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 18 - 2023

Term 4 Update

The past weeks in the Preparatory School have been filled with excitement as we near the end of another successful academic year. Having only been a part of the Westminster community for a short period of time, I have been impressed with the pride that all students have for the School. They genuinely care for each other, their teachers, and the wonderful learning environment they come to each day. Each week brings a myriad of events and activities in which all students can participate. In this edition of eNews, we capture some of the excitement experienced in recent weeks.

I look forward to the end of year celebrations, particularly Carols on the Green and hope to see as many families as possible during the evening. I hope all students and staff enjoy the final weeks of Term 4 - I know I will!

SEQTA

We received reports recently that due to a software moment, some families were locked out of SEQTA. This temporary error was quickly rectified and access subsequently returned to normal. However, if you are still having issues or if you have any questions about SEQTA, please use this email to register your inquiry with the SEQTA team, E: seqta@westminster.sa.edu.au

STRETCH in 2023

2023 has been a huge year across STRETCH with 78 students participating in MiniLit, MacqLit, Quicksmart or What’s the Buzz? programs across Reception to Year 6. The STRETCH department works closely in support of students developing literacy, numeracy and social skills as necessary. We have also worked closely with the Year 3 and Year 4 teachers to address and develop students’ reading fluency and comprehension skills as well as spelling knowledge.

Here are some highlights of the year:

What’s the Buzz? is a social and emotional skills program and we had nine groups running from Term 2 to Term 4. It has been a robust program supporting students with social thinking and problem solving. The program helps students understand other people’s perspectives and emotions while nurturing friendships. It is rewarding to see students gain confidence in speaking in front of others, listening to others and sharing their thinking during the group lessons.

The Quicksmart program assists students in developing their fluency in numeracy facts focusing on addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. This program has helped students develop a positive mindset to maths and increase their confidence in the classroom. When students can fluently recall those maths facts, other aspects of maths become clearer, especially problem solving.

In addition, several STRETCH staff were trained in Bond Blocks last year. The Bond Blocks program involves students using a set of ‘blocks’ to assist them develop their knowledge and understanding of core maths areas such as doubling/halving; empty number sentences involving subtraction eg, X - ? = 5. Bond Blocks is an interactive program which only requires 10 minutes a day. Throughout the year we have supported a selection of students in Years 5 and 6 with foundational maths. Knowledge gaps were identified and supported. In addition to students across Year 2, we look forward to supporting students in Years 3, 4 and 5 with their foundational maths skills in 2024.

MiniLit and MacqLit are our literacy programs used to support students with gaps in their phonic knowledge and comprehension skills. Around 41 students across Year 1 to Year 5 have participated in one of these literacy programs this year, which is a fabulous achievement.

Minnie, the Wellbeing dog, has been a fantastic support during Lego Groups, especially the Year 2 cohort. We have seen 15 students participate in Lego Groups this year. Lego Groups is a valuable program which focuses on developing students’ speaking, listening, collaboration and sharing skills. The aim is to work as a team to collectively build a Lego set. Students develop improved active listening, patience, resilience, and use of positional language skills during the course of each build. Minnie’s calm nature assists students in focusing and listening. They have enjoyed giving Minnie instructions, eg, ‘Minnie on your mat’. Having Minnie join a Lego lesson is a very special time for the students. Students also thoroughly enjoy the 'free build’ lessons on a Friday afternoon. The groups have shown superb skill and collaboration to complete builds efficiently.

Karen Turner

Prep STRETCH Coordinator

STEAM Morning

In Term 4, the Reception classes hosted a Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) morning with parents and special guests to engage in hands-on problem-solving conundrums.

Allowing curious minds to wander, students and their family members were presented with a number of out-of-the-box challenges, requiring them to find a creative solution to varied problems.

Students and families had a blast-off, building rocket ships from newspapers, towers with playing cards, and castles with magnetics to name a few.

The teachers were impressed by the creative thinking, resilience and engineering skills on display. The morning was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the clever and wonderful Reception students.

Community Library

Introducing our new Westminster Community Library!

Whilst you may have seen a Street Library in your local neighbourhood; today, we were thrilled to launch our very own here at Westminster School.

The Westminster Community Library is a beautiful home for adult books for parents and caregivers to share and enjoy. It can be found outside the old Dining Hall in the Preparatory School (near the turning circle).

Based on the principles of Nic Lowe, the founder of Street Library, the Westminster Community Library invites the adults in our community to share the joys of reading with one another.

Take a book: If you see something you would like to read, take it.

Give a book: Leave books here that you no longer read for another book lover to enjoy.

Share a book: Return your book to this, or any Street Library, or pass it on to a friend, neighbour or relative. Pay it forward!

A wonderful, collaborative initiative between Jane Mather of our Preparatory School who brought the vision, and Tony Mugford of our Property Services team who brought the handy work. Thank you!

Its feeling a lot like Christmas!

Welcome to the Westminster Winter Wonderland! ❄️✨🎄

Over in the Preparatory School, Transition H have been working on something special for the Haslam Library - an interactive, AR Winter Wonderland!

Students have been working very hard over the past few weeks, creating collaborative artworks, tessellating snowflakes, and 3D baubles to spread some Christmas joy. Transition H are certainly on the nice list this year!

If you happen to go 'Walking in a Winter Wonderland', be sure to bring your phone with you for a magical experience! Watch as the reindeer comes to life in Augmented Reality, scan the QR codes to design your own bauble, and listen to the beautiful sounds of Christmas as you enjoy.

In the spirit of Christmas, all are welcome to add to the display - decorate one of the blank tessellating snowflakes and leave it by the presents. Perhaps one of Santa's elves will pop it up for you!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Ruby Harris

Carols on the Green

Carols

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

Carols on the Green will be returning for another year full of Christmas cheer for the Westminster community!

On Thursday 7 December, please join us with your rug and picnic baskets on the Westminster Green to bring the festive spirit and sing along to some of your favourite Christmas songs with family and friends.

Enjoy holly jolly entertainment for the whole family, including music from our community choir and students, face painting, a petting zoo, an elf hunt, a visit from Santa, and a performance by the Amazing Drumming Monkeys.

In addition, enjoy delicious snacks from a range of food outlets including:

Seaside Fish & Chips Food Truck

El Guaco Mexican Food Truck

Strawberries Galore Food Truck

Sausage Sizzle (UK Cricket Tour Fundraiser)

Drinks will be available from the licensed Festive Bar (no BYO, thank you).

Whilst this is a FREE event, please join the nice list and RSVP below with how many guests will be attending (including children performing) to assist catering and logistics:

https://www.trybooking.com/events/landing/1142652

Carols on the Green

Thursday 7 December 2023

6.00 to 8.30 pm (concert commences 7.30 pm)

Westminster Green (grassed open area bounded by the Senior School, Murray Centre and Forder Centre)

Code Camp

Picture19

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 08 8276 0219.

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

Diary Dates

  • Environmental Club Christmas Market – Monday 27 November (Lunchtime)
  • Reception Incursion – Nature Play – Friday 1 December
  • Year 5 Excursion – Inflatable World – Wednesday 6 December
  • Year 6 Disco – Wednesday 6 December 6 pm
  • Year 6 Excursion – Marion Outdoor Pool – Thursday 7 December
  • JP Celebration Lunch Thursday 7 December
  • Westminster Nativity Performance – Thursday 7 December at 6 pm
  • Westminster Carols Night – after Nativity outside Thomas Pavilion – ALL INVITED (outdoor venue) Thursday 7 December at 7 pm
  • ELC Graduation – Friday 8 December
  • Preparatory Orientation Day – Friday 8 December
  • Year 6 Graduation Ceremony – Tuesday 12 December
  • End Term 4 – Wednesday 13 December at 12.00 pm
  • Code Camp – Monday 18 – Wednesday 20 December

Simon McKenzie
Head of Preparatory School