As the COVID 19 restrictions that we have all needed to abide by are gradually easing, some normality is starting to emerge. All students are back in classes engaging whole heartedly in their learning. As I wander around the School chatting to the students, it strikes me that despite the uncertainty that we have all faced already in 2020, the children are impressively upbeat and in good spirits. This may be partly because some of their regular and much-loved activities are coming back. I think it is a credit to the students, their families and to our staff that we are appearing to bounce back so well.
While we were fortunate to have conducted the Year 6 camp early enough in the year that it wasn’t impacted upon by the COVID-19 restrictions, the way forward is not so clear for both our Year 5 and Year 4 camps. Both were scheduled to be in Victoria during Term 3. Although the border restrictions and associated COVID precautions continue to slowly evolve, unfortunately we need to make a call on the feasibility of these camps proceeding. An unfortunate implication of the global pandemic is that we will need to cancel the Year 4 and Year 5 camps for 2020. They were both to be held in Term 3, and interstate travel will still be emerging during this period. To find alternate dates later in the year is not practical either, as many internal activities such as sports day have had to be shuffled to a later date. The calendar will become extremely crowded. The Year 3 camp is also held in Term 3 but it is conducted at Aldinga, so the border restrictions and associated complexities do not apply. A decision on the Year 3 camp will be made early in Term 3.
In Week 5, all classes in Junior Primary participated in the 20th year of the National Simultaneous Storytime (NSS). This is an event celebrated annually by the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA). Every year a picture book written and illustrated by an Australian author and illustrator is selected by ALIA and is read simultaneously in libraries, schools, pre-schools, childcare centres, family homes, bookshops and many other places around the country. With a full timetable and current restrictions, the best option this year at Westminster was for children to enjoy the story in their Library lesson throughout the week.
After listening to Lucinda Gifford’s funny and sparkly story about ‘Whitney and Britney Chicken Divas’ who sleep all day but turn into jazz singers at night, students listened to some opera and jazz music whilst completing a chicken themed activity. Year 2s created a chicken profile, Year 1s completed a NSS colouring sheet and children in Reception had fun making a feathery crown.
Thursday 4 June saw us celebrating the Haslam Library’s 10th birthday. It does not seem a decade ago that Westminster was fortunate enough to be granted Government funding for a new resource centre and gym. What started as an idea to update both the Haslam Library and Forder Centre quickly turned into plans for completely new buildings and facilities.
During our celebration week, students in Years 5 and 6 wrote their ’10 reasons’ about the Haslam Library. Some chose to keep to my idea of ‘10 reasons why I love you’ whilst others wrote ’10 reasons why they like coming into the Library’. It was certainly nice to read how grateful students are for their library and how they value books, a calm place to read and somewhere to have fun at lunchtime.
In class, Year 3 students have been learning about ‘celebrations’ and what better way to help celebrate the Haslam Library’s birthday than to make a party hat. This reminded students of a favourite book read last year called ‘Hooray for Hat!
The Prep School absentee line is T: 08 8276 0255 and is available 24 hours to advise student absentees or late arrivals
Unfortunately advising absentees to the class teacher via email on the day is not recommended, as circumstances may prevent teachers from checking their emails prior to completing the absentees for the day, and if the class teacher is absent, the relief teacher will not receive the email. If your child is late to school, or is leaving early, you will need to sign them in or out on the sign in and out sheet located in the Prep School Office. Absentees are completed soon after 8.45 am and arrivals after this time remain marked as absent unless signed in by a parent or guardian, or advised via the absentee line. If your child needs to leave school early or arrives late, we ask that you please complete the sign-out sheet located at the Prep Office so that we have a record of your child’s attendance in case of emergency. Communication about appointments is always appreciated.
You will have received an email earlier this month, with a letter attached advising that students in Years 3 to 6 are offered the opportunity to compete in the International Competitions for Schools’ program conducted by the University of New South Wales (ICAS).
The competitions will be supervised and done online during the school day. There will be one sitting date per area. This year the competitions will take place between Monday 17 August and Friday 4 September 2020.
Parents can now nominate and pay online for their child to sit one or more of these competitions. Competition entry is optional and at your discretion. The cost is $15.95 (incl. GST) for each entry.
If you would like your child to participate in any of the competitions listed, please visit the new online Parent Payment System to make a direct payment to UNSW Global. The Parent Payment System is a simple and secure online payment service specifically for parents to purchase ICAS Assessments.
The web link is https://shop.unswglobal.com.au/pages/PPS you will be required to enter the School’s unique access code which is LEK798.
It is important to note that online nominations and payment close Friday 17 July 2020. No nominations can be accepted after this date.
Please enter your child’s name accurately into the system when nominating, as this is what will appear on their ICAS certificate.
Competitions available this year are: Digital Technologies; Science; Spelling Bee; English and Mathematics.
Students absent from school on the day of competition cannot be entered and a refund is not possible.
This year our students from ELC to Year 2 have been enjoying Chinese lessons. Last week our Junior Primary students had a great experience in the art of Chinese calligraphy. Practicing calligraphy offers plenty of advantages for children, as it requires a high level of concentration and patience. In our Chinese classroom, students have learnt how to hold the brush correctly, use the correct amount of ink, and with a few smooth and graceful brushstrokes write beautiful Chinese characters across the page. It is wonderful to see our students’ imagination and a sense of mindfulness through the Chinese calligraphy practice.
Chinese Specialist Teacher
In the absence of interschool Cross Country due to the COVID restrictions, Westminster Prep students competed in a Virtual Cross Country event held by School Sport SA and run by schools around SA and WA. Our students from the ELC to Year 6 ran in cross country races around the School from 500m up to 3000m as part of our Physical Education program. All races were based on the students’ year of birth. We look forward to seeing the overall results from School Sport SA and how our students fared against other schools. We had over 500 students complete the races. A full list of results is available to view on the PE noticeboard outside the Forder Centre.
We are still contemplating the possibility of running House Cross Country in coming weeks.
As many would be aware, in recent years we have hosted Code Camp at Westminster in each of the school holidays. In the last eNews we asked for indications from families about who might be interested in having children attend Code Camp in the July break. I can confirm that the response has been very positive and we are all set to run Code Camp at Westminster on Monday 13, Tuesday 14 and Wednesday 1 July.
The groups will most likely be Little Heroes, Spark and Blast 3D, depending on registrations. If you would like your child to attend please go to the following link www.codecamp.com.au/westminster
Book now using discount code ‘EARLYBIRD40’ to take advantage of our $40 Early Bird Discount which is available until midnight Sunday 21 June.
Bookings can be made via this link: www.codecamp.com.au/westminster
For more information, visit codecamp.com.au or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Head of Preparatory School