

 In Mathematics we started with number and fractions. This has been coupled with our daily mental math slips that are designed to give students the opportunity to re-visit and solidify areas that they have studied previously. This allows us to discuss a range of problem solving strategies.

 In science we are looking at Classification of Organisms. 

Junior Primary / Primary Art – Sue Graham:

Junior Primary students have just completed a unit of work on colour theory. They have experimented with blending colours to produce secondary hues from the primary colours.

 Middle primary students have spent the term working on fabric wall hangings. They are to be commended on their attention to detail and persistence in finishing these artworks. The learning intention was to demonstrate their understanding of both abstraction in design and watercolour blending techniques. Upper Primary students have studied the work of enigmatic street artist, Bansky. This has stimulated debate on the issue of when is street/public art legitimate and when is it undesirable.

Year 6/7 students are finishing a term’s work on creating masks. Using Druid ancient art as a stimulus, students had to create a mask that reflects the natural world in some manner.

Junior Primary / Primary Science – James Yates:

We have been continuing our work on the Primary Connections units in the learning area of Physical sciences.

Junior primary students have been learning about how objects move via a push or pull force. We are currently exploring push and pull forces in the air and water.

Middle primary have been investigating heat and how heat sources work to produce heat. They have been really engaged looking for different heat producers and heat absorbers at school.

Upper primary students have been exploring electrical circuits, using the Primary Connections unit called It’s Electrifying. The students are engaged in building mini electrical circuits to power small devices, such as, mini light bulbs, fans, buzzers and motors.

Junior Primary / Primary Language- Thi Hien Danh:

This term has been an exciting start to the year. The children have been busy learning about Vietnamese New Year. To celebrate this special occasion, students have been making traditional lanterns and have been exposed to the many different cultural practices that accompany the Vietnamese New Year.

Primary PE – James Yates & JP- Marie Lionello:

All students started off the term with teamwork activities to build quality classroom culture which they have excelled in. As of week 4 we started our sports day preparation with an Athletics unit. The students have been developing skills in hurdles, high jump, sprints and a variety of relays. With the postponement of Sports Day, students are now finishing off with fun team games with a high focus on fundamental movement skills.

EALD / Student Support – Robyn Lewis and Thuy Tran:

In week 7 Thuy and I had our district Site Review Team meeting with our speech pathologist (Julia Ramage)and special educator (Fiona Lymberopoulos )who are assigned to support our school. It is during those meetings that we consult with the team about students who need extra support above what we are currently providing. These experts in their fields provide us with valuable information about how we can best suit the needs of students, testing available and information about funding.

Our curriculum SSOs are working closely with teachers to support students in their care. Our school is making sure that SSOs receive up to date information about the curriculum and opportunities to attend professional development alongside teachers. As well as this, SSOs meet with teachers during their planning time. This is making a big contribution to children’s learning. Their dedication to learning new skills is commendable and appreciated.

Students attending Levelled Literacy Intervention sessions before school and through to recess will be tested on their reading progress beginning next week and we are looking forward to checking their growth. In-class and small withdrawal groups receive targeted teaching in literacy and math, depending on the students‘ needs. Parent support is essential to support children’s learning at school and we encourage parents to listen to reading and support children with their homework if needed.

EALD Writing:

Small group writing sessions from year 4 to year 7 occur 3 x per week. This term we have been focusing on the structure, language features, punctuation and spelling as well as grammar of narratives (imaginative texts) and expositions (persuasive texts). We are having a big focus on the planning side of the writing process as well as the importance of including as much detail as possible in their writing to engage their audience.

Term 1 Calendar 2020


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