Happy Friday - it’s the last day of term 2 and the end of semester 1 - how time flies!!!
It is the perfect time to reflect on the year to date. Although we have spent most of 2021 onsite we still operate with CoVID looming. The flash lockdown in term 1 and the most recent in term 2 seem to continually halt us in our tracks. The beginning of term 2 saw Class Reps up and running, PFA events, Library Working bee, grounds Working Bee, parent helpers return to class and more activity around the school.
The development of a Connected School working group and the feedback we received through our survey work has been great to work with and the actions are coming together nicely. We just need CoVID to allow us to continue to reconnect and regain that sense of community connectedness that we are so proud of at Parkhill.
I would like to thank the staff for a successful semester!
You will have received your child’s report Wednesday - please take time to meet with your class teacher if there is anything you would like clarified.
We were able to host our first musical instrumental soiree yesterday. This is the first since 2019. We could not host onsite but rather ran the performance via Zoom which worked really well for a first attempt. It was just lovely to see the children perform and to hear the talent that is scattered through our school - a massive well done to all involved!
Next term will see the start of our Kinder Foundation transition program kicking into action. Story times are already published through our community with sessions starting next term. We will have our Y5 students visiting the local kinders to connect and bond with their upcoming Foundation buddies. Exciting times!
At this stage I have no further news regarding the appointment of an Acting Principal in my absence. The process was lodged with the DET some time ago and will shortly be advertised and filled through their normal principal appointment procedures. At this stage the DET communicates directly with Dan Edwards, the School Council President. Due to conflict of interest I am not involved in the process. If you have any questions I am sure Dan will be more than happy to chat if you can catch him.
The Amigos! Best of the Best! Team Amazing! You may have heard some of these names bandied around by your kids on a Tuesday after school. These are just a few of the student-selected names of our care groups this year.
What are Care Groups?
While they sound very new, Care Groups are actually an evolution of our long-running buddy program.
In previous years our buddy program saw classes paired together into 'buddy grades' and students matched and paired together. While this old system worked very well in some cases, we found that it lacked flexibility. For example, older students were automatically expected to be 'leaders', but not all students are always developmentally ready for this role. Also, as 'buddies' students spend all their time building a relationship with only one other person. This sort of strong 1:1 relationship is actually highly beneficial for a child just starting school, which is why we have retained this model for our Foundation and Y6 classes. But other students are ready for a more diverse experience. A key difference of care groups is that non-F/Y6 care groups are comprised of a mix of Y1s to Y5s. And rather than being matched and paired, these students are all given structured opportunities to build relationships more broadly. Rather than having set roles that a younger student/older student pairing packs them into, more students are able to experience the role of leader, expert or carer. Another benefit is that teachers can build and strengthen relationships with students across the whole school as care group members and their friends interact with their care group teachers in the yard!
In short, our aim is to foster student connectedness.
So what does it look like?
Every Tuesday at 3:00pm, all the care groups spend the rest of the school afternoon together in structured sessions that centre around special events and the Learner Profile of the week. We've made wreaths for our ANZAC Day service while learning about 'Principled', and students co-created their own Acknowledgement to Country while learning about 'Communicator', just to mention a few things. Lessons are discussed and planned by our Y6 Care Group Leaders and the SRC under the guidance of Alex Davies, so the students have a strong voice in care group activities. Additionally, the care groups model allows further opportunity by providing groups for other whole-school activities like Twilight Sports and Diversity Day.
It's been terrific watching care groups evolve this year. Students have come up with some of the best and whackiest names for their care group and some individuals have even been inspired to design logos! We're definitely very excited by the differences these small changes have made and the opportunities it presents for students at Parkhill.
We have confirmed the swimming dates and times with Huntingtower for our program in term 3. The letter will come home today. Parents are welcome to come along and watch the program and session from the balcony area at the pool, but should not be on poolside unless they are an allocated helper.
Our Y4/5 cohort will make 2 groups for swimming purposes. Mr Davies’ class will be split. Further information about your child’s group will follow.