End of Term 1 Update

Well here we are at the end of term 1 for 2016. It has been a short term and we are in for an 11 week term when we return. It is important therefore that we take the time to rest and refresh as we head into the winter months. I hope you all have a lovely Easter break and spend quality family time together.

New School Council

Congratulations to our new School Council office bearers for 2016:

  • President Stewart Johnson
  • Vice President Corey Fleming
  • Treasurer Brooke Gniel
  • Minute Taker Jodie Bray.

We will be hosting a Parent Information Session early next term to share the Annual Report with our school community.

Farewell Sharon Whiting

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.18.03 PMTomorrow afternoon, staff will farewell Sharon Whiting, our Business Manager. Sharon is retiring from the Department of Education after over 30 years of dedicated service. Many of our past and present parents/guardians have had conversations with Sharon and have valued her professional, calm and respectful approach. On behalf of the Hillsmeade community, I would like to wish Sharon well in retirement.

Progressive Choir

Last Thursday, the Progressive Choir were invited to sing at the opening of Coles, Casey Central. Mrs Scott and I walked the School Captains and the members of the choir down to the shopping centre where we were involved in the opening ceremony. The Choir sang the National Anthem before performing a number of songs as community members came through the doors. I was asked to cut the ribbon with our School Captains, Stefanie and Joel. It was a great community event and fantastic that Hillsmeade Primary was asked to be involved.

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Working Bee

We held a working bee on Sunday 9am to plant donated plants into the recently developed garden beds around the portable classrooms. Thank you to all families and staff members who participated in this project.

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Parent Helpers Session

Today 15 parents attended our third Parent Helpers session. It is exciting for us to know that our parents are willing to learn more about how to support children with their reading and then volunteer some time to listen to the kids read. We’ve also set up processes in the classroom to ensure that our volunteers have Working with Children Checks and sign in and out each time they are here to support us. This is a DET requirement and we thank all parents for following the policy and processes.

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If you are travelling for the break, please do so safely. We look forward to students returning to school on Monday 11th April.


Parents Building Solutions

ARE YOU TIRED OF YELLING? How to get kids to listen, without having to yell

DEALING WITH ANGER Helping parents, helping kids deal with anger and frustration

TECHNOLOGY AND OUR KIDS When to limit it, and how?

STRATEGIES THAT WORK How can parenting be easier, and more fun!

DATES: Tuesday’s 26th April to 31st May 2016 (6 weeks)

TIME: 6.45pm – 9pm

VENUE: Lynbrook Community Centre 2 Harris Street, Lynbrook

WHO: Parents, grandparents, step-parents or carers

COST: FREE – Bookings are essential


Sandra Phillips at Parentzone 03 5945 2000 or 0447 500 355 sandra.phillips@anglicarevic.org.au

click here for a brochure

Parents Building Solutions term 2- Lynbrook (2)


Multicultural Day This Week

Hillsmeade Multicultural Day is on Thursday 24th March 2016.

We invite students and teachers to wear traditional clothing which reflects their family background/identity or the colours in their national flag.

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Action against Bullying, Swimming Team, School Council & Final Week of Term

Dear Parents/Guardians –

National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence

With the 2016 National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence coming up on Friday 18th March, Hillsmeade PS is taking a stand and showing our support by tying orange ribbons on our front fence this week. If parents would like to show their support for this very worthwhile cause, please call into the office, collect an orange ribbon and add it to our collection. Ribbons will be available Thursday and Friday.

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Hillsmeade Swimming Team

On Friday the 19th of February approximately fifty grade 4/5/6 students competed to create a District Hillsmeade Swimming Team. Thanks to an extremely supportive parent community this event ran beautifully. District trials were held at Doveton Swimming pool with three students successful in making it to the next round. Congratulations to Charlotte Lawrie, Isla Lewis and Kira Emery for representing the school in the divisional swimming finals. They were held at Noble Park Aquatic Centre on Wednesday the 9th of March. Everyone placed with Kira also securing a position in the Regional final which will be held at MSAC on the last day of school. Good luck Kira, and thank-you very much to everyone who participated. (by Kate Pollock)

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School Council

School Council will hold their AGM on Monday 21st at 7.30pm where the President, Vice President and Treasurer will be elected. Unfortunately the Annual Report template has not been made available by the DET for completion and will not be presented. When developed, School Council will hold a parent information session to present the report. The normal council meeting will follow the AGM on Monday night. We will also be undertaking a Strategic Planning professional learning session on Thursday 28th April to support us with our school review this year.

Final Week of Term

Next week is the final week of term 1. We all knew it was a short term (only 8 1?2 weeks), but it has simply flown by. Don’t forget the big Easter Raffle draw will be held on Thursday 24th and prizes will be handed out the 1.45pm assembly. We finish school at 2.30pm on this day.

– Deborah

Social skills for children

Michael Grose Director Parentingideas 2016


Social skills for children


By Michael Grose


School brings different types of learning, including social interactions and how to make friends. Parents can lay the foundations at home by teaching their kids these 7 important social skills.


Children who are able to form friendships when they start school are happier at school and also learn better.


More significantly, positive friendships have long-term implications for social and indirectly academic success.


Friendships skills are generally developmental, but they don’t develop in isolation. Kids acquire these skills when they play with their siblings and interact with children and adults outside their family.


Today’s children grow up with fewer siblings, fewer opportunities for unstructured play and less freedom to explore friendships than children of even ten years ago.


Parents can help kids develop important social competencies by teaching them sociable behaviours at home, being good role models and providing opportunities for kids to play with each other in a variety of situations.


Here are 7 important social skills to help children to develop:


  1. Ask for what you want

Help children ask for what they want. It means they don’t throw tantrums, whinge, and sulk or expect parents to guess what’s on their minds. While we need to be patient with toddlers, we need also to give older children the chance and opportunity to ask for what they want. Sometimes we need to ignore shrugs and grunts and expect them to articulate their wishes. This is the basis of civil behaviour, as well as a basic human skill.


  1. Good manners

Teach kids good manners, in particular the three ‘power words’. These words are very persuasive because they have a way of breaking down barriers and people’s defences. These three words are: your name; please; thanks. These terms are the basis of good manners, and, when used, will increase the likelihood of getting what you want.


  1. Sharing

Sharing is a basic social skill. Developmentally, very young children like to keep their possessions themselves. As they get older and move into Pre School and beyond the notion of sharing becomes a pre-requisite for playing with and forming relationships with others.  Other children like to play and be with those who share their time, possessions and space with them. Sharing is the start of empathy as it shows sensitivity to other people’s feelings.


  1. Holding a conversation

Holding conversations with others is a lifetime friendship skill. Conversations require self-disclosure, which can be challenging for some children. Good conversationalists give of themselves, but also take an interest in the person they are talking to. Many children forget that good conversations are two-way events, and tend to focus solely on themselves.


Children within conversations need to learn to ask good or interesting questions; to take turns when speaking and to show you are listening by making eye contact and not interrupting.


  1. Winning and losing well

Kids need to learn to win without rubbing others noses in it, and lose gracefully without throwing tantrums and making excuses. Wanting to win is natural, but they need to do so in a way that they maintain a relationship with other players so they will play again. Losing may make kids feel bad, but kids need to control their negative feelings so that others will play with them again.


  1. Approaching and joining a group

The ability to approach strangers in social situations is valuable skill that opens up many doors, both friendship–wise and business-wise. These skills can be learned and practised during childhood, so that it becomes second nature in adulthood.


  1. Handling fights and disagreements

Disagreements happen in families and among friends. The key is to make sure disagreements don’t lead to the breakdown of friendships. It’s important to get across to kids that having an argument or disagreement doesn’t mean that a friendship is over. Strong friendships, like strong family relationships, withstand disagreements. In fact, they only serve to strengthen friendships.


The results of a number of studies indicate that children can be taught friendships skills. The strategies are simple and revolve around teaching children a range of friendly behaviours such as: talking with others while playing, showing an interest in others, smiling, offering help and encouragement when needed, a willingness to share and learning how to enter a game or social situation.


As parents we often focus on the development of children’s academic skills and quite easily neglect the development of important social skills, which contribute so much to children’s happiness and wellbeing.


KidsMatter Framework

KidsMatter Primary is a flexible, whole-school approach to improving children’s mental health and wellbeing for primary schools. It can be tailored to schools’ local needs.

Through KidsMatter Primary, schools undertake a two-to three-year cyclical process in which they plan and take action to be a positive community; one that is founded on respectful relationships and a sense of belonging and inclusion,  and that promotes:

  • social and emotional learning (including evidence-based social and emotional learning programs)
  • working authentically with parents, carers and families
  • support for students who may be experiencing mental health difficulties.

When schools take on KidsMatter, they build on the work that they are already doing in these areas.

Every Face has a Place
Every Face has a Place

The KidsMatter Primary journey is about school improvement. Just as school communities are continually reinventing and renewing themselves as new staff, students and families move through; KidsMatter is also a cyclical process of improvement and renewal. It will take between 18 months and 3 years to complete the first cycle.

Before the journey begins it is important that schools have a shared vision, and the active support of the principal, staff and parents. The school then works through the core components in a planned, strategic way, with a whole school approach.  To make this journey purposeful, KidsMatter identifies a number of target areas from the core components. These are:

  • A school community that promotes mental health and wellbeing
  • Respectful relationships, belonging and inclusion
  • Effective social and emotional learning curriculum for all students
  • Opportunities for students to practice and transfer their social and emotional skills
  • Collaborative working relationships with parents and carers
  • Support for parenting
  • Parent and carer support networks
  • Understanding mental health difficulties and improving help-seeking
  • Responding to students experiencing mental health difficulties.

As part of the kidsmatter framework we are beginning to implement a social and emotional learning curriculum from Kindergarten to grade six called Bounce Back. Bounce Back is an evidence based wellbeing and resilience program.

National Young Leaders Day, Berwick Show & Professional Learning

Dear Parents/Guardians –

National Young Leaders Day

As Jodie wrote in last week’s edition of the Link, Mr Moore and I went to the National Young Leaders’ Day with our 20 grade 6 student leaders. The theme for the day was ‘Master the Little’ with presenters who spoke about how doing little things can lead to greater opportunities. It was an inspirational day for the 4,000 participants seated in the convention centre. The student leaders will be reporting back to our school community at this Friday’s assembly.

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Berwick Show

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 3.25.22 PMOur students showcased their artist talents at the Berwick Show recently and received an Encouragement Ribbon. Here is the proud principal standing in front of the display. I hope families went along and saw the display also. Thank you to the children and Ms Elliott for entering artwork into the local show.

Professional Learning

All teachers are involved in a professional learning series on Tuesday afternoons focusing on the development of a whole-school, consistent evidence-based instructional model to be used in all classrooms. An instructional model supports the development of a shared language about teacher practice, supports teachers to reflect and identify professional learning needs and engages and motivates teachers to consider how their teaching practice can best support student learning.

At yesterday’s session, teachers did a self-assessment against 7 classroom techniques based on “Effective Schools Model: ‘Purposeful Teaching’, Principles of Learning and Teaching (PoLT), DEECD e5 model, elements from the Performance and Development Culture. These are:

  • Positive relationships,
  • Protocols for teaching,
  • Knowledge of content,
  • How students learn,
  • Explicit teaching,
  • High expectations and
  • Feedback & reflection.

The self-assessment rating scale (not using, beginning, developing, applying and innovating) was used. These types of activities provide leadership with identifying what professional learning our teachers need to improve their teaching practice.

– Deborah