Willunga Primary School Newsletter

Term 1 Week 6

Mathematics – What happened to using vertical algorithms?

 It is tempting to just show your child how to ‘borrow’ or leave a ‘1’ at the doorstep especially if they are struggling to perform operations. It may be easier to just model a vertical algorithm BUT this can undermine the deep understanding of place value needed to work with subsequent concepts. This understanding is critical to an individuals’ ability to think multiplicatively and flexibly work with decimals, fractions and ratios later in their schooling.

Building number sense is key to developing an understanding of place value. All children need to understand that ten ‘ones’ (that’s right, ones……not units!) equals one ten and that ten ‘tens’ is one hundred. They need to be able to visualise this to work with numbers flexibly. With vertical algorithms, you never actually need to add more than 9 and 9 (which means you only need to be able to add to 18!). It also encourages children to think of all of the digits in a number as ‘ones’. Children need to understand that the 9 in 928 is 9 ‘hundreds’. We want children to be able to use the most efficient strategy when performing operations. They should not need to get a pencil and paper to work out 398 add 402. We want them to recognise the difference in the ones and simply think double 400. We also need children to understand that in the number 5702 there are 570 tens in total or you could think about the number as 5 thousands, 70 tens and 2 ones.  If you need to subtract 20 you could just think 70 tens take 2 tens….. the answer must be 5 thousands, 68 tens and 2 ones….5682.

To support your child at home here are some great online activities


Student Free Days and School Closure 2020

We are moving well ahead in 2020 with our Site Improvement Plans around maths, writing and reading.  The below Student Free Days' support this work, along with our staff meetings and Performance and Development Process.

Student Free Days for 2020 

Term 1 week 10: WEDNESDAY 1st April – Reading Comprehension with Sheena Cameron

Term 2 week 6: FRIDAY 5th June – SIP focus: High Impact Teaching

Term 3 week 8: MONDAY 7th September – Writing focus

School Closure day 2020

Term 4 week 7: FRIDAY 27th November – after Twilight Picnic 

From the Principal

We are moving swiftly through what is always a very long term, and looking forward to a few exciting upcoming events including swimming and aquatics for our junior and upper primary, and our whole school Sports Day on the last day of term.

In term 1 we also start preparing for NAPLAN, and I note that the media has already begun discussing it as a high stakes, high anxiety testing situation.  We value the information that NAPLAN provides, but don't feel it needs to cause the amount of stress the media likes to suggest.  Our students are regular users of technology and we use a wide range of online and paper assessments across the year to effectively target instruction.  We do this with the minimum of fuss and disruption to learning.  Along with this, the online NAPLAN assessment moves with the child, getting easier if they are struggling and harder if they are meeting the challenge.  This differentiation in testing means all children are able to successfully complete the assessment.

The only differences between NAPLAN and our other testing, is that NAPLAN is widely reported in the media. 

NAPLAN is important for us as it provides us with targeted funding.  That means that if students do not sit the test, we do not receive funding to support their learning needs.  If students do not sit the test, we do not get a clear picture of how the school is progressing and how effective our program implementations are. 

Please work with your child to limit the 'test anxiety'.  We are very clear that we want all children to try their best, but also ensure we manage the process with the minimum of fuss.  NAPLAN is a useful measure of school performance, but only works if all students undertake the testing.

If you would like further information around NAPLAN, please speak to a leader.

Alison Colbeck  

Western Sandpit back in action!!

Sticks, Sticks, Sticks

 Have you got any small logs or sticks laying around your house that you could donate to our nature play area? Maybe you know someone who can help, a landscaper, a gardener, an aborist or just a stick collector.

Thank You to Matt Kimmins from Fleurieu Landscape Solutions who dropped off some sticks after a job yesterday.The students were so excited with the addition of new sticks in the nature play area.

An interesting article on Nature play and why we need more sticks!



Our targeted intervention programs are back up and running for 2020.    

Phonics Fun

There are 30 students participating in this program. Students participate in 4 sessions of  half an hour each week.

Year 1 students are revising all of the letter sounds and practising  blending and segmenting 3 and 4 sound words. There is also a focus on syllables, rhyme and letter formation.

Year 2 students are focusing on the most common digraphs e.g. sh, ch, th, qu and most common long vowel sounds e.g. oa, ee, ai. They continue to practise segmenting when writing words, and undertake reading activities requiring them to match, isolate and identify the 'odd one out' when working with words.


Ten year two students are involved in the program. These students attend 3 half hour sessions per week in pairs.

Each session the students work on building number sense and fluency. They undertake a range of activities: subitising, identifying addition and subtraction facts using cards with missing facts, identify numbers by place value  (tens and ones), skip count, practise counting forwards and backwards , complete number puzzles and play a strategy number game at the end of the session.


Ten middle primary students are participating in MultiLit (Making up for Lost Time in Literacy). They attend 3 sessions of half an hour per week individually. This program focusses on building 'Word Attack Skills'. Students work through reading a range of blends for speed and accuracy when decoding.  Once a sound set is mastered they move on to the next set. Some students will also undertake a sight word component. Each session ends with a reinforced reading component. Students practise applying the skills taught on a levelled text.


Twenty year 4 and 5 students are participating in this program. These students attend 3 half hour sessions a week in pairs. During each session they work on a number of activities to develop their number fact fluency. These activities include, strategies for understanding, flash cards, speed sheets,  OZCASS  (a computer program that requires students to answer in under 2 seconds) and finally they consolidate their learning playing a number game.

Important Dates Term 1

  • 6th March - Assembly
  • 9th March - Adelaide Cup Day Public Holiday
  • 9th - 13th March - Yr 5-7 Aquatics & R-2 Swimming
  • 17th March - Governing Council 7pm, RAA Street Smart (Health lessons)
  • 24th March - Interschool Track & Field

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

Student Action Teams

We had a huge response to our Student Action Teams for 2020 with 60 students from years 3 to 7 nominating for a team.

  • The Sustainability SAT is up and running with 21 students! This is major growth from the past two years and we are very excited. The group will divide into sub-teams with an area of responsibility such as the gardens, 10c container collection, Nude Food promotion, sorting recycling / green bins.  We appreciate the support of Trevor Garrard who works with a group each week to propagate, plant and learn about local plants.
  • The Learning SAT is focussing on the schools maths goal to 'Increase the number of students attaining high bands in mathematics'. We will start by looking at ways to raise the profile and engagement in maths across the school. Over the next few weeks we will be getting classes 3-7 to undertake a whole school survey to gauge students' values, beliefs and attitudes towards mathematics. Each class will receive a survey report with recommendations.
  • The Family Engagement SAT is meeting in week 6 to set directions for the year.  Students who applied for family engagement are eager to help with tours, write newsletter articles and contribute to the promotion of the school within the community.
  • Our new Wellbeing SAT meet for the first time in week 6 and we already have a number of events and ideas to discuss and introduce to the school community. The school is registered for the National Day of Awareness against bullying and violence: NDA Bullying. No Way! This happens on Friday March 20th.   Other ideas include, a re-launch of the ‘I Include’ initiative - fresh for 2020 - and Harmony Day. We will be using the ‘Voice It’ Department for Education resource as a frame for developing student voice around wellbeing concerns. 

2020 SAT Teams

Volunteer at Willunga

Thank you to a number of new volunteers that are helping out in the canteen.  School canteens are only viable with the assistance of volunteers. 

Volunteers make an important contribution to supporting the engagement, achievement and wellbeing of all children and students. Volunteers are welcome at Willunga Primary School to help on excursions, as classroom assistants, listening to reading, helping in the library or in the school canteen.

We value volunteers at Willunga Primary and if you would like to volunteer you just need to drop in to see Carmen in the front office for a volunteer booklet. This booklet clearly shows the process and online courses that need to be undertaken.  Carmen will also arrange a meeting with Karen Matthews at a convenient time for an induction. 

A reminder that anyone on site after 9.00am, must be signed in through the Front Office and have completed the volunteer process. 

Library News


To see your child/s results at home please go to https://auhosted1.renlearn.com.au/1454824/homeconnect

User name is: first name.last name (no spaces or capitals, and only the first name of a double last name)

Password is: date of birth in the format of ddmmyyyy

Once you have logged in, you can choose to mark the option of receiving an email each time a quiz is undertaken.


Congratulations to Max S for being our first millionaire of 2020!


Judy James

Teacher Librarian

Willunga Primary School

School Sport SA News (SAPSASA)

District Team Selections

Congratulations to the following students who earned selection in the Onkaparinga District Teams!

Swimming: Noah G, Bejay T, Mika F. Carnival Thursday March 26

Cricket: Florrie H and Angus Mc, Cam B, Jack Mc, Lennon R. Carnival March 16 - 19

Interschool Athletics Carnival

Our school team will compete Tuesday March 24 at Tatachilla Lutheran College. Selections for each age group in the track and field events is currently taking place. If your child participates in athletics in the local community, was born between 2010 and 2007, leave their details at the Front Office. We are seeking volunteers to help with the selections, as well as on the day - names can be left at the Front Office.


Boys & Girls in grade 5, 6 or 7 who are aged 10 years and over at 31 Dec 2020 are invited to register for this program.

The program involves 3 stages:

1)      Try Outs – local area skill development days. Thursday April 2 @ Willunga Golf Course

2)      Stage 1 – District qualifying day @ Willunga GC, Thu 28 May 

 3)      Stage 2 – SA PSGE State Final at West Beach Parks Golf, 3 & 4 Sept

• Parents drop off and collect students from venue.

• Parents are most welcome to attend on the day and may be needed to assist students on course.

The registration form for the local try-outs is available from the Front Office. Further details available www.golf.org.au

From Mr Nair

On Monday, 24 February 2020, eight students participated in the Onkaparinga Districts Interschool Swimming Trials at the Marion Outdoor Pool. All of our swimmers participated with enthusiasm and gave of their best effort. Congratulations to Bejay T ( Freestyle, Backstroke and Butterfly), Noah G ( Breaststroke) and Mika F ( Breaststroke) who have qualified to represent  the Onkaparinga District.

Congratulations to Florrie H for making the Onkaparinga South District Girls Team in Cricket. Angus McC, Cameron B, Jack McC and Lennon Roberts also got into the District Boys Team as well. We wish all of these students that represent our school all the best and we are proud of their achievements.

Mogann Nair

Governing Council 2020

At the AGM, the 2020 Governing Council was elected and we said farewell to some 2019 office holders.  A special thanks to Don Leinfelder for his work as chairperson in 2019.  I would also like to thank Jo Allchin and Olivia Auricht for their time on Governing Council.  

 The work of the Governing Council is undertaken through the sub-committees.  Each sub-committee meets two weeks prior to Governing Council meeting. 


Finance Advisory Committee: Friday weeks 3 & 7 @ 8:00am (week 7 only in term 1)

To advise and recommend to Governing Council information regarding issues on budgetary and financial matters

Canteen/OSHC Advisory Committee: Tuesday weeks 3 & 7 @ 2pm (week 7 only in term 1)

To determine and implement policies relating to staff, financial and facilities management for the Out of School Hours Care service and canteen services.

Learning Connect Committee: Thursday weeks 2 & 6 @ 9am (week 6 only term 1)

Connect our families to the learning priorities of the school

Grounds Committee: Tuesday weeks 3 & 7 @ 9:00am (week 7 only term 1)

If you are interested in joining a committee, or have an idea of something that could be discussed, please send an email to the front office.

House Captians

Sue Camac - Pastoral Support News

On the 23rd of February a number of the staff joined in the Judith’s Walk in Willunga to raise money for Ovarian Cancer.  It was great to support this cause and was an enjoyable morning chatting along the Shiraz Trail. Book your diaries ahead for next years’ walk February 28th 2021. 


“I have spent many days stringing and unstringing my instrument while the song I came to sing remains unsung.”

-Rabindranath Tagore

I’m sure everyone would relate to that quote.  Life gets so busy we can let the so called urgent things crowd out important things.  What is your ‘instrument’ you haven’t been playing lately?  Is it a craft or a hobby? Catching up  with a friend or family member? Taking walks on the beach? Reading a book? Maybe even playing a literal instrument!??

Remember -We are Human BEINGS not Human DOINGS!


Parent Morning Tea is on every Tuesday!

Come to the OSHC room after dropping off your children for a coffee and a chat.  This is a great time for parents to connect and get to know each other.

Can you help?

Our mud kitchen for the R-2 students would benefit from some more donations of old kitchen equipment and utensils!

The free range nature play space is well utitlised and it is time to add some more elements:

  • branches with leaves
  • pine cones
  • feathers
  • gum nuts, seed pods
  • log rounds

Donated items can be left at the Front Office to be placed in the appropriate area. 

Book Club Orders

Finance News

SCHOOL CARD:  Applications for those who believe they are eligible for the School Card Scheme are available at the Finance Office or can be completed online www.sa.gov.au

SCHOOL FEES:  Thank you to all families who have completed payment of School Fees for 2020.  There is a variety of payment methods available; Cash or Cheque; Eftpos (Visa/Mastercard) or Savings, Direct Deposit or via the QKR APP.

Upcoming Excursions:

  • Year R-2 Swimming: 10th – 13th March 2020
  • Year 5/6/7 Aquatics : 10th – 13th March 2020
  • 23B & C Zoo Excursion: Monday March 16 2020

Dog Safety around school

  • Never touch a dog that is unknown to you.
  • Even if you know the dog, always ask permission from an adult you know to see if it is ok to ask the handler if you can pet their dog.
  • Even when you have permission, do not invade the dog’s body space.  Allow the dog to come up to you and sniff your closed fist (palm down, knuckles facing the dog).  If the dog does not want to come and greet you, respect that decision and leave him alone.  Do not approach a dog from behind or pet a dog directly on the top of his head.  The back or side is the best place to pet.  If the dog moves away while being petted he has probably decided that he has had enough so allow him to have space and do not follow.
  • Never stare at a dog and never put your face close to a dog’s face.  Remember to look at the dog briefly and then look away, look and look away.  These are calming signals which tell the dog that you are no threat.
  • Do not tease a dog.
  • Do not touch a dog that has been tied up or left at the end of a chain in a yard, outside a school, store or behind a fence.
  • 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

    OSHC News

    New enrolments

    We have put together a new family information pack containing the OSHC Family booklet with all our details, enrolment and booking forms, also medical/dietary forms and more. If you wish to enrol your child into OSHC, you can pick up one of these packs from the OSHC room.

    If you are currently using the OSHC service and have not yet updated your enrolment and booking forms for 2020, please pick up a copy from the OSHC room. Please include any updated medical/dietary plans as this is a yearly requirement.

    We are open on the student free day which is coming up on Wednesday 1/4/20. If you require care for this day, please send us a text on 0438761656 or write your child's name on the list in the OSHC room.

    OSHC is looking for donations of old newspapers for our art and craft activities. If you have any please drop them off at the OSHC room.

    Belinda Filkin, Director

    Thank You

    Thank you to Peats Soil who kindly donated 10 bags of cow manure that is being used in our vegetable garden. Students in Health lessons have used the cow manure to help improve the soil in our raised garden beds ready for newly planted seedlings.

    We are also seeking donations of large garden forks (digging forks), secateurs, excess seedlings or seeds for our garden. Please see Hayley or Carmen.

    Sweet Treats Stall

    Thank you to Cerys, Sienna and Maddie with their fundraising stall held at the Open Night. Their Sweet Treats stall raised $150 for Kangaroo Island Wildlife.

     Well done girls!


    Playgroup is run every Wednesday 9:15am to 11:15am in the OSHC building.

    Playgroup provides a safe, inclusive, welcoming, caring and supportive environment and encourages social interaction between children through various play based experiences.

    Willunga Primary School Playgroup welcomes anyone with children ages 0-5 years.

    More information is available at the front office or via the Playgroup Coordinator, Janet Steegh.

    Playgroup Photos

    Year 3 and 4 Swimming

    Swimming was lots of fun, I learnt how to do backstroke. My favourite activity was going on the boat. - Ryder

    We got to build a cool raft out of boards and rings. Cleo

    Noah and I had a race and I won! Bejay

    Bejay and I had a race and I won! Noah

    The obstacle course was fun, it was the first time I did it. Jax

    I like making the raft and falling off it! Lexi

    Term 1 Planner

    Community Notices