Putting a Value on Childhood – Early Childhood Education at Minimbah

As adults, many of us lament the fact that our children don’t have the same opportunities to play, explore and learn that we perhaps did. We mourn that safety concerns, perceived and real, have torpedoed these impromptu learning experiences where independence, resilience, leadership and communication skills flourish.

Fun at the creek happens throughout the year. Rain, hail, or shine

Fun at the creek happens throughout the year. Rain, hail, or shine

In response to this, and influenced by the Forest Schools’ approach used in many Scandinavian countries, the Early Childhood Centre at our Minimbah Campus established its ‘Creek’ Program in 2012.

Five years on, the four-year-old ECC students from Minimbah spend their Thursdays outdoors at the ‘Minimbah Creek’. Rain, hail or shine, students engage in those activities their mums and dads did, and the learning outcomes are remarkable.

The children thought they were just playing but they were learning such an incredible amount. It was tactile learning, learning by trial and error, directed and self-directed learning.

Jodie A – Parent

Such was the success of the ECC Creek Program that Foundation (Prep), Year 1 and Year 2 students now spend their Wednesdays outside the classroom. Their ‘Discovery Day’ programs set a different learning and curriculum focus each term and draw on the students’ ‘discoveries’ at Frankston beach and along the Sweetwater Creek trail.

By putting a value on the educational and social importance of play and discovery – by letting children be children – we are able to develop individual learning programs that both challenge and engage.

And it all begins in our Friday three-year-old program.

This full-day program is creative. It is progressive. It is a broad palette of experiential and enquiry-based programs that combine to create a fun and engaging environment, sowing the seeds for a lifetime love of learning.

For more information on Woodleigh School’s Early Childhood programs, contact our Enrolments team on 5971 6100 or email [email protected]

Rod Davies –
Deputy Principal – Head of Minimbah Campus

Sporting success

Toorak College celebrates National and State sporting success, and congratulate our very talented students.

Some individual achievements include Emily Hamilton-Smith in Year 11, who captained the Victorian Under 15 Hockey team to win their first national trophy at the recent Australian Women's Championship in Sydney. Sophie Jackson, also in Year 11, competed at the Victorian State Sailing Championships and placed first in the 420 class, and Year 9 student Holly Garac won a Gold Medal for high jump at the National Athletics Championships.

After months of training, nine Toorak Aerobics teams competed at the Schoolaerobics Preliminary Finals in Geelong recently. Our results were outstanding with eight teams qualifying for the State Finals in June. 

The Toorak College Equestrian team also achieved great results, winning the Equestrian Victoria Championships at Werribee during the holidays, with 22 riders competing in the event. The Toorak team also won Round 2 of the ISJ Show Jumping series.

There are so many benefits to participating in regular physical activity; it can uplift your mood, give you more energy and help to maintain good health. We offer our students a wide range of sporting opportunities, and encourage them to explore leadership, teamwork, responsibility, risk taking and commitment while enjoying the health benefits from regular physical activity.

Our Senior School girls participate in the Girls Sport Victoria (GSV) program, of which Toorak College is a foundation member; it is the leading provider of sport to independent girls’ schools.

Toorak College provides so many opportunities for students to find their passion. There is a sport or activity for everyone, it is about giving it a go, trying new things, making new friends and finding the activity that works for you.

To find out more about Toorak’s sports program visit www.toorakcollege.vic.edu.au or phone 9788 7200.

Scholars to share their stories

Every year TOPSA, Peninsula Grammar’s alumni, organise a breakfast and invite the community to join them. At this year’s breakfast, to be held at Peninsula Grammar on July 20, TOPSA has brought back a number of Peninsula Grammar scholars to share their stories. Five impressive young women who followed different pathways and found their passion will talk about where they are now and how they got there.

The guest speakers include Lauren Wood from the Class of 2006 who is looking forward to sharing her story about her career in a male-dominated industry. A sports journalist for the Herald Sun, Lauren loves where she is now. “I really enjoyed being involved in as much as I could at Peninsula – I loved the sport and music programs,” she says fondly. “I went on to study Business and Commerce as well as Journalism, and as a footy and general-sport lover, I now have a dream job that has already provided many highlights.”

When asked what advice she might give to today’s Peninsula Grammar students, she has some wise words. “Soak it all in and engage in as many of the programs that Peninsula has to offer,” she said.  “Since leaving school, I have realised how lucky I was to have so many different experiences that helped me develop into a well-rounded person. Put yourself out there - you never know what will come of anything.”

Another guest speaker, Caitlin Miers from the Class of 2010, had a slightly different pathway. Cait is a Surf, Fashion and Lifestyle Photographer based here on the Mornington Peninsula. She started a Sports Science degree and then moved to a Bachelor of Photography at Melbourne’s RMIT University which she completed in 2014. Cait has since been freelancing for major brands including Roxy and Lululemon and has travelled to work in all corners of the globe including Biarritz, The Maldives, LA, Bali and Japan.

Cait also has some valuable advice for the Class of 2017 and beyond. “I would just say, you have time. You have time to go to uni, try a course, not like it, switch courses, go travelling and come back to it later on, or don’t come back to it! Just do what makes you happy,” she said. “It’s ok to change and do what you love!”

Other guest speakers include musician Chloe Smith from the Class of 2011, who has studied music and teaching since leaving Peninsula Grammar and released an independent single and an EP. Maddie Featherby, Class of 2009, will also join the panel. Maddie studied Media majoring in film and cinema and also studied at NIDA and has been able to combine work and her love of musical theatre, winning one of the main roles in the upcoming production of Paris. As a more recent graduate Alexandra Karamesinis, from the Class of 2016, will appear on the panel providing some perspective on life so far after school.

This is a complimentary event, proudly supported by TOPSA and includes a sit down breakfast.

7am – 8.30am, July 20, 2017, H.A. MacDonald Pavilion, Peninsula Grammar.

Book your place at: www.peninsulagrammar.vic.edu.au by July 13, 2017. 

Improved confidence through enhanced language skills

My name is Ni and I moved from Bali to Australia eight years ago. I lived a happy life in Bali with my husband and three young children, until my husband died in the 2002 Bali bombing.

I did not know how to look after three children by myself, with no money and no home.  I come to SkillsPlus four days each week and I really love it. I joined the SkillsPlus Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) program to improve on my English reading, writing and language skills.

Once I have completed the SEE program I hope to get a job in retail, maybe at Kmart or Target, because I like working with people.

Story by Ni, Skills to Education and Employment participant.

SkillsPlus
A: 31 Playne Street, Frankston
T: 9784 0400
W: www.skillsplus.com.au

All roads lead to Oz

Dromana College has not put on a musical production in 10 years.  However, the upcoming production of The Wizard of Oz has a cast and crew of 130 skipping down the Yellow Brick Road with excitement.

After commencing a music and vocal teaching position at the college in 2014, current Head of Music Jacqui Rodden was determined to not only lift the level of vocal and instrumental music at the college, but to combine all the performing art forms in a musical production.  “We chose The Wizard of Oz because it had so many wonderful vocal roles for solo and chorus and had a number of big dance scenes,” Jacqui said.

The production also gives instrumental music students the opportunity to perform in an orchestra at the Frankston Arts Centre, which will be directed by Jacqui and feature students from Years 7 to 12.

Jacqui now teaches more than 30 vocal students, and the school boasts an impressive choir and a cappella ensemble. Recent enhancement programs in the performing arts, specifically dance, have given seasoned dance teachers Taryn Sabell and Jennii Johnson an opportunity to work with and choreograph talented performers and prepare them for Wakakirri in 2016 and the college’s musical production this year.

The Wizard of Oz showcases the college’s impressive performing arts students.  Thirty-three dancers from all year levels fill the stage in glittering snowflake tutus and vibrant poppy costumes in Act 1 and return as menacing Jitterbugs in Act 2.  VCE Dance student Madeline Turnbull features as the acrobatic commander of the monkeys, sidekick to the stunning-in-green yet evil Witch of the West, performed by VCE Drama student Julia Gregory. William Buckley, another VCE Drama student, takes the title role.

Year 10 soprano Iris Roberts studies voice with Jacqui and will be playing the starry-eyed Kansas girl Dorothy.  Jacqui’s other vocal students also headline this production: Kayla Wilson as the Tinman, Daniel Gough as the Scarecrow, and bass-baritone Trent Taylor as the Cowardly Lion.

The Wizard of Oz is the first musical production with full orchestra that the school has prepared in a long time.  “It really is a whole school production,” said choreographer, teacher and production coordinator Sarah Cossey. “VCAL Technology students have helped build sets and props, art students have contributed to media and marketing, and a large number of staff and students have assisted in rehearsals, costuming, make-up and design.”

The Wizard of Oz will be performed at Frankston Arts Centre, 27-37 Davey Street Frankston on Friday 12 May  at 7:30pm and Saturday 13 May 13 at 1:00pm and 7:30pm. Tickets at http://artscentre.frankston.vic.gov.au/Whats_On_-_Buy_Tickets/Dromana_College_-_The_Wizard_of_Oz  or phone 9784 1060.

Nurture and nature go hand in hand at Padua Kindergarten

Padua Kindergarten is proudly a dirt-loving, nature-loving, play-based three and four-year-old funded kindergarten here on the Peninsula.

A child’s love and respect for the Earth, themselves and the core fundamentals of early childhood is at the heart of owner Jannah Young’s philosophies for her kindergarten.  It is a kindergarten that delivers early education and inspiration with, she says, love and acceptance in an all-natural play-based environment. “We believe it’s about creating a lifestyle within a child’s education and beyond.”

Jannah believes the most important developmental years in a child's life should be influenced more by nature and fostering life skills, and less by commercialism and what it can take away from the precious years of early childhood.

Over her years of study and working with families on the Peninsula, Jannah’s personal passion for the outdoors and natural living began to inspire what she brought to the children each day.

Now, 20 years later, and with Padua in its 10th year of business, Padua embraces everything she believes makes a valuable foundation for childhood, nurturing the skills and values that will stay with children for ever.  “It's a beautiful amalgamation, a respect for living naturally and an up-to-date curriculum to ensure their blossoming life skills and school readiness are second to none.”

A program delivered by a passionate team of teaching professionals ensures it’s a haven for positive growth in all the right directions.

PADUA KINDERGARTEN
A: 72 Exford Drive, Mornington
W: paduakindergarten.com.au
T: 5976 1022

More Opportunities for Year 7 Entry at Woodleigh

Alex Syme (Year 12) sharing the story of her Great Great Grandfather, Sir George Syme’s ANZAC service at our whole school ANZAC Assembly.

Alex Syme (Year 12) sharing the story of her Great Great Grandfather, Sir George Syme’s ANZAC service at our whole school ANZAC Assembly.

Strong demand for a Woodleigh education has seen growing enrolments at all three campuses of our School. With four full Year 6 classes now moving from Minimbah and Penbank to Year 7 at Woodleigh, opportunities for Year 7 entry have become increasingly difficult to secure.

In order to cater for those families seeking a Woodleigh education for their child’s secondary years, the School Board and I have decided to add an additional Year 7 class in 2019. Ultimately leading to a larger student population (currently 600, projected to increase to 725 in six years’ time), the additional student numbers will support our endeavours to broaden the range of educational experiences on offer, while bringing further strength and diversity to our learning community. 

We welcome enquiries regarding these, and other new opportunities at Woodleigh School. For further information about our programs and philosophy, Information Evenings and Campus Tours, please see our website or call the Enrolments Office on 5971 6100.

Jonathan Walter
Woodleigh School Principal

Microbravery: what is it and why do we need it?

Ordering a smoothie. Asking someone if you can pat their dog. Requesting assistance in a store. What do these everyday acts have in common? They’re all forms of microbravery: small, everyday risks that take us out of our personal comfort zones.

These small acts of bravery can be life changing especially for girls, helping them to build confidence and self-esteem.

A 2014 study by Keds and Girls Leadership, highlighted a bravery gap where boys were more likely than girls to say they were brave. 

The study found that 59% of teen girls define bravery as a heroic act in a dangerous situation, while only 18% of teen girls define brave as standing up for their beliefs and being honest about who they are.

So when being brave feels like it is too big, it can seem out of reach to those who want to try it, and a lot scarier than it has to be.

Toorak College wants every girl to know that being brave is a skill best learned gradually over time, and like any new skill it takes practice, persistence and patience. Bravery is built, not born and microbravery allows girls to build courage slowly in small increments. Eventually they develop the confidence to tackle bigger challenges.

A girls-only approach to education provides a learning environment where girls feel empowered, where they can engage in more healthy competition and risk-taking. These skills set girls up for leadership and life success.

Toorak College encourages parents and teachers to embrace microbravery and to teach it to our girls; they learn best by watching the adults they admire and care for. When parents and teachers model microbravery they provide girls with two core components they need to develop courage: a script (the words to say) and permission (it’s okay to speak up, even if society tells you not to).

Bravery isn’t just about what we do: it’s also about what we believe in. By changing the way girls define courage, we can put it within their reach, making bravery something girls can also enjoy.

Toorak College sets every student up for their own personal growth and success. Discover Toorak on Wednesday 17 May, with tours at 9am and 10am. Call 9788 7234 or visit www.toorakcollege.vic.edu.au

Getting uncomfortable – the importance of outdoor education

There is no doubt that school camps provide children with many memorable experiences, some good, some quite challenging. As adults, many of our school memories are still related to the camps that we attended.

At Peninsula Grammar, camps are a compulsory part of the curriculum. Designed by an expert outdoor education team, the outdoor experiences created for Years 5 to 8 students in particular provide learning opportunities not possible within the four walls of a classroom.

“Working as a team in an outdoor setting with their peers, their teachers and other professionals to take on personal and social challenges is one of the most empowering experiences for our students,” said the Head of the Middle Years program, Muriel Bakker. “The relationships formed during this time of year are really important and our camps are all about engaging our students and developing positive interpersonal relationships with fellow students and mentors.”

Camps at Peninsula Grammar are definitely jam-packed with activities with little downtime - setting up camp, preparing meals and cleaning up afterwards, hiking, abseiling, rafting, bike riding, surfing and many individual and team challenges. The children are exposed to a range of activities that they may not have tried before, with camp staff encouraging them to ‘get comfortable getting uncomfortable’.

“We know that our most significant personal growth occurs when we step outside of our own comfort zone,” Mrs Bakker said. “And really, that’s what our camps are designed to do – promote growth and an adventurous spirit.”

Hear more about the importance of outdoor education in Peninsula Grammar’s Years 5 to 8 program at the Open Day on May 17. Visit www.peninsulagrammar.vic.edu.au or phone 9788 7777.

Co-ed Confidence. Girls Thrive at Woodleigh.

I was first introduced to Woodleigh School when my brother started Year 7 way back in 2005. I still remember, at the age of seven, looking forward to the day when I entered a school where the possibilities seemed endless.

While my brother and I may have had different experiences once we entered into the school, they were equally amazing. This I attribute to one of Woodleigh’s core principles: equality.

Woodleigh values equality, not just between genders but across all boards. This is a school where there are many and varied pathways to success, with the freedom for students to forge their own.

My interests have always been very diverse, and this was supported at all times in both my academic and creative studies. Acceleration opportunities in Mathematics and the Sciences allowed me to expand my mind intellectually, while the Activities Program and Arts subjects allowed for my creativity to flourish.

The love for learning that is cultivated at Woodleigh crosses all classes and curriculum areas. Teachers and staff understand the diversity of interests that students have and accommodate them. My own VCE was a broad and disparate mix: Maths Methods, Chemistry and Biology, as well as English, History Revolutions and Studio Arts. I loved every one and had fantastic teachers for all.

I thrived at Woodleigh and I know that many of my female friends felt the same way. The co-ed environment produces driven, confident, and intelligent young women who know how to respond to the challenges of a co-ed world. Woodleigh’s sense of community creates a support structure that encourages high achievement, personal bests and hard work, regardless of gender or interest. And they are great people! Without the support of my friends … many of whom are guys … I would not have achieved the VCE results that I did last year.

The Woodleigh School environment is one where all young people are encouraged to be strong, resilient and innovative – boys and girls alike.

Katherine Robertson 2016 Dux of Woodleigh School 99.65 ATAR
Perfect study scores of 50 in both English and Studio Arts.

Top Designs

Top Designs is an exhibition held annually at the Melbourne Museum presenting work created by VCE students in Media, Product Design and Technology, Food and Technology, Systems Engineering, Visual Communication Design and VET Interactive Digital Media.

Toorak College Year 12 student and VCE Visual Art Prefect, Sophie Fairbridge, received the great honour of selection in Top Designs with her garment inspired by the Great Barrier Reef.  Sophie chose to complete her Unit 3/4 Product, Design and Technology subject while she was in Year 11, which is an even more notable achievement.

She says, “Its purpose was to show people the beauty of the magnificent reef so they would hopefully want to help save it from the mines in Queensland. I wanted to highlight the striking blue of the ocean and the intricate and natural patterns and shapes of corals and fish”.

“It was very exciting opening the email that said I'd been selected. It is such a big achievement and just shows to me that hard work and a passionate approach to any task can be so rewarding,” Sophie says.

Dailan Hatherley, Head of Visual Art and Technology at Toorak College says, “Top Designs is the best of the best, showcasing the pinnacle of talent from VCE students across the state. Sophie is immersed in the arts, her design is highly original, very well executed and worthy of selection in Top Designs. Every year Toorak College has a VCE art exhibition, where the quality of work is exceptional”.  

“To me, being selected for Top Designs means that I can achieve anything I set my mind to, and that through this experience extraordinary things can be created,” says Sophie.

Toorak College encourages students to dream big, aim high and find their passion. For more details call 9788 7234 or discover Toorak at open morning, Wednesday May 17, tours at 9am and 10am.

Production in full swing at Peninsula Grammar

Anything Goes is a much-loved classic musical featuring the songs of Cole Porter, which first premiered on Broadway in 1934. Over the years, the show has undergone many revisions to the script, but the original humour, beauty, energy and quirky characters of the show have never changed.

The show takes place on a cruise ship sailing from New York to London, and as the title suggests, once on board Anything Goes. There are complicated romantic relationships, mistaken identities, ridiculous disguises, dancing sailors, singing showgirls, and a ship full of eccentric passengers all with a story to tell.

Just because Anything Goes is a classic musical, this does not mean it is an easy musical to perform. At Peninsula Grammar they are always looking to challenge their performing arts students and to provide opportunities for them to develop new skills. This year students have taken on the difficult but rewarding task of learning to tap dance. They have also been learning to waltz, which is not a dance style they are necessarily accustomed to. The dedicated cast is spending hours perfecting steps at rehearsals – lunchtimes, after school and at home.

Many have also been exploring their comedic skills with physical comedy, timing, and slapstick. They have been making brave choices in the rehearsal room as they develop their characters, meaning there are plenty of laughs amongst all the hard work. Cole Porter’s music is light, bright, funny, and provides an opportunity for many of the School’s talented vocalists to shine. The harmonies and energy of the full cast numbers are so infectious audience members are going to have to stop themselves from joining in.

Anything Goes is shaping up to be nothing short of spectacular. It sets sail from the Frankston Arts Centre June 1, 2, 3 at 7pm – tickets available from artscentre.frankston.vic.gov.au

Playball to get school ready by Liz Rogers

Sport keeps you fit, but it also teaches and develops a wide range of skills to help your child navigate life’s journey.

Playball Specialised Sports Coaching for kids between the ages of two and eight focuses on school and life readiness by developing physical (motor coordination, muscle tone and spatial awareness), emotional (behaviour regulation, confidence) and intellectual (memory and concentration) readiness.

This dedicated kids’ sports program also teaches co-operation, participation, turn taking and sportsmanship all under the guise of having some fun!

Contact Playball to see how your child can thrive both physically and emotionally today.

Ready. Set. Play.

PLAYBALL – KIDS SPORT AND MORE
T: 0411 365 222
W: playball.com.au

The most important recipe

There is no known recipe for producing a well-rounded, confident and motivated young person.  Each individual develops in a uniquely different way shaped by the positive and negative influences in their lives.  There are, however, certain ingredients that just have to be included in a school for the masterpiece to take its own unique form.

First, the utensils, or the framework, that underpins the learning must allow for student curiosity, exploration and discovery.  The IB-PYP curriculum encourages teachers to continually question why they teach, what they teach and how they teach.  It focuses on true understanding and learning based on an individual’s unique style.

Second, the elements added to the school need to include:

·       Collaboration between students, staff and parents;

·       A touch of challenge and struggle to teach determination and grit;

·       A large amount of patience and practice to solidify an individual’s understanding of persistence and dedication; and,

·       A pinch of freedom to explore and create.

These ingredients are then brought together through the passion of the teaching staff, the support of the parents and the enthusiasm of the student.  The best recipes change over time and are continually critiqued in the quest to work to perfect the outcome.

The IB-PYP curriculum offered in Toorak College’s Prep-Year 6 program consistently seeks to improve the recipe and perfect the outcome through preparing students for the intellectual challenges of their future education, focusing on the development of the whole child as an inquirer, both in the classroom and in the world outside of it.

Discover Toorak on Wednesday, March 22, with tours at 9am and 10am, or phone 9788 7234.

TOORAK COLLEGE
A: Old Mornington Rd, Mount Eliza
T: 9788 7200
W: toorakcollege.vic.edu.au

Learning through action in the early years

We hear a lot about the importance of the early years and giving children the best start in life. But what actually makes the most difference? The answer is a high-quality Kindergarten program.

Kindergarten builds the foundations of education, and Peninsula Grammar believes that learning through action is a key ingredient to enabling a child to grow.

“If you want to see the joy of learning in its purest form - visit one of our Kindergarten classes,” said Louise Nicholls-Easley, Head of Junior Years at Peninsula Grammar.  “Here you can see a zest for learning that comes from an emergent curriculum, room to explore and experiment and exceptional teachers.

“I am enormously proud of our Kindergarten staff who actively encourage curiosity, collaboration and creativity in the classroom. They go above and beyond to ensure that each child in the Kinder flourishes in their own individual way,” she explains.

However, the learning through action approach isn’t confined to the classroom.  While there are purpose-built Kindergarten rooms, it is the sustainable gardens and access to the entire school grounds that allows for exploring and learning. This also enhances the children’s strong sense of community and belonging within the school.

Mrs Lucinda Watson, from the Four-Year-Old Kinder Program, sees the benefits of this approach every day.  “We love to see the children’s confidence and independence growing.  Each child comes here with different knowledge and they teach each other, learning that everyone has strengths,” she explains.  “For example, one of our little girls loves packing up and some struggle with working as a team so she is showing them what teamwork means.  We celebrate that.”

For more information about Peninsula Grammar and its learning through action Kinder program, go to www.peninsulagrammar.vic.edu.au or call 9788 7777.

PENINSULA GRAMMAR
A: 20 Wooralla Drive, Mount Eliza
T: 9788 7777
W: www.peninsulagrammar.vic.edu.au