Principals Desk

Curriculum Planning for Term 4

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

At the end of each term, our teachers work together in their Year Level Learning Teams to plan for the coming term. Purposeful collaboration between our teachers in each Learning Team across the school ensures the implementation of the same comprehensive learning experiences and lessons for all students. Our teachers have a shared commitment to working together to challenge and support each other to deliver high quality teaching and learning in every classroom. I am very excited about the curriculum programs they are designing to be implemented next term and I am sure our students will enjoy the learning experiences they have designed for them.

In preparation for our Term 4 Positive Education programs, our teachers spent Tuesday afternoon revisiting the content of the Berry Street Education Model (BSEM) Engagement Domain. The BSEM underpins our Positive Education program throughout the school, which includes the domains of Body, Character, Stamina, Engagement and Relationships. For more information on the lessons teachers worked collaboratively to create, see Mrs Chalmers’ Assistant Principal’s section of this week’s newsletter.

5 Keys to Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

I recently read an interesting article about children and self-esteem which was published by Berry Street, whose Berry Street Education Model we have adopted to strengthen and support our Positive Education program. As a parent of two young children, the content resonated with me as, like many parents/carers, I have found supporting the development of my children’s self-esteem a challenging task, at times. Berry Street’s 5 keys to building your child’s self-esteem are simple, practical and evidence-based ways to support your child to develop a strong, positive self-image. I have included the main points of the article below:
Are you worried about your child and how they will survive in the world? If so, you’re certainly not alone. Parents today feel more anxiety about their children’s self-esteem than any previous generation. It’s a product of a world where parents are exposed to an almost infinite amount of advice about how to raise a confident, happy, healthy child. When you try and make sense of it all, on top of information shared at mothers’ groups and tips from grandparents, it’s no wonder we all feel so anxious. The good news is that most children come with their own inbuilt instruction manual about how to grow up healthy and happy.

As their parent, you just need to learn how to read that manual to help your child thrive. Here are 5 ways you can help your child to develop their self-esteem:

1. Love them for who they are

Often we enter parenthood with preconceptions of who our child is or should be, based on our own beliefs and values. To let your child build their own self-esteem, start by abandoning those expectations for your child and learn to study who your child is.

From the day they are born, your child is trying to figure out who they are and how they fit into this world. You can help them and help build their self-esteem simply by

listening, being present and loving them for who they are. Children who feel accepted and loved by their parents or carer are more likely to have a higher self-esteem and achieve what they set out to do.

2. Help them learn to deal with disappointment

Disappointment, grief and sorrow are unfortunately part of life’s ups and downs. Learning how to talk about and regulate our emotions is one of the foundation blocks of self-esteem. Children need to learn how to regulate their emotions so they can build resiliency, and they need to start doing that early on.

Caring for a child is as much about supporting them through negative emotions as it is about helping them learn to enjoy the joys of life. While trying to shield them from the harsh realities of life may seem like you are protecting them, it’s actually hurting them in the long run.  Children, like all of us, sometimes have to face difficult situations and challenging emotions. Those children that can acknowledge and talk about what they are feeling, can calm themselves when needed and get through tough times successfully. Those that can’t are more likely to try and avoid their feelings or overreact – neither of which are healthy or helpful coping responses.

3. Provide love, attention and affection

Providing a child with love, attention and affection is a cornerstone of raising a confident and happy child. While it’s important not to try and shield them from life’s realities, it’s also vital that a child feels loved and listened to.

• Talk to your child and listen to them and what they have to say

• Reassure them if they are worried

• Provide affection and understanding when they are upset

• Spend time with your child and encourage them to dream and play

Childhood is short and precious. There is no need to rush it.  Feeling safe and loved is great way for a child to build self-esteem and feel like a valuable member of their family.

4. Let them do things their way

Children are their own beings, with their own thoughts and values.  They’re not a carbon copy of their parents or carers. Children will face the challenges and hurdles of life in the best way they can.

Mastering a skill is really important for a child’s self-confidence, whether it’s cutting out shapes, learning to read or doing complicated maths equations.

Parents can hinder their child’s development by taking over and doing something a child is trying to master themselves, or by over-praising them if they do something well. Mastery of the world we live in builds confidence and self-esteem in children, helping them prepare for life as an adult.  That’s why we see a child repeat something they have just mastered over and over again.

As long as the child is safe, your role as their carer or parent is not to rescue them; it is to provide them guidance on how to navigate the world. Once a child finds their own way, they will feel more confident in mastering their next challenge and their self-esteem will soar.

5. A child alone is not necessarily a lonely child

A child playing alone is not necessarily a lonely child. A common mistake made by parents is that a child that prefers their own company is in some way struggling. While it may sometimes be the case, often children who seem less social are simply that: less social. If parents are social and enjoy the company of others, then they expect their child to be the same.

Often the child with the most self-esteem is the one who feels as comfortable in their own company, as with others. The key is to pay close attention to whether your child is happy alone. Most are, and even if they’re not, it’s best not to project your discomfort or expectations onto your child. Learn to observe what makes them unique and you will be prepared to help your child feel more self-confident and independent.

We are into the Wakakirri Finals!

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

I would like to extend a huge congratulation to Mrs Ferris and the entire Wakakirri team for being selected to compete at the Wakakirri Finals to be held at the Hamer Hall in Melbourne on Monday 18th September. We are now in contention for the title of National Story of the Year 2017!

I was incredibly proud of the teamwork and community spirit our students displayed at the Wakakirri performance round last week. I spent the afternoon and evening backstage where all teams who were competing were stationed and am proud to share with you that our students encouraged, cheered on and congratulated each team as they left and returned after their performance. They spent time talking with other schools, asking about the stories behind their performances and shared with me their interpretation of each piece. This sense of community spirit, support and encouragement of others saw us win the Spirit of Wakakirri Award on the evening.

Not only did we make it through to the finals, we have been awarded the Best Social Media Story Award for the Victorian Region! Although we did not compete in the Wakakirri competition in 2016, we were judged to win this award in the ‘highly experienced’ schools category. What an achievement!

I am looking forward to watching our students continue to prepare and perfect their performance for the finals. I am sure you will join me in wishing them the best of luck.

School Run Run

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

Sunny skies greeted us for the School Fun Run on Wednesday A very enthusiastic group of students ran their hearts out to raise funds for our school. I was so impressed by the effort our students gave towards the event. Most students were able to run continuously. The work Mr Davey and Mrs Groves, our PE teachers are doing, is beginning to show. As usual, we had a huge group of parents helping out and cheering our students on as they ran around the course. The day culminated with a sushi lunch organised by our PCA.

How Do We Improve Learning at Park Ridge?

Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

In a past newsletter I shared a quote which reflects my passion for our school to be the best it can possibly be.

‘Every student deserves a great teacher, not by chance, but by design.’

To achieve this we need teachers, parents and students to be committed to this cause. Our teachers are constantly reflecting on their teaching. Recently, Mrs Lapthorne has opened up her room for other teachers to observe her demonstrating best practice in the teaching of writing. After watching Mrs Lapthorne teach, there is time with Miss Christofis, our literacy leader and teachers to debrief. Reflect on what they saw and set teaching goals for their own classrooms.

Also this week staff were further developing their knowledge of best practice of the teaching of reading with Miss Christofis. Miss Christofis showed the staff research data that I thought parents would be very interested in viewing.

It’s not rocket science but the more children read independently for enjoyment the better their reading progresses. The following table makes very interesting reading. How much time does your child spend reading for enjoyment each night?  (In the younger classes, I would also include time where parents read to their child)

NB: 90th Percentile = 90 out of 100