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

Early Learning to Year 12

Head of Preparatory School - Edition 15 - 2021

It is hard to believe that we are at the end of Term 3. While the pandemic has created a real sense of uncertainty both locally, nationally and globally and our news headlines have been dominated by COVID statistics, I am full of admiration and praise for how the students, parents and staff of Westminster have handled a complex situation. The children have maintained focus and have been able to complete the term successfully. For most classes, the three-way conversations between parents, students and the teachers have taken place and hopefully, parents now have a clear picture of all that their child has been able to achieve so far this year. I am very proud of the way that the School has navigated the challenges thrown our way.

I hope that the approaching two-week break gives students (and parents) a chance to rest, re-charge and refresh ready for a very busy conclusion to the year in Term 4.

No Stage Fright

At our Assembly this week the students were entertained by the Year 5 House Talk final. All students in Year 5 had prepared and presented a speech in the preceding weeks and this was the chance for one representative from each House to entertain the crowd and impress the judging panel of our Chaplain Rev Hoffmann and Head of Mathematics, Mrs Phillips. Anyone who would get nervous about delivering a speech in front of 350 people would be full of admiration for how brilliantly all finalists handled a pressure situation.

Representing Wyvern in the final was Aiden Johnson who gave examples of times when the catch-cry of ‘Better Late Than Never’ rang true and also some situations where that proverb would not apply. Chelsea Ireland representing Crown House explained to the audience why smiling is contagious and the biology and science around the benefits of smiling. Harry Judd (Wesley) described how difficult his life became when his sister had an extended birthday celebration. Oscar Pritchard (Charter) explored the highs and lows of catching the bus to school from McLaren Vale and also explained the things he really enjoys about being a student at Westminster School. Aiden Williams (Abbey) won the silver medal when he told the story of how things changed in his household when he lost the ‘favourite child’ benefits due to Marley the puppy arriving and the bulk of the attention from the rest of the family shifting from Aiden to his four-footed housemate. Charlotte Norman (Mace) won the gold medal when she entertained the crowd with wonderful expression and use of body language very effectively to explain why body language is really important in getting a message across. She used humour very effectively and displayed confidence beyond her years in a very impressive display.

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Celebration of the Moon

This year the Moon Festival fell on Tuesday 21 September. Moon Festival or Mid-Autumn Festival is a traditional festival celebrated by Chinese and many other Asian people. It is believed that the moon is the brightest and fullest on the night of the Moon Festival. People worship the Moon for bountiful harvests. Ways of celebrating include family coming together, putting up lanterns and eating mooncakes.

To celebrate the Moon Festival at the Junior Primary school, Ms Le and Ms Liu organised a joint Chinese lesson for the ELC students and a Transition class. The lesson started with all the children singing the Chinese song - Twinkle Twinkle Little Star 小星星. Both the ELC and Transition students have been learning about the Moon Festival in the last few days. In the lesson, they shared their knowledge on how people celebrate the Moon Festival in China. The children then made their own lantern out of a glass jar and decorated it with coloured tissue paper.

Both classes enjoyed the lesson. It was a nice chance for them to have a catch up with their 'old friends'!

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Prowess on the Course

Kate Cao (Year 6 Abbey) recently competed in the South Australian Primary School Sports Association (SAPSASA) Golf State Final.

Kate competed in Metro Championship (15 holes) on Thursday 9 September at the West Beach Executive Course and placed 7th which was a very impressive result.

Her score then qualified her to compete in the State Final Championship (18 holes) at West Beach Golf Patawalonga Course where she placed 10th in that competition. This was a great experience for Kate and the first time she competed over 18 holes. As any of us who have played golf know, maintaining concentration for the 4½ hour game is extremely challenging. Kate had to tap into her patience and resilience in the competition and should be very proud of herself.

Year 5 Specialist Strings Perform

Recently our Year 5 Specialist Strings Group hit the road and performed at Emmaus College’s school assembly. The strings group consists of six very dedicated musicians: Henry Arnold (Charter), Ariana Chandra (Mace), Diya Venugopal (Mace), Krish Gohel (Abbey), Charlotte Norman (Mace) and Aaron Noori (Mace). These students elected not to learn a wind instrument as a part of the Year 5 Band Program. Instead, they receive an extra lesson per week with Mrs Samantha Penny, learn a more extensive repertoire and perform more regularly throughout the school year. This performance was particularly enjoyable because it was their first time performing together outside of school and Emmaus’ first assembly in quite a long time. Our students thoroughly enjoyed this experience and the students at Emmaus were a wonderful audience. Thank you to Mrs Penny for directing this group.

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Another Talented Musician

Recently one of our young very able musicians Victoria Ma (Year 2 Mace) performed at the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra Grainger Studios. Victoria was performing as a soloist. Victoria has been learning piano for a year with Ursula Gruszewski at Westminster and is pictured here with her sister Katherine (Year 4 Mace).

Awesome Effort

Tom Mattinson (Year 6 Crown) recently attended the School Sport SA Track and Field Multiclass Students with Disabilities event. Tom took out the gold medal in RaceRunning in the 100m, 200m and 800m. The 800m is a new event for Tom and this was the first time he ran in this event.

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Code Camp in the Holidays

A reminder that Code Camp returns during this holiday break. Interested parents are able to book now via: https://www.codecamp.com.au/westminster.

We will be running the following camps:

  • Spark: Monday 27 to Wednesday 29 September
  • DJ Camp: Tuesday 28 to Wednesday 29 September
  • Animation Camp: Monday 27 to Tuesday 28 September

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.

Christmas Closure Dates

While it seems a long way off, some families may be planning for their Christmas vacation (probably somewhere local). To assist with these ponderings, I can confirm that at a recent meeting it was decided that while the school year concludes at 1.00 pm on Wednesday 9 December and returns on Monday 31 January, dates vary a little for our Early Learning Centre and Vacation Care services. ELC and Vacation Care dates are as follows:

  • ELC - final day on Friday 10 December – commences again Monday 17 January 2022.
  • Vacation Care - final day on Friday 17 December – commences again Monday 10 January 2022.

Diary Dates

  • End of term (1.00 pm dismissal) – Friday 24 September
  • Code Camp (School Holidays) – Monday 27 to Wednesday 29 September
  • Term 4 commences – Tuesday 12 October
  • Year 2 Excursion to Kmart – Thursday 14 October
  • Crazy Hair/Shave Day – Friday 15 October
  • Aquatics Lessons begin – Monday 18 October
  • Kidz Biz Parent Sessions – Monday 18 October
  • Australian Girls Choir Workshop – Monday 18 October
  • Year 12 Students Last Day – Friday 22 October
  • Prep Showcase (MMC) – Tuesday 26 October, 6.00 pm

Grant Bock
Head of Preparatory School