Bedtime Stories, Monash Science, Mandarin Night & more

What a busy few weeks we have had. I have enjoyed my time keeping Ms Harry’s seat warm, but look forward to her returning to school on Monday the 30th of May.

Bedtime stories

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 7.38.26 PMA huge thank you to families and teachers who battled the wind and rain to attend the Bedtime Stories event last Thursday. It was wonderful to see students, siblings, parents and teachers in their PJs and listening to fantastic stories.

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Monash Science Visits

This week we had Monash University Science pre-service teachers come in to deliver Science lessons to grades Prep – 6. The students demonstrated interest, curiosity and wonder throughout the lessons and provided valuable teaching opportunity for the pre-service teachers. Hillsmeade continues to value our strong partnership with Monash University and the opportunities provided for our students through this partnership.

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Division Cross Country

On Thursday the 3rd of June 12 students will be representing our school at the Division Cross Country event to be held at Casey Fields. We wish the following students the best of luck for the event: Holly Van Der Loop, Krystal Hayes, Matthew Nelson, Joel McConchie, Ella Ryan, Kira Emery, Jess Catheray, Alisha Kennedy, Kur Maler, Matt Pollard, Jack Cornish and Logan Klat.

Mandarin Event

Just a reminder that on Tuesday the 31st of May we will host our first Mandarin Community Event. The event begins at 4pm and concludes at 5:45pm. Please come along to participate in activities and see the wonderful work our students from grades Prep – 6 have been engaged in.

Parent Engagement

There is strong research around the importance of parent engagement in education. When you are positively engaged in your child’s education, they are more likely to attend and perform better at school. The Australian Government has released a free app that assists parents with useful tips and inspiring ways to be more involved in their child’s learning. Visit the website to learn more.

How can you help your child do well at school?

  • Have high yet achievable expectations of your child,
  • Talk regularly about school and the value of learning,
  • Encourage positive attitudes and respect for school and teachers, and
  • Model the behaviours you would like to see in your child.

Other things you can do which have also been shown to have a positive impact are to:

  • Read out loud with your child and listen to your child read out loud,
  • Talk and ask about what they are learning,
  • Ask what was and was not fun at school, and
  • Help them to develop strong work habits.

One of the most effective ways parents and families can help children to do better at school is to make sure they go to school every day. School attendance has a major influence on educational outcomes. Students who attend school regularly are more likely to achieve better results at school and are more likely to complete their schooling.

– Jodie (Acting Principal)

Working With Children Checks

Dear Parents /Guardians

Here at Hillsmeade Primary School we like to provide an open and friendly learning environment which values and encourages parent and community volunteers to our school.  We also recognise that the school has legal obligations to comply with, including its duty of care to its staff and students to provide a safe and secure environment at all times.

To comply with this School Council has requested that all parent volunteers (including parents who hear children reading) have a current Working with Children Check.  Below is what is required to apply for this check if you don’t already have one. It is a simple process which is done online then lodged at a post office. It does not cost anything for a ‘volunteers’ Working with Children check, but you may need to purchase a passport photo if you don’t have one!  When you receive your card you need to bring it to the school office for photocopying and your name can be added to our registry.  If you already have a card but it has not been recorded at the office please bring it in the next time you are in the school.

If anyone would like any assistance with the application please contact the school or let your child’s class teacher know and a time will be arranged to help.

It is also necessary for all volunteers to follow the schools check in/out requirements outlined below so everyone can be accounted for if there is an emergency evacuation/lockdown.

Volunteers are required to sign the ‘Visitors’ book and will be assigned a ‘Visitors’ badge which they must wear at all times within the school. Similarly, they are required to report to the School Administration at the end of their visit to return their badge and to ‘sign out’ in the Visitors book.

Parents who regularly volunteer to hear reading in classrooms will not be required to sign in at the front office, but will sign in at the classroom as part of our Emergency Management Plan and be assigned a ‘Visitors’ badge which they must wear at all times within the school.

We would love you to continue participating in school activities and supporting our teaching programs so we encourage everyone to complete the Working with Children check and follow our check in/out procedures to enable you to be invited to do so.

Yours sincerely,

Deborah Harry (Principal)
Stewart Johnson (School Council President)         

How to get a Working With Children Check

The application is completed online:

If you need assistance we can support you by doing it with you here at school.  It does not cost anything for a volunteer to apply but you may need to get a passport quality photo (if you do not have a current one you can use) and this will cost.

What you will need to fill in the online application form

To complete the form you must have:

  • an email address, so we can contact you about your application
  • the address of every place you have lived in the last 5 years in Australia
  • the name, postal address and phone number in Australia for each organisation you will be doing paid or volunteer child-related work for
  • a printer that will print a legible copy of the Application summary. If you need help with this please ask.

After filling in the online form, finalise your application at a participating Australia Post retail outlet, by presenting your Application summary, proof of identity documents and a passport quality photo.

Minister Visit, Bedtime Stories, Monash Science Visits and more

Dear Parents & Guardians –

Jenny Mikakos Visit

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 9.02.21 AMOn Friday afternoon at the Early Learning Centre (ELC) we were lucky enough to have the Minister for Families and Children, Jenny Mikakos and local member for Narre Warren South Judith Graley MP present to open the 2016 -17 major grants round for the Children’s Facilities Capital Program. This announcement forms part of the Victorian Budget 2016/17 which will provide $10 million to fund major capital projects for kinders and children’s centres in Victoria.
Congratulations to our School Captains Joel Vigilante and Stefanie Stan who led our guests on a tour of the ELC and who represented our school with confidence.Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 9.02.12 AM

Bedtime stories

Just a reminder that this Thursday the 19th of May is our annual Bedtime Stories night. It would be wonderful to see as many students and families in attendance and in their PJs to listen to some favourite picture book stories. This event will be taking place in the Junior classrooms, so please enter through the main building. Bedtime Stories begins at 5:30pm and concludes at 6:30pm. I look forward to seeing you there.

Monash Science Visits

On Monday the 23rd and Tuesday the 24th of May we are lucky enough to again have over 50 Monash pre-service teachers coming in to conduct science lessons for all classes Prep – 6. These lessons will be aligned to the current curriculum focus in the year levels and are sure to be a big hit. Hillsmeade continues to value our strong partnership with Monash University.

Staff Professional Learning

Over the next few weeks teachers will be enaged in a series of ICT professional learning sessions which focus on:
-IPAD 101. How to best use these new devices within our teaching and learning programs to meet the needs of all learners? Teachers will also be exploring APPs which complement the teaching and learning needs of the class.

– Using Excel. Staff will be completing sessions investigating the use of formulas in spreadsheets to assist in tracking and using data to inform teaching and learning.

Curriculum Day

Just a reminder that there is a Curriculum Day this Friday the 20th of May. No students are required on this day.

– Jodie (Acting Principal)

The secret to raising happy, confident kids

By Michael Grose

Despite what you may think, the fundamental job of the parent has not changed since the dawn of time. And it’s never too early to start.

The first habit from Stephen Covey’s wonderful book The 7 habits of highly effective people states that we should start every project or undertaking with the end in mind.

This principle holds true for any activity whether it’s planting a vegie patch, renovating a house or raising children. When you know what you are trying to achieve then choosing the right strategies becomes easy.

The end game or goal for parents is redundancy. Yep, you read it right. Your job is to make yourself redundant as a parent from your child’s earliest possible age. It always has been and always should be.

When redundancy is your aim most of your time, effort and energy will go into promoting independence. You’ll stop doing things for kids and start giving them opportunities to do things themselves. You’ll spend most of your active parenting time teaching, explaining and prodding your child toward independence.

Independence leads to the 4 Cs

When independence becomes your priority, suddenly will reveal a pathway to the development of other positive qualities and traits in your children. These include the key four: confidence, competence, creativity and character. Here’s how:

Confidence comes from facing your fears and doing things for yourself.

Competence comes from the opportunity to develop self-mastery that independence offers.

Creativity is developed when kids solve problems themselves as opposed to someone solving them on their behalf or, worse, sheltering them from any risk of harm. It’s amazing how resourceful kids can be when they are given the chance to resolve their own problems.

Character, which is essential for success, is forged under hardship and is needed if kids are to live a sturdy life. Kids need to be exposed to disappointment, failure and conflict if character strengths such as grit and perseverance are to be forged.

Independence takes many forms

Independence has many guises and can be developed in many ways, though in the end it is adults who are the gatekeepers for their children’s independence.

On a basic level developing independence is about developing children’s autonomy. Without realising it, many parents make choices on their children’s behalf. Kids build self-confidence when they do things for themselves, and make their own decisions.

Independence is built when children spend time in unpredictable circumstances and environments such as the bush, and also have the opportunity to navigate their neighbourhoods on their own. There may be some risk involved but that is where the learning lies. Eliminate the risk and you eliminate the learning.

Allowing kids to follow their own impulses even if they are different to your own is the key to gaining independence. This may mean that your children choose healthy interests and pursuits that you are unfamiliar with, or even swim against the tide of your wishes.

Allowing kids to take responsibility and own their own problems builds confidence and competence. Start by expecting kids to help at home. Look for ways to develop self-help skills and don’t take their problems on as your problems.

Manage visually

When your end game is redundancy and your priority is independence building then managing your kids in a visual way becomes your most obvious strategy. Management by mouth, in contrast, is a dependency strategy. So talk less, use signs, lists and rosters backed up by consequences to develop independence and responsibility in your children.

Create junior versions of independence

It can be scary and also difficult developing independence in one big step. So smart parents intuitively develop junior versions of independence by breaking up big activities into digestible bits. Want your three-year-old to make the bed? Then start by arranging the teddies and the pillows (a junior version of making the bed) and let them work their way up from there. Similarly, if you want your five-year-old to walk to school on his own but it’s currently beyond him, then accompany him most of the way and let him walk the last 200 metres on his own. That’s a junior version of walking to school.

In all the noise and commotion about raising kids today it’s easy to forget that the job description for parents hasn’t changed since the dawn of time. Love them, bond with them, teach them and spend time with them. But also work like mad to develop their real independence so they become capable of handling what life will throw their way.

Then you’ll know your job as a parent is done! It doesn’t mean you won’t stop worrying about them … that’s a story for another time. But it does mean you’ve finished the main task of parenting, that is, to make yourself redundant at the earliest possible age.