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


Adventurous Minds connect, collaborate and empower others


Adventurous Minds seek new ways forward. They are culturally aware and have global perspectives. They connect, collaborate and empower others.

At Woodleigh, our Indigenous Partnership programs develop essential cultural and social understandings as students build relationships and engage directly in a diverse range of experiences.

Woodleigh has established meaningful partnerships with several Indigenous communities locally and throughout Australia; in particular, Mijwatj in northeast Arnhem Land, Ampilawatja in central Australia and Wugularr School in Beswick NT.

Our Year 6 Penbank students have recently enjoyed a trip north to visit their friends at Wugularr School. The two schools have formed a strong connection over the seven years they have been visiting each other. The ‘Wugubank’ Partnership aims to develop long-term relationships, establishing trust, personal respect and connections with the view of broadening horizons for all.

It is based on the premise that young children naturally interact with each other and are not unduly affected by the barriers of culture or language. Children are generally free from prejudice and simply love to play and learn. In a school setting, and through structured and culturally respectful educational exchanges, the Wugubank Partnership enables the children from each school to understand and influence each other about their world.

Our Indigenous Partnership programs help students to understand: “What does it mean to be an Indigenous Australian?”

By forming an understanding of other cultures, students also learn to value their own culture and the insights, ways and understandings that they can offer others.

At Woodleigh, a journey of cultural investigation begins in our Early Learning programs at both Minimbah and Penbank campuses and is embedded throughout the secondary years.

We believe deeply in a culture of mutual respect. We educate students to be inclusive, collaborative and to celebrate differences.

We believe that together we are empowered.


Jonathan Walter



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.

Parenting with passion


“Let’s provide a childhood for our children that they don’t need to recover from.”
Parent with Passion is a new service on the Mornington Peninsula supporting parents and children and, in turn, building stronger families.

Parenting coach and spiritual counsellor Deanne can teach you how to learn what your child is telling you from your child’s behaviour, and then support their emotional wellbeing and parent by giving choices.

Discover how to foster positive feelings and emotions and find fulfilment as a parent. Deanne’s approach is from a spiritual perspective with life-long results. Appointments are available in Mornington and Frankston.



M: 0413 316 079


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


Peninsula Grammar Launches First Mixtape

In mid 2016 the Peninsula Grammar Music Department took a bold and unique step, introducing individual tuition in Music Production and Songwriting.

After constructing an industry-standard production studio room and appointing platinum selling songwriter/producer Mr Lionel Towers, the program is now flourishing.  Thirteen students from Years 8 to 12 are now writing and producing their own music.

This month, the first fruits of the program go on display with the public release of the studio’s first mixtape - a digital collection of seven completed songs by Peninsula Grammar students showcasing the promising sounds of what could easily be our country’s next artistic contributors.

It’s fantastic to see composition; or more simply the creation of music becoming popular again for our students,” says Dr Richard Vaudrey, program creator and Head of Studio and Instrumental Music at Peninsula Grammar. “I wanted to foster this and expert guidance and the facilities to do more than simply learn other people’s music.”

Students within the program are establishing their own sound and enjoying every moment of the process.

With Mr Towers’ guidance I've created things that I'm legitimately proud of and it has given me the confidence to create music for the future,” says Year 11 student Jack Burmeister.

For Year 9 student Matilda-Pearl McNamara-Muir, the classes allow her to explore music further.

“I have always wanted to write my own songs but have never really known where to start. With Mr Towers, I am able to share my ideas and concepts,” she says. “It is pretty cool to be able to say I have my own song.”

The 2017 Mixtape Volume 1 is available for download and streaming on popular streaming service SoundCloud or at

For more information about music at Peninsula Grammar, phone 9788 7777 or go to

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 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: 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.

A: 31 Playne Street, Frankston
T: 9784 0400

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  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.

A: 72 Exford Drive, Mornington
T: 5976 1022

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