It was lovely to welcome everyone back to school last week for the commencement of Term Two. While the children were on holidays the staff at St John’s were very busy. The facilities were enhanced; the new Kindergarten playground was completed and a storage area constructed for our large Chess sets, plus a number of teachers attended professional development and/or spent time reflecting on and developing their teaching and learning programs.
Mrs Elizabeth Wilson and I attended a study tour in Italy to learn about the Reggio Emilia philosophy of education. Over four hundred teachers from forty-six different countries participated in the lectures and visits to Italian schools. It was a wonderful experience to hear about the ways in which schools around the world are aiming to provide the best education possible for their students to ensure they are well prepared for the future with the skills, attitudes and knowledge they need to be successful people of influence in their adult lives.
It was clearly evident that the programs we have introduced at St John’s, including the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program and explicit literacy and numeracy are following world’s best practice and this involves continuously reviewing what we do and conducting research to ensure our programs are relevant and effective.
We have the right balance of explicit instruction and inquiry learning, and our teachers have expertise across the year levels. This ensures that they have a strong understanding of the different stages in child development and they know what is covered in the Australian curriculum in the year levels above and below the classes they teach.
One of the important components of the Reggio Emilia approach is the collaboration amongst the teachers. They work together to collect data about their students’ progress and to make decisions about future learning experiences. The teachers at St John’s do the same. Each week when the students are at specialist lessons the year level teachers meet to review student data, reflect on their teaching and collaboratively plan new learning opportunities.
Networking with educators from around the world helps us to keep up to date with the latest educational research and to be innovative in what we do at St John’s. It is such a privilege to be involved in educating today’s young people and in preparing them for an exciting future. The world today has so many amazing opportunities to embrace.
It was very pleasing to see so many St John’s students involved in the local Forest Lake ANZAC March on the morning of Thursday 25 April. Thank you to those families who were able to join us for this very special event. The Primary students also conducted special ANZAC Chapel Services the day after and it was such an honour to have some service men and women attend these services and show the children the medals they were wearing.
Our Year Four students were very engaged in their learning last Friday 26 April, when a local Aboriginal artist Rick Roser shared Dreamtime stories about the coming of fire and showed the students how to start fire using fire sticks. The students then participated in the story telling of the emu by having their face, arms and hair painted in red and white ochre, and using bees wax to attach emu feathers to their hair. They also played digeridoos (plastic tubes), learning how to make different sounds and circular breaths. It was a meaningful experience for all involved.
The Kindergarten children love their new playground environment. With more natural elements, a small soccer field, new climbing equipment, decking and look out area, the children have a wider range of areas to explore and spaces in which to challenge themselves physically. I am looking forward to hearing the stories they tell me about the imaginative worlds they visit and the games they play in the new play area.
Head of Primary