From the Deputy Head of Junior School

Information Sharing – Interviews, ILPs and Portfolios
The school was abuzz last week as parents exchanged information about their child to the 2016 classroom teachers. Many parents of Year 1 to 6 children had filled in a questionnaire about their child, giving the teachers vital information and a starting point for discussion at the interview. Thank you to those parents who took the time to share information about their child. It is when parents and teachers work together that the best gains are made for the children; being on the same page is crucial and the education of your child is a partnership between school and home.

Some parents would have been presented with an Individual Learning Plan (ILP) at the interview. This ILP contains individualised goals, targeted to support those students who are working towards meeting Year level expectations or, conversely, those students who are working well beyond Year level expectations. Student, school and parent actions are listed so that parents are better informed about how the teachers are modifying the program to meet individual needs and what can be done at home. It is essential that we have a signed copy of the ILP returned to the school as soon as possible. Please send it back to school to the classroom teacher; the case manager of the ILP.

In the last week of term, or at the beginning of Term 2, your child will bring home their portfolio to share with you. The Portfolio is a collection of some of the common assessment tasks undertaken by your child throughout the course of Term 1. There will be some specialist contributions in the Portfolio folder as well. Each task has a brief summary attached, which informs you about the task and its objectives. Occasionally the children put work they are proud of into the Portfolio. Students in Year 5 and 6 might have work to show their parents in a folder on their iPad. The Portfolio needs to be returned early in Term 2, intact with all Term 1 work, as the children and staff continue to add work to it from Term 2. There is a Parent Feedback sheet inside the Portfolio as we value your input and feedback. If you have any queries about your child’s learning, please see the classroom teacher. We hope you find the Portfolio an exciting representation of your child’s Term 1 Learning Journey.

Homework is set for all students in Years 3 to 6 from Monday to Thursday night. Students in Prep to Year 2 are expected to read with their parents each night. Occasionally the class teacher might send home spelling words for your child to practise, if they see the need.

At its best, homework or hometasks for Year 3 to 6 children can be an opportunity for them to learn the skills of time management and the value of solving problems on their own. At its worst, arguments over homework can create power struggles in families, bruise parent/child relationships, and waste valuable time. I hope these tips are helpful for you and your child as they embark on hometasks this year.

Establish a working environment by providing:

  • a quiet homework area free from distraction (not with the TV on)
  • adequate lighting
  • a large work space
  • comfortable seating
  • easy access to necessary materials – e.g. books, stationery, stapler, pencils, computer/iPad.

Strategies to assist include:

  1. Establish attitudes and expectations about homework in the earliest years by discussing school activities and reading together on a daily basis. The gradual change of emphasis to more formal homework activities (in Year 3–6) is usually made through completion of Mathematics and English activities.
  2. Avoid conflict regarding homework by establishing an agreed time allocation for each day of the week.
  3. Establish with your child a weekly planner, which allows for a balance between participation in non-school activities – e.g. music, sporting activities, TV and school activities.
  4. Parental interest is necessary but participation is dependent on the needs of your child. It is important to encourage your child to become responsible and an independent learner. As Erica McWilliam, Professor at QUT and an internationally recognised scholar, says, ‘parents who do their child’s homework for them are stealing from them. You are taking away the opportunity for your child to learn from their mistakes.’
  5. Ensure your child is supervised at all times when using the computer or iPad.
  6. Check/confirm your child’s homework tasks using the CLASSe site.
  7. When your child is experiencing difficulties with homework, assist by:
  • acknowledging what is known
  • talking over difficulties
  • suggesting some ways to solve the problem
  • supporting and encouraging your child in their efforts
  • breaking the problem down into simpler terms.
  1. If there are problems regarding quantity, level of difficulty, or expectation, do not hesitate to contact your child’s teacher and arrange a time to discuss your concerns.

Maths Information Evening – 23 March 2016
Have you heard your child mention any of the following terms: Numicon, Mathletics, EMU, Maths Olympiad, MAB and MAI? By now you should have received an email invitation to an information evening on Mathematics. We hope that a representative from each family will attend the evening, which hopes to better inform you about how Mathematics is taught, some of the programs and resources we use, and how to help your child at home. Please keep Wednesday 23 March at 7.00pm free. This session is a repeat of last year’s. We would appreciate it if you could reply via email to let us know how many people are attending. If you have any questions please contact Lee Taylor or Louise Sayar.

Guys and Dolls – Senior School Musical
Have you booked your tickets? Former Junior School Kew students have filled four out of the five lead roles in the 2016 Senior School Musical – Guys and Dolls. That is a huge endorsement of the Music program and offerings in Junior School and of the Performing Arts opportunities students are given in Middle and Senior School. This year’s musical promises to entertain and dazzle even our youngest Grammarians. Perhaps the Saturday matinee performance will suit the younger children? I do hope you take your family along to see this musical; a good night is more than guaranteed. Tickets are selling fast and are available through TryBooking.

Louise Sayar
Deputy Head – Student Learning