Scarborough Primary School Newsletter - The Link

Issue 17 – 26 October 2018


We are well into the term now and enjoying the buzz that comes with Term 4 activity. One exciting project that we are introducing to our school is the introduction of our latest staff member, Wilson. Wilson is a therapy dog and will begin to work in our school during this term with a view to him being around more frequently in 2019. This is a fantastic opportunity for our school community and huge thanks goes to Crystal Timmcke, Wilson's owner, who has readily agreed to volunteer her time to help Wilson settle in. Below I have included further details, for your information.

Today our choir spent time giving back to our local community with a visit to a local aged care centre. I was very proud to hear how well they represented our school and I know that their efforts and voices were appreciated by the residents. Thanks to Ms Speelman for organising such a positive experience.

Upholding our Values

In our mini assembly this week (students only), we recognised the efforts of students across the school who regularly demonstrate our school values in action: Be Respectful, Show Commitment and Be Responsible. I am pleased to celebrate the efforts of the following students:

  • Marley for his commitment to learning and positive approach to challenges
  • Zoe for the respect she pays to others in the way she speaks and the encouragement she offers
  • Juan for showing responsibility at recess by guiding others to follow rules in games so that all can enjoy them fairly

Therapy Dog at Scarborough Primary School - FAQs

What are therapy dogs?

Therapy dogs are not service dogs. Service dogs focus on their owner to the exclusion of all else.  The role of the therapy dog is to react and respond to people and their environment, under the guidance and direction of their owner/supervisor. For example, an individual might be encouraged to gently pat or talk to a dog to teach sensitive touch and to help them be calm.

Why have a therapy dog in a school environment?

Extensive research points to the benefits of such a program for all involved. The human-animal bond can impact people and animals in positive ways; therapy dogs can reduce stress physiologically (cortisol levels) and increase attachment responses that trigger oxytocin – a hormone linked to trust building. It is widely documented that, in order for children to learn, physiological and psychological needs (security, safety, relationships) must be met first. Therapy dogs can assist with meeting these needs.


Our complete focus for this program is on the benefit that such a resource has on our students. This includes, but is not limited to:

  •           Assisting students who lack confidence with reading and writing
  •           Assisting students with socialising, relaxation and communication
  •          Providing sensory stimulation to those who need it, particularly when working on behaviour goals
  •       Providing a non-judgemental ‘listening ear’ and acceptance of the students
  •          Helping students to gain awareness of pro-social behaviour in regards to treating others respectfully and considering their needs

The therapy dog will be involved with individual, small group, class and whole school activities, identified to be of benefit to students as well as respecting the needs of the dog.

What about students with allergies to dogs?

Pet allergy sufferers are sensitive to a protein called Can F1, which is found in a dog’s dander (dead skin flakes), saliva and other secretions.  All dogs have dander, but some breeds produce fewer allergens or shed less, including poodles. Wilson is a poodle.

No child will be expected to make contact with the dog unless they want to do so.

What about students who have a fear of dogs?

No student will be expected to come close to the dog if they do not feel comfortable. It is worth coming to have a conversation with Erica about any existing fears.

Therapy dogs can often be used as a good way to work on addressing fears, particularly as we have such a structured way for students to approach and interact with the dog.

It seems very risky to have a dog in school. What if someone (or the dog) gets hurt?

There certainly are risks involved in bringing an animal into school. We have worked hard to complete a thorough risk assessment and have liaised with other schools that have similar programs to ensure we mitigate risks as much as possible.  Our therapy dog has undergone training specifically designed to teach him how to interact in a non-home environment with people unknown to him.

The therapy dog will never be unattended whilst at school, and students will learn the safe way to approach him, how to read dog body language and to respect when the dog needs to be left alone.

Why are we getting a therapy dog now?

There is a growing bank of research that shows a strong connection between the presence of animals and improved academic, social, emotional and behavioural outcomes for students. We have recently been given the opportunity to work with a therapy dog and his owner, both of whom are willing to come and be part of the Scarborough PS community. A second dog has been identified for training that will hopefully be joining us once ready.

Will every student get to interact with the dog?

Student s will be taught the etiquette for approaching the therapy dog, which will be out and about in the playground at recess and lunchtime, when in school. In negotiation with staff, and taking into account student and dog needs, our therapy dog may well be entering the classrooms during learning time to listen to readers, help build confidence with public speaking etc.

Some students will access the therapy dog on an individual or small group basis, as needed.

Who will look after the dog?

Wilson, our first therapy dog, will initially come into school with his owner, Crystal Timmcke. Crystal is a qualified counsellor and therapy dog handler. As with all of our volunteers, Crystal has a Working with Children card and has also signed a Confidential Declaration. Once Wilson is used to the environment and is trained to work with Erica Salt, he will spend his time with her. Wilson will only be in school for short sessions throughout the week, as negotiated between the owner and school.

What if my child becomes too attached to the dog?

Forming an attachment with an animal has huge mental health benefits. Our therapy dog will only be in school for short periods of time throughout the week but will hopefully be available for all students who are interested in interacting with him. By not being in school all the time, there will not be an expectation among the students that he is always around.

Experiencing the presence of a dog at school opens up many conversations around respect for animals, how to approach unknown animals and how to care for an animal.

Therapy Dog Meet and Greet


October 31, 2018 8:50 AM to October 31, 2018 9:15 AM


Scarborough Primary School Library

More information

An opportunity for our parents to come and meet Wilson and his owner, Crystal. Crystal will be able to answer your questions about Wilson and his role at our school. If you are unable to attend but have questions, please contact Erica Salt on

We ask that no students attend this session as we will be teaching them specific etiquette for approaching and petting the dog at a later point. There will be plenty of opportunities for interaction with students as we introduce Wilson to each aspect of our school environment.

School Uniforms

Just a reminder for parents to please ensure that their children are sent to school in their school uniform, including their wide brimmed school hat and green jumper/jacket.  Having the correct hat is especially important at this time of the year as the weather heats up. 

Surf Lessons

We had a great start to our surfing lessons this morning down at Trigg. The sun was out and the small swell was perfect for those students getting back into the surf again as well as for those who were surfing for the first time. Everyone's paddling skills were put to the test with a pretty reasonable current pushing North. It was fantastic to see all of the students with smiles on their faces, having a go, as well as some of the more experienced surfers looking out for their peers. Well done Scarborough Primary SurfGroms!

Mrs Bell - Deputy Principal

In the holidays just gone, I met with several hundred other school chaplains from around WA for our annual YouthCARE conference. Traditionally we’ve had a number of keynote speakers throughout the week and this time the WA Police Commisioner, Chris Dawson, came along and shared with us. It was a privilege to hear some of his story. One of the things he spoke about that really stayed with me was the observation that we are a product of our priorities. It prompted conversation about the range of priorities we might share. Another way of thinking about priorities is maybe as values - the things we cherish and want to [and choose to] put our time and energy into. Things like family, leisure, spirituality, work, safety, relationships, money, creativity and more. It was an interesting reflection and afterwards I did a little exercise to explore what my own priorities are, and how they inform the life that I live. I found that it was a pretty great thing to do and if you can set aside a few minutes of time, I’d encourage you to give it a go.

A while ago I used to think that there would be these big and clear moments that would mark my life and maybe change its direction from time to time. Now, I wonder if life is coloured not so much by the bigger moments and decisions, but the small every-day things that we choose to put our energy into. Like bending down to pick up a fistful of beach sand or laughing with a friend. The author and poet Annie Dillard says it this way: ‘How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.’

Will - School Chaplain

Clearer Communication - Is your message getting through?

Do you sometimes feel like you are repeating yourself? Or that people don’t listen?

Communication is an art and it is the basis of people working together to achieve their goals such as making sure parents and teachers do the best for our children. It is an essential element that leads to better outcomes for our children. Mind Matters have found that: “the benefits of home-school partnerships are apparent, with research consistently finding that teacher and family relationships are important for young people’s social and emotional wellbeing and academic achievement (Desforges & Aboucher, 2003).

Strength Heroes invite you to Clearer Communication - Is your message getting through? session at Scarborough Primary School. Join us in the library from 6 .30 - 8pm on 8 November.

In this highly interactive workshop we will give you tips and tricks to making sure your message gets through. You will also identify your communication style and those common communication mistakes that you may be making and how you can avoid them.

We promise to keep it short, sharp and to the point, just like good communication! This the same session we presented to teaching staff at Scarborough. It’s a free event and will give you life skills you will use every day.

We are challenging you to bring as many friends to this event. Bring a friend and you will go into the draw for a door prize to be drawn on the night. Just make sure we know you brought a friend.

Register for the event via the link below.

Skoolbag is the Mobile App we use at Scarborough Primary School and it has been redesigned. It has all the features of the previous version, however a few things have been moved around for an improved experience. 

Everyone will need to download the new app but for existing Skoolbag account holders you can use the same email and password to login. Follow the instructions below.

Skoolbag Instructions


P&C News

Mangoes are still available. Order your 10 kg box of healthy and delicious Mangoes direct from Jabiru Mangoes for $40.00. They are grown in the beautiful Ord River region in WA, known for it’s plentiful sunshine and water. Jabiru mangoes are pesticide free and picked and packed by hand for you. $10.00 from each box sold will earn money for our school. Click on the link below for more information and to place an order. Delivery will be to the school between October and December.    

 Mango Order Form

Food Truck' N Fun Night

Hello Beautiful Scarborough Peeps.

Our Food Truck and Fun Night is a month away and we'd love some helpers to join us in making the night a successful one.

Our Sign Up Link for Food Truck and Fun Volunteers has a whole list of activities that you can help out in. 

Click on the link, check it out and pop your details in where you'd like to volunteer.

There's plenty to do, from mailbox dropping a couple of weeks before the event, to facilitating a few games on the night, to jumping behind the bar.  We're going to gloss over the jobs of doing toilet checks and bin duty- but they're in there if you're keen to take one for the team!

If you don't know many families at school then you will after a volunteer shift. And if you hadn't noticed, they're a pretty fantastic bunch - you'll fit right in!

Any questions, call Irene 0402 491 490 she loves a chat.

Scarborough Primary School

Address: 60 Hinderwell Street, Scarborough WA, Australia 

Phone: 08) 9341 1202