Junior School

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Junior School

New Students to Ormiston in Term 4
I would like to welcome all students and families back to Ormiston this term, our final term for 2017. It has been a delight to see so many happy and smiling faces this week, especially throughout the first day of term. Additionally, I would like to extend a warm welcome to our new students starting at Ormiston. They are:

Year 2D – Elsa Cao
Year 4R – Mia Chapman
Year 5R – Emily Growse
Year 6C – Wendy Wu
Year 6G – Jessica Lee 

 

Year 3 Camp – ADANAC Yarra Junction
This week it was a pleasure to go on camp with the Year 3 students and class teachers to camp ADANAC at Yarra Junction. There are many benefits with students experiencing a school education outdoor program at the primary school level. Here are some of the benefits of such a program:

  • Development of teamwork and social skills
  • Development of independence skills away from family
  • Development of decision-making skills
  • Increased environmental awareness
  • Learning new skills outside the school and home environment
  • Experience the feeling of anxiousness away from family
  • Have fun when participating in safe and challenging outdoor activities

At ADANAC, our Year 3 students experienced a wide range of education outdoor activities that included a flying fox, low ropes course, beach volleyball, canoeing, photo hunt, disc golf and gha gha ball. I was very impressed with the way our students participated in each activity and remained positive throughout the two days, even when faced with new exciting experiences. I would like to thank both Year 3 class teachers Rebecca Leondidis and Angela Columbine for all their efforts in ensuring the Year 3 camp experience was very successful this year. All students provided positive feedback not only to their teachers, but also to the ADANAC camp staff. Also, I would like to thank Shane Maycock our Education Outdoor Coordinator for all his work in ensuring a range of well-organised and challenging education outdoor experiences for our Year 3 students.

Academic Excellence at Ormiston
Personal and academic excellence are at the core of our teaching and learning practices at Ormiston. Our academic and wellbeing curriculums are intertwined because research tells us that students learn best when they feel safe and happy within themselves and their community and when they are challenged with high expectations. Our teachers commit themselves to developing strong relationships with their students to enable us to challenge each child to achieve their personal best.

At Ormiston our curriculum is mandated to encompass the Victorian Curriculum standards for each subject and year level, teachers use these standards as the basic requirements for each year level and regularly challenge their students and classes to further extend their skills and understandings.

To ensure that we are challenging each individual student, our teachers skilfully use a range of differentiation techniques to adapt teaching techniques and lessons. To differentiate the curriculum at Ormiston we ensure that class teachers differentiate using a combination of content, process, product and learning environment.

Some examples of differentiation techniques teachers use are:

  • Varying the level of challenge of a task for the whole class
  • Using open ended questioning which enables students to respond to tasks at their level of understanding
  • Varying the quantity of tasks completed
  • Using a variety of independent, whole class and group work tasks
  • Varying the level of challenge of a task for individual students
  • Placement of learners in the learning environment
  • Opportunities for students to challenge themselves by choice

~ Emma Hinchliffe Deputy Head of Junior School (Teaching and Learning)

 

Early Learning 3 – Year 6 Families – Blessing of the Pets
Every second year in the Junior School we have a Blessing of Pets Service, a service linked to the celebration of the much-loved patron saint of animals, Saint Francis (4 October).  This year our service will be on Friday 27 October, starting at 9:15, in the Ormiston playground, just outside the Junior School.  Rev’d Creed will lead the service, helped by members of the Junior School Council.  There will be an opportunity during the service for girls to have their pet individually blessed.  If your pet would be upset by the outing and crowd, please feel free to bring a photo for the blessing.  Any dogs with good singing voices are warmly invited to attend! Pets need to go home straight after the blessing.
~ Kath Buckingham Year 5B Class Teacher

 

Early Learning 3 – Year 6 Class Curriculum Newsletters
I encourage all families to read their daughter’s class curriculum newsletter this term. These newsletters will be sent out to all families shortly and they cover very important class and specialist subject information, as well as specific areas where parents can help at home. This year, these termly newsletters have been transformed to make them easier for parents and students to read and use, and for them to include images of Term 3 class events.

 

Student Achievements
This week Ella Traiforos of Year 5B participated in the Boroondara Divisional Track and Field Championships and competed in the shot put event. To reach this level of performance was a wonderful effort and Ella was very competitive in her event and thoroughly enjoyed the experience as the only student this year that qualified for this carnival. As a school, we look forward to following Ella’s future performances in track and field.

 

‘In Conversation’: Play and Learning in the Early Years
Some parents still differentiate between a time for learning and a time for play without seeing the vital connection between them. In our most recent ‘In Conversation,’ we explored the strong link between play and learning in the early years.

The session highlighted:

  • the link between play and learning
  • the importance of developing executive functioning skills
  • play and learning in the classroom

In the Early Learning Centre we value and recognise the importance and richness of play for children’s learning; and the close relationship between play, learning and development.

Some of the key points that were raised and discussed during this ‘In Conversation’ included:

  • Play is a known stress release and is often linked to child wellbeing.
  • As children participate in play they develop confidence in themselves and learn about what they can do and can’t do yet. They learn to develop a growth mindset and view challenges as opportunities for learning.
  • Play supports a child’s emotional development. As children interact with other children in play they learn how to express their feelings and notice how their behavior effects others – this leads to the development of a sense of empathy as children begin to understand the perspectives of others.
  • Children develop social competence through play: they develop relationships and learn to resolve conflicts, negotiate and regulate their emotions.

In Early Learning, there are certain concepts, dispositions, skills and values that we want to develop in each child and that we believe are important for learning in the 21st century – learning for today, tomorrow and life-long learning.

Play provides many opportunities for the development of these:

  • concepts (sustainability, social service, visual and creative arts, literacy and numeracy)
  • dispositions (creativity, imagination, curiosity, resilience, persistence, innovation, resourcefulness, commitment, confidence, reflection, enthusiasm, collaboration)
  • skills (language, thinking, memory, physical, inquiry, social and emotional)
  • values (relationships, respect, courage, hope, integrity, commitment).

It is interesting to note that:

  • Play provides active exploration that assists in the building and strengthening of brain pathways and creates a brain that has increased flexibility and improved potential for learning later in life. (Lester & Russell, 2008)

During this ‘In Conversation’ practical examples were shared about how teachers in the Early Learning Centre provide opportunities for the development of executive functioning skills through play.

There are three areas of executive function:

1. working memory: the capacity to retain information and then use it
2. cognitive flexibility (flexible thinking): the capacity to think about something in a new way
3. inhibitory control: the ability to regulate emotions, control impulses, ignore distractions, pause and think before doing something

  • The early years are a critical time for the development of working memory, inhibitory control and cognitive flexibility.
  • The formative development of brain regions associated with executive function occurs in early childhood (Walker, 2016).
  • Executive function skills are built over time and are highly interrelated in that each type of skill utilises elements of the others. Executive function skills support the process of learning, that is, learning how to learn.
  • Play (open ended) provides opportunities for the children to develop all aspects of executive function skills.

Please find below links to some digital text related to executive function.

Executive Function: Skills for life and learning

How to help children develop executive functions

Experiences build brain architecture (90 second clip)

If you would like further information or want to suggest future Early Learning ‘in conversations’ please do not hesitate to contact me afollacchio@cggs.vic.edu.au

 

 

I wish all Ormiston families a wonderful weekend.

Paul Donohue
Head of Junior School

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