Make this year your child’s best ever at school

By Michael Grose

A new school year means a clean slate for students. Here are 7 ideas to help you make the most of the fresh start and make this year your child’s best year ever at school


  1. Commit to your child going to school every day on time. One of the most important things you can do to ensure your child has a bright future is to make sure he or she goes to school every day – and gets there on time. Kids spend more time asleep than at school, so we need to maximise every day to get full value.


  1. Help kids start each day well. A good night’s sleep, a healthy breakfast and some words of encouragement from you will help set a positive tone for a day of learning. This may mean that you adjust your morning routine so that kids have plenty of time get up, eat and get ready for the day.


  1. Establish work & study habits. The most successful students are those that develop regular study habits that suit their lifestyle, their study style and their school’s expectations.  Find out the work expectations from your child’s or young person’s school and help them establish a work routine that matches.


  1. Make sure your child gets enough sleep. Many children and young people are sleep-deprived, which impacts on their wellbeing and their learning. A good night’s sleep consolidates learning, as well as assisting future learning. Children need between 10-12 hours of sleep each day, while teens need a minimum of nine hours. Help kids get sufficient sleep by having a regular bedtime and get-up time each day. Have a 45-minute wind-down time each night, and remove screens and mobile phones from bedrooms.


  1. Insist kids exercise. The old saying about ‘a healthy body and a healthy mind’ is so true. Exercise releases the chemicals needed for learning and wellbeing. Yet kids today get less exercise than those of past generations, which is an impediment to learning and mental health. Health professionals recommend a minimum of 60 minutes of exercise per day for kids of all ages. Encourage your child to play sport; promote free and active play and look for ways to make moving part of their daily lives.


  1. Focus on being friendly. Schools are very social places requiring kids to negotiate many different social situations each day. Yet we often only focus on academic learning. There are strong links between social success, and academic success and wellbeing. Encourage kids to be open and tolerant; to be friendly; to be sensitive to others; to be involved in plenty of activities and to be social risk-takers. These are all characteristics of socially successful kids. At the same time discourage anti-social behaviours such as over-competitiveness, self-centredness and lack of sharing.


  1. Develop self-help skills. Successful students are often well organised, self-directed and self-motivated. Personal organisation seems to come more naturally to girls than boys, however both genders benefit from coaching in this important area. You can foster organisational skills and self-direction by developing simple, age-appropriate self-help skills related to their every day lives. Such skills as making lunches, packing school bags, and organising after school schedules can be great lessons that impact on how kids perform at school.


At the start of the school year kids are likely to adopt changes than at any other time.  Make the most of the opportunity by focusing on two or three areas to really focus on and you’ll find that the rest will fall into place.

About Michael

Michael is the author of 9 parenting books, including Thriving! and the best-selling Why First Borns Rule the World and Last Borns Want to Change it.

His popular parenting columns appear in newspapers and magazines across Australia. He appears regularly on television including Channel 10’s The Project, and is a popular & entertaining speaker.

Michael has an education background and holds a Master of Educational Studies with research into what makes healthy families tick. He has conducted over 1,500 parenting seminars over the last two decades.

Michael is married with three adult children who have all successfully flown the parent nest.

Twilight Sports, School Council, The Education State

Dear Parents/Guardians –

Twilight Sport

This afternoon 4pm – 6pm, we are having our Twilight Sports / Sports Field Opening event.

The build up to the completion of this project has us all extremely excited and we are thrilled to be able to celebrate with the children and families tonight. Tuff Turf, the company who worked with us to develop the sporting field will join us in these celebrations and have donated sausages and bread for the event. We’ve also been fortunate enough to have Coles donate fruit (an offer made after their successful working bee last week). On behalf of our community, I would like to thank both organisations for their generous donations. Our canteen will be open for refreshments too. Come along and celebrate with us. Take a look at our new facility now…

Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 2.04.33 PM

In preparation for tonight, we also had the basketball courts’ line marking repainted to spruce things up. The transformation is something all the kids are talking about and I wanted to thank those parents who have supported us with paying the voluntary component of the school fees. These funds have certainly been used for maintenance throughout 2015 and will be ongoing this year. We cannot keep upgrading the facilities without parent support. On this note, a huge thank you to the Hillsmeade Fundraising Committee for purchasing the AFL and soccer goals to finish off the field.

Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 2.04.41 PM

School Council

The closing date for nominations for Parent & DET representatives on School Council was Monday 22nd February. We are not required to have a voting process this year due to the number of nominations received. Monday 21st March will be a meeting to elect office bearers.

The Education State

Victoria as ‘The Education State’ (you may have noticed this slogan on new number plates) is our government’s new vision and direction. The department has developed a new Framework for Improving Student Outcomes with six initiatives to help schools lift student achievement, wellbeing and engagement. In 2016, all schools were required to select one or two of these initiatives to focus on through our Annual Implementation Plan. Hillsmeade selected:

  • Building practice excellence
  • Setting expectations and promoting inclusion
    Our priorities to address these two areas are the development of a consistent Instructional Model for all teachers (using the same model and language) and continuing with the implementation of the KidsMatter Framework and in particular, introducing the Bounce Back program in all classrooms. Our weekly staff meetings are used for professional learning in both of these areas. Please talk to your teacher if you would like to know more.

– Deborah

New Sporting Area, VCOP, Working Bee and New Painting

Dear Parents/Guardians –

New Sporting Area

I trust you are all as excited as we are with the progress of our new sporting area. I just walked down there today to take a picture and am amazed with the transformation from the ‘Hillsmeade Lake’ to this green, even surfaced area for our children to play. We are now only days away from removing the fences.

VCOP Learning Day

Monday this week, as teachers participated in our second VCOP professional learning day, we were privileged to have 14 volunteers from the new Casey Central Coles in our school grounds. With the new store opening on the 17th March, this Coles community program offered our school an opportunity to participate in a working bee to tidy up an area of our grounds. Chloe’s Garden had a makeover with the tables re-stained, old plants removed and new plants put in. As so many volunteers were here, they also repainted our yellow poles and other areas around the school. Areas were cleaned and tidied as well. Although no publicity was requested from us, I sincerely thank Coles for putting the community into Hillsmeade PS and supporting us with our efforts to make our school a great learning environment for our children. Please see page 3 of this week’s Link for some photos.

Working Bee

To continue the excellent progress on maintaining our grounds, we are having a 2hour working bee on Sunday 20th March 9am-11am. The more volunteers we have on this day, the more we can achieve! Please consider coming along. Expertise required: planting, mulching, painting and shovelling dirt.

Every Face has a Place

If you have walked through our corridors this year, you will have noticed this beautiful artwork created by Sue Causon, one of our parents.
Working with a few of our senior children, Sue designed and painted our multi-cultural tree representing our school’s families. Please come in and have a look. It is simply FANTASTIC! I’d like to thank Sue for her creativity and commitment for doing this for our community.

Every Face has a Place
Every Face has a Place by Sue Causon

Canteen Lunch Order Bags Available Now

The canteen is now offering reusable lunch order bags for students – proceeds from the sale of these bags provides an important fundraising opportunity to keep the canteen running. See the offer below, and come to the canteen soon to order your bags and show your support!

lunch order bags

Twilight Sports Event

Please note the date of the Twilight Sports Event and Opening of the School Oval is Wednesday 24th February not Wednesday 23 February as indicated on the recent notice sent home.


School Oval, Asbestos, School Council and more

Dear Parents & Guardians –

School Oval

Our school community is abuzz with the progress of our new running track and AFL/Soccer field. Although slightly behind schedule, it is actually exciting for the children to see how the oval is being transformed. These shots are of today’s work. It won’t be long now before we’re all enjoying the new grounds. (Click here to see all the development photos.)

New oval and running track

Asbestos Inspection

The Department of Education and Training has arranged a contractor to inspect schools for asbestos which was used extensively in building materials in the past but is now banned. Asbestos is considered safe unless damaged or in poor condition. Yesterday, we had our inspection and as a result a number of portables have been labelled according to the DET’s Health and Safety Management Plan. The labels form part of a comprehensive program to ensure Victorian government schools remain safe. The DET outlines that our children’s safety is our number one priority and this is why they are taking the extra step as a precaution.

Lunch time activities

Our lunch time activities are running again this year. These include Art Club, POD play, Band, Mandarin Club, Homework Club and Choir. We are also starting a Grade 3 -6 Elective Program timetabled every second Friday (alternative to our assembly) next week. Thirty-one electives have been allocated allowing children to meet other teachers and older/younger children. We have science, Design/Craft/ICT, Gardening, Connecting with community, Performing Arts, HPV and Sport/Health options.

Older Siblings from Alkira

I would like to urge our parents to remind their older children who attend Alkira Secondary College that they should wait on the soccer oval on Monday and Thursday afternoons between 2.30pm and 3.30pm. Some of these older siblings are picking up their brother or sister to walk home or wait for their parent/s. Hillsmeade PS certainly support families with their arrangements, however we have had experiences of the older children interrupting classes, riding their bikes through the grounds when parents and little children are coming into the school and sadly, in some cases, they have verbally abused our teachers. There is an OH&S concern if children are on Hillsmeade PS grounds without the knowledge of the principal, particularly if an evacuation or lock-down occurs.

School Council Elections

The School Council election process commences today. If you would like to nominate to be on School Council, please collect a notice from the office. Should we receive more nominations than the vacant positions, an election will be required. I am looking forward to working with the newly formed School Council after the election of office bearers on Monday 21st March.