A wonderful sense of adventure

The Carey Celebrates Literature Festival has added extra magic to each day this week. Anna Davidson, Head of Junior School Library, has developed a new approach this year, scheduling workshops with exciting authors across different year levels during the week. I have just returned from a workshop with Nova Weetman, who was teaching a Year 6 group how to build a narrative to create a story. I couldn’t but help but reflect on how lucky these students are to have the opportunity to work with a real author and get insight into the special craft of writing. The JSPA supported our special week with an afternoon tea for the students who attended the Leigh Hobbs session after school on Wednesday. This was a great initiative and I would like to sincerely thank them for their organisation and support.

The Year 6 Toonallook Camp program is now complete, with the return of 6D at the end of last week. Year 6D experienced the most challenging weather of the four camps, however they did not let that get in the way of enjoying the unique and very beautiful environment. Each time I attend one of these camps I come away even more committed to the important role that our Outdoor Education program plays in supporting our students to get to know themselves and their classmates. It provides an opportunity for students to recognise new and different strengths, both within themselves and others, that they may not have seen before. The camp program also offers our students plenty of opportunities to reflect our Positive Learner Attribute of ‘Resilience’. It is so important to give our students opportunities to stand on their own two feet, to experience challenges such as homesickness and know they can get through it. Combined with excellent support from the staff and a wonderful sense of adventure where students successfully experience new things, these challenges make the perfect recipe for a positive sense of self.

I have been busy interviewing our Preps for next year along with Amy Lovell, Lower Primary Co-ordinator. It is always so interesting to meet the new children and their families and welcome them to Junior School for their first ‘formal’ visit in preparation for the start of school. I delight in the children’s different personalities that shine through and the opportunity to have a casual conversation with them. School readiness is often a topic of discussion for parents. Over many years of interviewing prospective Preps, I now recognise that there are particular indicators that stand out for children to support them in a successful transition to school. Such things as curiosity, turn-taking, being able to wait (delayed gratification), and the capacity to listen and act on instructions are all important indicators of ‘readiness’. We also support this readiness by providing our children with a kit bag that supports good letter formation, tips for parents, and most importantly, a beautiful name proforma. Being able to write your name on the first day of school is a wonderful confidence booster! But when parents ask me what the right age to send their child to school is, I will always respond with, ‘it depends on the child’. I also ask and wonder about the rush to send them to school. There is a good bank of evidence that supports children having plenty of time to grow and learn through play before starting their 13 years of formal learning at school. We are going to provide an information session for future parents on School Readiness on the evening of Thursday 18 July at 7.00pm. More information will be advertised shortly.

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Emma Chiera to replace Matt Lowe in Year 1 for Semester 2. Emma has extensive teaching experience and is a passionate and warm educator with deep understanding of the curriculum and children’s growth. She is currently acting Deputy Principal at Boroondara Primary. We look forward to welcoming Emma in Term 3 to the Junior School.

Libby Russell
Head of Junior School Kew