At the beginning of a new school year, many changes occur. New students and families join the School. Some staff leave, while others commence their time as a part of our community. The beginning of 2020 has been one of more than the usual change within the Preparatory School at Westminster as it has seen Year 7 students located as the youngest students in the Senior School rather than being the senior citizens of the Prep School student population. As a result of this change our Year 6 students have become the natural leaders of the student population and I must say they have handled this transition particularly smoothly.
Many opportunities will come the way of the Year 6 students such as wearing Year 6 jumpers, as well as opportunities to get involved in committees and activities right across the School. As an example, this week the Year 6 classes are in Canberra exploring our national capital.
This is the first of our year level camps. Another implication of the relocation of the Year 7 students has been a shuffling of year level camp destinations. Later in the year the Year 5 students will head to the Grampians for a week, the Year 4 students will explore Ballarat and Sovereign Hill via Melbourne, and the Year 3 students will have their three day camp at Aldinga.
One of the other changes for 2020 that may not be immediately obvious is some adjustments to how STRETCH operates within the Preparatory School. Ms Darrell, Deputy of Teaching and Learning, and Mrs Madex, Head of STRETCH, have spent some considerable time planning and adjusting what we are able to offer students in need of support or extension, and how these students can be identified.
‘To support an equitable learning environment for all students to provide an exceptional education’
The term STRETCH in the Prep School is used to describe both the intervention and enrichment programs that are offered in the Prep School to support student learning; ‘stretching’ students to ‘achieve more than they thought possible’.
All children are unique, with different learning needs and interests. Teachers provide for the needs of students through a quality differentiated curriculum, building on students’ interests, strengths, goals and learning needs, adapting accordingly, based on ongoing student assessments to assist all students to achieve the knowledge, skills and understandings outlined in the Australian Curriculum, no matter what level students are at.
Quality differentiated instruction that occurs in the classroom should successfully meet the needs of a significant majority of students most of the time, including students who need extra help and those students who need further extension.
At Westminster, we are committed to providing timely, targeted, systematic support and enrichment based on student needs and we recognise that some students will need a little extra help beyond the core instructional program in the classroom to enable them to succeed with classroom learning. This is when the STRETCH team may withdraw students to provide the targeted support or enrichment they need. This is identified through assessments in both Literacy and Numeracy and considers information that may have been provided to the school regarding a specific learning diagnosis.
The collaborative relationship between STRETCH and class teachers enables student progress to be monitored closely, whether they are being supported or extended in the classroom or being withdrawn for targeted learning sessions. This collaboration ensures that learning and teaching programs are evaluated using student assessment data and teaching is differentiated to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities.
The expertise of teachers at Westminster to develop a quality differentiated program, along with the support of STRETCH will enable students at Westminster to develop as successful learners.
Tanya Madex and Sharyn Darrell
Over the last two weeks we have been following up any overdue loans from 2019 including any holiday borrowing. Please check school bags for a reminder which includes the title of any overdue book and where possible the cover image to help you. Books can be returned any day, not just on a Library lesson day. We are open before school, lunchtimes and after school.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any queries.
Writers’ Week is an exciting week for anyone who loves reading. Saturday 29 February is the best day for children with numerous authors sharing their stories in the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden, King William Road. Please take a look at the flyer below showing the schedule for this engaging and fun day.
Of particular interest to parents would be a presentation given by John Marsden at 1.15 pm on the West Stage.
'John Marsden is one of Australia’s most acclaimed and widely read authors and the founder and principal of two schools. His latest book, The Art of Growing Up, distills his forty years’ experience of teaching, writing and engaging with the minds of young people into a personal manifesto, risking backlash from the most sensitive readership of all – parents – with his no-holds-barred theory on the best way to nurture and support our next generation of adults.'
Being added to the School winter uniform as from this year are girls’ trousers, optional for all girls (Reception to Year 12). Girls’ trousers will cost $75 (same colour, similar fabric as for the boys but with a different cut). These trousers will need to be ordered and paid for by Thursday 5 March - please visit the West Shop (now on Alison Ave) to use the sizing kit. Girls’ trousers will be available for supply once a year via a West Shop order only - no stock is being held in the West Shop. Girls’ trousers are to be worn with the marble socks, white blouse and tie. We expect girls’ trousers to be available from the start of Term 2.
In December, one of our Year 5 students, Iyla Wilson (Wyvern) attended the 2019 Australian Figure Skating National Championships.
At this event Iyla and her partner became the ‘Australian National Pairs Champions’.
As well as becoming the ‘Australian National Champions’ in Basic Novice division, the pair achieved a personal best and were selected to be part of ‘Ice Skating Australia’s National Squad’.
Ice Skating Australia only selects athletes into the national squad who have demonstrated a high level of ability throughout the season.
The pairs team with an accumulation of 1.5 years of training, had to pass numerous tests, meet preset required scores and compete at five lead up competitions throughout the year, all just so they could qualify to be able to take part in the Australian National Championships event of 2019.
What an amazing achievement and what a fitting reward for Iyla and her family who have made such significant sacrifices in time, energy and money to reach this level.
Head of Preparatory School