A Uniting Church coeducational independent day and boarding school in Adelaide,
South Australia

Early Learning to Year 12

Head of Preparatory School - Edition 13 - 2020

It is hard to believe we are approaching the end of Term 3. As expected, trying to fit everything that has been COVID-19 delayed into the time available has proved to be a challenge, but I am delighted to say that the students have been coping extremely well. So have the staff!

From this week, and for the remainder of the year, students have the option of wearing summer uniform. We expect that the weather will begin to encourage the students to make the switch. Blazers are still required for Chapel and Assembly days.

Sports Day is Looming

We are looking forward to two days of athletic excellence in the final week of this term for students in Years 3 to 6. Our annual Sports Day was one of the activities delayed when COVID-19 took hold. This year we will set up with our field events day on the afternoon of Wednesday 23 September, and then the main sports day on Thursday 24 September. Students will compete in age groups as per SAPSASA Rules (Year of Birth) for individual events and will compete as year levels for House events. These days are always very enjoyable for the students, staff and spectators alike.

On both Wednesday 23 and Thursday 24 September the students in Years 3-6 can come to school in their sports uniform, including their hat. House shirts should be worn if students have them. On Wednesday, students will be spending the afternoon involved in Tabloid Field events on the Senior School oval. The events will be long jump, discus, high jump, shot put and there will be 1500m running races for our 10 to 12 year old students. Students move around a circuit in their class groups and accrue points for their House that will go toward the Sports Day totals. We anticipate that these activities will begin at 12.45 pm and conclude for a normal 3.30 pm finish time.

On Thursday 24 September children from Years 3-6 will again be involved in our Sports Day, which will be conducted on the Senior School oval. Some students from Reception to Year 2 will also be selected to compete in the Cross Level Challenge at 9.00 am. Students in Years 3 to 6 will be involved for the full day. Children should again come to school dressed in their sports uniform, including their hat. House shirts should again be worn if students have them. On this day many students will be decked out in their House colours. Bandanas in House colours will also available for purchase from the Prep School Office as a fundraiser for CANTEEN. They cost $5.00 each.

The Parents’ Club will be running a barbeque and will also be serving a variety of food options for parents. If you have any free time during the day, the Parents’ Club would appreciate any volunteers who may be able to assist with serving. If you are able to help, please contact Parents' Club President, Michelle Green on M: 0417 857 007.

We look forward to two days of friendly competition, enjoyment and physical challenge. While spectators are welcome to come along and watch the students compete, all attending are asked to be very aware of social distancing and to not congregate in large numbers. As we are on the Senior School ovals, there is ample room to spread out and still watch the activities.

Soccer Success

Congratulations to the Westminster students who represented the School and South West District in the State SAPSASA Soccer Championships recently. Pictured is the boys’ team that included Zach Tucker (Year 7 Clark), Axel Tucker (Year 6 Wyvern) and Seven Ding (Year 7 Fricker).

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Library News

‘Curious Creatures, Wild Minds’

Most classes have now finished reading the six CBCA shortlisted books for Book Week. For any students who have been away from school or missed any lessons, the stories can be accessed on the Library SEQTA page.

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I know that some families have already enjoyed listening to a story and I send my apology for any additional sound effects. The stories were recorded in my home ‘library’ and my neighbours and faithful dog didn’t seem to understand recording protocol.

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The Enchanted Hour: The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction by Meghan Cox Gurdon

Thank you to Speech Pathologist Andrea Sellar for sharing with me the book, The Enchanted Hour. I already know and understand the benefits of reading aloud and, just as Andrea predicted, I still found this book a fascinating read.

A review of The Enchanted Hour states that it is ‘a conversation-changing look at social, familial, neurological and psychological benefits of reading aloud for parents and children’. The book ‘explains the dazzling cognitive and social-emotional benefits that await children who are read to, whatever their class, nationality or family background’. Meghan Cox Gurdon argues ‘how reading aloud for children is an irreplaceable gift that builds vocabulary, fosters imagination, and kindles a lifelong appreciation of language, stories and pictures’.

If I haven’t already tempted you to read this thought-provoking book, an additional endorsement is provided on the front cover by Mem Fox, author of Reading Magic. Mem’s advice is ‘Don’t pick up this bewitching book! It’s so enchanting you won’t be able to put it down’. Copies of The Enchanted Hour can be purchased from numerous book suppliers or, by reserving from your public library.

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However, thanks to Mem, the Haslam Library does have copies of Reading Magic where Mem speaks of when, where, and why to read aloud and demonstrates how to read aloud to best effect and how to get the most out of a read-aloud session.

Mem walks readers through the three secrets of reading, which together make reading possible. She gives guidance on defining, choosing, and finding good books and closes with tips on dealing effectively with the challenges that sometimes arise when children are learning to read.

Student Representative Council (SRC) News

Things in SRC have changed a little. This year we have two SRC groups who focus on different aspects of change. The Years 2 and 3 representatives, with the help of some Year 6 students, focus on matters regarding Community, Service, and Learning.

The Years 4 and 5 representatives, also with the help of some Year 6 students, focus on Sport, Music and Environment.

A School Captain attends both groups and the Year 6 Junior Primary leader, Annie Brown (Crown) communicates information to Reception and Year 1 students to include them in decisions.

This year the SRC have been very busy with initiatives, including developing a virtual assembly so that we could maintain positivity during COVID-19 restrictions.

SRC is having fun helping students around the School and making the School a better place.

Code Camp

In the upcoming holidays, Code Camp are excited to be returning to Westminster School from Wednesday 30 September to Friday 2 October to teach your child to code or continue them on their coding journey!

This season Westminster School will be hosting the following programs:

Spark, Ages 7-12 years, (for new students)

Fun, engaging and challenging and our most known Code Camp that over 25,000 students have completed. Code Camp Spark is where every student in Years 2 to 6 should start their Code Camp journey. Your child will design an engaging platformer game (similar to Mario Bros.), and then bring it to life with intuitive, yet powerful, drag and drop code. Learning the fundamentals of coding gives children the confidence and knowledge to be in control with technology – not just as a passive consumer, but as a creator, problem solver, and digital storyteller.

Ignite, Ages 7-12 years (returning students)

We asked 10,000 Spark kids what they would love to create next, and then put our creative team to the task of bringing this to life as a new course. Mission accomplished! We also added more logic, more code, more problem solving and introduced JavaScript, the language of the web. The next step in your child's game making and coding journey. Your child will confidently learn the code and logic to create flashing gems, invisibility cloaks, spinning platforms, mini-games, bouncing clouds, shrinking potions and so much more.

Web Builders, Ages 8-13 years (Advanced)

Your kids can now build their own website at Code Camp. Starting from scratch, students will learn HTML, CSS & JavaScript to create a multi-page website on a topic of their choice. Please note due to the amount of typing required at this camp, it is recommended that students be fairly confident with keyboards.

Book now using discount code ‘SPRING20’ to take advantage of the $20 Early Bird Discount running until midnight Sunday 30 August.

Bookings can be made via this link: www.codecamp.com.au/westminster

For more information, visit codecamp.com.au or contact the Code Camp team at hello@codecamp.com.au

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Diary Dates

  • Summer uniform became an option from Tuesday 8 September
  • Parent/Student/Teacher Interview Week - Week 9, Monday 14 to Friday 18 September
  • Prep Sports Days - Wednesday 23 and Thursday 24 September
  • End of Term 3, dismissal at 1.00 pm - Friday 25 September
  • Code Camp will be back at Westminster School from 30 September to 2 October
  • Term 4 commences – Tuesday 13 October

Grant Bock
Head of Preparatory School