Junior School


Junior School

March 11, 2022

Foundation – Year 6 Learning Conversations

Last week, parents/guardians had the opportunity to make an appointment with their child’s classroom teacher, to discuss how their child has settled into a new year and what progress they have made so far in Term 1. As Head of Junior School, I would like to encourage parents/guardians to regularly contact their child’s class teacher if they have any questions about what is happening inside the classroom. At Ormiston, we strive to ensure communication between School and Home is open and clear at all times to improve the learning outcomes of our Junior School students.

Year 4 – 6 Online Health and Development Parent Information Session

This week parents in Years 4 – 6 had the opportunity to learn about our Health and Development program that will take place in Weeks 7, 8 and 9. The program is organised by Interrelate in conjunction with our classroom teachers and consists of three age-appropriate workshops for each year level. This parent information session was very successful in outlining the content of these sessions and I would like to thank the parents who attended and asked questions to gain a better understanding of what we deliver as part of our Health curriculum program.

Wishing all our Ormiston families a relaxing and enjoyable long weekend.


Yours sincerely,

Paul Donohue
Head of Junior School

Learning in, about and with nature

“The environment is where we all meet; where we all have a mutual interest; it is the one thing all of us share.” – Lady Bird Johnson

For children, play is about process learning and there is no richer resource than the natural environment of the outdoors. It is within these spaces that children innately develop physical, cognitive, social, and emotional skills through their connection and appreciation of nature’s beauty and all living things. Over the last few weeks, the Early Learning children have been integrating the garden space into the classroom through the exploration of earth science and growth. As researchers, the children have been invited to explore the different types and structure of plants using their sense of sight, scent, sound, and texture to question, discover, problem solve, experiment, and explore – from the budding seeds planted in the kitchen garden to the adult trees located in Junior School.

Learning in, about and with nature places a pedagogical emphasis on shared inquiry learning through play and hands-on discovery. It facilitates children to build an awareness of the seasonal happenings, an understanding of human impact, sustainable practices, and stewardship towards our natural environment.

Esther Wong
Early Learning Coordinator

Early Learning 3

The Early Learning 3 children have extended their sunflower inquiry to the life cycle of plants. Using their fine motor skills and a pincer grasp, the children extracted seeds from the sunflower head. Together the children discussed and hypothesised what would happen next, taking into consideration the impact of water, sun, soil, earth, and weather on the seed’s growth. The children have been documenting their observations using a growth diary. Each day they are invited to express their wonderings and curiosities using writing and drawing.

Emmaya: Once the sunflowers die, we can plant them and make new ones.

Abigail: You can’t get the seeds until the sunflower is all dried.

Eric: Hundreds of seeds.  

Victoria: Lots of seeds from one sunflower. 

As an introduction to the kitchen garden, the children have been investigating different types of seeds, such as broad beans, carrots, radishes, pumpkins, and spinach, and hypothesising whether the size of a seed will impact the growth and size of the harvest. The children had opportunities to work together and get their hands dirty by planting a variety of seasonal vegetables and fruit. They look forward to caring for their plants as they watch the kitchen garden evolve.

Jacqui Laird & Esther Wong
Early Learning 3 Teachers

Early Learning 4 Part Time

The Early Learning 4 Part Time children have interacted with nature by closely examining the trees in the big yard. As a community of learners, children show an ongoing curiosity about their environment in which they strengthen their ways of understanding the world.

Enclosed are photos of children looking at the roots of the tree and using pencil sketches to document their observations. The children had fun climbing in and out of the tree roots. We hope to join the rest of our Early learning community to do some planting in our vegetable patch.

Ramila Sadikeen
Early Learning 4 Part Time Teacher

Early Learning 4 Full Time

Our community garden is a wonderful space that nourishes the wellbeing of the children and provides opportunities for the children to learn about how they can respect, care for and explore nature with wonderment and awe. 

As stated by David Sobel, ‘If we want children to flourish, we need to give them time to connect with nature and love the earth before we ask them to save it.’

As curious learners, the children were excited and eager to begin planting in our community garden. As self-managers and collaborators, the children stayed focused and on task as they worked towards their shared goal of planting flowers, silverbeet and lettuce seedlings, and strawberries in the raised garden beds and clay pots

During this process the children were engaged in problem solving, critical thinking and dialogue, as they thought about and discussed how they could remove the seedlings from their containers without damaging the roots, how much space the roots required for growth, how far apart the seedlings needed to be planted to ensure they had enough space, and the amount of soil that needed to be put into the clay pots before and during the planting of the strawberries. This learning also provoked dialogue related to mathematical concepts of measurement, position, and number.

The children made discoveries as they carefully observed the intricate root system of the seedlings, noticed the strawberries already growing on the strawberry plant, and compared the size and shape of the silverbeet and lettuce leaves.

As communicators, the children are confidently sharing their learning and reflections in the classroom, through drawing, dialogue, and photographs. 

Aran: I made a hole with my fingers, and I put the roots in the dirt and then I patted the dirt down. The silverbeet needs soil to grow and it needs water and the sun.

Darcy: I made a hole in the soil and then I put the roots in and then I flattened the dirt and watered the seedling.

Cecilia: I just needed to put some dirt in the pot and put strawberries in there and watered it. I saw a big strawberry.

Laura: First I dug a hole and then squeezed the plastic pot so the plant would come out, but it was too hard. I persisted, that means I tried my best and then it tipped out. I put the flower in the hole – just the roots in the soil and put soil around it.

As researchers, we look forward to spending time in our community garden each day, to make further observations and discoveries.

Angela Follacchio
Early Learning 4 Full Time Teacher

Year 2 – Unit of Inquiry

This term in Year 2 our Inquiry unit is ‘How can we look after ourselves?’. The students have been looking into the benefits of physical activity and hygiene, but they have had the most fun looking at the bones in our bodies! As a class we investigated the different names of our bones and why they each had a very important role to play in our bodies. They have really enjoyed learning new facts about our bones and our bodies, as well as becoming doctors by looking at X-rays. In our experiments with Mrs Dumsday the students were able to watch a dissection of a chicken wing. The students looked at the different bones inside the wing and were able to make their own cardboard arm. 

“I have enjoyed learning about the biggest bone, our femur. I have also enjoyed learning about different bones in my body” – Olivia D 

“I liked learning about the bones and looking at the chicken bones when we did our experiment with Mrs Dumsday. I liked making the cardboard arm to show how it moves” – Lily 

“I was finding it quite fun to learn about the bones. I think my favourite bone is my rib cage” – Evie 

“I have enjoyed learning the different names for all of them, then I get to teach them to my family, like the phalanges” – Akira 

Mikaela Stanaway
Year 2 Class Teacher

Year 4 – Unit of Inquiry

The students in Year 4 have launched into the new school year with enthusiasm and inquiring minds! With their thinking caps poised, Year 4 have begun exploring in Inquiry, ‘What makes a responsible digital citizen?’ During this time, students have begun to investigate online safety, features of a website, the history of the internet, data security and how to be respectful online. Next week, they will be taking part in a webinar run by the eSafety Commissioner called ‘Be an eSafe Kid: a better internet starts with you.’

Over the past month, the Year 4s have also refined their poetry skills. In particular, they have been focusing on figurative language including metaphors, similes, onomatopoeia, alliteration, repetition to make their writing more interesting. They were challenged to write a poem about the Ormiston Garden.


The Rebirth of a Flower by Elfie Fan

In the garden, the thin breeze blows on the tall trees

I can hear the cheerful birds chirping in delight

I put the tiny seeds in the soil and wait for it to grow

I can smell the fresh air blowing in the empty sky

When the rough night wind howls, the seeds stay safe underground

Helpful earthworms dig to make the soil breathe, and

Bees pollinate from flower to flower

Elegant trees are like tall statues standing quiet and still

When the soft soil is clear and healthy

And the peaceful raindrops fall to the endless ground

The seeds crawl pit pf the soil, first seeing the bright shining sun,

Silently, it grows


The Ormiston Garden by Annabelle Teh

As I stood out in the open garden

The wind whispered in my ear

The sound of excited, energetic children chattering sang in my ear

The smell of drab wooden pillars started rising through the air

A magnificent smell of flowers wafted through the air

The rose bush was a dagger because the thorns were sharp

Crystal clear water drizzled on the hazelnut coloured bench

The soft sand slid through my fingers like a slippery slide

The pavement was a hard as a rock

It was the most pleasurable time

The students have also enjoyed practicing their spelling words with chalk outside in the Ormiston playground.

Anjali de Quadros and Amelia Hart

Year 2 Super Strings

String playing at CGGS continues to grow from strength to strength and much of it starts right here in the Super Strings program.

Here at Ormiston, our Music programs use the Kodaly and Orff approach to music education, to develop an understanding of the basic concepts used to create music. This concept is continued into all our instrumental programs and at CGGS we are very fortunate to offer our students the opportunity to take part in our Year 2 Super String program.

The Super Strings program aims to develop technical, aural, music reading and ensemble skills through a practical experience by learning to play the Violin, Viola or Cello.

Each Thursday, the students are split into two groups and rehearse for one hour. Classes consist of a combination of tutorials and ensembles, as students begin to rehearse a range of exercises and repertoire within their instrument section and later as a large ensemble. Students with prior string experience are extended in their Super String experience and are offered more challenging music to play, developing further, their ensemble skills which is essential to chamber music.

So why learn stringed instruments?

In recent years, researchers in a variety of medical fields have examined the influence that music training has on cognitive functions and overall health.

Schools all over the country are placing new emphasis on teaching children the basic elements of music as part of the core subjects because of the measurable gains it generates and overall grade improvements. Learning a stringed instrument in particular increases and enhances cognitive activity by:

> establishing a positive learning state

> creating a desired atmosphere

> building a sense of anticipation

> changing brain wave states

> focussing concentration

> increasing attention

> improving memory

> facilitating a multisensory learning experience

> releasing tension

> enhancing imagination

To further enhance the students’ learning; online activities, music and videos are shared on Seesaw where students and their families have regular access at home. Students are also encouraged to keep a performance diary of their work which string staff regularly check and comment on.

It is only the start of the school year and our Super Strings are already making beautiful music.

Stay tuned for more great tunes from our Super Strings!

Nichole Adams
Music Teacher and Violin and Viola Tutor

Year 4 – 6 Boroondara Division Swimming

On Tuesday 1 March, the following team of 12 students went to Monash Aquatic and Recreation Centre to represent CGGS at the Boroondara Division Swimming Carnival. These students competed in a mixture of relays and individual events. All our relay teams qualified from District level which was a wonderful effort. The competition was challenging on the day and all students represented the School with confidence and determination. Here is the swimming squad:

Amy Qi

Olivia Yang

Jasmine Xie

Nellie Ruddle

Kealey Liew

Ruth Whelan

Sophie-May Ronzani

Ailey Poon

Estella Ouyang

Zoe McManemin

Cecelia Yang

Ivy Xie

Congratulations to Olivia Yang, Cecelia Yang, Ruth Whelan and Jasmine Xie who have qualified for the Medley Relay at the Eastern Metropolitan Regional Competition on Friday 25 March. Olivia Yang will also be representing CGGS for Freestyle & Butterfly, whilst Cecelia Yang will be representing CGGS in Freestyle & Breaststroke.We wish our students the best of luck as they progress on to the next stage.

Liana Kitsou
Junior School PE Teacher & Sport Coordinator

Year 5 Art

The Year 5 students first listened to and discussed a story about Bunjil the eagle, a significant animal in Indigenous culture. Then they sketched a large eagle, focusing on the body shapes, positioning and sizing. A palette knife was used to mix paint and then apply it to their eagle design. While painting they explored layering colours and then scratching into the paint, to scrape away colour. The students were encouraged to differentiate the body parts and the feathers with their choices of colours. When dry, the students used a variety of lines and patterns in the style of the Wurundjeri, using earthy colours, filling in space around Bunjil.

Fiona Gibson
Art Teacher