Peninsula Grammar Presents Concert Series 2018

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After much anticipation, Peninsula Grammar is pleased to announce the line-up for its Peninsula Grammar Presents concert series.

Featuring both local and international quality musical acts, the concert series offers a range of professional performances of all music styles. Now in its third full year, this diverse and astounding series has already impressed over 2000 music lovers across the Peninsula.

Head of Instrumental Music at Peninsula Grammar and curator of the series, Dr Richard Vaudrey is extremely proud of the line-up for 2018.

"Our team has worked hard to get some of Australia's most talented musicians to play; it is going to be a fantastic series," he said.

The series offers an opportunity for the community, students and families to experience performances typically only found in large city environments in a more intimate and welcoming space within the school.

"Each year we open our doors and invite the community into our school to enjoy the talent that these amazing musicians have to offer. It’s all about inspiring and delighting people."

This year's line-up includes:

·      Thursday, March 1 - Kyran and New Flower Garden

·      Thursday, March 22 - Kristian Winther

·      Thursday, May 3 - Monash University Australian Jazz Ensemble

·      Wednesday, June 20 - Amy Lehpalmer (pictured

·      Thursday, July 26 - Lior

·      Wednesday, September 19 - Vaudrey with Howard Penny

·      Thursday, October 25 - Dania Cornelius

·      Thursday, November 29 - Alum (former Peninsula Grammar students)

"This program complements our music program so well. As part of the series, before each performance our students work with the musicians in a masterclass gaining valuable tips on technique and insights into the industry."

To find out more about the Peninsula Grammar Presents program or learn about Peninsula Grammar's exemplary music program, visit or call 9788 7777. 


The race of a lifetime


Congratulations to the Peninsula Grammar HPV team that came a noble 20th place in the overall standings of the 2017 Annual RACV Energy Breakthrough Human Powered Vehicle (HPV) Challenge. 

The 12 Year 6 students, including six girls and six boys, spent many months preparing for this event, which has become a much-loved tradition for Peninsula Grammar. 

Held from November 22-25, the Challenge provided an opportunity for students, teachers, parents and local businesses to work together to design and construct a HPV machine and to demonstrate innovation and efficient uses of energy while considering their impact on humans and the environment.  

HPV program co-ordinator Robert Ogle has been running this program at Peninsula Grammar for more than 10 years, and the improvement each year in the competition and vehicles is remarkable. 

“It takes over six months of preparation to run a professional program, and our students certainly developed an extraordinary team spirit, challenging their resilience and grit, while considerably broadening their educational horizons,” Mr Ogle said. “They also get to have a great deal of fun! Undoubtedly this endures as a major highlight of the year.

“Planning for next year has already commenced, and we are looking forward to trying to improve even further in 2018.”

Peninsula Grammar ran a Trisled composite fibreglass, kevlar and carbon fibre vehicle in the race, carrying the name of ‘Mistral’.

“The vehicle we run for the HPV program is second to none. It uses carbon fibre in its structure, meaning we can keep the weight of the vehicle down but also keep it structurally strong.” 

The Peninsula Grammar HPV team finished the gruelling race in an amazing 15th place in a field of 92 vehicles, covering 334 laps or the equivalent of 367.4km. Other elements of the Challenge, such as the presentation, gave them a final placing of 20th overall – a wonderful result.

To find out more about the Year 6 HPV program, part of the Becoming Me years, please contact Peninsula Grammar on 9788 7777 or visit for more information. Peninsula Grammar runs tours every Thursday from 9.30am.


Two years are better than one

A recent report released by the Mitchell Institute highlights the substantial benefits children receive from access to two years of preschool. The report finds that starting early and staying in for longer is beneficial for most children and that high-quality early learning programs help grow curious minds and develop emotional wellbeing.

The Early Learning Program at Toorak College provides the best educational start for your child.

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“As a young child grows, so does their identity and sense of self,” says Mrs Mandy Whitworth, Head of Wardle House. “We pride ourselves on having an Early Learning Program that has been designed to meet the cognitive, social, emotional and physical needs of preschool children.”

A typical day for students in Toorak College’s Early Learning Program includes play, music, art, movement, science, reading, and math activities. “Our teachers design learning activities based on the needs and attention spans of three and four-year-olds,” says Mrs Whitworth. “These experiences are then delivered in small groups throughout the day to ensure students are actively learning.”

As part of the three-year-old program, students are encouraged to explore and play both indoors and outdoors. They begin to learn early literacy and numeracy concepts and how to collaborate and co-operate with others. Recently, the students were paired up with buddies from the Senior School and together they explored number sequencing and number patterns.

Students in Toorak College’s four-year-old program build on their cognitive, social and emotional skills. They work independently and in groups to develop their reading, writing and problem-solving skills. Specialist art, music, library and science classes expose students to the wider school environment and ensure they are prepared for the next big leap at Toorak College – Prep!

“When children start school we want them to thrive, flourish and enjoy the challenges they are presented. This is why we provide many opportunities for our ELC students to experience the whole school,” says Mrs Whitworth. “These experiences make school seem less scary and intimidating as the children begin their next learning journey.”

To learn more about the Early Learning program at Toorak College, visit or call 9788 7234 to arrange a tour.

Service learning at the heart of Year 9 at Peninsula Grammar

Year 9 at Peninsula Grammar is an exciting time for students, who take part in the innovative “Challenging Me” program based on extensive research on how best to cater for the needs of adolescent learners.


During Year 9, students have the opportunity to learn about and understand the importance of investing in social capital to benefit and support our community. This year with an increased focus on service learning across the School, the program grew to include an option to undertake a trip to Cambodia to help build a home for a local family.

“2017 saw the inaugural overseas service learning expedition to Cambodia,” said Sue Barlow, Head of Pre Senior Year 9, the driving force behind this new initiative.  “A few days enjoying the cultural delights of Siem Reap and Phnom Penh were superseded by an amazing five days spent in the floating village of Prek Toal.

“In this small village, the students stayed with local families and worked alongside tradesmen building a traditional house for a family in need, integrating with children in the village school playing games to help them with their English.”

Year 9 student Harry had a life-changing experience. “During and after the trip I saw and realised how much I had changed.  I have found new motivation; I now know how fortunate I am to have everything I have in my life and how lucky I am to have such an amazing education and teachers that are always willing to help. I am so much more grateful for everything in my life now and I wish that I could do more for others in the world.”

For more information about Peninsula Grammar and its unique service learning-based “Challenging Me” program, go to or call 9788 7777.


A: 20 Wooralla Drive, Mount Eliza

T: 9788 7777


Scientists in the making

Toorak College provides the best educational start for your child; inspiring students to dream big and aim high, with quality teachers who develop the students’ passions wherever they may lie.


In the early years, Toorak College values the importance of having a strong foundation in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. It encourages exploration, curiosity and problem solving.

Last year the Government released the National Innovation and Science Agenda, and under the initiative ‘Inspiring all Australians in Digital Literacy, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics’ a plan to develop STEM knowledge in early childhood was launched.

“It is important to encourage STEM thinking in very young children,” says Mrs Mandy Whitworth, Head of Wardle House. “The secret is to tap into their natural and innate curiosity about the living world. By simply allowing children to investigate, and encouraging them to ask questions about the real world, you are engaging them in STEM. Research tells us that an enhanced and integrated understanding of STEM disciplines will assist our students to be the entrepreneurs and innovators of the future.”

As part of the Early Learning program at Toorak College, students have access to the school’s state-of- the-art facilities, including DIGI (Design, Innovate, Gamify Inspire) Zone. DIGI Zone is a place for learners to problem solve, collaborate, design and create. Most recently, three and four-year-old students have been creating stop-motion movies on tablets and experiencing new technology using the beebots, sphero balls and virtual reality equipment. Later this year, they will be working on a student-directed animated story where they will use different objects and environments to tell a story of what life is like in the Early Learning Centre. These experiences enable the children to develop a solid understanding of digital technologies before commencing primary school.    

“A vibrant Australia depends upon a foundation of STEM education, so we need to encourage STEM learning during our children’s early years, rather than wait until they get to school,” says Mrs Whitworth.

To learn more about the Early Learning program at Toorak College, visit or call 9788 7234.


Sammy J returns to his childhood playground, quite literally

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On Thursday, November 30, Peninsula Grammar will proudly welcome back Class of 2001 student Sammy J as part of its Peninsula Grammar Presents concert series. Sammy (pictured) returns to the school where his comedic survival skills came to the fore, transforming this young high-achieving self-confessed ‘nerd’ into one of Australia’s best known musical comedians and satirists.

Sammy’s Peninsula Grammar days were riddled with comedic experiments – his very own pilot program with many lunch times spent developing and testing material with his peers and often teachers (and at times testing the boundaries).

After finishing school, he chose to pursue a law degree only to abandon it partway through to travel the world and sing funny songs for a living. 

As a solo act, Sammy J has won the Best Newcomer award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. He has performed in Edinburgh, Montreal, and every major Australian comedy festival. His album Skinny Man, Modern World received an ARIA nomination for Best Comedy Release, and he gained a national following with his satirical take on Australian politics, Sammy J’s Playground Politics.

“We have had a program full of star performers with talented musicians taking part and bringing the very best that music has to offer,” said Dr Richard Vaudrey, Head of Instrumental Music at Peninsula Grammar.  “We are so lucky that Sammy J has offered to finish the 2017 Peninsula Grammar Presents concert series with an exclusive event for his old school. This certainly will be an event not to be missed; full of Sammy J’s musical numbers and comedic offerings. Sammy never fails to leave a room in stitches.”

Sammy will return to his alma mater to deliver an evening of songs, anecdotes and highlights from a life of relationships and events from the days where his skinny legs stuck out of his school shorts below a recycled tie knot hanging from his collar.

Book early to avoid disappointment as this event will sell fast. Sammy J will be performing at the Peninsula Grammar Performing Arts Centre, Thursday, November 30, with tickets $25 (including GST).

Tickets available at or through the Music Department on 9788 7733.


A: 20 Wooralla Drive, Mount Eliza
T: 9788 7777


Wardle House celebrates 60 years

Steeped in 143 years of history, Toorak College is a school community that dreams big, strives for excellence and inspires future lives.


Recently the Junior School, Wardle House, celebrated its 60th Anniversary. Celebrations commenced with a school assembly attended by special guests Mr Chris Crewther, the Federal Member for Dunkley and Mr David Morris, the State Member for Mornington and Shadow Minister for Finance.

Festivities continued throughout the day with a VIP morning tea and a party in the afternoon enjoyed by students and their families with roving entertainment, music performances by students, vintage games and fun passports taking students on a historical journey of Wardle House.

In the lead-up to the 60th anniversary celebrations, each junior school student designed their own 'peg doll'. This activity originated as a competition in Wardle House throughout the ‘60s and ‘70s for students to earn points for their Houses, and is remembered fondly by the Collegians today. 

Students wrote letters to Collegians asking them about the history of Wardle House; this helped to give them an understanding of the historical significance of traditions and events that they enjoy and embrace today. The Annual Beach Picnic which started in 1956 for day students to bring lunch for the boarders, the House system which provides a feeling of identity and belonging, weekly Share Assemblies, the Birthday song, House Fairs and Sharing Day are just a few.

Mrs Caralyn Such, President of the Toorak Collegians, shared her adventures at Wardle House with the current students. “I grew up in Mount Eliza which was just a little country town and Wardle House was very small then. It was a bushland block, there was no play equipment so we used to build cubby houses in the tea tree. Ms Wardle was Principal of Toorak College, and Miss MacLean was Head of Junior School.

“In my day there were no aerobics teams or theatre productions, but we did do ballet classes in an old wooden building called ‘The Elephant’. I remember we used to get a cooked lunch every day, which came down from the boarding house.”

Head of Wardle House, Mrs Mandy Whitworth says, “We are so proud of the warm, supportive and inclusive environment that Wardle House continues to provide. It is the traditions, values and rituals of the past that continue to make Wardle House the special place it is today.”

Discover Toorak on Wednesday, October 18, with tours at 9am and 10am. Applications for 2019 Scholarships close on Friday, October 20. For more details, visit


Finding fun in the upside-down world of The Addams Family


Almost 100 Peninsula Grammar students from Years 5 to 8 have come together after school and more recently on weekends to learn lines and choreography for the much anticipated Middle Years’ production, The Addams Family.

All The Addams Family characters you know and love are back in a brand new story which introduces the very normal Bieneke family and the very kooky Addams Family ancestors. Wednesday Addams, the eldest Addams child and lover of all things dark and creepy, has grown up and fallen for Lucas Bieneke, a sweet, smart young man from a normal respectable family.

Head of Theatrical Productions at Peninsula Grammar, Melinda Slade, is leading the show and has taken the students on a journey which has seen them engage with the story line and embrace the often challenging choreography.

“These quirky characters are being brought to life by these talented students,” an excited Melinda said. “It is such a funny show for both children and parents that will have all family members nodding and understanding as they see their household troubles explored on stage. There are so many delightful moments that will have you chuckling.

“The idea of two young adults from two extremely different families falling in love and discovering that their values aren’t that different is both beautiful and hilarious and one that the students appreciate.”

This lesson is but one of the many learning opportunities offered by Peninsula Grammar’s performing arts program as explained by Principal, Stuart Johnston.

“The value of being part of a team, something bigger than yourself to create something wonderful for others to enjoy can’t be underestimated,” he said. “We see so many students who experience the challenge, excitement and creativity of the Middle Years production take on other challenges in their life after being part of the program. It really is inspiring.”

Potentially this is the reason why so many students choose to take up performing arts at Peninsula Grammar. Year 8 student Remi Stock is one of these students and is playing the lead role of Wednesday Addams.

“The songs are so enjoyable and the comedy is hilarious with fantastic sarcasm,” said Remi. “We are all working hard as a team; I am so lucky to be part of this amazing production and can’t wait for our performance nights.”

As with every Peninsula Grammar production, The Addams Family will be a very professional show with incredibly detailed sets, costume and make-up designs. And while many of the characters are dead ancestors, the performance will by no means be dull, with lively dance moves that will have the students and audience grooving through the graveyard.

To see Peninsula Grammar’s The Addams Family performed at George Jenkins Theatre on Wednesday, October 25, to Friday, October 27, please contact 9788 777 or visit

A: 20 Wooralla Drive, Mount Eliza
T: 9788 7777


Laura sizzles in cooking comp


Chisholm student Laura Skvor obviously has a huge appetite for success.  Fresh from her gold medal win at the regional AUSTAFE competition in Frankston in August, Laura has struck gold again – this time at the state AUSTAFE competition in Lilydale on September 26.

Her latest win follows her selection as commis chef at the Bocuse d’Or Asia Pacific semi-finals in Singapore from April 24-27 next year, where she and Michael Cole, the head chef at Georgie Bass Café and Cooking School in Flinders, will represent Australia at the most prestigious gastronomy event in the world.  If they finish in the top five, they will go on to compete in Bocuse d’Or 2019 in Lyon against 23 other teams from around the world.

Laura, who is completing her Certificate III in Commercial Cookery at Chisholm in Rosebud, has been passionate about cooking since she was a young girl. She advanced her culinary journey after a brief stint on My Kitchen Rules with her brother, Mitch.  Although she didn’t win, her desire to become a great chef was ignited - so much so that Laura quit university, where she was studying linguistics, and switched to Commercial Cookery at TAFE.

“Although I was happy studying linguistics, I thought why am I not doing what I truly love, and that is cooking? So I decided to leave university and enrol at Chisholm.  At first I needed a lot of guidance, but I’ve found a great mentor at Chisholm and am learning everything I need to become a great chef.”

With talent, commitment, a sense of focus and flair in the kitchen, Laura is setting the bar very high, and through constantly pushing herself out of her comfort zone, she is proving that becoming a truly great chef is only a matter of time.

Beliefs about education

At Woodleigh, we believe that education should be a journey of ever-expanding opportunities.  One which opens up multiple pathways and helps students find their individuality and discover their passions.  We commit wholeheartedly to the words of our founding Principal, Michael Norman, who said, “We ought never do for a young person what they, with a struggle, could be expected to be doing for themselves.” 

When students are challenged, real growth will occur. There is no growth without struggle. 

Students must be challenged – they must experience the discomfort that comes with breaking through to new ways of thinking.  As children move from early childhood, through adolescence and into adulthood, they need to be given the space to grow, develop ideas, create, take risks, and importantly, to fail and learn from their mistakes.

“Content knowledge matters. Skills matter more. Motivation matters most. Because if someone is intrinsically motivated, they’re going to continuously acquire new content knowledge and skills.” (Wagner 2016). 

We can no longer apply 20th century thinking to 21st century problems. The employment landscape has evolved at an astounding rate in the past decade and knowledge is no longer enough. Today’s employers demand resilience, grit, perseverance, digital skills, critical thinking skills, tenacity, creative problem solving, collaboration and effective communication skills; qualities which are central to what we do, teach and value.

The Woodleigh School learning model actively develops a range of diverse pathways for students, encouraging individuality, creative thinking and the development of adventurous minds. 

To learn more about our school visit or contact our enrolments department on 5971 6100.




Developing true friendships takes kindness, courage and a willingness to grow

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Throughout this term, Peninsula Grammar students in the Junior Years have been learning how to navigate the “bumps that appear in the road”. While it may seem like a mature concept, the Kinder to Year 4 students have immersed themselves in Peninsula’s Positive Education program that focuses on developing healthy relationships and navigating disagreements when they happen.  

“It’s important that our students know that despite wanting to be happy all the time, it is a normal part of life that we sometimes feel lonely, or find it difficult to make new friends,” explains Peninsula Grammar’s Director of Positive Education, Ms Therese Joyce.  “Our students learn that friendships can change, and they may feel hurt if they argue with friends, or feel left out but they’re learning that these ups and downs are all part of being human.” 

Within the Positive Education program, student leaders in the Middle Years have been reflecting on the skills that make a good friend and leader. “Students learn about what friendship means and how to be a good friend,” Ms Joyce said. “Good friends are kind, they consider others and act in a way that is fair and honest. Good friends stand up for each other, listen to any concerns and look for the good in others.”

Peninsula’s Positive Education framework reflects the work of many psychological wellbeing experts who focus on the value of positive healthy relationships.  

“Our relationships with other people have a huge impact on our sense of self and our level of wellbeing and it is important for children to learn how to deal with challenges in their relationships and to develop good social skills.” 

“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Across the school, Peninsula Grammar has invited staff, students and the community to take an active part in a kindness initiative and to consider ways they can each bring a little more kindness to the world around them. 

For more information about Peninsula’s Positive Education program, contact 9788777 or visit

A: 20 Wooralla Drive, Mount Eliza
T: 9788 7777


A school for Adventurous Minds

At Woodleigh School, ‘Adventurous Minds’ defines who we are.

 Adventurous Minds are expressive and imaginative. Original, passionate and persistent.

Adventurous Minds are expressive and imaginative. Original, passionate and persistent.

Adventurous Minds never stop learning. To be adventurous is to have a go, to be creative, open to change and possibility. Adventurous Minds can be scientific, mathematic, artistic and expressive. There are no set limits.

We are seekers of new perspectives. Our students are unafraid of failure, taking risks with their learning. They take setbacks in their stride, reflect and try again. They are capable, resourceful, collaborative and talented, always looking for innovative solutions. 

Our teachers and curriculum encourage students to try new things, to push beyond what is comfortable – to grow. The Activities and Camp Programs, Round Square and our Community Partnership Programs shift Woodleigh students’ perspectives beyond the safe confines of the Peninsula, to national and international views. 

As industry and employer needs change, education too must evolve. We must acknowledge that the future will not be like the past. Transferable skills, application, effort, communication skills, curiosity, adaptability and innovation – adventurous thinking – these are fundamental for your child’s future success. They cannot be Googled. They can only be learnt through real, authentic, lived experiences. 

Education should be an adventure. The journeys students go on, both in and out of the classroom, should ignite a life-long love for learning. They should lead students to discover their passions and help define their values.

At Woodleigh, Adventurous Minds are welcome. They are guided and empowered. Adventurous Minds are respected. Adventurous Minds are educated… here.


VCE: Ready to go! By Zahli McFarlane

Like any student heading into the VCE years I’ve been feeling a bit anxious about the decisions I need to make. As a Year 10 student it dawns on you that your choices over the next few years impact your future. Lots of questions run through your head. What subjects should I choose? Which tertiary institution offers the course I’m interested in? How do ATARs work? It’s enough to make even the most confident and capable student feel overwhelmed.

Peninsula Grammar has taken our VCE preparation to the next level. The School offered a “VCE and Pathways Expo” which gave both students and parents the opportunity to explore the 35 VCE subjects on offer. We were able to ask the teachers questions and investigate our areas of interest. There were also 13 institutions at the Expo showcasing their courses, offering us valuable insight into options, prerequisites and life beyond VCE.

After the Expo I went to a presentation with my mum where we learnt all about the mechanics of VCE. My parents did the HSC and only understand “Anderson Scores” so they were grateful to have the chance to understand the process and ask questions.

Peninsula Grammar also invited past students back to School to tell us about their post VCE lives and experiences. We found this invaluable and felt excited about the future after hearing from the VCE graduates. 

We finished Term 2 with all students having a chance to sit one on one with teachers representing the VCE subjects. This enabled me to ask my final questions and lock in my subject choices. 

I am fully prepared for the future and know that I will be completely supported by my School as I undertake this exciting journey. Peninsula Grammar has done everything it can to ease my transition into VCE and I feel confident about life after School. 

Peninsula Grammar has an Open Day on Wednesday, August 16 from 9-11am.


A: 20 Wooralla Drive, Mount Eliza

T: 9788 7777


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