A Uniting Church coeducational independent day and boarding school on Kaurna Country, Adelaide, South Australia

Early Learning to Year 12

Head of Preparatory School - Edition 1 - 2022

A Fresh Start for all

School is an exciting place - especially in late January and while negotiating guidelines around a pandemic!

On behalf of all staff across the School, I would like to welcome all families to the 2022 school year.

After weeks of anticipation, some of our students were finally able to come to school. Unfortunately, many had a delayed start as COVID restrictions were in place. Learning from home is never easy and it is a great pity that for so many of our new families their first taste of being a Westminster student was a virtual one.

The classrooms look fantastic and the various changes and adjustments are completed. Our Reception and Year 1 students returned en-mass for Day One looking resplendent in their uniforms – and despite the temperature being in the high 30’s they were still keen to keep those shiny blazers on.

Even the students learning online from home had smiles on their faces which indicated to me that while the holidays were enjoyable, they were also very keen to get back to school

We are all looking forward with enthusiasm and optimism to what 2022 will offer up. While some of the changes forced upon us to deal with the pandemic will need to be maintained, hopefully, a new normal will emerge that we can all get used to.

New Faces

The start of a new school year is a period of anticipation and excitement for everyone. We have many families joining Westminster for the first time, all students changing year levels and getting to know a new class teacher and we also have staff who are starting their Westminster experience.

Welcome to the families of the following students who have commenced this term.

The children joining Reception classes this year are: Augie Trinh (Abbey), Edward Truong (Abbey), Kaiden Kurtain (Charter), Samuel Harding (Charter), Zayd Qazi (Charter), Kyle Wang (Charter), Jonas Huang (Crown), Oliver Margetts (Crown), Zara Papacharissiou (Crown), Christina Sang (Crown), Mahleah Slocombe (Crown), Charlotte Wood (Crown), Isaac Wilkins (Mace), Darcy Burns (Mace), Macie Reeve (Mace), Lachie Hobbs (Mace), Lara Masri (Wesley), Aarav Nanda (Wesley), Elden Lavan (Wesley), Sara Wang (Wesley), Gabriella Carbonell (Wyvern), Lucas Clarke (Wyvern), Calvin Doval Cifre (Wyvern), Claire Johnston (Wyvern), Hunter Packham (Wyvern), and Nivaan Singh (Wyvern).

In Year 1 we welcome Stevie Marks (Mace), Chloe Trowbridge (Mace), Violet Hass (Wesley), Yuxi Yao (Charter), Mackenzie Lawson (Crown), Posie Maggs (Wyvern) and Claudia Maggs (Wyvern). Our new students in Year 2 are Priya Balagere Naveen (Charter) and Liam Candido (Mace). Mirai Battley (Crown), Kayla Chan (Crown), Evie Eckermann (Wyvern), Henry Johnston (Wyvern), and Lachlan Trowbridge (Mace) are our new starters in Year 3. In Year 4 Edie Bartlett (Wyvern), Duncan Wallace (Wyvern), Ruben Battley (Crown), Devansh Arora (Crown), Caleb Nickels (Wesley), Lenny Roberts (Wyvern) and Mackenzie Taylor (Crown) have started at Westminster. In Year 5 we have welcomed Arabella Bartlett (Wyvern), Jensen Barwell (Crown), Logan Candido (Mace), Rhys Rickards (Wesley) and Sebastian Wakefield (Wesley). Our newest students joining the top end of the Prep School in Year 6 are Evie Carmichael (Wyvern), Doane Doval Cifre (Wyvern), Jack Eckermann (Wyvern), Georgia Lamprell (Charter), Paavani Balagere Naveen (Charter), Aarav Mehta (Charter), Sahra May (Mace), Zoe Blazincic (Abbey), Leo Trumbull (Crown), Mya Nickels (Wesley) and Zack Sartor (Wesley).

Staff Starting with Us

Mrs Alice Maggs has started with us as Director of the Early Learning Centre having previously managed GoodStart centres. Mrs Ceri Sliger has joined our staff after working as Deputy and also as a class teacher at St Peter's College. Ceri will be a member of the Year 6 teaching team classes this year. Ms Emily Rowlands has held a leadership role at Pinnacle College and is joining our staff as an important part of the Year 3 teaching team. Vida Heaslip has joined after teaching last year at Hallet Cove Primary School. She is one of an expanded Year 5 team as we have four classes at Year 5 this year. Mr Joel Steer has moved into the classroom following a number of years coordinating our Out of School Hours program. He is joined on the Year 1 team by Ms Sara Crockford who started last year as one of our Transition teachers. Ms Maddy Freer joins us as our AFL sports trainee.

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Staffing Lineup

As is the case with any new year, there have been a number of changes to our lineup.

Our Prep School staff this year are:

  • Deputies: Mr Danny Page, Mrs Ali Barr and Mrs Alice Maggs (ELC Director)
  • Prep Office: Ms Kate Harrison-Duncan and Mrs Nicole Brown
  • Reception: Ms Stacey McCue, Ms Brooke Smyth and Mrs Georgie Papst
  • Year 1: Mrs Jane Mather, Mr Joel Steer and Ms Sara Crockford
  • Year 2: Ms Meg Fitzgerald, Mrs Kristy Moody and Ms Julie Mugford
  • Year 3: Mrs Cassie Schreuder, Mrs Mary-Anne Dorey and Ms Emily Rowlands
  • Year 4: Mr Jeremy Jury, Mr Daniel Mather and Ms Jess Sullivan
  • Year 5: Mr Peter Galanis, Mrs Belinda Daniel, Ms Vida Heaslip and Ms Alex Bachmatiuk
  • Year 6: Mrs Sara Mori, Mrs Ceri Slinger and Mr Craig Leith

Our Specialists are:

  • Health/PE: Mr Tim Weatherald, Mr Adam Thompson, Mrs Mandy Job and Ms Maddy Freer
  • Languages: Ms Kaori Kamei (Japanese & Dig Tech) and Ms Grace Le (Mandarin)
  • Music: Ms Karen Wandel and Mrs Rachael Gomez
  • STRETCH: Mrs Tanya Madex
  • RAVE and Chapel: Mrs Sue Whiffen
  • Art & Digi Tech: Mr Barry Walker
  • Library: Mrs Julia Baldwin
  • Learning Support Assistants: Mrs Alison Bailey, Mrs Joanne Liu, Ms Victoria Seers, Mrs Kaz Faulkner, Mrs Cindy Pullen, Mr Chris Adams, Ms Raff Oke and Mrs Dana Urban-Azalaraki

Academic Awards

At the final assembly last year, I mentioned the fact that sport was not the only area in which our students did really well in 2021. Our NAPLAN results were very pleasing after not being able to complete the assessments in 2020. All students from Year 3 onwards also had the opportunity to sit for nationwide academic competitions, and from time to time our students really excel.

The International Competitions and Assessments for Schools, or ICAS for short, is an independent, skills-based assessment program. ICAS recognises student achievement in areas such as English, maths, science, spelling, writing and digital technologies.

Jack Smith (Year 4 Wyvern) won the ICAS Gold medal as the top-performing Year 3 student in Digital Technologies in South Australia.

Chelsea Ireland (Year 6 Charter) won the ICAS Gold medal for Year 5 in English, Mathematics and in Science – an incredible achievement that will be extremely hard for anyone to replicate!

If families are interested in having their child sit for any or all of the competitions which are usually conducted in Term 3, details will be publicised later in the year.

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Lesson Times

While the start and finish times of the school day remain unchanged, parents may be interested to know that we have changed our daily lesson time schedule for 2022. We now have an eight-lesson day with the break times slightly earlier than they were in the past. Recess is now at 10.20 am and lunch at 12.40 pm. The school day still commences at 8.45 am and ends at 3.30 pm. Importantly these times are now common right across all five days and from ELC to Year 12.

What’s in a name?

In late December last year, I had the pleasure of meeting Don, an Old Scholar who came by to educate his daughter Aly about some of their family history. It turns out that Don and Aly are the son and granddaughter of a much-loved previous Head of the Preparatory School – Mr Gavin Haslam.

Gavin Haslam was the Master in Charge (as the position was then known) from 1969 to 1981, although his time at Westminster began in 1964 when he also spent some years in the Senior School. Gavin was a long-time volunteer and supporter of our School, and a highly respected member of our community. Gavin Haslam passed away on Friday 15 August 2014. Survived by his wife Elizabeth and sons Tim (‘81), Don (‘84) and Geoff (’87), his funeral was held in the Jeffries Chapel.

Don was a student in the Preparatory School when his father was in charge, and on his recent visit, he couldn’t get over how much the school had grown. Don could clearly remember the early days when the footprint consisted of the Chapel and a couple of small buildings on each side of it. It was delightful to spend a few moments reminiscing with Don and Aly.

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Musicians Achieving

Over the break, I was made aware of two of our talented musicians achieving impressive results. In the most recent Australian Music Examination Board assessments, Katherine Ma (Year 5 Mace) obtained a High Distinction - A+ result for her Grade Two AMEB piano exam.

Her sister Victoria Ma (Year 3 Mace) obtained a High Distinction - A+ result for her Grade One AMEB piano exam. Both girls are under the tutelage of Ms Urszula Gruszewski here at Westminster.

The Joy of Giving

I was absolutely overwhelmed by the sense of community here at Westminster focused on helping others. The book project that I ran in late December 2021, demonstrated the character strengths we pride ourselves on modelling including kindness, empathy and inclusiveness. I was aiming to collect 109 books, so that each child at a public school in the south of Adelaide, would have one each as a little gift at Christmas and to also encourage the joy of reading.

Due to the incredible generosity of our community, we collected 457 books! As you could imagine, I was in awe of the response. Each book was wrapped with ribbon by staff and students, then put into tubs and delivered. The eyes of the Principal, Wellbeing Coordinator and staff at the school told its own story to me, one of gratitude and appreciation.

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I attended the Christmas celebration at the school at the end of the term where the books were handed out. Each child received two books and the others were carefully placed for use in 2022. The school will use these for each child as incentives and rewards to boost literacy levels, encourage reading and support each student to know that they are a valued member of their school.

Along with the books, each child received a personalised letter. With Mrs Whiffen’s support in RAVE lessons, the Year 3 and 4 students wrote a personalised letter to each student at that school. It was an incredible sight to watch the students receive their books and letters. Comments from the children that I heard were ‘wow, how does this person know my name, do you think I could write back?’, ‘oh my gosh look at this Star Wars book, I’ve been saving for one for ages’, ‘Ms Lisa, I have my very own books’.

I would like to pass on my thanks and appreciation to all those who donated books. With your support, we were able to brighten the lives of others and for some, enable a child to have their own book.

Cassie Schreuder
Preparatory School Teacher

Code Camp and Vacation Care

Over the Summer break, Vacation Care has been running in both the Early Learning Centre and also in OSHC. The program involved a whole range of activities.

Prior to Christmas, we hosted a Code Camp that was a huge success with over 40 children in attendance, including 20 from other schools. Code Camp and Vacation Care will be on offer again to families during the April holidays.

House Leadership

One of the cornerstones of our pastoral care at Westminster is the House system. We have six Houses in the Prep School, and the students from Reception to Year 6 are assigned to a House. If there is a family connection the House is predetermined, but for new families joining us, we allocate a House with the aim of achieving gender and number balance.

All staff are also assigned to a House, and there is a weekly meeting for each House where they get together to foster House spirit and get organised for special events. The affinity and connection that students feel for their House is phenomenal and a real credit to the system. Each House is coordinated by a House Head, and we have two new faces in these key roles this year. For 2022 the House Heads are Mr Mather (Abbey), Ms Smyth (Charter), Ms Fitzgerald (Mace), Ms Sullivan (Crown), Ms McCue (Wesley) and Mr Jury (Wyvern).

Canteen and Lunch Orders

A reminder that for students from Reception to Year 6, parents can order lunches occasionally or regularly, and in advance if that is of benefit. We are utilising the Qkr! app (link below) and as long as lunch is ordered online before 9.30 am, the food will be delivered to the students at lunchtime that day.

Apple Store: ‎Qkr!™ on the App Store (apple.com)
Google Play Store: Qkr!™ with Masterpass – Apps on Google Play

As a parent in a busy household, I understand that sometimes mistakes happen, and things get forgotten. To avoid any students going hungry we will have a ’Late Lunch Voucher’ system in place, so if lunch is not ordered they can get a voucher from the Prep Office that will entitle them to a plain sandwich, a piece of fruit (fruit fly guidelines permitting) and a drink. Families who access this voucher system will receive an email notification and have the $6 cost added to their school account.

While at the moment we are still restricted in having volunteers and visitors to the school, as we gradually emerge from COVID restrictions we are looking forward to having our Prep canteen open each day of the week for students to bring along their pocket money and purchase over the counter items such as an ice cream on a hot day. Parent volunteers to help staff the canteen from 12.30 to 1.40 pm would be very welcome. If you would be interested in taking a turn on the canteen roster during 2022, please contact Nicole Brown in the Prep Office on T: 08 8276 0219 or via Email to register your availability.

Traffic Flow

As we embark on the new school year, I would like to remind parents to please be respectful when driving and parking on the School grounds. The key times that seem to cause the most aggravation unsurprisingly are around 8.20 to 8.40 am and 3.20 to 3.40 pm. There are drop-off and pick-up areas outside of the Art room and Prep Office, these are not parking spaces during these times. I would ask that parents please refrain from parking in turning circles or stopping on the roadway to wait for children. It is important that traffic keeps flowing and blocking the flow to wait for children to arrive or load into the car is disrespectful to other road users. Members of the Westminster community are very fortunate to be able to drive onto the school grounds, and it would be a shame if this access was denied as it is in most schools.

Standard Data Collections

At this time of year, Government departments are seeking information from Westminster (as well as other schools across the nation) to provide current information about our families. The two underway are for NAPLAN (Years 3, 5, 7, 9) and the Student Residential Collection (Reception to Year 12). Both require up-to-date residential addresses, occupation and employment status. As a matter of course, we email families to ensure that all information that is being held about them is current. The emails also explain the easiest way to update your data and provide the deadlines for completion. The NAPLAN email was sent Wednesday 9 February (only to the year levels involved in 2022) and the Street Residential Collection email to all families on Friday 11 February. If you haven’t moved or changed employment in the past year or if any information has changed and you have already advised us, there is no further action required. Thank you for your assistance.

Is there a toddler at your place? Jumping Joeys is returning!

Although COVID restrictions have delayed our start date, we're pleased to let everyone know that Jumping Joeys is returning on Thursday 24 February! Jumping Joeys is held each Thursday morning from 9.00 to 10.00 am in our Prep School gym, and is a semi-structured kinder gym program held during the School term for children aged 1-3 years. It promotes the development of fine and gross motor skills through a variety of activities, including running, jumping, rolling, swinging and climbing. Mrs Doe, one of our ELC staff members hosts the sessions which provide an opportunity for toddlers to explore the gym and sports equipment. They must be accompanied and supervised by an adult carer during the session. There is no charge for these sessions and it is a chance for the children to get some exercise, work on their coordination, become familiar with the school and socialise with similar aged students.

Jumping Joeys will continue to operate under the guidelines issued by SA Health and we ask that only one parent or caregiver attend each session. All adults in attendance must be wearing a mask, and if you or your child are unwell or have any symptoms of COVID or other illness, please do not attend.

Bookings are preferred, so if you would like to have your toddler attend please contact Kathy by T: 08 8276 0293 or via Email so that you can be added to the communication list for these sessions.

Prep School Office - Enquiries and Absentees

For any general enquiries, please contact the Prep School Office via email PSO@westminster.sa.edu.au or by phone on T: 08 8276 0219.

To advise the Prep Office of an absentee or a late arrival, please use the Prep School voicemail line which is T: 08 8276 0255. This line is available 24 hours and is checked every morning.

Diary Dates

  • All students return to School – Monday 14 February
  • Summer co-curricular training commences – Monday 14 February
  • Parent-Teacher meetings commence – Monday 21 February
  • Adelaide Cup Day Public Holiday – Monday 14 March
  • JP Sports Day – Friday 18 March
  • Year 3-6 Field Events – Tuesday 22 March
  • Year 3-6 Sports Day – Wednesday 23 March
  • Tenebrae Service – Sunday 10 April
  • End of Term 1 – Thursday 17 April finishing at 1.00

Grant Bock
Head of Preparatory School