Day by day, week by week. That is how we are gradually returning to activities that we had taken for granted for a very long time. This week we have seen the recommencement of our co-curricular activities – albeit in a cautious and modified format. The children are delighted to once again be able to be active before school at Running Club or kick a ball around with their friends at sports training. Hopefully, if we all remain vigilant with hygiene, the next stage will see a return to competition.
From the beginning of the second week of term, we have had over 96% of students at school – which interestingly is probably a higher attendance rate than is usual for this time of year. The fact that families are unable to take extended trips and that the novelty of being at home has worn off is possibly reflected in the high attendance rates.
At the start of the term, our Junior Primary and ELC children had the opportunity to write a message of appreciation to the staff at Flinders Medical Centre.
Below are some heart-warming examples sent to the hospital by the students of 2M.
I mentioned in the last edition that due to the restrictions still in place, we are unable to have the usual pastoral gatherings such as Assembly, House Meeting and Chapel. The PE staff have decided to make use of this available time to help our Winter sport teams develop their skills. Mr Weatherald has organised a House Sport competition during the school day where the children from Years 3 to 6 can play their chosen sport for their House. Last week we completed the round-robin of Soccer (Years 3/4) and Netball (Years 5/6) matches. This week we have commenced Football (Years 5/6) and Table Tennis matches (Years 3/4). The children are really enjoying the chance to test their skills in modified, non-contact games against their friends from the other Houses. The complication now is that it has been too popular as I have received a number of letters requesting that this change become a permanent fixture post-COVID-19.
As from the start of this week, all students should now be in their Winter uniform, including their School blazer. On days when they have PE, students can wear PE uniform. Should you need any new pieces of uniform, the Westminster (Uniform) Shop is open as follows:
Monday – 8.15 am to 4.30 pm
Tuesday 1.00 to 4.30 pm
Wednesday – Closed
Thursday – 8.15 am to 4.30 pm
Friday – 1.00 to 4.30 pm
Observant parents may have noticed that your loose change is lasting longer than it used to. The reason for this may be that the Prep Canteen has not been open this term. While students have been able to order their lunch every day, the over the counter purchase in the Prep Canteen next to the Library has not been in operation. Unfortunately, due to a number of factors in our ever-changing environment, the Prep Canteen will not be open for the rest of the term. A solution for those desperate for a drink or a snack has emerged though. Prep students from Years 3 to 6 are able to walk across to the Senior School Canteen should they feel the need to buy a snack at lunchtime. In the near future, Catercare, who run the School canteens, will be sending out some information about what is available to purchase
A reminder of the current Prep School tuck shop menu and daily specials for lunch orders can be found below.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has emphasised the importance of digital technology. While students at Westminster have been exposed to digital technology opportunities at school prior to COVID-19, the intensity of using digital technology for learning was increased to prepare for home learning. Both teachers and students embraced the opportunity and there were many positives from the digital learning experience.
Digital technology provides so many amazing opportunities and enhances the ‘power of learning’ as students have the ‘world at their fingertips’. In the words of Spiderman “With great power comes great responsibility”. Now more than ever we need to emphasise the importance of being responsible digital citizens, respecting all who use technology and enabling positive learning experiences through responsible technology use. This is something we discuss at school and emphasis of responsible use of IT resources is documented in the School diary on page 16. We would ask that you please make your child familiar with this obligation.
Being a responsible digital citizen extends beyond the school environment, particularly as digital technology is prevalent in so many aspects of our lives. It is important that ‘Acceptable use of IT resources’ is discussed at home. There are further resources that can support these conversations including the information from the Government eSafety department at https://www.esafety.gov.au/parents/skills-advice/good-habits-start-young. This particular resource talks about building ‘digital intelligence’, giving parents some pointers on how to build this in children.
The digital world provides many opportunities and many complexities. It is important that students are able to positively and successfully navigate the digital world so that they can be active, engaged citizens beyond the Westminster School gate.
Preparatory School Deputy - Teaching and Learning
Head of Preparatory School