Primary News

Song, dance, drama and musical instruments were on show this week with our annual Interhouse Eisteddfod taking place. It was a joyous occasion and fabulous to see so many of our students getting involved in the various sections and showcasing their love of The Arts. It was also great to see each of the Houses present a dance item involving all students in Years Three to Six. The Eisteddfod concluded with a concert of some of the highlight performances and trophies were presented. Every student who participated contributed points to their House and the Performing Arts Trophy was awarded to the House with the greatest number of points. This year the winning House was Bow Qing Tian.

We congratulate the following students who were presented with trophies at the Eisteddfod Showcase Performance on Wednesday afternoon:

Junior Music: Tristan Jones
Senior Music: Sarbani Maitra
Junior Drama: Abigail Tully
Senior Drama: Nicholas Tully
Junior Dance: Zoe and Alexis Galea
Senior Dance:  Bridie Kennedy
Junior Encouragement Award: Levi McKinnon
Senior Encouragement Award: Neve Wintersgill

Dance Trophy: Archerfield
Drama Trophy: Bow Qing Tian
Music Trophy: Bow Qing Tian
Performing Arts Trophy: Bow Qian Tian

We thank Ms Jo-Anne Turner who coordinated the Eisteddfod this year and the staff members who assisted with adjudicating and supervision. We also thank the students for their enthusiastic involvement. Their participation fees, not only gained points for their House and provided wonderful entertainment for the audience, it also raised over $230 which was donated to research into Motor Neurone Disease.

Learning through The Arts
St John’s has always had an outstanding Performing Arts program and we greatly value the place of Art and Creativity in our curriculum. It is woven into our International Baccalaureate PYP units of inquiry and it is also taught explicitly to provide students with further opportunities to develop skills in communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking, which are seen as essential skills for the 21st Century.

The Arts engages the mind, body and emotions in learning, as well as providing opportunities for collaborative and individual expression through a range of avenues, including visual art, dance, instrumental music, drama, voice and technology.

St John’s is rather unique in what it offers in The Arts. There are very few schools that offer Speech and Drama to all students from Kindergarten to Year Six, and provide an instrumental program in which all students from Year Three to Seven participate. In most schools, it is only selected students who are involved. Our students are also very fortunate to be able to perform on the full-sized stage in the Performing Arts Auditorium. St John’s provides a rich extra-curricular program and hundreds of our students sign up each year to be involved in Dance Club, Art Club, Choirs, Drama, Bands and Ensembles. These opportunities in conjunction with our classroom curriculum ensure that our students are immersed in learning through The Arts.

To showcase some of the things primary students have been involved in this year we have two special events being held early next term:

College Creations – Primary, Saturday 12 October, 9.00am – 2.00pm

Each student from Kindergarten to Year Six will have an example of their artwork on display in the Living Faith Chapel on Saturday 12 October. Families are very welcome to come along to the exhibition and vote for the ‘People’s Choice Award’.

Mrs Karen Huffels has once again donated one of her original watercolour paintings and raffle tickets can be purchased on the day. We thank Mrs Huffels for her generous support.

Click Here to view the invitation.

Performing Arts Centre of Excellence, Friday 18 October

On Friday 18 October the Primary and Middle school students involved in Performing Arts ensembles and clubs will present a Showcase Concert in the Performing Arts Auditorium. Primary choirs, dance groups and instrumental ensembles will be involved. Further information about this special event will be provided in the future but please note this date in your diaries as families are most welcome to come along.

Early Years Games Day
The children in Kindergarten to Year Two had a thoroughly wonderful day on Tuesday last week when they participated in the annual Early Years Games Day. Students in Year Six assisted staff with the variety of activities on the day.

Year One Mini-beast Mini Museum
Our Year One students have been investigating mini-beasts this term and presented a Mini Museum as the culmination of their unit of inquiry on Wednesday 18 September. The children displayed their hand-made models of mini-beasts, research journals and posters to visiting family members, staff and their Year Four buddies. It was amazing to see how confidently our young students spoke and to hear how they could explain the information they had gathered. We congratulate all the Year One students on their learning this term and thank the teachers for creating the time and space for this wonderful learning experience to occur.

STEM Event – Messy Science
What an excellent time the students enjoyed on Wednesday 18 September when our Term Three Messy Science Event was held on the oval. It was fabulous to see so many families involved, exploring the properties of different materials and learning while having fun. We thank the staff and senior school STEM Ambassadors for their assistance. These events would not occur without their involvement. Our evening STEM events have become a special part of our STEM Institute and we greatly appreciate the contributions of all those involved.

Individual student NAPLAN reports were sent home last week and families of students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 were able to see the achievement bands their children reached in Reading, Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation, Writing and Mathematics.

We need to remember that NAPLAN tests only provide a limited snapshot taken at one point in time and they should not be used to compare students or schools, particularly this year when different tests types, on-line and paper, were administered. NAPLAN tests can be useful to teachers in identifying questions that students did not understand and then adjusting programs to review those topics and they can be useful in identifying areas of strength.

As in past years, our College performed exceptionally well and many strengths were identified. As an example, I have provided graphs below to show the percentage of St John’s students in each achievement band for Reading and Grammar and Punctuation, compared to the State. We have much larger percentages of students in the top bands compared to the State average. Our results in all NAPLAN assessments were very pleasing and well above State averages. While these results are fabulous, please keep in mind that there is so much more to what St John’s provides than is recognised in NAPLAN results.

Next year all our students will complete the NAPLAN tests online, apart from the Year Three Writing test which will continue to be paper-based. We have implemented programs to help strengthen the students’ typing skills and recently conducted readiness tests to familiarise the children with the online format and to check the capability of our technology. We also set some writing tasks to be completed digitally so that students can practice writing stories using a keyboard. We encourage families to provide time for their students to practice typing during the holidays so they do not forget these skills. For further information about NAPLAN online please visit the National Assessment Program website,

Operation Christmas Child
Thank you to the many families that have donated items towards our Operation Christmas Child project, filling shoeboxes with gifts to be distributed to disadvantaged children. Your generosity will bring joy to many young hearts. Thank you.

I wish you all a safe and happy holiday period and look forward to welcoming everyone back to school on Tuesday 8 October.

Sandra Hawken
Head of Primary