Building and sustaining a close and connected school community has always been a focus for Ormiston over many years, particularly after the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Last Friday evening saw well over 300 people from our Early Learning 3 – Year 6 families attend our annual twilight picnic event. It was a very successful evening, and it was wonderful to see families from each of our year levels spend time together as a group.
I would like to express my thanks to Kate Daffy our Community Engagement Manager for organising this important event. Our students had an excellent time with the face painters and balloon experts and I look forward to hearing our Parent Class Representatives organising some functions during the year so families from each year level can spend time together.
Yesterday we had our Year 4 – 6 swim team compete at the North Balwyn District Swim Carnival. A team of 20 participants travelled to the local Boroondara Sports Complex and were highly competitive against our local Government and Catholic Schools in a variety of swim events. At the end of the day, we had 9 students qualify for the next level at Division. Congratulations to Claire Zhang, Ivy Xie, Ruth Whelan, Joyce Zhang, Alessandra Ronzani, Faye Xufei, Audrey Cheung, Zoe McManemin and Elfie Fan. We look forward to their next swim on Wednesday.
I wish all our Ormiston families a wonderful weekend.
Head of Junior School
Across the Early Learning Centre (ELC), ‘families’ has been a key curriculum theme explored by the 3- and 4-year-old children.
“I love my family. My love lives in my heart. My heart love…I share it with my family.” Miya (4 Years Old)
Aligned with our First Nations, families are the foundation of communities, as it defines a child’s identity and sense of connectedness when it comes to kinship and culture. Having a strong connection to spirituality and cultural belonging, in turn, strengthens their family ideals when it comes to a child’s learning and development.
At the ELC, we recognise and embrace that learning comes from many sources and in many forms. Urie Bronfenbrenner, an American educational psychologist viewed the impact of children’s learning and development as ecological systems that enmesh through bidirectional interactions and influence. Schools, families, and child are tightly interwoven, it is these relationships and connections that foster better environments for development (Bronfenbrenner, 1979). Therefore, it is only veracious that we acknowledge children’s identity within the classroom by recognising the importance family, their culture; and draw an alignment between family values and classroom values – those that are necessary for play and learning.
In the past weeks, EL3 and EL4 children have displayed immense love and enjoyment when it came to sharing their family through multimodal forms of communication, this has included: creating family portraits using line drawings, sharing photographs, adventures and experiences during group discussions, and spending time with their loved ones during events, such as the Junior School Twilight Picnic.
These micro-explorations that hold meaning and weight, continues to build foundation towards our larger community inquiry theme of: Taking to Heart, Taking to Mind, and Taking to Action.
Bronfenbrenner, U. 1979. The ecology of human development: Experiments by nature and design. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press
Early Learning Coordinator & the EL Team
On Monday 20 February, Year 4 welcomed the Mayor of Boroondara, Cr Felicity Sinfield, to the Junior School. Our Inquiry focus this term is based on the question ‘What is a responsible citizen?’ and discovering the significant role local governments play in our lives. The visit enhanced the students’ understanding of how local councillors are elected, the responsibilities they have and the services that the local council provides to communities.
The students were given the opportunity to take part in a mock council meeting. Students were given a range of roles including councillors, community members and the public. As part of the role-play, the council was presented with the decision as to whether to put a slippery dip or swings in one of the local parks. Students were given the opportunity to present arguments as community members as to their individual preference and provide reasons as to why their position was the better choice. The ten councillors (including the Mayor) then voted and the majority nominated for the swings.
Through this experience, the students were able to put into action their persuasive skills and gain insight as to how decisions are made in a fair and democratic way. It was a highly engaging and informative session for all the Year 4 students.
Anjali de Quadros
Year 4 Class Teacher
On Friday 24 February, our Social Service Leaders for Semester One planned a terrific meeting. Amiya and Sharon were well prepared with a series of ‘Ice Breaker’ games that allowed students from Year 1 to Year 6 to get to know each other.
Encouragement, kindness and whole body listening from our Year 6 leaders, including our School Captains Joyce Zhang and Aaratrika Kadam, meant that our younger students grew in confidence when sharing their ideas as the meeting progressed.
When we discussed “Why did you want to be a part of Student Council?” the ideas and insights from our class representatives were most welcome. Some of the responses included:
“I want to collaborate with other people and make a difference,” – Audrey
“I would like to help our local environment at Ormiston,” – Aryana
“We are in a position to help others. We could think about helping refugees and migrants who have come to Australia,” – Anjali
“We could look at reducing our use of electricity… all our iPads that we charge must use a lot of electricity. We should reduce our environmental footprint,” – Nellie
As you can see, there are exciting ideas that emerged from our meeting. As the semester continues, Student Council will explore issues that are important to them and select a course of action, such as creating a persuasive poster or writing a letter, to engage, educate and inspire our Ormiston community!
Student Council Leader
Our new co-curricular Writing Club has been very popular amongst our budding authors, illustrators, and creators in Years 3 – 6 and aims to support, encourage, and develop skills in all aspects of the creative writing process.
Students have been introduced to tools, techniques, and resources to use when searching for inspiration for their storytelling. Some of these have included creative responses to a series of photographs, and the stunning illustrations from The Storytellers Handbook by Elise Hurst, plus a series of ‘Story Spark’ and ‘What If?’ activities designed to help students explore how they can use characters, people, events, and activities from their everyday lives as inspiration in their writing. Short videos from the Story Tools program featuring some of the students’ favourite authors including Nova Weetman have also provided a wealth of tips, tricks, methods, and inspirational ideas to our creative group.
It has been wonderful to see the enthusiasm our students have for writing and it is very exciting to hear their ideas and plans for future story writing. We will continue to investigate and explore other aspects of storytelling including how to develop characters and plots. We welcome any interested Year 3 – 6 students to join us in the Library each Wednesday lunchtime at 1.15pm.
Ormiston Active is one of many co-curricular opportunities available to our students. This term we are learning about different target games and the skills required to play them successfully. Students are learning together in multi age groups that allows for peer teaching and learning. Also at the same time, they are building new friendships and connections within our Junior School community and making time to come together to learn through play is a wonderful way to spend a Wednesday afternoon. A famous quote to remember is:
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old……we grow old because we stop playing” – George Bernard Shaw
Recently in Junior School, we have been talking about the importance of teamwork and friendship. The students have had the opportunity to develop both qualities during Ormiston Active. Playing games and learning new skills, such as archery, have required the students to ask questions of each other, make mistakes together and learn as they go, and ask for support when some tasks get challenging.
This week students enjoyed a round robin of target games which included bowling, archery, tic tac toe and coits. Their hand eye coordination, accuracy, object control, strength and focus were all tested. As the teacher, I enjoyed watching teams work together to assemble the bow for archery, provide feedback to teammates to improve their accuracy and communicate and work as a team to compete in a Tic Tac Toe competition.