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eGuide MAY 2015

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the Education eGuide

Welcome to South East Queensland's ultimate guide to education! If you're looking for a school for your child or just want to stay informed about what's happening in the world of education, then this guide is a must read for you and your family. We've brought together some of the very best education-related articles from our print editions from recent years and a range of informative new articles, covering all the things you want to know – and more – about education. Whether you're interested in day care, starting Prep, moving into high school or finding some education activities or support outside the school system, then read on as we've got something for you. There's even a handy calendar of Open Days for schools in our gorgeous corner of Queensland. As always, we'd love to hear what you think. Please feel free to contact us via our Facebook page, our website or email. Enjoy the read! KIDS on the Coast/in the City


Kids on the Coast Magazine kidsonthecoastmagazine


Kids on the Coast Magazine kidsonthecoastmagazine


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MEDIA PUBLISHED BY Mother Goose Media PTY LTD PO Box 491, Eumundi QLD 4562 PHONE: 1300 430 320 FAX: 07 5442 7253 ABN: 86 473 357 391 WEB:

EDITORIAL / PRODUCTION PUBLISHER: Toni Eggleston EDITOR: Natasha Higgins GROUP EDITOR - DIGITAL: Eva Lewis SOCIAL MEDIA: Eva Lewis PRODUCTION DEPARTMENT: Phoebe Browning DESIGN: Michelle Craik & Phoebe Browning * We publish information based on what is supplied to us - to the best of our knowledge all details are correct at the time of printing, however we do recommend you check event details with the organisers

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ADVERTISING Call 1300 430 320 or email your Business Development Manager. SUNSHINE COAST Tanya GOLD COAST Joanne BRISBANE Kerri

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Queensland Kids CHOOSING THE RIGHT SCHOOL FOR YOUR CHILD IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT DECISIONS YOU’LL MAKE AS A PARENT. IN QUEENSLAND, MOST FAMILIES ATTEND EITHER A STATE SCHOOL OR A FAITH-BASED PRIVATE SCHOOL, BUT THERE ARE MANY OTHER EDUCATION OPTIONS AVAILABLE, AND MANY DIFFERENT BRANCHES OF THE CONVENTIONAL SCHOOL SYSTEM THAT CAN CATER TO THE UNIQUE NEEDS OF YOUR CHILD. QUEENSLAND EDUCATION – AGES AND STAGES Kindy Prior to starting formal education, many Queensland children spend time in an early learning environment, such as a childcare centre or family daycare home. The pre-school year – commonly known as Kindy – is a structured program where play-based development of early literacy and social skills is encouraged. The Kindy program, offered in all childcare centres as well as independent kindergartens, is popular with Queensland families, but not compulsory. Primary school Children in Queensland begin formal education at primary school. The first year of school is called Prep, and children must turn 5 by 30 June in the year they

commence. Parents have the right to delay entry to Prep for one year if they feel a child is not ready for school. Similarly, there is leeway, at the Principal’s discretion, for children turning 5 by 31 July to commence school early. In this case, some testing for school readiness may be conducted by the school before the child is accepted. Primary school carries children from Prep to Year 6, when they are approximately 11 years old. Junior secondary school Queensland kids attend secondary school, or ‘high school’, from Years 7 to 12. Years 7, 8 and 9 make up junior secondary school, which is housed on a separate campus at some schools. Students in these years commonly experience a wide range of curriculum options before making specific subject selections based on career intentions for the senior years.

Illustration by Alarna Zinn

Senior secondary school Senior secondary school includes Years 10 to 12. Formal education is compulsory in Queensland until the age of 16; children must then be in approved education or training until the age of 17. Most Queensland kids complete Year 12 and receive a Queensland Certificate of Education. In senior years, students can choose to work towards an OP score, which positions them for entrance to TAFE or university, or opt for a Vocational Education and Training (VET) program, which provides entry to early career paths like apprenticeships.

AN OVERVIEW OF QUEENSLAND SCHOOLING OPTIONS From tried and true traditions to ground-breaking alternative education models, Queensland families have many schooling options to choose from. State education system Education at a government – or ‘state’ – school is available to all Queensland children from Prep to Year 12. There are no fees applicable, however periodic payments will be required for uniforms, resources and excursions. Most state schools operate on a catchment system; that is, they accept children from within a certain geographical radius. You can find out which schools your children are eligible to attend here: Private and independent schools These schools include faith-based and other nongovernment schools. Families can expect to pay fees to attend these schools and acceptance may be based on an interview or other testing procedure. All of these schools must meet similar curriculum guidelines and standards as state schools, but their methods of delivering education may differ. Most faith schools accept students who do not belong to the relevant religion, however families must accept that religious teachings will form part of the curriculum. For more information: Steiner schools The Steiner education approach meets government requirements for education outcomes, but uses an alternative internationally-recognised curriculum based on holistic education, with an emphasis on teaching through the arts. Traditional subjects like maths, history

WHICH SCHOOL? or language are presented via storytelling or creative engagement, which advocates believe helps students make a deeper connection with knowledge. Students create their own workbooks, rather than using standardised textbooks and progress at their own pace.

For more information: Montessori schools The Montessori tradition developed in Italy over one hundred years ago and is growing in popularity in Australia. Rather than offering traditional classrooms, Montessori schools group children into four stages of development: 0-3 years, 3-6, 6-12 and 12-18, which means children can begin ‘formal’ education earlier than in the conventional system. Montessori teaching is based on offering an educational environment that encourages children’s natural love of learning and activity. Within this environment, children progress at their own pace through prepared activities and are guided rather than instructed by trained adults. The multi-age spaces offer opportunities for peer-to-peer learning with an emphasis on collaboration, not competition. For more information: Enriched education and the International Baccalaureate ‘Enriched education’ may be offered at a state or independent school and is aimed at accelerating learning opportunities for highly motivated senior secondary students. The Queensland Academies program allows students to complete the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma rather than a standard OP-based leaving certificate at selected ‘academies’, which are developed cooperatively between schools and universities. This world-recognised pre-university program emphasises extension work, industry experience and personal development. The IB program produces community-minded graduates with advanced academic and social skills who may gain direct entry into university courses. A select number of Queensland schools are also now authorised to offer IB content at primary and junior secondary levels. These programs emphasise independent learning, open mindedness and risk taking alongside traditional subject areas. For more information: -



“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." ~ Nelson Mandela Specialist education Specialist schools are the ideal environment for senior students who are confident about the career path they wish to pursue after school. These ‘gateway’ schools are linked with industry partners or higher education institutions to provide pre-vocational education, including industry placements, school-based apprenticeships or a tailored curriculum. Graduates may find direct employment (in hospitality, for example) or may have an advantage when it comes to further education (such as in engineering or aviation careers). For more information: Distance education Distance education is provided from Prep to Year 12 for students who are geographically isolated or who choose to be educated at home. Students enrol in a school of distance education in the same way they might enrol in a conventional school, however lessons are delivered by qualified teachers via online technologies. Studies follow the National Curriculum, including exams and NAPLAN testing; students can also participate in school sports, cross country and camps. Students have access to library resources, learning support and peer interaction via online delivery or through periodic attendance at a designated campus.

Boarding schools Several of Queensland’s private and independent schools operate a program for boarders, who live on campus while they study and return home for weekends or school holidays. These students commonly come from families living in remote areas or who travel frequently for work, for example. Modern boarding schools offer comfortable surrounds, social opportunities and study support for resident students. For more information: Special needs education Providers of special needs education offer programs for children with disabilities or learning difficulties that limit their ability to participate in conventional education. In some cases, students might attend a mix of special needs education and regular schooling or move between the two systems at different stages of their development. Special needs schools are purpose-built to provide a safe, supportive environment for students to reach their potential. For more information: studentservices/learning

For more information: Home education Distance education is one method of educating your child in the home. Distance education is delivered by teachers with a parent or carer in a support role. By contrast, home education (or ‘home schooling’) puts the parent or carer in the role of teacher, planning and implementing their child’s educational program. Home educated children must be registered with The Home Education Unit, who will provide some support materials and assessments in liaison with the parent or carer. For more information:

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Quality Home Based Child Care OUR CURRICULUM: We promote a holistic approach to children’s learning that is engaging & builds success for life. QUALIFIED EDUCATORS give secure, respectful & reciprocal relationships & partnerships. WE OFFER a safe and nurturing learning environment.

PH 5476 3373

For more information:

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Phone 07 5453 7077 Email

372 Mons Rd, Forest Glen, QLD 4556 -


ST PAUL’S SCHOOL IS AT AN EXCEPTIONALLY EXCITING POINT IN ITS 55 YEAR HISTORY. Groundbreaking work over the last year or so has seen international attention focused on St Paul’s. The school is now nationally and globally recognised as a leader in the development of learning that is real and relevant. Throughout 2014, as part of the development of the new strategic plan, a team at the school wrestled with the notion of ‘what is an education worth having?’ We posed the question: ‘What will the world be like in 2028 when a child in Pre-Prep in 2015 graduates from Year 12?’ Thirty global leaders across various fields collaborated to help answer this question. And now the Futures Planning Project 2015-2028 is complete! You are invited to tour the school with our Headmaster, Dr Paul Browning, and learn firsthand how an education at St Paul’s will position your child for an exciting and brilliant future. Visit our website or contact the Registrar, Michelle Davies, for more details. VIEW OUR NEW VIDEO SERIES... What is an education worth having? This is a question on the minds of not just St Paul’s staff, but educators around the globe. Combined with this fundamental question is the issue of student engagement, engagement with school and engagement in learning. International studies have revealed that a large percentage of school children are disengaged from learning because they don’t see the meaning or relevance. These questions led us to produce a short video series that articulates what we believe an engaging, worthwhile education looks like at St Paul’s School. The videos were published online at Click on the WHAT IS AN EDUCATION WORTH HAVING? icon on the home page and follow the links.

PHONE 07 3261 1388 EMAIL

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Illustration by Alarna Zinn

Lara Cain Gray

There are many factors to consider when choosing the right school for your child, from the purely practical, like fees or transport options, to your religious or philosophical commitments. Many parents use their own school experiences as a starting point for making this important decision. Others rely on ‘word of mouth’ to get a sense of a school’s culture, but these opinions can be highly subjective. It’s also important to remember that our children are individuals and what works for one child may not be the best approach for another. Start your school search by being well informed about the different schooling options available for Queensland children. Next, consider putting some time into an old fashioned ‘pros and cons’ chart or create a checklist that covers the aspects of education that matter most to your family. The following topics may be worth considering as you’re making your decision.

PRACTICAL FACTORS It can be difficult to separate your heart from your head when it comes to making decisions about your child’s future. While it’s crucial to consider all the academic and social dimensions of education, it’s also important to weigh up the practical aspects of how your family will include schooling in day-to-day life. Some questions to ask yourself include: • Is the school affordable for your family? • Do you have a full understanding of the fees and their inclusions? • What extra expenses can you expect, like uniforms, excursions or resources? • How will your child travel to school? • Does the school offer before and after school or vacation care if required? • Does the school have safe, well-maintained grounds? Air conditioning? Sports ovals and playgrounds? • What are the school’s expectations of homework, sports teams, community involvement or church attendance? Will these commitments be feasible for your family?

THE NEEDS OF YOUR CHILD All Queensland schools will offer your child a solid education based on the Australian National Curriculum. Beyond that though, schools vary considerably in terms of their learning support, extracurricular activities or areas of specialisation. Consider the particular needs of your child and ask questions such as these: • Is your child gifted in a particular subject area? If so, will the school support and extend this interest?

• Does your child require additional learning support? If so, can the school talk to you – in detail – about its support programs?


• Is your child a self-directed learner or do they respond better to structured learning? Ask your school about its teaching and discipline philosophies. • Is your child confident when interacting with peers? Ask your school whether it offers transition programs or a buddy system for new students. How big are class sizes? How is bullying handled? • Does your child have a specific vocation in mind? If so, does this school offer industry linkages, work experience or university pathways to support your child? • Would you prefer to educate your child at home? Do you have enough study space, resources and time to support your child in distance or home education? If in any doubt, don’t be afraid to arrange meetings with school principals, guidance officers or health professionals, like a speech or occupational therapist, who can talk you through the many options available to you and your child.

YOUR NEEDS AS A PARENT Some parents are happy to have a purely functional relationship with the school community, while others like to have a close involvement via committees or volunteering. Either way, you, as a parent, need to feel confident about the culture of the school and the ways in which the school communicates information with parents. Some ways to observe a school community in action include: • Reading the school’s newsletter. In some cases, these are available online; if not, simply request a copy. • Attending a Parents and Friends Committee (P & F) meeting. • Attending any Open Day events, school fetes or arts festivals. • Visiting the school website for official information, but also looking for Facebook pages that may provide insight into day-to-day announcements or upcoming events. No one knows your child better than you. Choosing the ‘right’ school means considering their particular needs and abilities, whether the school has the appropriate support available for your child and practical considerations for your family. Research is the key to feeling confident about your choice and setting your child on the right path to a bright future. -


SHARE YOUR CHILD’S LEARNING JOURNEY WITH PETIT Petit Early Learning Journey is a premium brand long day care provider that is renowned for creating safe, respectful and compassionate environments and they are opening a brand new purpose-built centre in Caloundra West in mid 2015. The centre will offer enthralling class environments and their naturalistic playscapes will provide opportunity for children to explore and bond with nature while having FUN! Their premium outdoor play areas include elements of real grass, sand, forts, slides, seating and water play. Petit will offer a Kindergarten Program and supports the Early Years Learning Framework in all programming. Petit are conscious of creating supportive environments and all studios will be configured to the new educator-to-child ratios which must be in effect as of January 2016 as a requirement under the National Quality Framework. The advantages of Petit working to the new educator-to-child ratios now means that your children are being supervised to the highest standard and educators are able to give more individual care and attention. As a result, more meaningful relationships are formed which encourages your child’s unique personal development. To save you time and assist with those busy mornings, all meals are inclusive within your daily fee and are prepared on site by their very own chef. You can be assured that your children are receiving the freshest nutritionally sound meals while at Petit, as the seasonal menus have been developed in association with EatWell Australia and aim to meet a significant amount of a child’s daily nutritional requirements. Petit also embrace sustainable practices and utilise a paperless digital sign-in/sign-out system as well as an online child portfolio tool. With your own unique access to the online family lounge, you can log in at anytime and anywhere to follow your child’s learning journey. The Caloundra centre will also offer a dedicated before and after school care program as well as a vacation care program for children aged 5–12 years. Their dedicated Outside School Care Hours (OSCH) studio is equipped with the latest technology aides and resources and programming supports the My Time, Our Place Framework. Not only will children have access to the creative indoor and outdoor environments, children will be safely transported to and from school by Petit’s dedicated professionals in their very own Petit commuter bus. Come school holidays, there will be a variety of stimulating and fun incursions, theme days and excursions planned! The Caloundra centre will be located at 4 Lomond Crescent and has the capacity to care for 120 children (subject to licensing approval). Proposed opening hours are 6.30am to 6.30pm. WHERE 4 Lomond Crescent, Caloundra West PHONE 1300 1PETIT

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by Megan Blandford There is no doubt that education needs to be one of the highest priorities for any nation. For Australia to both serve its society and play competitively on the global stage, it’s vital that we aim to reach the top of the world’s education rankings. While we have a great education system in Australia in many ways, it certainly isn’t perfect. And we need to make sure we’re continuously improving it for the sake of current and future generations of students. To do that, experts say we should look at the bigger picture of what’s working for our global neighbours.

The gap in Australia between schools that are advantaged and schools that are disadvantaged is increasing.


First, we need to be realistic about what we need to improve upon. Chris Bonner, education expert and author of the book The Stupid Country: How Australia is Dismantling Public Education, says there are many layers to the problems we need to solve in our education system. “The biggest problem in Australia compared with higher achieving countries is the way we organise our schools,” Bonner explains. “The PISA (that is, the Program for International Student Assessment) tells us something which is really handy to know: countries that don’t do as well tend to divide their kids into schools that are quite advantaged and schools that are disadvantaged. We do a lot of that in Australia, and we’re starting to suffer because of it.” Such advantages can include more subjects – and therefore opportunities – offered in higher socioeconomic areas and the rise of academically selective schools. Even the home environment -

counts as an educational advantage, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics highlighting that Queensland children from families with Englishspeaking, coupled parents who are more highly educated generally perform better at school. The problem with this is the divide it’s creating socially, culturally and in education results. “When you start placing your kids into schools that are advantaged or disadvantaged, the disadvantaged ones do noticeably worse,” says Bonner. “There’s no net gain for the country as a whole.” This divide, he argues, is quickly widening. “The gap in Australia between schools that are advantaged and schools that are disadvantaged is increasing; the My School data clearly shows this,” says Bonner. He’s quick to add that this isn’t indicative of the quality of individual schools. “It’s not a gap created by quality or between good schools and bad schools; it’s a gap created because of who the schools enrol.”

Canada is a very good example of how we could do better. To improve on this system, Bonner says we need to learn from our northern American friends. “Canada is a very good example of how we could do better,” he says. Why? Well, Canada is the highest performing English-speaking country on the PISA and has only 6% of its students in private schools (with Catholic schools being part of the non-feepaying public school system). This system – and certainly other layers within the nation’s education success – creates equality for students. While those from higher socio-economic areas perform on a par with those from Australia, they’re also on equal footing with their fellow Canadian students from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

Canada isn’t our only strong role EDUCATION HOT TOPICS model. Europe, too, has some world-class examples of great education systems, and not just in the Scandinavian countries we often hear of. “Poland, for example, abolished all its selective schools in the early 2000s, and their national student achievement levels rose,” says Bonner. The PISA report concurs, stating: “(Poland’s) overall improvement has meant that disadvantaged students have greater chances of being resilient and beating the odds against them.” That’s a powerful motivator for Australia to analyse and consider action towards such a goal. Another international system that Bonner rates highly is within Asia. He says, “In Shangai, China, they do a lot better in the areas of teacher training and teacher development than us.” This in turn helps to create an education system that works for the country and its students. Change, of course, is going to take some serious policy overhaul. And while we may not be looking to replicate the specific system of any of our international friends, we could certainly take pieces from some of these high-rating countries and adapt them to our own nation. Whichever way we go, the experts insist that it’s certainly time for some changes. “We’re continuing with school in the same way that we have for about 600 years and it’s a bit factory-like; kids have to jump through all these hoops,” Bonner says of the current system in Australia. It isn’t all bad news, however. We’re getting a lot of things right in our school system. Bonner says, “The curriculum, the teaching quality, the way we assess kids and the way we monitor standards: we do all that pretty well in schools.” But if there’s one thing education system can learn from itself, it’s that there is always room to learn more and improve.

CALVARY CHRISTIAN COLLEGE – A GREAT PLACE TO BELONG. At Calvary Christian College we endeavour to create a positive sense of belonging throughout our community by investing in the wellbeing and personal growth of all members of our community, including parents. We host informative seminars that equip and empower our parents to grow personally, as well as upskill them, for the wellbeing and resilience of their children. Calvary’s caring, safe and supportive Christian environment nurtures the whole child – academic, social, emotional, physical and spiritual. As a dual campus, affordable childcare to Year 12 college, we kindle the education flame by maximising students’ potential through inquiry-based learning, increasing students’ confidence and develop a commitment to lifelong learning while fostering their faith and God-given gifts. The education journey starts in the childcare centres. We believe children learn through play. Our curriculum is designed and based upon the Early Years Learning Framework and the Primary Years Program. Our pre-prep rooms offer the Queensland Government Approved Kindy Program. The Junior School academic program commences with the Primary Years Program – an International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum framework. The IB Program encourages students to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners. Calvary’s high school students are engaged in learning that is challenging and meaningful in a supportive and positive environment. Students develop the skills and habits that they will need to thrive in their final years of schooling. We empower students to take on increased responsibility for their learning and academic performance. Students are taught to identify and hone skills in order to deepen their understanding of topics. Developmentally, the Middle Years provides excellent opportunities to foster greater emotional literacy. Students are mentored to explore restorative solutions based on mutual understanding, personal accountability and respectful cooperation. In Years 10 – 12 a well balanced academic program focuses on gifting and talents of the individual students, whether academic or practical training opportunities are required. Senior students can commence a traineeship or apprenticeship and gain a nationally recognised qualification. Co-curricular activities on offer include netball, futsal, peer mentoring, chapel band, debating, music or theatre club. The keyboard program begins in Prep. A distinctive activity is our Sheep Show Team, where students look after purebred sheep. The junior school clubs comprise junior AG, environmental club, cheerleading, dance, gymnastics, photography, lego, reading, chess and a “Historicool” club. The College runs an affordable bus service and free intercampus bus. Outside school hours Care and vacation care is provided. Contact the Registrar to arrange a tour on (07) 3287 6222 or visit

PHONE 07 3287 6222

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Calvary Christian College A M i n i s t r y o f L o g a n U n i t i n g C h u rc h -




SCHOOL SUCCESS by Maxine Arthur

ASKING YOUR CHILD ABOUT HIS SCHOOL DAY OFTEN ELICITS “SCHOOL’S OKAY” FOLLOWED BY A HASTY EXIT, ESPECIALLY IF IT HAS BEEN DIFFICULT FOR THEM. DON’T WAIT UNTIL THE FINAL SCHOOL REPORT TO DISCOVER YOUR CHILD IS STRUGGLING. Research shows that children do better in school when parents are involved. A wise parent will get on board with the school and present a united front that says to the child, “Your teacher and I are on the same team”. Modern parents need no longer rely on scouring the bottom of their child’s school bag for a note from the teacher to know what is happening at school. Schools are using increasingly sophisticated and varied means to promote ongoing communication with parents and engage them as partners in their child’s education.

BE AN ACTIVE PARTNER IN YOUR CHILD’S EDUCATION The Queensland Department of Education advocates an active partnership between parents and their child’s school stating, “As your child’s first teacher and the person who arguably knows


your child best, it is important to talk positively and constructively with the school about your child’s needs, interests, goals and progress.” Start the new school year on a positive note Establishing contact with your child’s teacher early in the year and maintaining regular open, honest and respectful communication is the key to avoiding the stress that can affect the whole family when a child is struggling to cope in class. Make early contact with the teacher and set up the best means of ensuring ongoing communication. Most teachers organise a ‘meet and greet’ session for all parents early in the year to share what your child will be learning (subjects, topics, content) and how they will be learning (classroom activities, processes, technologies). Make a follow-up appointment to discuss any individual concerns or to seek further information. -

PLANNING FOR SUCCESS My husband and I chose a number of schools to look at, both public and private. We made appointments with the principals to discuss any questions we had... Each child is different, as is each school you look at.

Use the communication channels set up by the school These may include parent–teacher interviews requested by the school or by you, emails, text messages, telephone calls, newsletters, the school website, the school Facebook page, parent workshops, school assemblies, school diaries or ‘keep in touch’ books that promote everyday communication. In some schools, students now have their own laptop and teachers email homework to the student. Support your child, his teacher and the school Indicate to the teacher that you are willing to help in whatever capacity you can; perhaps give a classroom talk on an area of expertise, share skills you have, help with school trips or a school fete, or do something at home. Work with the teacher to help your child meet expectations By working with the teacher, you can help ensure your child meets expectations around homework, behaviour, attendance and a positive attitude towards learning, other students and staff. Parents can help a child with organisational and time management skills as well as talking through school matters at home in a constructive, positive way. You will be helping your child to gradually take on more responsibility and function more independently as he progresses through school, while still giving him the support he needs. Listen to your child on school matters but keep an open mind Ask questions and encourage your child to suggest possible courses of action. Can he resolve the problem himself? Keep in mind that many day-to-day upsets resolve themselves, however if a problem is serious and ongoing, you may need to contact the teacher to discuss a plan of action. Remember to get both sides of the story before you leap to your child’s defence. Ask, discuss, negotiate and problem solve in a spirit of mutual cooperation.


Parent–school communication was a priority for local parents Nicky and Jay when their son Wallace started at his new school, as Wallace found adapting to change difficult when he was younger. Nicky says that moving interstate to live their dream on the Sunshine Coast was a stressful process in itself but on top of that they had to make an important choice – finding the best school for Wallace, then aged eight and going into grade three. “My husband and I chose a number of schools to look at, both public and private. We made appointments with the principals to discuss any questions we had. We made it a point to discuss the type of boy Wallace was as I wanted the schools to tell me what they could offer our son when it came to education, sport and general support in not only school matters but any personal issues that may arise. Each child is different, as is each school you look at. We just needed to find the school that best fitted Wallace’s needs.” Nicky and Jay asked Wallace to help them make the final choice because they felt it was important for him have a say. Fortunately, all were in favour of the same school. “We went with the private school as it was a lot smaller,” says Nicky. “The school asked a lot of questions about Wallace’s previous years and we had to supply a copy of his school reports as well as letters from previous teachers on Wallace’s attitude and behaviour. Some parents would find this a bit intrusive, but I personally loved the fact that the school took the behaviour of its students very seriously.” Close communication between school and home helped Wallace enjoy a successful first year. “I was a full-time working mum so had to rely on emails and phone calls to keep in touch with how Wallace was going at school. I was made aware of excursions, homework and exams that were coming up via email. If the teacher had any concerns she would email me straight away and then follow up with a phone call if I had not responded quickly enough. The communication between us was great.” Wallace’s school also has a website, which parents can access for school policies, up-to-date news and events, as well as to contact staff. They also use student homework diaries to encourage parent– teacher communication. -




TRACKING PROGRESS AS YOUR CHILD MOVES THROUGH PRIMARY SCHOOL There is a world of difference between being involved, supportive and aware of how your child is faring at school and being the dreaded ‘helicopter parent’, always hovering and not allowing a child to develop as an independent and responsible person. Lily is in Year 7 at Woombye State School on the Sunshine Coast. Lily’s mother Terry says: “The way I track Lily’s progress has changed over the years as she’s advanced through primary school. In the early years, I was in the classroom a lot and so had plenty of opportunity to discuss things with the teachers. Helping out in the classroom also meant that I was able to get a really good indication of how she was progressing. I used to attend parade every week, so found out a lot of the general school information, like upcoming events, that way as well as from the newsletters and notes sent home. “Now that she’s in her final year of primary school I really only go into the school when something special is on, but I still feel that I’m kept in the loop. The school holds a ‘meet and greet’ at the beginning of each year, as well as parent–teacher interviews throughout the year. It’s lucky that the school has a Facebook page and electronic newsletters to keep me informed about upcoming events because the notes often don’t get retrieved from her school bag until it’s too late! “Apart from formal report cards, which are issued twice a year, I can usually judge how Lily is going at school simply by asking her, or by looking through her homework book at the previous week’s marks. There have been times when I’ve noticed she’s been having trouble with a particular area so I’ve either just worked with her at home or else approached the teacher for some guidance on how I can help.”


This is the most important question to ask a teacher before you ask about grades, as slow school achievement is often associated with not fitting in or being bullied. An unhappy, fearful child will not be motivated to learn. If you discover the unpalatable truth that your child is bullying other children, work with the teacher to form an action plan to improve your child’s behaviour.

“WHAT ARE MY CHILD’S STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES, AND HOW CAN I HELP?” Knowing the answer to this question means that you can encourage your child to pursue interests that give satisfaction and success while being alert to opportunities to strengthen any weaknesses.

“DOES MY CHILD NEED ANY EXTRA HELP BEYOND THE CLASSROOM?” It is not easy for teachers to tell a parent that a child is well below grade level in any area, but you need the full picture in order to help your child.

HOW WILL I KNOW IF MY CHILD IS KEEPING UP? Naplan (National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy) assesses the skills of all state and non-state school students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 in reading, writing, language conventions (spelling, grammar and punctuation) and numeracy. The tests measure how well your child is performing against national standards. School reports from your child’s teacher usually arrive in June and December. These are probably more useful to parents as they give a rounded assessment of how your child is performing over a longer period, and not only academically. -

The problem with relying on formal assessments alone to gauge how your child is progressing is that by the time you receive them, your child may have been struggling for a long time and the original difficulty made worse by loss of confidence and motivation. Professor Frank Oberklaid is the Founding Director of the Centre for Community Child Health at The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne and a Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Melbourne. In his April 2014 article Struggling at school, Professor Oberklaid says that up to one in five children struggle at school. “Sometimes it is the parent who first becomes concerned about academic progress or behaviour at school, or because of the child’s social isolation – for example, not being invited to classmates’ birthday parties. Parents may notice that the child is slower or different when compared with an older sibling at the same age. Often it is the class teacher who has indicated to the parent that the child is struggling and this leads to a visit to the GP. In other instances it is suggested to parents that their child should be assessed.

“The nature of difficulties the child EDUCATION HOT TOPICS experiences varies greatly. There can be concerns about learning, behaviour, socialisation or a combination of these. The issues may be straightforward; for example, a child of average or above average intelligence might have trouble with reading. On the other hand, a child may present with a complex constellation of difficulties – not keeping up academically, problems focusing and sustaining attention, disruptive classroom behaviour, low selfesteem and poor motivation. School difficulties can be associated with a range of symptoms including headache, recurrent abdominal pain, mood swings and manifestations of anxiety or depression. A small number of children have a chronic medical condition that affects their learning, whereas others have a history of developmental delay and/or challenging behaviour that can be traced back to the toddler years.” As your child’s first teacher and the person who arguably knows your child best, it is important to talk positively and constructively with the school about your child’s needs, interests, goals and progress. -



SIGNS YOUR CHILD MAY BE FALLING BEHIND Fruition Tuition Maroochydore owner Viv Ronlund, who previously worked for Education Queensland for 23 years in varied roles including classroom teacher, learning support teacher and school principal, says: “As a private tuition provider, most of the parents who contact us are concerned that their children are not coping well at school. The overwhelming concern is that their children are lacking in, or have lost confidence with, their academic ability. This may become evident at report card time, but there are also indicators that parents can pick up on much earlier in the school year. If your child often portrays their ability in a poor light, compares themselves negatively to their peers or is reluctant to do their homework (or even attend school in extreme cases), then these self-esteem issues may stem from their inability to grasp vital concepts at school. “Other indicators that your child is not doing well at school can be more subtle such as not wishing to join in with family activities like board games and in-car games such as I Spy or gradually becoming socially distant from their peers. Not wishing to engage in a subject area that they have always appeared strong in may be another. For example, a child who has a strong understanding of mathematical concepts may be struggling with reading comprehension, which in turn creates difficulty with worded maths problems and turns them off their favourite subject. “Children will often engage in work-avoidance strategies come homework time,” advises Viv.


“Some children would rather get into trouble for not doing their homework as this is less painful for them than letting on that they can’t comprehend the work. At Fruition we have a saying ‘parents are their children’s heroes’. As such they don’t want to let you down. This strong emotional attachment can lead to frustration, tears and even screaming matches come homework time. “If your child is falling behind due to lack of confidence, then an external tuition program can be of great benefit. Apart from the obvious academic rewards that an individually tailored program can provide, the child is placed into an environment that removes emotional pressures and attachments. Away from the peer judgement of the classroom and the pressure of pleasing their parents, children can attain the success that they have been lacking … and success is the only way to develop confidence! From this success will come the motivation children require to achieve more success, and so the cycle continues. The end result – a more independent, confident and motivated learner, with no tears come homework and report card time.”

RESOURCES Queensland Government Literacy and Numeracy resources and activities: literacyandnumeracy/resources.html 201 Literacy and Maths Tips: au/school/parents/involve/Pages/literacynum.aspx For help with homework and school projects (with over 1000 videos and games all linked to the Australian Curriculum): -

Let’s Go Play Today is a new fitness program

for kids – the perfect antidote to the often sedentary lives youngsters lead these days while glued to a screen of some sort. So, what does the Let’s Go Play Today ebook entail? Any parent knows that it can be challenging to capture their kids’ interest in something, let alone keep it. But there are plenty of stimulating activities aiming to improve and retain core movement skills through game and play. Each week has a fun new character shown in cartoon illustrations with every game explained in detail.

This will bring the whole family together! • 60+ games • 12 week ebook • Cartoon Illustrations • Confidence building • In-depth instruction • Increased core & posture


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Prep to Year 12 Christian education Enrolment open to families of all faiths Enriched curriculum No catchment restrictions Safe learning environment

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Everything with God

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NAMBOUR CHRISTIAN COLLEGE EARLY LEARNING CENTRE Every child and their family essentially want to feel loved and important, and that is why each morning when families arrive at Nambour Christian College (NCC) Early Learning Centre they are greeted by warm, devoted staff members in a beautiful, light central space. It is here where children, parents, siblings and staff meet, chat, play and prepare for the day ahead. From here, children will commence a day of exploring and discovering, as they learn about letters and numbers, problem solving and social play. Nambour Christian College Early Learning educational program is built on the Early Years Learning Framework and Queensland Kindergarten Guidelines and emphasises independence, creativity and social interactions. Valuing the God-given creativity and uniqueness of each child, the aim is to involve each of the children in as many opportunities as possible. They are involved in a wide range of activities, skills and learning experiences such as visiting the school farm with its miniature horses, listening to college bands perform, going to the library, being the audience for the Middle School puppet shows or the cheer squad for the cross country. Sustainable environmental practices are also important at NCC Early Learning where children learn to care for the world by being mindful of caring for our resources and practising recycling, reusing and reducing. At NCC Early Learning, children love learning about all aspects of life and also value interactions into the wider community. This year children will visit Australia Zoo, The Ginger Factory and the fire station, perform in a concert and experience travel on buses and trains. Not one aspect of the curriculum stands alone, with all learning areas integrated to cater for the different rates that children develop physically, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually, and to encompass the different cultural and family backgrounds which each child brings. Each child’s learning journey is recorded in a cumulative folio of photos and stories, and includes songs, music and visuals of their time at the centre. The aim is for all children and their families to experience a secure and supportive Christ-centred learning community where children are loved and valued. COME and SEE days take place every Wednesday at 9.30am. Visit the centre at 4 McKenzie Road, Woombye. PHONE 07 5451 3330 EMAIL

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Inspiring Learning and Creativity in a Fun Environment We invite you to come and join in on a FREE play morning each Wednesday at 9.30am. • • • •

A premium Early Learning Centre surrounded by our very own farm Creative and highly experienced teachers Inspiring natural playscapes Nurturing your child’s development and building on their potential







ara Cain Gray

Many Australian schools offer scholarships to help families cover expenses like school fees, sports equipment or IT. The majority are awarded to students who demonstrate outstanding ability in a particular field, from academic prowess to creative talents or even service to the community. Others are directed at families with the greatest financial need. The numbers and types of scholarships and rules for eligibility vary from school to school. It’s never too early to begin researching the scholarship opportunities available in your area as some require long-term commitment to a specialised field along with portfolios, exams and interviews.

WHY SHOULD MY CHILD APPLY FOR A SCHOLARSHIP? Scholarships offer clear financial benefits and can go a long way to ensuring your child is able to stay at school and pursue their passions or career ambitions. Some schools offer cash bursaries, while others will cover tuition fees for a given period or sponsor your child’s endeavours in a field of excellence. If you live in a rural or isolated area, a scholarship may make it possible for your child to attend boarding school. Other scholarships are offered only to the children of past pupils, which may help you fulfil a family ambition to provide your children with the same type of education you enjoyed yourself. The scholarship application process can also be a way to motivate your child or drive their enthusiasm for a particular subject area. Like any scholarly award, a scholarship will also look good on child’s resume when they start looking for career opportunities.

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WHEN SHOULD MY CHILD APPLY FOR A SCHOLARSHIP? Scholarship programs vary from school to school, so always check the specific cut-off dates and testing timeframes that apply to you. As a general rule, applications for academic scholarships open around September two years before the year the scholarship is required, with testing taking place in the February or March of the next year. So, if you wish to make use of a scholarship in 2017, for example, you could apply from September 2015 and expect testing and interviews to take place early in 2016. Most schools that offer academic scholarships participate in centralised testing processes through organisations like ACER and EduTest. These bodies offer ‘cooperative testing’, which means that testing is done on a set date for all participating schools. The benefit of this is that you can apply for scholarships at several schools and only sit the test once. Some schools prefer to nominate their own testing dates; this is called ‘alternative date testing’ and use of the results will be unique to that school.

HOW DOES MY CHILD APPLY FOR A SCHOLARSHIP? Each school will have its own specifications about eligibility and application processes, but there are a few general guidelines to consider according to the type of scholarship you wish to pursue. ACADEMIC SCHOLARSHIPS Academic scholarship assessors look for consistent good grades in the years leading up to application along with the results of formalised scholarship testing. Your child’s application may also include an interview, a speech or presentation, or a portfolio of work. SPECIALIST SCHOLARSHIPS Consistent high achievement is also advantageous for scholarships in areas like creative arts or sport. In addition, rather than a cooperative test, your child may be required to attend an audition, present a portfolio of work samples or supply results of external awards or certifications – like dance exams, for example. It’s important to look at the fine print when it comes to eligibility for these scholarships as some will only be offered to high level athletes or creative students with a proven track record of accolades.

GENERAL EXCELLENCE SCHOLARSHIPS Students who demonstrate outstanding ability across several areas, including academic excellence and community leadership may be eligible for a general excellence scholarship. These scholarships reward students who look beyond school life for opportunities to succeed, such as volunteering, fundraising or sports team captaincy. The key to securing one of these scholarships is to retain documentation from all relevant associations, such as personal references, community awards or participation certificates. Encourage your child to request such documents if they are not offered and use these to build a portfolio of experiences. Once again, consistency and ongoing enthusiasm for both scholarly achievements and community involvement will be well received. OTHER TYPES OF SCHOLARSHIPS • Scholarships linked with industry, which encourage students towards a specific career. • Scholarships available for people of specific nationalities or faith groups. • Scholarships offered to Australian Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people. • Scholarships for people who live in a particular town or city. • Scholarships for people experiencing illness or hardship. The Queensland government also offers limited school scholarships. Most of these are directed at Year 12 students for the purpose of career development. The scholarship system is highly competitive, but by researching your options and preparing in advance, you can help your child realise their potential through education. The effort involved is well worth it if it reduces your family’s financial burdens and sets your child on the path to long term success.



A VISION FOR CHANGE Leading schools have a vision for change in the form of twenty-first century learning, where the spirit of innovation creates a mindset for the future. Education was modelled on the needs and interests of an Industrial age. In this model, the ability to memorise facts and the mastery of the three Rs was a benchmark of success. Many went to school, then to college, got a degree, then a job that you stayed in often for the rest of your career. That era has gone, as we are now live in an increasingly diverse, globalised, complex and mediasaturated society. A degree today doesn’t mean a guarantee of a job, and students are faced with the potential of numerous occupations throughout their career. The teacher is no longer the ‘fountain of all facts’ as Google has now replaced this role. Mastery of the basics – reading, writing and arithmetic – are still crucial, however in isolation won’t prepare students to thrive in the twentyfirst century. Schools are currently preparing students for jobs that do not exist, to solve problems that we currently don’t recognise and use digital technology that hasn’t been invented. Teachers are working with students whose entire lives have been immersed in a digital media culture. They literally take in the world via the filter of digital devices: smart phones, handheld gaming devices or notebooks. Education potentially faces some critical gaps between the world that young people experience outside the classroom and the world within, as well as between the skills that students learn in school and those they will need later in life. Living and learning in the twenty-first century requires new thinking and a strategically engineered vision. The recently released Australian Curriculum promotes seven general capabilities that will assist students to thrive in the twenty-first century. These capabilities include literacy, numeracy, information and communication technology competence, critical and creative thinking, personal and social competence, ethical behaviour and intercultural understanding. Twenty-first century teachers move from dispensers of facts to conductors of learning. Through relevant learning experiences, teachers should aim to inspire a culture of inquiry where students collaborate, innovate and think when applying their acquired knowledge to new situations. Knowledge is not the memorisation of facts and figures, but is constructed through research and application, and connected to previous knowledge, personal experience, interests, talents and passions. Students require complex skills to direct their learning, to think critically and adapt to a rapidly changing global society. Twenty-first century learning should aim to teach students to select appropriate digital tools to transform their learning, engage and energise students and inspire deep thinking. It should also develop digital citizenship and students to be informed consumers in our media-rich environment. Innovation is flourishing in the world around us and innovative schools need to have a vision for powerful learning to prepare our students for their future not our past. PHONE (07) 5445 4444

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Lara Cain Gray

CHOOSING THE RIGHT SCHOOL FOR YOUR CHILD CAN BE HARD WORK. AND THEN, ONCE YOU’VE FINALLY DONE YOUR RESEARCH, MULLED OVER THE LOGISTICS AND SETTLED ON A SCHOOL, YOU HAVE TO HOPE THEY ACCEPT YOU! AN INTERVIEW IS COMMONLY ARRANGED AS PART OF THE ENROLMENT PROCESS, AND BEING PREPARED IS THE KEY TO HAVING IT RUN SMOOTHLY. WHY DO SCHOOLS CONDUCT ENROLMENT INTERVIEWS? Whether your child is just starting Prep, applying for high school admission or changing schools at any stage of their education, you and your child are likely to be invited to an interview with the Principal or another senior staff member. In some cases, the interview is just a formality, allowing your family and school staff to get to know each other and exchange information. In other cases, the school interview may be a more significant determinant of entry. Generally, schools use the interview process to: - assess your child’s school readiness (for Prep) or competency for higher grades - make sure you understand the school’s ethos and expectations to ensure the school is the right fit for you and your child, and vice versa - determine whether the school can offer appropriate support for your child if they have any special needs.


If you are really keen for your child to attend the school, you may be worried about doing or saying ‘the right thing’. It’s normal to want to make a good impression, but you also need to assess whether this is really the right school for your child. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, give honest answers or let your child’s personality shine through.

PREPARATION IS KEY Just like a job interview, the best way to settle your nerves and get the most from the experience is to be prepared. Try this ‘before, during, after’ approach to getting you and your child ready for interview day.

BEFORE YOUR INTERVIEW - Research the school’s curriculum, motto and ethos. For older children, allow them to do their own research and talk to you about interesting facets of the school culture. - Prepare to wear neat, clean clothes. Think of it as a job interview – not too casual, but not over the top. -


DURING YOUR INTERVIEW - Be honest. You won’t do your child any favours by trying to trick your way into a school place. Any bending of the truth will soon be uncovered when you’re attending the school on a daily basis. - Let your child speak for themselves. Remember there’s really no ‘wrong’ answer. This is a great opportunity for them to articulate their passions – or even their fears. If accepted, the school can use this information to offer a pathway for them to reach their goals. - Come armed with a written list of questions. You may not get time to ask all of them, but at least you will not be lost for words! Some examples include: - Be sure you know how to reach the interview venue, including where to park or any public transport arrangements required. Being punctual shows you in a good light, but also prevents any inconvenience for staff or other families waiting in line.

• Tell me about last year’s outcomes for seniors?

- Have any necessary documentation signed, copied or simply to hand. Do you need to supply a birth certificate? Religious documents? NAPLAN results?

• How many students are in the school – and how big are class sizes?

- Talk to your child about the interview process and the behaviour that is expected of them: think no phones, no slouching and good manners. - Work with your child on a list of possible questions so that they have some answers up their sleeves. Be sure they know that it’s okay to speak up (if they’re young) and important to speak up if they’re older. Questions they may be asked include: • What is your favourite (or least favourite) subject? • What are your strengths and weaknesses? • Why do you want to attend this school? • What do you want to do when you finish school? - For young children, some basic literacy or numeracy skills may be assessed, or they may be observed at play.

• What is included in the school fees? For example, is there a book or IT levy? • Tell me about the programs you offer for children who need support or extension?

• How much homework will my child be expected to complete? • What extracurricular activities are available through the school?

AFTER YOUR INTERVIEW - Talk to your child and other family members about their impressions of the school. Be confident that this is the right choice for you, should you be accepted. - Jot down anything you forgot to ask, or points about which you’d like further information, and follow them up either by email or by requesting another meeting at a later date. - Congratulate your child on their interview efforts! Whatever the outcome, your child has learned some valuable skills about preparation and interview protocol.

Be prepared, and keep in mind that a school enrolment interview is a two-way street; your questions are just as important as your answers. Be a great role model by swapping panic for patience. While being accepted into a great school is important, the school interview is also a chance to show your support for your child and your respect for their needs, interests and ambitions. -


THE MORETON BAY COLLEGES – A WORLD CLASS EDUCATION Our world is rapidly changing. So much so that the nature of information and the way we access and use it is evolving before our eyes. We have a responsibility as educators and parents to set today’s youth up from the very early years to value inquiry, reflection and analysis which will enable them to make critical contributions through a global lens. The automated skills that were traditionally taught in schools, while still very necessary, are often being outsourced. Our children today need more. The most critical skill children need to be successful is the ability to adapt to change; to be flexible and to think, rethink and innovate. Moreton Bay College have recently been accredited by the International Baccalaureate World School organisation to deliver the Primary Years Programme (PYP). Moreton Bay Boys’ College have been authorised to deliver the programme for several years as well as the Middle Years Program (MYP). Delivering the Primary Years Program as a global framework through which to deliver the National Curriculum allows student learning to become authentic, relevant to the real world and flowing across all subjects in a trans-disciplinary way. Learning in the primary years is not restricted to individual subject areas but supported and enriched by all of them. An example of this is the inquiry theme ‘Sharing the planet’ which can be applied across all subject areas like English, maths, science and health. We recently opened a student designed mountain bike track at MBBC. In order to create this track, the boys looked at fitness goals, mathematical equations which formulated the construction of the curves, percentages in the inclines, the degree of bends in the track, the signage, language and safety as well as minimising the environmental impact to the area. This was a way of incorporating all areas of learning across the one theme and growing young minds in a fun and practical real life situation. The national education body ACARA (Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority) has recently endorsed the International Baccalaureate (IB) PYP program as a well-established curriculum framework to the Australian Curriculum for Australian primary schools. In a world of constant change, inquiry based learning allows students to know how to learn, not merely what to learn, and students are able to approach this through an internationally minded lens. The IB PYP program is designed to develop successful learners, who can apply what they have learned to real life situations. We have seen enormous benefits since the commencement of PYP. We are looking forward to the next steps ahead.

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Limited spaces for Prep & Year 5 for 2016/2017. Enquire now.

A Prep – Year 12 Uniting Church School for Girls

A Prep – Year 12 Uniting Church School for Boys

Moreton Bay College 07 3390 8555 Moreton Bay Boys’ College 07 3906 9444 -



LEADERSHIP by Tamsyn Rosenberg LEADERSHIP IS ONE OF THOSE HOT TOPICS…SOMETHING IT IS EXPECTED YOU SHOULD BE ENCOURAGING AND NURTURING IN YOUR YOUNG PEOPLE. HOWEVER SUCH AN ASSUMPTION CAN HAVE YOU MISSING THE GREATER PICTURE. LEADERSHIP BY VERY DEFINITION IS TO TAKE ACTION; IT’S THE ACTION OF LEADING A GROUP OF PEOPLE AND HAVING THE ABILITY TO DO THIS. This is one very important aspect of helping your kids thrive, but only a very narrow aspect. Teaching children to contribute well to their community and learn to be a part of a team is the real crucial skill set needed to support them in their success. There are many roles and positions to play in this, and being a leader is just one of them. We all know it creates a huge mess when there are too many chiefs and no one wants to be in the supporting roles. So, the first stage of mastering leadership is to learn to follow – follow order, follow authority, submit to something larger than yourself and to be comfortable and safe in that. This is a huge process, and something that modern day parenting, schooling and child nurturing techniques often skips over.


Each of us then needs to be calibrated to become an integral part of any team. One way this can be achieved is through tough love with clear and consistent consequences for all unacceptable, unsociable or unsupportive choices being key. It can also be achieved through sports and by great leadership role models within those sports. Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, for example, is a wonderful way of encouraging self-discipline, mastery of the body and mind, and a true and valuable sense of self in all those who participate. It also demands great respect for those in authority. It teaches that respect is earned every day through the efforts and millions of little choices we make, rather than through some mysterious deserving right we were born with. -


Teaching children to contribute well to their community and learn to be a part of a team is the real crucial skill set needed to support them in their success.

This is how a human is defined, this is how leaders arise and how support people flourish. This living lesson that can be achieved through participation in a sport is invaluable for teenagers discovering who they are and how they want to show up in the world. While in this process of mastering the art of following, of being a crucial supporting role in a well functioning team, the second stage is experienced – mastery of self. This is the stage many adults have skipped past, and the challenges that creates are evident everywhere. This space of learning to manage emotional states, personal agenda, and patterns and strategies in yourself is the secret ingredient to true leadership. Self…then others. Giving young people the tools, guidance, support and time they need to master themselves and to steer the ship of their own lives is vital. From here, their leadership with others can be a natural overflowing of sharing what they have learned, continuing to discover is working for them and helping others achieve their own successful outcomes. This is actually what leadership is when it is working as it should be. If you look at some of your best parenting choices, it’s when you are in your flow, feeling in

charge in your own life, on track, and then that overflows into your relationship with your kids and family and the choices you make in guiding them. These self-mastery skills are introduced to children in leadership programs in Queensland schools through Years 5, 6 and 7 as they prepare for and enter high school. Opportunities are offered to students in these years to run for leadership positions within the school at different levels and in various teams and groups. Notice if any spark your child’s interest, discuss it with them and stay open to what they are interested in without any of your own agenda in there. These are wonderful moments for each child to ‘step up’ in themselves and discover more of what they are made of. They begin to be awarded more responsibility for those around them and see the bigger picture…not just ‘me, me, me’ but ‘we, we, we’. This is a rite of passage and a time to really celebrate who they are growing into. When they start experiencing their leadership days and focus through school, it is wonderful to be integrating this at home. Each child will experience this time differently and is at a different stage of development and interest, so it’s important this be encouraged. -



Here’s some simple ideas of how to do this: 1. Define what leadership means to each member of the family, what skills they are proud of that they identify they already have and what they would like to work on through the year. Discuss methods of encouraging this. Set goals together and really listen as not all aspirations are the same. For example, if they recognise they get shy or nervous meeting new people, what support or programs can you expose them to that help with this? 2. Encourage individual responsibilities and family agreements at home. Make sure each person is responsible for appropriate management of his or her own day-to-day lives, chores, tasks, time management, and apply strict consequences when these aren’t handled properly.

3. Take check of your own leadership; be sure you are leading with the power and strength you want to model to your children. If they have gently and slowly started to pull the reins out of your hands on things like mobile phones, social time, and rules for use of technological devices, then it is time to take charge again. Parents should maintain strict ownership and control of these things for every child living under their roof. Your home, your rules, your leadership! Children can then relax and learn how to manage a world that is vastly different with all those things in it. 4. Encourage each other to stretch! Try new things, do the things that scare you and discover what you are made of. Set safe perimeters together around how this is allowed and not allowed. For example, we experience much of that with our children through sports.

Programs that encourage this mastery of self are of such value to everyone, particularly while going through the very defining times that happen through the teenage years. Programs like the Get Real youth events and leadership camps offer support and training in a social environment that allows young people to become masters over their own moods and emotional states, to manage their self-talk and thoughts, and clear out limitations that keep them feeling small. From there it provides them a fun and gentle opportunity to participate in a community of other young people, leading, supporting and sharing from their own experiences all that they have discovered. This is where very natural leadership is born. Master self, then others…always.

Tamsyn Rosenberg is the founder of Get Real International, Australia’s leading youth and family support organisation that has been empowering healthier happier Australians for over 10 years. An internationally recognised expert in mental and emotional health, and author of Living Life Fully Guide for Teenagers and Parents, Tamsyn supports individuals, families, communities and teens, as well as the organisations that support them. For details of Tamysn’s events and mentoring programs, visit and

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Get Real Living Life Fully Teens Day (11-18yrs) Our introductory teens program. Full of inspirational activities designed to help you blast through whatever has been holding you back in life. Clearing and finishing with negative beliefs, destructive patterns and painful self talk. Overcoming the natural challenges of being totally yourself and empowering you to live the life you REALLY WANT!

3 JULY - 9:30am - 5:30pm

Get Real Parents Day For parents and those working with kids. During this event we will cover the process work, tools and activities that the kids have experienced over the weekend, and you will get the opportunity to experience it too. It will give you a common set of tools to support the young people in your life. It will also help you leave behind anything limiting in your experience as parents. It’s perfect for couples, co-parenting, carers, teachers, youth workers and those working with kids.

*Unlimited attendance is valid for immediate family members only to all Living Life Fully Day Events across Australia during 2015.

“Get Real has taught me to love and respect myself and others for who they are. I have a greater respect for our differences and can celebrate our uniqueness. I can communicate my ideas, opinions and feelings without fear. Since going to the weekend I have felt so happy, carefree and I’m looking forward to my future.” Amalia - 14yrs (Participant)

ONLY $295 PER PERSON OR $590* FOR A FAMILY YEAR PASS! FOR BOOKINGS & INFO P: 07 3388 1207 • M: 0402 556 711 E: W:

OPEN DAY Sunday 17 May 10am - 1pm

A Catholic Girls’ Secondary College


ENROL NOW for Year 7 2018 & 2019 (07) 3870 7225 | -



Creative Classrooms By Jessica Jane Sammut

WITH TRADITIONAL EDUCATION DESIGNED TO TEACH OUR KIDS HOW TO BE GOOD WORKERS RATHER THAN CREATIVE THINKERS, COULD IT BE TIME FOR A CHANGE OF APPROACH? “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” It’s a powerful quote from the late Steve Jobs of Apple Inc., and it’s true. Creativity is the backbone of progression. Without it, there would be no entrepreneurs, no digital age, no cures for disease, no air travel, no books, no music, no recipes for chocolate mud cake – PANIC! In fact, creative thinking is arguably one of the major components of our uniqueness as a human race, separating us from other life forms. We


are not ‘sheep’ – we are free thinkers, and our ability to transcend such conformity is pretty powerful. So why is it that when it comes to structured education, this kind of innovative and independent thinking is brought into question, with emphasis instead placed on traditional rote learning and memorisation? It’s a landscape that is thankfully changing (albeit slowly), with more schools endeavouring to establish creativity as a part of their school culture (in recognition of its importance), but until imagination is placed alongside intelligence as an indicator of brilliance, such efforts will always be stilted.

Creative thinking is an important companion to critical thinking and helps develop a flexible mindset, as well as increasing self-esteem, motivation and achievement. -

WHY IS CREATIVE LEARNING SO IMPORTANT? “Every child is unique and learns in a unique way,” explains leading clinical neuropsychologist Dr Ash Nayate. “Creative learning means that children have the freedom to tap into their strengths and learn in the most effective and enjoyable way for them, whether that’s through visual images, hands-on work, demonstration or verbal instruction. This encourages happiness and confidence. As a result, children learn to love learning rather than seeing it as boring or a chore, and this continues into adulthood. The most successful people are the ones who keep learning and keep growing. However, many people turn away from learning because of their early negative experiences.” “Tapping into creativity engages children in their learning,” agrees Jenny Atkinson, a primary school teacher of 30 years experience, and now an education transition specialist and founder of Sparks Education Australia ( au). “Creative thinking is an important companion to critical thinking and helps develop a flexible mindset, as well as increasing self-esteem, motivation and achievement.” Child development consultant and founder of Thrive Education and Wellness (www. Clare Crew agrees. “True learning is about making connections, applying discoveries and layering new skills on top of those that have already been grasped. We want children to feel valued for who they are, not just what they do.” In this way, not only does creative thinking encourage acumen, it also has a fundamental role to play in the future wellbeing of our little ones.



DEVELOPS PROBLEM-SOLVING SKILLS Creative thinking allows kids to look at life laterally from all angles and to think outside the box. Many professions depend upon this skill, as well as it being an essential life tool.

ENCOURAGES CHILDREN TO FEEL SAFE AND CONFIDENT IN TAKING RISKS Creative thinking encourages children to enquire, make connections, imagine and explore ideas – which are all necessary for innovation. When kids are accustomed to a ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ way of doing things, they are robbed of the opportunity to grow.

INCREASES TOLERANCE FOR DIFFERENCE All children are magnificent, not just the ones who do things conventionally. Kids who have been able to learn creatively are less likely to succumb to peer pressure as adolescents as they are better at understanding individual thinking. Kids learn to be non-judgmental through creative learning.

ALLOWS CHILDREN TO EXPERIENCE THE ABSOLUTE JOY AND FULFILMENT THAT CREATIVITY OFFERS Kids crave creative outlets. These experiences re-energise them. The more engaged, involved and interested children are in their learning, the more likely they are to retain their learning.

SHOWS KIDS THEY ARE WHOLE, INTEGRATED HUMAN BEINGS Children are more than just a brain. They have talents and competencies and creative potential that extend beyond their academic capabilities. These are highly valued beyond school life, so why not within it too?



CREATIVE SCHOOLS We look at two schools that are encouraging creativity in their classrooms.

DOES THE TRADITIONAL EDUCATION SYSTEM SUPPORT CREATIVE LEARNING? Traditionally, creativity exists in education in relation to subjects, i.e. music, art, craft or creative writing activities. However, it is now thought that creativity has a place in every topic and should be drawn upon as such, with more focus on how children are learning. “Educators are increasingly trying to encourage children to be creative to enhance the learning/discovery phase across all curriculum areas,” explains Jenny. “It is being recognised that creativity can enhance and develop a child’s understanding of new concepts.” In many instances, Dr Ash believes this is still not enough. “I think we’re heading in the right direction, but not fast enough. Our traditional education system values getting good grades as opposed to true learning.” Clare concurs, looking not just to the education system, but to the role of parents also. “Parents are pushing for academic learning at a younger and younger age now, and we have standardised testing for primary school students. Both of these factors have over-inflated the importance of academic learning to the detriment of a more holistic approach to child development.”

Educators are increasingly trying to encourage children to be creative to enhance the learning/discovery phase across all curriculum areas.


LINDISFARNE ANGLICAN GRAMMAR SCHOOL, TWEED VALLEY Visible thinking routines are an integral component of day-to-day teaching at Lindisfarne, where students are explicitly taught brainstorming techniques, how to generate new ideas, and how to refine and evaluate those ideas. Teachers are also trained in how to promote growth mindsets in children. Pupils are encouraged to experiment and innovate, while teachers are encouraged not to provide all the answers, but instead arm students with strategies to find out what the answers might be, helping them discover new possibilities through enquiry-based learning. Flexible learning spaces are also promoted, with pupils taught to work creatively with others, readily communicating new ideas and considering differing perspectives. The school also implements the ‘Seek-Think-Wonder’ thinking routine: ‘What do you see? What do you think about that? What does it make you wonder?’

SUNSHINE COAST GRAMMAR SCHOOL, SUNSHINE COAST Sunshine Coast Grammar says its aim is to create thinkers, problems solvers and innovators, with the school having engaged in staff professional learning programs in this arena over the past three years. “We have focused on developing a ‘Menu of Thinking’ professional learning scope for ‘Making Thinking Visible’” explains Genevieve Hudson, Assistant Head of Primary. “Each teacher now has a range of ‘Thinking Tools’ they can competently use with students to extend their thinking.” Grammar also promotes higher order thinking skills in every learning area, and tailors tasks to assess for thinking – with students consequently having wider opportunities to show their learning in creative ways. “It is possible for creative teachers to present the Australian curriculum in ways that promote inquiry, investigations and enduring understandings,” says Genevieve. “Australia’s success in global perspectives depends on the innovations of our younger generation.” -


WHAT CAN SCHOOLS DO TO GIVE CREATIVITY A VOICE? ARE CREATIVE PROGRAMS POSSIBLE WITHIN THE NEW AUSTRALIAN CURRICULUM? The good news is that the new Australian Curriculum details ‘critical and creative thinking’ as one of the seven ‘general capabilities’ that, along with specific curriculum content, aim to enable students to live and work successfully in the twentyfirst century. Teachers are also being encouraged to find additional ways of strengthening such talents through their choice of activities. Clare explains, “The Australian Curriculum is a framework for teachers, providing guidance about the teaching and learning scope for each year level, as well as achievement standards to work towards. It is by no means a script for how each lesson must be taught, and there is a large degree of flexibility for teachers to bring creativity into their classrooms. Ultimately though, this will only happen if educators and school leaders believe in its value in the first place.”

When it comes to making education more creative across the board (including in academic subjects such as maths), teachers should try to find ways to inject imagination and innovation into each topic, encouraging children to explore, discover and solve the issues before them. “Teachers need to tap into a child’s curiosity,” advises Jenny. “Let them discover lessons for themselves – learning through enquiry-based activities. Teachers should also encourage discussion by asking open-ended questions and by allowing children to bounce ideas off each other – exploring different opinions and finding new ways of looking at things in doing so. And finally, lessons should cater for a variety of learning styles, for example visual (learning by seeing), auditory (learning by hearing) and tactile (learning by doing).” “All contributions should be valued in a learning environment, not just the ‘right’ ones,” adds Clare. “Each child’s input should be valued, with the focus on the process of learning rather than the end product.”




HOW CAN PARENTS ENCOURAGE CREATIVE LEARNING AT HOME? Remember that little ones are always learning, no matter where they are. So how can we, as parents, help our children continue the creative thinking process outside the classroom? 1.  Encourage wider thinking – When your child asks a question or poses a problem, first ask what they think. Encourage them to think about the possibilities and explore the answers/solutions. Talk about their ideas and ask plenty of open-ended questions, such as ‘What if?’ and ‘How might you?’ 2.  Fuel imagination – Provide toys that are fuelled by imagination, not batteries. 3. A  dd a creative aspect to academia – If your child is doing a school project for homework, encourage them to record and present their information in a creative way that makes the most of their interests. For example, if you have a child who enjoys art, a poster with lots of drawings or visuals on it might be a great way to put together their findings. 4. E  ncourage hands-on learning – If learning fractions, for example, use cut-up fruit to teach halves, quarters, wholes, etc. 5.  Promote incidental learning (learning in everyday life) – Help your child put their skills to the test such as reading menus, street signs, etc. 6.  Offer messy play – Allow messy play, such as finger painting and water play.

8. T  ry to stop caring about your child’s achievements – Emphasise the learning process rather than the product. Comments such as ‘I can see how interested you are in that topic’, ‘What have you learnt from doing that?’, or ‘Were you surprised by that?’ all help value a child’s creativity. 9. A  llow your child to express a divergent thought – It’s okay for them to disagree with you! Encourage your child to discover there is often more than one solution to a problem. Challenge them to come up with different solutions. 10. Celebrate mistakes – Children who are afraid of failure and critical feedback are less likely to explore creative thought. Viewing failure as part of the learning process is key in the development of innovative and creative thinking. Share mistakes you have made, so they know it is normal. 11.  Allow boredom – When a child has nothing to do, it’s surprising what creative ideas soon follow!

SO, WHAT FOR THE FUTURE? As we have seen, learning is not just a process of accruing information. It’s about creating new ways of thinking, transforming ideas, growing in understanding and applying knowledge in exciting and innovative ways. If we shut down the natural curiosity of our children by over-formalising and structuring education with little room for independent creative thought, we run the risk of also shutting down their love of experimentation – hindering thought expansion and progression as a result.

7. U  tilise your child’s natural interests – Harness your child’s passions and bring them into their learning. An interest in dinosaurs could be used to teach phonics, colours, shapes, counting, time, geography and history, as well as adding to vocabulary with words such as carnivore and herbivore.

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RESEARCH SHOWS THAT HOMEWORK CAN: • develop good study habits, build character and self-discipline • provide review and practice of concepts taught at school, and consolidate learning • promote independent learning using a range of resources such as the internet and libraries • promote parental involvement which positively affects school achievement.

ARGUMENTS AGAINST HOMEWORK SUGGEST THAT: • homework leaves little time for leisure, social relationships, extracurricular interests, sharing of household chores, general play and relaxation • homework interferes with an active lifestyle, including sport, and may contribute to obesity

• homework causes tension in the family when tired children and equally weary parents are under pressure to complete homework • this pressure may be worse for single parents, for children already struggling to keep up at school, and for children with special needs • homework contributes to existing inequities – students from lower socio-economic backgrounds may not complete homework because the home environment is not conducive to study, they may have extra home duties or, in the case of older students, be working part-time.

AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLS RETHINK HOMEWORK In 2004, consultant adolescent psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg called for a review of homework practices in Australia. “The reality is that homework, as currently constituted in primary schools, is a largely ineffective and overly burdensome practice and, for the physical and psychological health of our young people, it is time to reconsider,” he said. Michael believed homework interferes with family life, creates tension and limits time for individual and family activities. -



In 2004, the Queensland Department of Education and the Arts published a Homework Literature Review-Summary of key research findings to examine the impact of homework on students. Research on the relationship between homework and achievement indicated that students who do homework generally outperform those who do not. However, this applied much more strongly to high school students and there was little evidence that linked homework to subsequent achievement for primary students.

HOMEWORK POLICY FOR QUEENSLAND STATE SCHOOLS The 2004 Queensland Education review concluded that some homework seems to be better than too much or none at all but time spent needs to be related to age. It also found homework activities seem to be more effective when linked directly to class activities so that homework is part of the whole learning process. Homework time guidelines for each grade-level, developed as a result of the 2004 review, have now been abolished. Instead, the current policy of Education Queensland as part of the P-12 Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Framework is for state schools to develop their own homework policy in consultation with their school community. The following homework guidelines are published on the Education Queensland website. It is important to monitor implementation of the school homework policy to ensure: • consistent and effective implementation occurs throughout the school – including a consistent approach to the amount of time students are to spend in completing homework (at particular year levels and in particular learning areas) • the amount of homework is balanced across all learning areas to allow sufficient time for family, recreation, and community and cultural activities • students are not disadvantaged by the lack of access to resources such as computers and the internet outside school • homework is effective in supporting learning.


Homework is most effective when it: • is clearly related to class work • is appropriate to particular years of schooling • is varied and differentiated to individual learning needs • consolidates, revises and/or applies students’ classroom learning • develops students’ independence as a learner through extension activities such as investigating, researching, writing, designing, making • assists students to prepare for upcoming classroom learning, such as collecting relevant materials and information, completing surveys and audits • is monitored by the teacher. Source:

COMMUNICATION IS THE KEY TO DE-STRESSING HOMEWORK If your child is having difficulty with a particular homework assignment, try substituting a practical activity or some gentle guidance through a few examples. Let the teacher know about the difficulty and the steps and time you took to help. Constant negativity over homework may discourage your child from learning. Make an appointment to talk to your child’s teacher and talk about your concerns, remembering that you are on the same team – you both want your child to be a successful learner.


Book: Reforming Homework: Practices, Learning and Policy, by Mike Horsley & Richard Walker Reforming Homework discusses recent research findings regarding homework. It promotes the view that there are different ways of approaching homework as a cultural practice and that there are different ways of organising homework for different school and cultural contexts. Academic articles at The Conversation ( • Should Australian schools ban homework? By Richard Walker & Mike Horsley • Homework – what’s the point of it? By Misty Adoniou • What’s the optimum amount of homework to set a teenager? By Adam Boddison -


Our Facebook fans recently shared their views on homework for primary school children… DEIDRE - I love that my daughter has homework. It shows me what she is learning in school & areas she needs help with. We only get homework once a week and have 4 days to complete it plus reading. We do it first thing after school. CONNIE - I think that it is a shame to give so much homework. I'll agree with a 90% reduction in the amount given. Homework should only be to study for a test, reading a book for a book report, or one of no more than 3 special projects per year. Anything above that is too much. KRISTIE - Mr 6 in year 1 was given 7 sheets of homework this week. We are spending an hour each afternoon after school working on it all to get it all done to hand in on Friday. That doesn’t include the new website we have been told has more work on it. My poor boy doesn’t get time to play after school because it’s dark by the time he does his homework. KYLIE - Homework is a chore for both parents and kids. With 7 kids it is very difficult to assist and monitor all homework tasks. Most tasks need extra input from a parent. My older kids help the younger ones but it is hard to keep on top of it. I would rather they spend the homework time assisting with dinner or doing other useful tasks to help out around the home and learn better organisational skills. JADE - My children were in a Montessori school and they didn't have they are homeschooled and they do their 'homework' during normal school hours. When I was a nanny it took the best part of an afternoon getting through the homework with the children. They usually had to do

it up to the kitchen bench while I prepared dinner if they needed help. SKYE - As a teacher and a mum I understand both sides. I hate writing and marking homework but some things are important like sight words. At our school we have been told there are guidelines to how much work each year level is given. It's not supposed to be stressful. I won't ever punish kids for not doing their homework but do encourage reading and sight word practise as much as possible. Trust me, teachers don't enjoy marking homework. Homework is all about reinforcing what they have learnt or helps towards future assessments. I would suggest if it's too much that parents have a chat to the teacher and principal. LEAH - It can be hard to find the time or even get the energy and attention span from my daughter (grade 1). But I believe, particularly in the earlier years, they need this extra work at home to reinforce what they're learning at school. Getting the fundamentals of reading, sight words and spelling words will set them up for the later years. And, don't forget the importance of reading for fun! Always read to your child and get them to read to you, from books that interest them and they find fun. KIM - My kid’s school only gives a small amount of homework. They have reviewed their homework policy because research has shown that doing homework does not improve a student’s work at school. KIRSTY - Our school has homework club after school two days a week. It saves the fighting!!!! Then home time is home time. They love it. I love it. It’s a win win!

We’d love to hear what you think. Please share your views with us via Facebook or email us at -


YOUR CHILD DESERVES THE BEST START IN LIFE. GIVE THEM THAT WITH INFINITY MARTIAL ARTS! Infinity Martial Arts have a number of programs that cater to children aged 2 – 15 years. We seek to teach children healthy and active habits while aiming to instil 6 core lessons that will prepare your child in life. The programs on offer are designed to specific age groups capabilities and learning patterns. Infinity is one of the only martial arts academies that offer a class for children aged 2 – 4. This is a parent participation class that teaches your child basic motor development skills while creating a special bond between the two of you. The 4 – 7 years class focuses more strongly on mixed martial arts technique which is taught to the children in a playful manner. This is done to increase their learning capabilities as all children love to play. The 7 – 15 years class prepares the students for the adult class, focusing even more on technique, understanding and focus. We also ensure that the kids try taking on more responsibility and improve their commitment and concentration. Each of our academies offers classes year round in our children’s program with the exception of public holidays. To find out which class, time and location best suit you, please visit our website. Infinity Martial Arts believes in rewarding the kids’ efforts as we feel it helps them to achieve their goals. We hold gradings every two months as a celebration of what they have learnt. Only the children that are truly ready for their next grading are invited so as to avoid disappointment. It is a great day packed with fun and excitement, and all parents and grandparents are encouraged to attend. The kids love these days, and it is made all the better by a supportive family being there to encourage the child! Each school holidays, we run a camp for one week at all locations. The camp usually runs from 10am to 12:30pm – just the right amount of time for the kids to get loads of exercise and fun, and just the right amount of time for Mum or Dad to get the shopping done or just relax for a while! The camp is great for all kids wanting to push their skills along, or simply to have some fun with friends! We also hold a special belt grading for those kids that attend all 5-days of the camp. To find out more information or to book in for our free membership experience, visit or call 1300 INFINITY. PHONE 1300 INFINITY

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TESTING BEGINS IN THE EARLY YEARS OF LEARNING AND CONTINUES RIGHT THROUGH TO YEAR 12. THE STRESS OF FREQUENT TESTS AND EXAMS CAN BE OVERWHELMING FOR SOME CHILDREN, BUT THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT WE CAN HELP PREPARE OUR KIDS FOR THESE TESTING TIMES. AS PARENTS AND CAREGIVERS, WE CAN SUPPORT CHILDREN BY MODELLING GOOD COPING SKILLS AND ENSURING THEY HAVE A BALANCED AND HEALTHY LIFESTYLE. Stress is the body’s natural response to life’s challenges, however, chronic stress can be debilitating, even for children. According to research by KidsMatter it is estimated that between two and nine per cent of children and adolescents in Australia have developed anxiety disorders. University of Melbourne associate professor and psychologist Erica Frydenberg says that stress is a normal part of everyday life, but it’s a continuum that


can eventually lead to depression and despair if it’s “too long and too strong.” Erica says children’s anxiety can depend on how things are presented and what stakes are involved. If children know there are people to help them if they need it, and if they know the teachers and parents are feeling 'cool' that they are doing the best they can, they are less likely to feel stressed. -

Children are sensitive and perceptive to how adults behave around them, and Erica says they tend to adopt some of the ways parents deal with anxiety. If parents or teachers are highly anxious, then children pick up on that signal very quickly from an early age and they often acquire coping strategies through modelling what they see in adults. Negative coping strategies which get us into trouble include worrying, self-blame, and ignoring or not disclosing problems, Erica says. Children tend to act up, while adults may rely on drinking and smoking as a means of reducing tension.

“One of the things that gives you anxiety is either fear of the unknown or the fear of something where you’ve had a bad experience.” Erica Frydenberg The good coping strategies focus on building up a range of skills, says Erica. This includes positive selftalk – thinking that everything will be alright; we are doing our best and that’s good enough. Pro-active coping is about anticipating and preparing for something, says Erica. When children feel they’ve got the capacity and the resources to cope, they are less likely to feel anxious, so being well-prepared helps them manage their fears. “One of the things that gives you anxiety is either fear of the unknown or the fear of something where you’ve had a bad experience,” Erica advises. “When it comes to dealing with exams, what teachers will do is give children the opportunity to do rehearsals. The more you rehearse, the more you’re likely to feel that you’ve got the strategies to cope. So, by trying it out, you can usually demonstrate to yourself, ‘Oh, I did alright; I got through that.’” Erica advises that sharing a problem with others is another important coping strategy. Girls are more likely to turn to others for help than boys, who often keep things to themselves. This can be especially harmful when it is a serious issue. “We know that girls tend to be more anxious, or report being more anxious, than boys. That’s because they might be hypercritical about themselves,” she says. “Boys tend to have more of a bravado.”

When there’s a problem, Erica TESTING TIMES advises we need to think about “how we can tackle this problem; who can help me tackle this problem; knowing when to go for help and asking for help.” “For older children and adults, it’s about finding a balance without the total focus on the source of the anxiety, so that could be finding physical release, doing relaxation.” she says.

TEACHING FOR THE TEST University of the Sunshine Coast education lecturer Carol Smith says that in some classrooms and schools, the focus has been removed from true learning to “let’s pass the test.” This focus on testing instils a sense of anxiety and stress within both teachers and students, which Carol says can lead to children’s disengagement, disinterest and lack of motivation. “It’s almost as though teachers are feeling very pressured to teach to a set curriculum, to teach to the test, and so the anxieties that are experienced by the teachers, I believe, are transmitted to the students,” she says. “The curriculum has become so prescriptive and so non-student-centred that the students can’t help but be stressed by what’s happening.” Carol advises that the principles of good learning are not inherent in testing. She says teachers need an enlightened understanding of the learning process and what their core business is in meeting the needs of the children sitting in their classroom. “In the early years, if you have a creative teacher who models, who demonstrates imaginative thinking, who is individual in the way in which they embrace some of the structure, you’re more likely to have kids who pick up on that and who can produce this in their own way,” she says. A test can be used as a guideline for the child’s strengths and level of achievement, however, Carol says parents should avoid putting too much credence on the outcomes, because children come to school with different abilities and backgrounds. Children may perform differently depending on the time of day, and whether the subject is relevant and meaningful for them. -



“One test on one day doesn’t suit everybody. It robs the children, in my view, of an opportunity to show us what they can really do,” she says. “And if the results are seen in a very accountable way for teacher performance and student skilling, I think we’ve missed the mark, and we need to be looking at different ways of assessing. High stakes assessment is not the way to go.” Carol recommends a collaborative partnership between parents and teachers, with an emphasis on creative learning and growing children’s strengths and skills, without focusing too much on the tests and exams. In terms of setting children up for success on a test day, Carol advises parents to try not to make a big deal of it and to treat it just like any other day in the school year. “Try to keep things as normal at home as you possibly can, because at school there are probably things going on that children are picking up on in terms of ‘this is an important day in my life’ and all the rest of it, especially when they’re really little,” she says. The testing times begin in the early learning years, as the NAPLAN (National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy) assessment is mandatory for all Australian students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. The pressure of exams intensifies through secondary school, with some schools commencing practice tests for QCS (Queensland Core Skills) as early as Year 8. This doesn’t make sense in terms of motivation, engagement and brain function, says Carol. “It’s not educational, it’s not about the learning, it’s not about the journey,” she says. If students are still engaged and motivated at the end of Year 12, Carol believes it’s often due to the home environment and to a few good teachers who continue to provide students with creative ways of learning.


ASKING FOR HELP Accessing support is a key strategy for coping with stress, and Kids Helpline is a national service that provides this support to children. In 2014, Kids Helpline responded to 213,666 phone calls, web and email enquiries from troubled Australian children, of which 3,319 were related to study and education issues. During 2014, there were 41 Hot Topics on the Kids Helpline website targeted at adults – primarily parents, guardians, teachers and other significant adults in children’s lives – with the page on exam stress being visited 7,283 times. Symptoms of stress vary according to the child’s age, and parents may not recognise that the child is showing signs of exam stress. In general, if the child’s normal behaviour changes, that is the best signal of stress and the most common way of picking it up. Kids Helpline clinical practice supervisor Deb Morrison says that young children who call the helpline often don’t realise they are under stress, but they frequently have physical symptoms of some sort. “They talk about feeling unwell, being nervous, not wanting to go to school,” she says. Young children may start to act out, wet the bed or have nightmares if they are feeling tense and worried about an upcoming test. They may complain of a tummy ache or a headache, their sleep patterns may change, or they may eat more or less than usual. “When you break it down, they are stressed about exams,” Deb explains. “Stress is going to vary from child to child, depending on the school that they go to, and how much emphasis is put on exams, and on the parents, how much emphasis they’re putting on children succeeding in exams.” -

Older children’s exam stress tends to manifest in behavioural changes, for example, becoming irritable or rebellious, running away from school or turning to drugs and alcohol. Teens have a higher level of self-awareness, so they can recognise when they are feeling stressed about exams.


Parents can help their children cope with exam stress by having realistic expectations of their child’s strengths and potential, and by taking an active part in their children’s lives. However, Deb advises parents to have a balanced view without too much expectation and ambition for their children’s achievements. “It’s really important that parents talk to their children and ask them what’s happening for them, and how they are feeling. This sounds really simple, but it’s often neglected because parents are very busy, kids are busy,” Deb says. “Talk to the teachers, monitor how the child is responding, provide a lot of positive encouragement, and make sure the emphasis is not just on academic performance, so that the child thinks that their only worth is related to how well they perform academically.” If parents are kind and reasonable, Deb says, this can help protect children from stress and anxiety, “It’s about loving children just because they are there, rather than because they have achieved this or that,” she says. One of the protective strategies against stress is allowing children just to be children, Deb explains. This means ensuring children have time out to relax, with plenty of sleep, good eating habits and a reasonable amount of sport. Young children may unwind by riding a bike, jumping on a trampoline or simply playing with friends. Parents need to provide positive encouragement for other skills, not just for academic success. So if the child struggles with maths, but is good at music or art, parents need to support that. Pursuing extracurricular interests, for example, surfing, archery or dance, can help children feel successful in other ways, however, Deb warns parents to avoid overloading children with too many activities. Kids Helpline encourages children to connect with the people in their life who will be able to support them. This means finding a way to talk about stress with their parents and teachers, in order to overcome any feelings of isolation and to normalise what is a common experience. Children are also encouraged

“It’s really important that parents talk to their children and ask them what’s happening for them, and how they are feeling. This sounds really simple, but it’s often neglected because parents are very busy, kids are busy.” Deb Morrison to tell their parents what activities actually help them relax and feel good. “A big part of our job is to help young people to connect with the people in their environment who will be able to talk to them and help them,” Deb says. “Often times when you’re feeling stressed or anxious, you don’t share that with other people, you try to mask that. It’s really good to normalise that.” When children feel supported and develop good coping skills, their confidence grows, so they can manage exam stress in a healthy and balanced way. RECOMMENDED READING: Think Positively: A course for developing coping skills in adolescents, Erica Frydenberg, Bloomsbury, 2010.

RESOURCES Kids Help Line: 1800 55 1800 (free call from a land line) Parentline: 1300 301 300 APS Find a Psychologist Service: 1800 333 497 www.f -





by Misty Adoniou Senior Lecturer in Language, Literacy and TESL at University of Canberra

The national testing season begins on Tuesday May 12th as children in Year 3, 5, 7 and 9 around the country sit the writing, spelling and grammar tests of the National Assessment Program for Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN). Reading and numeracy will follow on Wednesday and Thursday. So, what can you do to improve your child’s performance in NAPLAN between now and then? Nothing. It is not a test you can “prepare” for. And making it a big deal won’t improve students’ performances, although it may increase their anxiety and reduce their performance.

WHAT IS IN THE TEST? NAPLAN is given a lot of media and teaching time each year, and is the core of the My School website. Many important decisions are made by teachers and parents on the basis of the results. Yet, very few know what is in the tests, or what they seek to assess. NAPLAN is not connected to the Australian curriculum, so it is not an assessment of the content students learn each day at school. NAPLAN’s reference document is the “Statements of Learning”. It is a general assessment of literacy and numeracy proficiency, providing a snapshot of how kids around the country answer a particular set of maths and English test questions one day in May. How your children perform will be the result of all their years at school, not what they did in the weeks leading up to the test. In the writing test students are given a writing prompt and 40 minutes to produce either a persuasive or narrative piece of writing. The time limit of 40 minutes is nonsense (since when has speed been a mark of good writing?), but the marking criteria for the writing are sensible. Writing is marked for its appeal to audience and its overall structure; the ideas within the writing and the logical connection of those ideas; the use of literary tools to build characters or persuade the reader; sentence structure; depth and breadth of vocabulary; paragraphing, punctuation and spelling. Each criterion is weighted differently, with appeal to audience, sentence structure and spelling attracting the most marks.


The spelling and grammar paper tests whether students are over reliant on “sounding out” when spelling, and whether they can use Standard Australian English. The reading paper tests whether students can do more than decode the words on the page. It tests the extent of their vocabulary and whether they can infer information from texts.

TEACHING TO THE TEST A newly qualified teacher I know was asked by her supervisor what she was doing to prepare her class for NAPLAN. She replied “I’m teaching them”. Great answer, although her supervisor was less then happy with her response. Around two thirds of schools will spend several hours a week on test preparation as the new school term begins. This spurt of “teaching to the test” is not only ill-conceived, it is damaging. Last year, scores in the writing test dipped. The curriculum and assessment authority (ACARA) which oversees the test, suggested it was because of “over preparation”. That’s a polite way of saying - “stop making your kids learn essays by heart”. It doesn’t help students in the test, and it is probably changing their general attitude to writing. Q. How many formulaic persuasive essays on school uniforms/canteen food/staying up late does it take to turn a child off writing? A. Not many -

As the old truism goes - it doesn’t matter how many times you weigh the pig, it won’t get any fatter unless you feed it. Test preparation is not teaching and it wastes valuable instruction time where students could be learning literacy and numeracy skills - skills which will serve them well one day in May when they are asked to do a national standardised test.


SO - WHY DO WE HAVE NAPLAN? ACARA claims two purposes for NAPLAN test results. 1. Provide information on how students are performing in order to support improvements in teaching and learning. 2. Give schools and systems the ability to measure their students’ achievements against national minimum standards and compare student performance across states and territories. Unfortunately only the second purpose is realised, as evidenced by the annual league tables and the competitive chest puffing of Education ministers around the country when the results are released. The promise that the test will guide the allocation of funding and support to failing students has never eventuated. No funding is allocated to provide interventions for identified students who are failing. We waved goodbye to that possibility when we waved goodbye to the Gonski reforms.

IS NAPLAN GOOD FOR ANYTHING? NAPLAN does have the potential to shed interesting light on students’ learning in a point in time, and offer valuable information about what needs to be done next to improve literacy and numeracy achievement. Careful analysis of the spelling test results may reveal that poor spellers over rely on phonics. The writing samples may reveal that poor writers have little control over literary language, and instead write like they speak. The reading test may reveal poor readers have limited vocabularies and an inability to read complex clausal structures, reflective of their instructional diet of “readers”. But little diagnostic use is made of the mountains of data about student learning the tests generate. Schools have neither the time, capacity, or knowledge to do the kind of analysis work that can shed real light on the individual struggles of their underachieving students and how they can provide suitable interventions. Until minds and resources are put to the task of doing something meaningful with the data collected each year, NAPLAN is just a snapshot of what children could do one day in May - and not much else. -


IS YOUR CHILD UNDERACHIEVING? Have you noticed your child having an inability to focus and concentrate? Is your child struggling at school? Are emotions for your child at boiling point and uncontrollable? Is reading an issue? NEURO IMPULSE PROTOCOL (NIP) is the latest technique in Paediatric Chiropractic, and it is a very gentle technique that enhances brain function. It’s also known as ‘Chiro without the Cracks!’ It works on gentle touch and a very light thrust that allows your nervous system to better interpret and integrate the sensory input and process it thorough the brain, which then allows it to alter appropriate signals back to the body. Distorted signals can manifest in the above symptoms. NIP releases tension in the spinal cord and brain by making corrections of spinal and other subluxations (distorted signals) that affect the dura (hard, fibrous layer of the meninges which cover and protect the brain and spinal cord). Release of tension in this finely balanced body system can lead to profound neurological changes with benefits to overall health. Dr Genevieve Dharamaraj has completed her Masters in Chiropractic Paediatrics and her thesis focused on children with learning difficulties. Brain wave tests were taken before and after a series of adjustments, and there were differences noticed with the firing of Alpha brain waves (responsible for focus, concentration and learning). Many of the subjects noticed an improvement in reading and school work was easier. One subject moved out of remedial reading classes for the first time in her life! Children under her care have noticed a vast improvement in attention, behaviour and learning. REACHING YOUR TRUE POTENTIAL The potential of every human being begins immediately after conception. The foetus develops reflexes that enhance its chance of survival. These are called primitive reflexes. They exist to protect the foetus during development as well as aid in the birth process. During the first years of life, as a baby grows and becomes accustomed to the world they live in, these primitive reflexes are no longer required and become integrated (or incorporated) into the advanced brain. Failure of the primitive reflexes to integrate at the correct time can result in less than full potential being reached. This may be displayed by behavioural problems, learning difficulties, poor posture or altered perceptions. Chiropractic care can help integrate primitive reflexes and assist a child reach their true potential. WHERE 985 Wynnum Road, Cannon Hill Q 4170 PHONE 07 3899 8840

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Empowering Individuals 985 Wynnum Road Cannon Hill Q 4170

P: 07 3899 8840


Scan for more info -



Choosing a computer for your child by Darren Simmons [Acer Computers]

STEP 2: WHAT DOES MY CHILD’S DEVICE NEED? Help is at hand for parents facing a daunting addition to their child’s back to school list: a portable computer, part of the growing move to ‘BYOD’ – ‘Bring Your Own Device’ in Australian schools. The following tips will help you navigate the options and avoid the pitfalls when your school leaves you to ‘your own devices’ when it comes to buying a portable computer for your child to take to class.

STEP 1: CHOOSE THE TYPE OF DEVICE A range of devices suitable for BYOD cover different student needs, preferences and family budgets, including: • Notebook/Laptop – the biggest, heaviest and more expensive option, but with more storage, processing power and access to powerful applications. A full keyboard makes it easy to take notes and write essays. • Tablet – smaller, lighter and a range of cheap and free apps. There’s no keyboard, but you can type on screen, use a stylus or ‘Active pen’ or attach a separate keyboard. • 2-in-1 ‘combos’ – notebooks with detachable screens; detach the screen and use it as a tablet. A full keyboard for typing and ‘Active pen’ or stylus for ‘writing’ on screen. • Chromebook – light, low cost, simple web surfing and cloud computing (online storage). Includes a keyboard but may not support some specialist software.

BYOD is a new approach to using technology at school, but it doesn’t have to be daunting. Armed with the right advice, parents can decide with confidence on a device that will meet their children’s school needs on day one – and the years ahead.


Your child will need this shopping list of features in their device: • WiFi capability – make sure it can connect to your school’s network. • Minimum specs – ask if your school has specific requirements. At a minimum, get 16 GB storage and 2 GB RAM. • Note-taking ability – get a device that makes it easy to create and save notes. • Screen size – For laptops an 11 – 13 inch screen (bigger is too heavy and bulky). For tablets a large screen (8 inches-plus) for easier reading, browsing and viewing. • Battery Life – to last the school day – and fully charge it each night.

STEP 3: YOU’VE GOT IT, NOW LOOK AFTER IT Your device is an expensive investment. Here’s what you need to look after it: • A robust storage case – a hard shell case is stronger than soft neoprene covers. • Ongoing Support – Consider an extended warranty to reduce future repair costs if you school does not provide technical support. • Secure it – Get anti-virus protection and keep it up to date. Acer recommends McAfee Internet Protection and Absolute LoJack theft recovery software to find and track a lost or stolen laptop or tablet. • Insurance – Ask your school if its insurance policy covers loss or damage at school & check with your insurer about cover for loss or damage outside your home. • Label it clearly – use an engraving tool for a permanent result and make a copy of the serial number. -

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A scientific approach to life by Cheryl Fillmore, Dean of Teaching and Learning, Immanuel Lutheran College

SCIENCE IS EVERYWHERE, AND UNDERSTANDING HOW IT IS A PART OF OUR DAILY LIVES CAN HELP GIVE KIDS A GREAT FOUNDATION FOR SUCCESS IN LIFE. NOT EVERYONE WILL BECOME A SCIENTIST, BUT WE ALL NEED TO BE SCIENCE-LITERATE. Learning about science develops the understandings and habits of mind kids need to be able to think critically and make informed decisions. It also develops communication, research, reporting, and collaboration skills which provide a valuable foundation for any career. For those interested in a career in science, STEMrelated jobs (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) have grown at three times the rate of non-STEM fields over the last ten years. Countries around the world know they need more skilled STEM professionals to remain competitive. Good science education is hands-on with kids actively engaged in learning. It captures kids’ inherent curiosity and encourages them to ask questions, make observations, collect evidence, and develop


explanations. It develops a deep understanding of big concepts and helps students to see science everywhere in the world around them. Learning about science should start as early as possible. At home and in the playground, kids learn from their experiences and develop many pre-science concepts naturally through play. Parents can help by providing a range of materials and situations for play and talking with their children about their experiences. At school, children continue their play and begin to learn new vocabulary and skills as they develop their scientific understanding through age appropriate activities. The ABC provides some excellent science resources for all ages. See ABC Splash and ABC Science. -

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We believe every child is BORN2READ! It is through reading that further learning can be developed. At our BORN2READ Learning Studios, children are given the best opportunity to learn.

BORN2READ offers: • Small group tuition and individual tuition for children in Prep to Year Three • Kindy Early Learning Classes • Pre-Prep Early Learning Classes • Tuition for children who are home-schooled All programs adhere to the new Australian Curriculum. Programs are designed by Miss Katrina, a registered and highly qualified teacher with over 25 years experience.

If you are passionate about your child’s education, come and visit us at BORN2READ Oxenford. We would love to share the journey with you! For more information phone 5665 9083 | 0438 290 296 or visit -



Every child is an artist. The problem is staying an artist when you grow up. PABLO PICASSO


By Rachel Downie

When my son was 3, I found him on the veranda in the throes of building what (he thought) was to become an iconic architectural structure. After surveying the collection of sticks, cardboard, wood glue and various other semi-authorised building materials 'borrowed' from my wardrobe, the shed and the old lawnmower, I asked him what he was doing. “Making the making,” he scoffed (with the disapproval and contempt that only 3 year olds can express) and promptly asked me to leave him be because he was busy. So I left, thinking that council approval would need to be sought for the ensuing extension and wondering how on earth my old maternity bras were going to feature! ‘Making the making’ is something that I have specialised in for the past 17 years. You see, I am very luckily, a Visual Art teacher, having taught the subject from Prep to Year 12, in a variety of educational settings, including prison. And in every setting, I have seen art make confident thinkers out of self-conscious kids and a sense of pride develop in those who have a lack of self-respect because making ‘stuff’, and thinking about making ‘stuff’ with your own hands feels great. Artmaking can not only sometimes reach places other areas of the curriculum can’t, it also helps our kids to invent, innovate and investigate, which are processes that are related to finding solutions for problems in every subject they will undertake.

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ARTMAKING? Given that children develop their capabilities sequentially (from simple to complex abilities) and at their own pace, artmaking can provide them with sensory learning experiences that they are able to master at their own rate. There are not many other areas of the curriculum that are as flexible as this. Kids will use pretty much anything to make art (including maternity bras!) and each material they choose to use, brings with it, its own set of challenges and therefore a different level of skill and thought development. Remember The Useful Box from Playschool? Egg-carton caterpillars, paper plate masks and doily thingies were more often than not, the highlight of my week (I actually have no idea what we made from doilies but it was fun). The reason for this was because I didn’t have to do it the way everyone else did and I often felt stifled in my creative thinking process in all of my other subject areas. The power in artmaking for me was not having to proffer the same ‘answer’ as everyone else. This sense of individuality in creative decision making and problem solving applies to real-world problem solving because it’s not black and white. You see the real world, as in the world after school, does not have standardised answers for everything. How easy would life be if it did? Not to mention boring!

PROBLEM SOLVING Artmaking is a special type of problem solving. It is about finding solutions to problems that don’t have simple answers. Making art utilises adaptability and flexibility of thought which are both critical for your child to be a successful life-long learner. And because these types of thought processes are applied to every part of the curriculum, it is very important to nurture artmaking activities both at home as well as in your child’s academic world. Kids who ‘make the making’ are regularly proven to be more adventurous and innovative in their thinking across the board. This is because dealing with ambiguous situations or problems (like making anything one desires from an egg carton!) encourages divergent thinking or ideational fluency. Ideational fluency is giving as many responses as you can think of to a particular stimulus. We call it brainstorming. For example, when a group of four year olds were asked what they could make from an egg carton, one boy’s list was: a caterpillar, boobs, pimples, a holder for stuff, rocks and (my personal favourite) a lumpish decoration for Grandma’s special table!

Sir Ken Robinson says that FOCUS ON SUBJECTS the problem with systems of education is that they supress creativity and divergent thinking (click here to watch his TED talk, it’s fabulous! Creativity is a function of everything we do and instead of promoting creativity, he says that we are educating our children out of it. This is because current education systems place a great deal of emphasis on academic development. As a result, arts programs are being reduced or even eliminated from classrooms because they are not valued as being academic enough, to accommodate more linear teaching methods and Art (the arts) is really anything but. Robinson also says that literacy and creativity should be given equal status in learning because we are in danger of educating our children to be good workers rather than creative thinkers. Unfortunately, my experience as a Visual Art teacher is that parents and colleagues often coach children out of doing Art because they’re not going to be a professional artist. What about learning through enjoyment? What about fun? With this in mind I would ask, why then are students allowed to spend so much time playing, say, soccer or netball throughout their schooling if they’re not going to be a professional sportsperson? You’ll say because it keeps them healthy. Well, expressing creativity keeps people healthy as well: on an emotional level, on a thinking level and on a skill level. Please don’t think I am taking sides, I’m not. I believe in a learning balance and I also believe in individuating each child’s way of learning because they are all so beautifully different. We have to be careful not to divorce our kids from their natural aptitudes through their educational journey by predetermining the ‘how’ of their learning.

Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try. DR SEUSS -




The ‘busy-ness’ of life, financial pressures determining that both parents work, ‘technoplay’ and the omnipresent contemporary pressure to always be doing a plethora of new things, mean that many parents are time poor. They are precluded from finding those valuable moments to delve into their ‘useful boxes’, to make seemingly unimportant stuff with their children. In the classroom, we are seeing an overall decline in some of the abilities that kids are entering school with because of these factors. Some schools report that students are starting without being able to use scissors, glue shapes on a page, kick, throw or catch a ball or even ride a bike. I also see an everincreasing number of students who lack the confidence to begin an artmaking task, because they are so worried about not being able to make it perfectly; and they’re petrified of being wrong because society consistently stigmatizes mistake making. Our society is so perfection orientated that the potential to stifle a child’s creative learning process and confidence in taking a risk to try something new is significant. This is highly detrimental because some very important learning comes from making mistakes as well. Seriously, how can one judge whether or not a pair of egg carton sunglasses are perfect or not! Kids have an innate high level of creativity because they muse, explore, investigate and experiment naturally, without fear of being judged on the outcome. They do all of this within their physical and conceptual environments and there are things we parents can do, to help foster their creativity and divergent thinking:  Provide an environment to explore without undue restraint. Not only the space your child creates in but also the materials or 'stuff' they are allowed to have access to. That is why the concept of a useful box is great; they are allowed access to everything in it but can make their own choices about what they will use.  Let them own their own ideas. We sometimes selfishly structure their ideas into an adult’s concept of a good idea. Believe it or not, we are mostly less creative than they are, so it is important for you to be able to facilitate their creativity without managing it.

 Your kids learn from watching you. You are valuable resources for facilitating learning, so be creative too; whatever they’re doing, join in but let them lead.  Ask questions at your child’s school. Are art lessons provided? Does a specialist teach them? How often do they have these lessons?

POSITIVE EXPERIENCE Kids perform well when they are in touch with things that make them feel good and this needs to be applied to their learning world as well. Generating original ideas is the basis of creative potential and the creative process underpins learning in all areas of the curriculum. Artmaking is “a critical link for students in developing the crucial thinking skills and motivations they need to achieve at higher levels.” (Deasy, & Stevenson, 2002) Having opportunities to develop aesthetic awareness, feelings and discernment through making arty stuff undeniably contributes to the development of your child’s wholeness and potential, as well as their confidence to try new things and challenge assumptions. I like to call it, thinking! So, what are you waiting for, go on, get out the flour glue, dried pasta, egg cartons, pipe cleaners and doilies and start 'making the making'. You never know, the pasta necklace you have been emotionally bribed to wear to work today, may have fostered the thinking processes in some little being who is going to discover a way to end child poverty. Just in case you were wondering, the elastic from my maternity bras ended up being used to make a slingshot. The stick and glue Guggenheim was abandoned in order to do something else of utmost importance!


Get started with some crafty ideas, visit our Pinterest boards KIDS on the Coast/in the City

 Accept the weird stuff too! Great divergent thinking is sometimes not what we expect. Ask them to explain what they have made, you’ll be entertained; the glitter and baby poo coloured painting has a fantastical explanation for sure!  Emphasise process (exploring, thinking, doing) rather than the end product.

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35 years celebrating

Film Making Workshops A number of film making workshops are being offered as part of this year's 35th Immanuel Arts Festival. They are designed for children and young adults from 2-17 years of age. • ROCKETS IN SPACE 3, 2, 1 BLASTOFF! Saturday 23 May, 9.00am to 10.00am Design and build your very own rocket. Then, using a green screen send it into space! Ages: 2-5 years; 45 minutes + Screening • SUPERHEROES Saturday 23 May, 11.00am to 1.00pm Ever wanted to save the world? Our Heroes v Villains film making workshop jumps into the fun world of super strength, invisibility and flight in the ultimate showdown in good against evil. Ages: 6-9 years; 1.5 hours + Screening • COPS & ROBBERS Saturday 23 May, 2.00pm to 4.00pm Step into the world of bank robberies, bad guy chases and saving the day and bring to life your very own action film. Ages: 10-12 years; 1.5 hours + Screening • EXTREME FILM MAKING Sunday 24 May, 10.00am to 1.30pm Take film making to the extreme using GoPro cameras while playing dodgeball and nerf wars. You’ll capture some wicked content for a music video style project. Ages: 13-17 years; 3 hours + Screening To book your place today, go to -



Nature as a Teacher By Jessica Jane Sammut

WITH THE GROWING NUMBER OF SCHOOLS INCORPORATING GARDENS INTO THEIR LEARNING STRUCTURE, JESSICA JANE SAMMUT TAKES A LOOK AT WHY THESE LITTLE GREEN HAVENS ARE BECOMING A VITAL CORNERSTONE IN CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT. You can picture it. A young student burying a seed in a school garden, gasping in wonder days later when that seed pushes through the soil and sprouts into a plant, bearing fresh produce weeks down the track to be picked and eaten. From ground to mouth, it is a natural lifecycle which sustains our environment and our health. It involves science, maths, literacy, art, design and social studies. It promotes an awareness of habitat, a love of the outdoors, a sense of patience and an understanding of where food comes from, together with an appreciation of what we put in our body. It offers hands-on learning, with nature as our teacher.

School gardens have a profound effect not only on our children, but also on the future of the planet.


So it is not surprising that the government in the last ten years has ramped up its grants to schools to initiate school gardens, for there is little else that cuts across such a broad range of disciplines in this unique and empowering way, with children able to put theory into practice and get out of the classroom to see for themselves what the world is truly made of. -

we all benefit


With obesity in Australia rising to alarming heights in recent times and a deep concern about our ‘dying’ earth, a reconnection with nature is not only a welcome step, but arguably a necessary one, with our children the custodians of the future. This is the generation who must demand better of their world leaders, and at the very least ask where their food has come from and how it has been produced. “School gardens have a profound effect not only on our children, but also on the future of the planet,” confirms Ange Barry, CEO of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation (www.kitchengardenfoundation., the not-for-profit body which runs a hugely successful national kitchen garden program in schools. “Growing, harvesting preparing, sharing – it’s the backbone of our culture. Through our program, kids learn about the connection between the environment and food and health, together with sustainability principles. They get exposure to where food comes from and why it is important to look after our world, and once they know why and how, they will keep on doing it.”

feel the power

And it’s not just an understanding of our surroundings which get a lift as a result of gardening in a school’s syllabus. Psychologically, there are immense benefits, both short-term and long-term.

research fellow at the University of Queensland and founder of Parenting from the Heart blog. “In addition, it is hugely important for confidence, offering children a space that is theirs that is linked to success.” Susan McKinnon, teacher and program coordinator of the garden at Seven Hills State School, agrees.

“Students who are involved in cultivating a garden at school are more likely to be interested in learning beyond the classroom walls,” explains leading Sydney paediatric psychologist Chiu Lau (www. “Benefits include a sense of responsibility and ownership, in addition to improved self-esteem and appreciation for diversity and teamwork from successful collaboration with peers and teachers.”

“A school garden not only creates a knowledge of where food comes from and how to grow it (including an awareness of weather, seasons and life cycles), it also provides hands-on physical learning outdoors and builds a child’s sense of belonging and contribution to their school community. It gives children ownership, and empowers them to make decisions and take on responsibilities for the well-being of plants and their habitat, while encouraging deep thinking, enquiry and knowledge. It also develops communication and social skills and the ability to work as a team.”

“A school garden not only encourages an understanding of basic science concepts e.g. plants and animals, life cycles, growth, death etc., but also promotes nurturing behaviours in the caring of plants,” adds Dr Koa Whittingham, psychologist,

What is more, boredom, bullying and behaviour issues in schools has been seen to reduce following the introduction of a school fruit and vegetable gardening program, with improved attendance reported by many educational facilities also. -


academic success


And academic success? Red hot.

Gardening is seen to create a renewed interest in many subjects, together with a point of context for the theory that children learn. “It is amazing how a garden can educate our young academically,” says Susan. “As well as gardening and kitchen classes, the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation program is integrated into the curriculum at every level,” agrees Ange. “It is incredible what a skill base it covers, from using maths to take garden measurements, to English to describe textures, flavours and processes.” Susan even details an extensive list of key areas that school gardening actively engages with: MATHEMATICAL THINKING – includes measuring plant heights, using maths language to describe produce and seed weights/sizes/shapes, counting and packaging and data reporting. SCIENCE – learning by trial and error, understanding life cycles/erosion/soil elements/bacteria/fungi in compost making, undertaking pH and soil testing, enjoying microscope use and learning about biodiversity audits.  TUDIES OF SOCIETY AND ENVIRONMENT – S determining rules and democracy in decision-making surrounding the gardening project, learning stewardship in caring for a habitat, understanding how to live sustainably, deciding what is rubbish and what can be recycled/reused/reduced, learning to live ethically, becoming aware of fair trade and food miles and the use of the planet’s resources and understanding the concept of the interconnectedness of all life. HEALTH AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION – becoming aware of nutrition, learning safe practices when using tools and equipment, developing fine and gross motor skills and embracing general fitness. ENGLISH – honing communication skills, extending vocabulary, learning how to document and how to share information orally and in written form. TECHNOLOGY – understanding the need to use and invent tools to assist in the gardening process, awareness of levers/pulleys etc. to assist with gardening, learning how to record data, publishing gardening newsletters, becoming involved in garden progress blogs and social media to share findings and progress. ART – practising the skill of observation in sketching the details of vegetable or fruit and having a creative representation of the growing world.


how you can nuture your child’s interest in gardening So what can parents do to nurture such a greenthumbed skill?

“If there is a school garden, parents can support the program by volunteering to assist with it, modelling a positive involvement with the community and environment,” confirms Chiu. “For time poor parents, support can be provided via the donation of seeds and tools.” And if there isn’t a school garden, families can cultivate their own garden at home. You needn’t have vast amounts of green space to do this – a square foot garden is just as good, as are a few pots or self-contained raised beds. And with a plethora of information on the web to help break down the mystery that is the garden arena, there is no need to feel bamboozled in starting out. The ABC Vegie Guide app (available for free download on iTunes) is a particular beauty in this regard, talking you through what to do step-by-step. “Families can also prepare meals together while discussing the benefits of a variety of natural plantbased foods,” adds Chiu. “Parents with no access to any type of garden can encourage their children to maintain a positive attitude towards their environment and health, and ensure their children continue to participate in and enjoy outdoor physical activities. “Remember, gardening is not just about pushing little seeds into the ground. It is about exploring our relationship with the earth we live in, nurturing the planet that sustains us and working with others to make our world a better place to live.” -

we love our school garden


We take a look at three schools who love their school garden.



What: Permaculture garden for selected classes from prep to year six.

What: Food garden for prep to year three, supported every fortnight by their adopted barefoot farmer, Franco Cencig, introduced to the school by Food Connect (

Growing: Raised garden beds growing many different herbs and vegetables, as well as a number of well-developed fruit trees. Story: “Our permaculture garden originally started about 15 years ago,” says Greg Brennan, permaculture garden teacher coordinator. “We have a remarkable parent who is employed one day a week to run lessons with a number of classes in the garden. The garden is very much used to promote the concept of sustainability. It has a worm farm and compost bins to ensure the students understand the process of a permaculture garden. The sustainability project is growing more and more, with pupils collecting food scraps from their lunches for the worm farm and compost, and recycling paper and cardboard from their lessons. The kids are involved in many ways with the garden including weeding, planting and composting. Once or twice a year the kids enjoy a shared harvest lunch with all the produce coming from the garden. The feedback from parents is very positive as they see it as a real-life experience.

ST HILDA’S SCHOOL, GOLD COAST What: Raised herb garden beds for years seven to nine. Growing: An array of organic fresh herbs including parsley, basil, chives, thyme, sage, mint, chilli and coriander. Story: “The garden at St Hilda’s is an extra-curricular initiative very much undertaken by the pupils as part of a school environment group,” explains head of middle school, Susan Sanburg. “Set up three years ago, the garden has changed forms many times, with its role decided upon by that year’s group. It is always very inspiring to see what the girls come up with. This year a herb garden was in favour, with the students very much influenced by what they were eating and wanting to cook. We had many plants donated and the others were planted as seedlings. The students have had to learn about preparing the beds, watering and maintaining the area, as well as the initial research and planning. The skills they are learning are life long, permeating deeply and encouraging an attitude towards the environment that will serve to benefit. The girls learn to appreciate what they have and gain a sense of achievement and pride from what they have done. They feel they are making a very real and tangible contribution to their school community.”

getting in on the action

Growing: A variation of garden beds and cutdown rain tank beds growing organic seasonable vegetables including spinach, peas, tomatoes and corn, herbs such as rosemary, fruit including blueberries and pineapples, edible flowers and bugattracting flowers. There is also an orchard which includes fruit trees and vines with seven varieties of bananas, white mulberry, star fruit, mango, lemon, mandarin, kumquat, chocolate sapote, passion fruit, ice cream bean, guava, Brazilian cherry, tropical vegetables and cassava. Story: “Five years ago we established our main garden with the help of some active community involvement after a permablitz, where a group of local individuals assisted in the setting up of new garden beds using permaculture methods,” explains teacher and gardening program coordinator, Susan McKinnon. “Prior to this, some teachers and parents had put in an orchard and two smaller garden beds when the school was much smaller. It is amazing to see how the children love it (they even have their own gardening gloves!) and how it has flourished. We now have a chook house named ‘Cluckingham Palace’ and a lunchtime environment club, with some children assigned as ‘Earth Champions’, responsible for encouraging class members and teachers to turn off lights and fans when leaving a room, to recycle, to compost and to bring a litter-free lunch to care for the waterways and ocean. The garden has knocked-on in so many ways in this regard, as well as creating a knowledge of where food comes from. It has greatly contributed to the children’s sense of belonging and responsibility to their community, while giving them a cherished hobby.”

For those wishing to implement a school garden, it doesn’t have to be difficult and you don’t need fields of space. “The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation Program, for one, is affordable, flexible and attainable for all Australian schools with a primary curriculum,” confirms Ange. “The Australian Government funding associated with the program is directed to training school staff to deliver the program, supplying written and online resource materials and providing ongoing support to the school, so if you have the will, there is a way.” And for those wishing to dabble before committing more fully, a few raised beds are all it takes to get kids enthused. Keep it simple, and build from there. -



learning with nature

We visit another school who loves their school garden and also offers exciting opportunities for students to get involved with animals.


What: A vegetable patch, a chicken coop with 25 laying hens, an egg-selling business and a student-run café, sheep, livestock shows and more. Story: Four years ago, Calvary’s Springwood campus started a vegetable patch for students in Prep to Year 6, which quickly became a very popular lunchtime activity. The college added more garden beds and a small chicken coop for three hens the following year and began cooking with their own eggs and produce. When students asked about the possibility of selling the eggs to college staff and families, investigations found that Safe Food Accreditation would be required. The College built a new coop for 25 laying hens, gained accreditation and established their egg-selling business, Calvary’s Happy Hens. Students now package and sell up to 12 dozen eggs each week and were delighted to have the CEO of Safe Food Queensland visit last year to present students with an award for their winning entry in a state-wide competition. Students have continued cooking lessons and produced a cookbook, with photos of themselves showing step-bystep recipe instructions. This year, they also established the Happy Hens Café, selling coffees and breakfast snacks to parents on a weekly basis, and catering for staff lunches and occasional special events. Best sellers at the café include egg sandwiches, zucchini slice and cinnamon scrolls as well as lattes and cappuccinos. This venture is run by students in the school environment club who also organise, promote and oversee recycling activities and special events for the school community including an annual Green Week, Walk to School Day, Fresh Food Day and more. “There are so many authentic learning experiences for students involved in the environment club, from organic gardening, organic recycling and primary production through to business management, book keeping, advertising and promotion, safe food procedures and café management,” explains Springwood teacher and environment club coordinator Fiona Baker. “Students are learning real-life skills, social skills and entrepreneurial skills, and they are taking action to care for the environment at the same time. We are very proud of all they have achieved.”


With a fantastic farm setting on the Calvary Carbrook campus, the Learning Enrichment team started a new venture this year called JAG – Junior Agriculture. JAG runs twice a week and is led by the high school agriculture teacher Mrs Hart together with Junior School staff. The students in Years 4, 5 and 6 have the opportunity to learn about the sheep, rams and chickens on the farm and help with feeding and checking the health of the animals. They are given responsibility for feeding and filling up water troughs and are educated by Mrs Hart on the animals and how to best care for them. Garden Gurus are a team of passionate gardeners who have plans for an exciting new garden. Their plans include herbs, vegetables and native bush tucker. Mrs Fiona Burnett, Learning Enrichment teacher - Extension at the Carbrook campus, says, “They have also started a composting initiative in our Junior School by promoting recycling of food scraps from children’s lunch boxes. An iMovie has been created to promote this recycling venture and is shown on assembly to help educate the school community about the importance of recycling. The students involved in these exciting opportunities are thrilled with the hands-on opportunities in our college.” At Calvary Christian College, any student in Years 7 to 12 has the opportunity to join the College’s Livestock Show Team. The team exhibits sheep from the College’s Suffolk stud (established in 1998) at a wide variety of shows around South East Queensland. Agricultural science is also a science option in the curriculum offered at the College. -


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Knowing your child’s reading stage AND HOW TO HELP THEM

by Ryan Spencer Clinical Teaching Specialist; Lecturer in Literacy Education at University of Canberra

LEARNING TO READ IS A COMPLICATED PROCESS AND PARENTS OFTEN WONDER IF THEIR CHILD IS DEVELOPING READING ABILITIES AT THE RATE THEY “SHOULD”. RESEARCH AGREES, HOWEVER, THAT READING (AND WRITING) IS VERY MUCH A DEVELOPMENTAL PROCESS, WHICH CAN LOOK VERY DIFFERENT FOR DIFFERENT CHILDREN, REGARDLESS OF THEIR AGE. It can be very tempting to compare children of the same age in terms of their reading development. However, this is in no way a reliable indicator of how they should be reading at a certain age. Parents with multiple children can usually attest to the difference in their children’s reading abilities at similar ages. Rather than judging progression by age, it’s important to think about learning to read as occurring in three stages.

1. EMERGING READERS Readers in the emergent stage of reading are usually those who are just gaining an understanding of how a text works. They will display good book handling behaviours, they will know where the book begins and ends and they understand that print and pictures convey a message. In this stage readers can usually recognise a small number of high-frequency words (5-20 words) that occur regularly throughout a text.

2. BEGINNING READERS In this stage of reading development, children are becoming much more familiar with different texts and usually start to read much more widely and independently. You may notice your child can identify many more high-frequency words (20 – 50 words) and they also begin to self-correct words as they are reading. While children may sometimes read slowly and word by word at this stage, they are still gaining valuable information from the text. Parents that engage with their child at this stage of reading are assisting them best when they allow their discussions about the book to go a little deeper. Perhaps discuss what could happen next after the book is finished or explore different texts that the author has written.

When your child is displaying these reading behaviours, you can assist them by pointing out environmental print (words on signs, around the home, at the supermarket), talking about the meaning of favourite books at bedtime and making links between these stories and the child’s own experiences.

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3. FLUENT READERS Fluent readers, as the title suggests, are those who can identify most high-frequency words automatically. They tend to read from a wide range of different texts with little or no assistance. Readers at the fluent stage tend to use a range of different strategies to figure out unknown words, including skipping the word and allowing the wider context to convey the message, reading on for more information, and substituting the word with a word that would also make sense. When you are reading with a fluent reader, it is useful to begin discussions about different types of texts, their purposes and the characteristics of how these texts are made up. For instance, when looking at graphic novels, you could talk about how the author uses images to represent different aspects of the story and the impact that text placement has on how this is displayed.

SOME COMMON QUESTIONS FROM PARENTS In my work with parents, I am frequently asked many questions about how best to assist their children at various stages of their reading progression. Some of the most common questions are answered below. What do I do when my child doesn’t know the word? There are a number of things that you can do when you are reading with your child and they come to a word they don’t know. My first piece of advice is to avoid eye contact with the child. When a child looks to us for help with a word, we often want to save them, help the reading process move along and provide the word. However, this is an unsustainable strategy for the child as they need a set of skills to call upon when they are reading with you. Rather than looking at your child, focus your attention on the book. After all, this is where all the clues are to figuring out the word. Encourage your child to skip the word and read on for more information, use the pictures for a clue, or even leave the word behind and continue reading. By refocusing the child’s attention back to the meaning of the text, the content of the text will help fill in the blanks. If your child has skipped the word and still can’t figure it out, drop the word into the conversation as you turn the page.

Should I get my child to practise individual words they’re having trouble with? Learning words in isolation does not always translate to being able to figure out unknown words in texts. Consider learning the word duck: you could write this on a card for your child to learn, look at pictures of ducks when learning the word and talk about ducks that you’ve both seen at the park together. However, when your child reads the word duck in a passage about cricket, the meaning is considerably different. The best way to learn words therefore is in context - in books. Point out interesting words that you encounter in the text after you’ve finished reading and think about where you’ve seen these before. Reading widely and frequently is the best way to build your child’s vocabulary and increase their bank of known words. My child spends too long looking at the pictures when they are reading; should I cover the pictures so they can concentrate? No! A frequent misconception about the reading process is that when children are spending too long looking at the pictures they are getting distracted. When a child is looking at the pictures, they are gaining valuable information about the meaning of the text. The clues that are visible in the illustrations are often the best way to figure out the meaning of the text. Encouraging your child to flick though the text before reading, or doing “book orientation”, where you first discuss the book, its title and the pictures, is one of the best ways to help your child’s reading progression. -




read by Tracy Willcocks


WHAT IS PHONOLOGICAL AWARENESS? In simple terms, it is an oral language skill that involves the ability to notice, think about and manipulate the sounds of our language.

There is an order in which to teach phonological awareness. 1. Awareness of sound and rhymes and the ability to identify syllables. 2. Awareness of sounds at the beginning and end of words. 3. Alliteration (words with the first sound being the same e.g. tiny Tim tickled Tom). 4. Blending in words (put the sounds together to make a word). 5. Segmenting (say the sounds in a given word). How do you help your child to learn these skills? Following are my tips for supporting your child's phonological awareness.

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• Say a sentence then clap it out, one clap for each new word. • Use a ball – throw for each new word. Use blocks, bean or anything lying around the house – touch each item every time a new word is said. • These same activities can be repeated for syllables in words. Start with 2 syllables (un-der) move to 3 (kan- ga- roo), 4 and so on.

RHYMING • Many stories and poems have rhymes. • Play rhyme tennis. You start with a word like cat, your child bounces back with a rhyming word, e.g. hat. These words may need to be introduced first. Use a ball, Frisbee or beanbag if you want. • Find pictures in magazines or Google images, cut out & stick them in a book. You now have your own rhyming book for future reference.

SOUNDS IN WORDS • Introduce same then different. Do these pairs of words have the same first sound? – hat/happy – yes, so reward (could be a points game). When they are confident with same sound, introduce different. Do these words have the same first sound? – dog/ cat, car/box, kiss/kite? NB. No letters are introduced yet as we are trying to get the children to hear the sounds. It is important to remember we have sounds in our language which have multiple letter choices, e.g. c, k, ck, or j, g, or e, ee, ea, y. • Word pairs-games can be carried out with end sounds too. E.g. rack/truck, net/rat etc... • The next stage is middle sounds which can be a lot harder to identify so keep it simple to start – cat/man, pop/rock. • Coloured blocks or counters could be used to help the child isolate the sound – each sound has a different colour and is touched as the sounds are said. You can then go back to the colour of the sound needed & see if they remember. This strategy is called tracking. • Silly sentences are great way to practice alliteration. Choose a sound such as ‘r’ – Roger’s rabbits runs round Rachel’s rat! There are also some great picture books available too which have great examples of alliteration.

“Whatever you do it is important you and your child have fun. If you both enjoy the experience you will want to do it again.” BLENDING • I spy – I am looking at a c-a-t • What’s under the tea towel? It is a g-r-a-pe

SEGMENTING • Counter/block push for every new sound • Games – correct segmentation earn a point/piece of the puzzle/turn to throw. These are just a sample of the activities you could do at home. Use the internet as a source of ideas and if you look for phonological awareness you will be amazed how much comes up. There are even apps for your smart phones. Whatever you do it is important you and your child have fun. If you both enjoy the experience you will want to do it again.




Benefits of Early Childhood Education by Megan Blandford

Kids are endlessly curious: they love to play and they love to learn. Your little one’s thirst for knowledge is encouraged and fed by you and the rest of their family, and there are other ways to help them along this path too.. In Queensland, compulsory schooling begins in Year 1, which is for those children turning six by 30 June in that year. Prior to this, any childcare, crèche, playgroup, community kindergarten or other early childhood development program is optional. Even the Prep year is not compulsory, however most families choose to enrol their children in school beginning in that year. So, if these services aren’t legislated as a necessary part of your child’s education, why use early childhood programs? Below are six big benefits of doing so: 1. It allows you to go back to work or undertake other child-free activities Early childhood educators can also be your child’s carers while you’re at work in those early years or taking part in other activities that your child can’t be part of. These people are well qualified to look after and teach your child in your absence, and will give your little one a positive, fun environment that makes them feel safe and nurtured. That in turn gives you the peace of mind to do what you need to do. 2. They provide great opportunities for your little learner Surroundings like those provided by quality early childhood services are also known to be strong factors in helping children learn. Educators put great care into setting up a fun, interactive and stimulating environment for the kids. Children learn through play, and certainly learn best when they’re feeling safe and well looked after, and you can communicate with your early childhood service to make sure your child feels as secure as possible.


3. It’s a foundation for future education Early childhood education can instil a love of learning in your child. It can also give them a sense of security and confidence as they take those steps towards their compulsory schooling years. The foundations are laid during these early years for your little one to learn as seamlessly as possible or for intervention needs to be identified where appropriate. 4. Helping to increase your child’s independence Many parents value independence as an important quality and a skill for their children. Early childhood education is a safe encouragement of independence in a way that’s suited to your little one’s age and stage. They’ll learn to be confident that you will return at the end of the day, start to take some responsibility for their belongings, learn how to deal with being part of something bigger, and learn to listen to their teachers and peers. All of this can help your child feel better about their impending schooling. 5. Early childhood educators have a big picture approach The overarching values of ‘Belonging, Being and Becoming’ identified in the Early Years Learning Framework help early childhood educators focus on the bigger picture of your child’s education. They help children develop the skills they need to work towards a successful future, in whatever way that may be for your individual child. 6. They will learn lots The focus during early childhood education is on the social and emotional skills that set your child up for the years ahead of them. They will also develop the skills they need for learning numeracy and literacy and, as they progress through their early education, they’ll be introduced to reading, writing and numbers. This is a great basis for leaping into school life without a hitch. Education in your child’s early years gives them a wonderful start to a life filled with learning. -

think + play + learn + grow

Inner-North Community Kindergarten Ballymore Kindy is a small community early education centre committed to the value of play in children’s development and learning. We provide a kindergarten program for children aged 3.5 years to 4.5 years. In our natural bush setting our children enjoy a spacious, wellresourced facility with a stimulating outdoor environment in which to explore, play and learn. Our curriculum is designed to encourage positive relationships, helping children develop strong foundations for living and learning, and facilitating their transition into Prep.

In 2016, we are trialling extended operating hours to provide more options for families. You are welcome to contact the centre to arrange a time to visit our kindergarten and meet our staff. Visit for more information. -




Queensland children may now access approved kindergarten programs in the year before Prep, delivered by a qualified early childhood teacher in a range of settings, including kindergarten and long day care services. In 2007-2008 Queensland schools came more into line with the rest of the country, increasing the age of compulsory schooling by six months and introducing a Prep year. Prep was introduced after an independent review found the Prep Year program was “highly successful in promoting children’s social-emotional development and their communication, numeracy, literacy and motor skills” (Education Queensland). Prep is offered in primary schools and is a full-time program with normal school hours. However, neither kindergarten nor Prep is compulsory and parents may choose to send their child to an alternative early education program or keep them at home until compulsory school entry age.


READY OR NOT? AN EXPERT’S VIEW Parents are better informed about early childhood education issues than ever before. The benefits of kindergarten programs are apparent to most parents, but some become concerned about the transition from kindergarten to primary school. Kathy Walker, Melbourne education consultant and early childhood expert, has written several books on early childhood education. Kathy believes that skills such as reading, writing and counting are not priorities for school readiness. Social and emotional maturity is the most important factor to consider in deciding when to start a child in school.


“The learning journey is 13 years of school and the Prep year is actually just that: a preparatory year for all of those years and that is what schools do best. What is most needed to thrive and enjoy and make the most of learning is how you travel. Skills such as adaptability, self regulation, independence, initiative and concentration - these types of attributes are much more important. Maturity helps with this enormously.” Kathy cautions parents about rushing children into school if there are concerns about their readiness. “Many children will benefit in relation to their general well being, self esteem, attitudes toward school and belief about themselves as a learner if they move into school without the question mark, without just coping or not just coping, but being able to have a solid and rich childhood of play as a foundation for moving into school with more life experience, maturity and early learning.”

A TEACHER’S VIEW OF THE PREP YEAR Ida is an experienced Prep teacher based at a Brisbane Catholic school. Her school first offered Prep in 2007. “We undertake an enrolment process which involves an interview, walk around the school facilities and a visit to the Prep classrooms. The children come for an orientation day in November, where they meet other Prep friends, giving them an opportunity to further become familiar with the Prep environment. There will be additional opportunities for the children who attend our school Kindergarten program, to come over for plays in Term 4, to help the transitioning process.” All Queensland primary schools follow a curriculum based on well-researched guidelines. Teachers strive for a balance that uses the knowledge, skills and prior experiences the children bring to school to make connections to what they need to learn using a mix of formal learning and active engagement methods. “Our teaching approaches are based on the principles of Queensland Studies Authority’s (QSA) Early Years Guidelines, which is based on active learning, including inquiry and play; and the Australian Curriculum. Inquiry-based learning through play in Prep provides opportunities for the children to learn how to problem solve, to self direct their own learning, and make connections to the world around them, which is a foundation for all learning.” Ida sees many advantages for students who complete a Prep year.


Many children will benefit in relation to their general well being, self esteem, attitudes toward school and belief about themselves as a learner. “The Prep year allows students to settle into the school environment, giving them opportunities to become familiar with the school routine and expectations. Having students start school in Year 1 without a foundation Prep year experience disadvantages the children as they not only have to establish friendships and learn the curriculum, but they also have to learn the ‘hidden’ curriculum of routines and expectations which they would have otherwise become familiar with in Prep.” Teachers are aware that students present with differing needs. Ida explains how her school manages this. “The enrolment process is an open and transparent process which enables a working partnership between home and school to support the engagement and readiness for formal learning. In some cases where the student is not socially or academically ready for Prep, it may be suggested that another year in a kindergarten environment may be beneficial. The Catholic Education Enrolment Application also allows opportunities to identify and implement support processes that may be necessary for those requiring additional assistance, allowing a smooth transition into Prep. “Since the implementation of the Prep enrolment age of turning 5 by the 30th June, we are seeing children being more mature and ready to learn, writing independently and being confident in the recognition and reproduction of letter sounds by the middle of the Prep year, giving them an experience of success and a wanting to learn more and do more. Before the implementation of Prep, we were seeing this development at the end of the Preschool year and then the children had school holidays, missing out on the opportunity to extend and develop what they had learnt.” -



The college that Yindi will be going to runs a similar play-based program to her Kindy but with a bit more structure. I believe this is important as it is getting her prepared for Grade 1. NICKY, YINDI'S MUM

so she was spending a lot of her time in front of the television. Yindi was learning heaps from children’s programs but I didn’t find that socially healthy. She demanded my time constantly because she was bored. Yindi created a whole new personality after starting Kindy. She was constantly talking about the activities she was doing with her little friends. Her favourite activities were cooking, building a veggie and herb garden, looking after animals and looking for bugs with a magnifying glass. It amazed me how much such a little person could learn. Not only was she learning but she was having fun going to Kindy.” Nicky and Jay researched Prep options carefully before reaching their decision.

A PARENT’S VIEW OF PREP Nicky and Jay from the Sunshine Coast moved from Victoria a few years ago with their three children. Nicky said that the two older children enjoyed a Prep year in Victoria that laid a solid foundation for their later schooling. “It was great to see how much and how quickly they learned from their Prep teachers. There is only so much you can teach them at home. Social activity is what I found to be the most beneficial in Prep. It is amazing how much more they can learn in a social environment with children within the same age group.” The youngest child, Yindi, attended kindergarten followed by Prep. “We decided to put Yindi through Kindy as being a mum who works from home I found there was only so much I could do with her. I needed to get work done


“The college that Yindi will be going to runs a similar play-based program to her Kindy but with a bit more structure. I believe this is important as it is getting her prepared for Grade 1. Yindi is ready for school. It is something she talks about all the time. The Kindy teachers talk about school to the children and are getting them prepared.” Nicky anticipates a ‘settling in’ period and has planned for this. “Yindi is very excited about starting Prep as well as very nervous. She is nervous because her best friend from Kindy is not going to the same school and even more nervous about not knowing where the toilets are. All this is normal for a 4-5 year old child. We have taken her to the school to show her where the toilets are and where her classroom will be. Excitement is now overriding the nerves. I plan on being a ‘hands-on’ helper mum in the classroom as much as I can. I do work full-time but will be taking a step back a little just until I know that she is settled.” - -




If you have concerns about whether your child is ready to start a kindergarten program or Prep, it is too big a decision to make alone. You should discuss those concerns with your local kindergarten program provider and school. It is possible to start kindergarten later (delayed entry) or to repeat the kindergarten year (delayed exit). Early childhood educators suggest a delayed entry to kindergarten is preferable to repeating either kindergarten or Prep. There are no waiting lists for enrolment in Prep at state schools though parents are encouraged to contact their chosen school in the year prior to commencement. Enrolments in Catholic or Independent schools are usually taken by application up to two years prior to commencement.

Readiness for school or kindergarten is about having the maturity to make the most of these early years. WORKING TOGETHER Schools do not expect that all children will be 100% ready on all aspects of the various ‘readiness’ checklists that are readily available. Educators are continually refining their ideas about children’s readiness for formal schooling and looking for better ways to engage children in the process. By focusing attention on ‘readiness’, parents have become aware that children’s development is nourished in the play and exploration of their daily lives from birth. The emphasis on good beginnings also encourages schools to create learning environments that take account of children’s diverse needs and nurture them through their school years.

FURTHER READING: Ready, Set, Go by Kathy Walker (How to tell if your child’s ready for school and prepare them for the best start) What’s the Hurry? by Kathy Walker (The importance of giving children a childhood). Early Life Foundations ( offers excellent practical tips for preparing a child for school – see Parenting Factsheets.

READY OR NOT! Early Life Foundations share the following guidelines for parents when making the decision related to when to start their child at school. • Young boys, according to some research, may benefit from having an additional year to mature before commencement. • Multiple births or children significantly premature may also benefit. • There is no detrimental impact of giving a child an additional year; in fact it is often viewed as a bonus year. • Don’t assume children will magically ‘catch up’ once they start school. In the majority of cases, they don’t, and in fact the problems in maturity usually become more pronounced. • Don’t send a child to school already thinking they can repeat prep if they have to. We want the first year of school to be exciting, successful and not just one where the child attempts to ‘cope’ and then has to do it all again. • Readiness for school or kindergarten is about having the maturity to make the most of these early years. • Being legally ready to start school does not mean the child will be ready and does not mean that the child must start school at that time. Source: Early Life Foundations ‘Fact Sheet: School Readiness’

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Southern Cross Catholic College is a Prep -12 day school offering families a co-educational pathway to lifelong learning. With a modern curriculum taking into account contemporary research and teaching, students are challenged to extend their skills and knowledge whilst individual abilities are nurtured to foster educational success.

At Southern Cross Catholic College

We seek the light ... and then we shine Enrolments NOW OPEN for 2016 Please contact the College for Information - 307 Scarborough Road, Scarborough Qld 4020 p 07 3480 3600 f 07 3480 3666 e

The new Montessori International College is now open. Discover the difference now.

We put the child first


P: 07 5442 3807 -


WE DO IT FOR THE KIDS Little Seed Theatre Company was created to grow stories and people. It is a safe, fun and encouraging community where ideas, inspiration and the individual are believed in. ‘We do it for the kids’ in order to provide young people from the ages of 4-18 a space to explore their creativity. We get excited about stories and love the way that the world of theatre takes us on many journeys, on the stage and off. Now in it’s sixth year, Little Seed Theatre Company holds after school acting classes in Sunshine Beach, Cooroy, Coolum, Nambour and Eumundi. The Little Seed Studio in Sunshine Beach also offers Ballet, Performance Dance as well as Musical Theatre and adult acting classes. Little Seed offers a range of classes, catering for beginners, social performers and Masterclasses for the passionate acting student. Our very popular holiday programs run from the Sunshine Beach studio every school holiday, with Winter and Summer School programs also available in Nambour and Eumundi. Little Seed students perform every semester as part of their class work. Additional performance options also include the Noosaville Carols, Cooroy Fusion Festival, Summer Pantomimes and the Sunshine Coast Youth Theatre Festival. Past students have gone on to: full-time acting school QACI in Brisbane, QUT Drama studies and into successful music careers. Our Little Seed Coaches come from a diverse background and offer expertise, encouragement and focus to the performers that make up our creative Little Seed community. PHONE 0407 873 232 (Johanna)

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by Rachel Downie

A Flying Start for Queensland students WHAT DOES MOVING YEAR 7 INTO HIGH SCHOOL MEAN FOR YOUR CHILD? From the commencement of the 2015 school year, the Queensland government’s Flying Start program saw Queensland secondary schools welcoming Year 7 into Junior Secondary along with Years 8 and 9. At a cost of approximately $620 million dollars, moving Year 7 into Junior Secondary is being hailed as a modernising step; one that will bring Queensland into line with most other states and “ensure the bridge between primary and secondary school is safe, strong and consistent for all students” ( This is a logical move, given the recent roll out and implementation of the National Curriculum in English, Maths, Science and History. In 2012, 20 state schools participated in a pilot program and have since provided valuable insights and feedback regarding the Junior Secondary transformation, thereby contributing to relevant and current research supporting your child’s progression into Junior Secondary. Moving Year 7 to High School gives your child an opportunity to be exposed to a depth of teaching and learning provided by specialist teachers and teaching areas. “Junior Secondary will provide challenging educational offerings,” according to


Flying Start program guidelines. For example, students will be able to study Science in a Science laboratory, with a Science teacher. With the government investment in learning spaces (550 new classrooms and 880 refurbishments), students will be learning in a specialised and dedicated Year 7 learning area. The new Junior Secondary system also aims to give young adolescents a sense of belonging and support. There will be a strong emphasis on pastoral care for students with $213 million spent on teacher training in this area. Pastoral care is a term used to describe the physical and emotional health and wellbeing of students and each school has to establish a wellbeing framework, which identifies their undertakings in ensuring quality pastoral care for their students. In a wider context, a school’s wellbeing framework is underpinned by the National Safe Schools Framework, which is a shared vision of key factors in building safe teaching and learning communities for all students in Australian schools. In a world where it is sometimes difficult to be awarded money and time to be involved in courses relevant to classroom practice, many teachers involved in the new system consider the training they have received to be excellent. -


The implementation of moving Year 7 has been slightly different from school to school, given that each place of learning has a different context. With this in mind, the Queensland Government developed six guiding principles using the information from the aforementioned pilot studies: 1. DISTINCT IDENTITY Junior Secondary students will be encouraged and supported to develop their own group identity within the wider high school. This can involve dedicated school areas and events. 2. QUALITY TEACHING Teachers working with students in the Junior Secondary years will be given the skills they need through additional professional development, so they can support young teens through these crucial early high school years. 3. STUDENT WELLBEING We will meet the social and emotional needs of Junior Secondary students with a strong focus on pastoral care. For example, schools could provide a home room to support students as they adjust to new routines and greater academic demands. 4. PARENT AND COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT We want parents to stay connected with their students' learning when they enter high school. Parent involvement in assemblies, special events, award ceremonies and leadership presentations will be welcomed.

I am confident that we are well prepared. We have developed a Junior Secondary philosophy and have considered all of the domains for the transition process. (Andrea Evans, Mountain Creek State High School)

Head of Junior Secondary Andrea Evans shares the steps taken by Mountain Creek State High School (MCSHS) on the Sunshine Coast to ensure quality pastoral care, teaching and learning for the transition of Year 7 into Junior Secondary. “I am confident that we are well prepared. We have developed a Junior Secondary philosophy and have considered all of the domains for the transition process.” • We have developed a pastoral care program based on the feedback from 60 pilot schools and the recommendations by Mission Australia’s (2011) National Survey of Young Australians about key concerns. • Junior Secondary students will have their own uniform and will be on the second shift at MCSHS (this begins at 10.30am). This will ensure that for half their school day, they will have the school and specialist learning facilities such as the pool, dance studios and science labs to themselves. • A Junior Secondary precinct has been developed. • Students have been involved in a transition program where they have toured the school, met key staff and worked with staff in classrooms.

5. LEADERSHIP Schools will be encouraged to create leadership roles for students in Years 7, 8 and 9. Dedicated teachers experienced with teaching young adolescents will lead Junior Secondary supported by the principal and administration team.

• We have had extensive transition planning for students with disabilities.

6. LOCAL DECISION MAKING The needs of each school community will influence how Junior Secondary is implemented in each school.

• With the aim of developing friendships, team building, self-esteem building as well as confidence and leadership, we have Initiative Days for both Year 7 and Year 8 students.


• MCSHS has a unique Head of School Structure (HOSS) to support our students in all manner of welfare matters. • A Junior Secondary Leadership Program is in place. -





Like thousands of mums across Queensland, Rachel Young has a child who started high school this year as the first group of Year 7 kids to take the plunge. Not knowing what to expect, she shares her apprehension before the start of the school year on our website: article/too-soon-for-high-school

• We hold Student Forums once per term where students can raise issues or present information to both staff and students, about projects and achievements within the school community. • We have done extensive work with our key partner primary schools around the transition of both Year 7 and 8 students for 2015. • We have identified and appointed staff with a unique skills set to teach 11–15 year olds. • We have continued with the Art and Science of Teaching (ASOT) as a framework for best practice in teaching and learning. • As part of the Great Teachers = Great Results initiative, we have trained two mentors to support new and transitioning teachers. • We have been awarded a grant following a successful application that has allowed for time allocation to plan and prepare for curriculum. This grant also allowed us to work extensively with staff at our key partner primary schools.


Many of the initiatives that have been implemented at MCSHS – whilst unique to their setting – have the same flavour as other state secondary schools. A number of independent schools in Queensland already have Year 7 in Junior Secondary or have been running Middle Schools for quite some time, which means fewer larger scale changes have had to be made. Given that independent schools can determine their own structures independent of the public sector (provided that they gain accreditation), a Junior Secondary program may look quite different in a Catholic or independent school. The Queensland government has allocated $110 million for the Junior Secondary transition in these settings. High Schools across the state have been working tirelessly to ready themselves to welcome your children into Year 7. There is an abundance of information available to help you understand and stay connected with the transition to Junior Secondary and the breadth of experiences it is going to bring in this time of rapid change for you and your family.

If you need further information, the following links will be helpful:

Fact Sheet Information for Parents Questions and Answers Page More about the Safe Schools Framework here

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by Cassy Small & Natasha Higgins

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STARTING HIGH SCHOOL IS A RITE OF PASSAGE FOR PARENTS AND CHILDREN AND SIGNALS A NEW PERIOD OF INDEPENDENCE AND MATURITY. PREPARING TOGETHER FOR THE VARIETY OF CHANGES AND CHALLENGES YOU CAN EXPECT WILL HELP TO ENSURE A SMOOTH TRANSITION FOR THE ENTIRE FAMILY. The move of Year 7 into high school from 2015 is, according to Education Queensland, the appropriate time for high school to begin with more than half of students in Year 7 turning 13 and in their eighth year of schooling. Educational consultant (and previously Deputy Director-General of Education Queensland) Lyn McKenzie says, “As students enter their early teens, they are becoming more independent and are looking for new learning challenges. By moving Year 7 to high school, early adolescent students will be in the best environment to develop and address their educational, social and emotional needs.” The emphasis on emotional wellbeing is an important step and critical to successfully navigating the turbulent teenage years. “Each child will have their own individual response to starting high school and emotions can range from excitement to trepidation,” says Hear and Now Health psychologist Dr Carla Rogers. “High school is a 'whole new world' in terms of the way things are done, subjects are dealt with, assignments are dished out and timetables need to be sorted out early on. This is all new learning for kids and potentially parents too,” Carla adds. Supporting your child emotionally through the transition to high school can often be the most important thing you can do. Even the most excited student can experience a confusing array of emotions and it’s in many cases their first experience of more adult emotions and expectations. “Both parents and kids need to understand that this is a life event like any other that can be joyous and stressful all at the same time. If you think positives can't be stressful, just think about having a newborn baby,” says Dr Carla. For parents who have children entering high school there are a range of concerns. “My biggest worry for my children entering high school was having them fit

in and stay in the right crowd. As a parent we have done everything to ensure the best for our children and have educated them to the best of our ability in the hope they will make the right choices,” she says. It’s new territory for you both and advice from friends and family is a great way to alleviate any concerns. Most schools also offer counselling services which students and parents can access and almost every school principal has an open door policy when it comes to speaking with a concerned parent. High school has the potential to be one of the best periods of your child’s life and offers an exciting introduction to adulthood. Dr Carla advises that communication is the secret to a successful transition. “If parents and kids can tackle these new things together from early on, it can pave the way for a much easier time throughout the journey.” Dr Carla offers the following advice to parents of children entering high school: •  Be informed – Attend orientation events, read the newsletters and talk to the teachers. Find out your child’s schedule and times of lunch breaks. Understanding the daily routine of high school demystifies the process. •  Find familiar faces – Many kids will move onto high school with their friends from primary school. If your child is alone, help them by pointing out any familiar faces they may come across. Use preparatory events prior to the first day as an opportunity to get to know teachers. • Prepare together – Shop together for things like school books and uniforms. Discuss travel arrangements well ahead of time and even go on a practice run if need be. •  Be positive – Now isn’t the time to share your not-so-fond memories of high school. Your child will mirror the emotions you display. •  Be available – With so much change the consistency of a family routine is crucial. Family meals and evening walks offer perfect opportunities for your child to share details of their day, good or bad. -


This year, the Shine From Within team launched a new half-day workshop for teen girls called Back 2 School. It covered releasing negative habits and thought patterns from the year before, time management skills, stress relief tactics and setting goals for the year ahead.


As always, I learned a thing or two from the girls who attended! It was wonderful to have a room full of girls keen to get off on the right track when school started back (even if some of them were sent by their parents). They were engaged, excited to share their tips and had loads of questions. When we asked what worked for them in terms of time management and study, these were the top tips they came up with: • Break your study and assignments up in to smaller tasks. • Have one diary for everything; including assignments, work and social activities so that you can clearly see how many commitments you have.



FOR TEENS, BY TEENS By Amanda Rootsey

• Turn off your phone (glad it came from them and not me!). • Cultivate positive relationships with teachers. • Go for a run or do some sort of exercise to clear your head. • Create a study group with like-minded students at school to support each other. • Drink lots of water and eat fresh healthy foods. • Get organised and use worksheets and tools to support your way of learning. • Write your to-do list for tomorrow, today. • Ensure you have a clear, neat desk space to study. • Create an afternoon ritual that works for you to get in to study mode. • Schedule in time to have fun and look after yourself too.

What I found really interesting is that the students who came along already knew what they needed to do. It is just having the motivation and support to actually put things in place and create healthy habits that work for them. Everyone has different styles of learning, different times of day when they can focus the best and different distractions to be aware of. The sooner they can tune in to what actually works well for them and get in to a routine, the better! Amanda Rootsey is the Founder of Shine From Within, a Sunshine Coast based training school specialising in holistic personal development courses for 10 – 18 year old girls, which cover everything from natural skin care and make up to goal setting, communication skills, job interview skills, nutrition, yoga and more. Check out the details here:

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WORK EXPERIENCE FOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS by Megan Blandford Work experience can be a valuable experience for Queensland Year 10 students. It’s their chance to find a future career path that’s right for them and an experience that could be a game changer for their education. But knowing how it’s all going to pan out is tricky for parents who like to be prepared ahead of time. Here, we answer all your work experience questions.

WHAT IS IT? Work experience is a period of one or two weeks real life experience in the workplace. It’s undertaken in Year 10, although it isn’t compulsory. It’s up to your teenager’s school to have a work experience program in place. Many do, however some have chosen not to if they believe work experience isn’t in the best interests of their students. The way it is structured is also up to the school, with most choosing a shorter period, although a maximum of 30 days is available by state legislation.


WHY ENCOURAGE YOUR CHILD TO DO WORK EXPERIENCE? Work experience helps teenagers get a feel for what working life will be like. Whether they know exactly what they’d like to do or they’re feeling unsure, it gives them a chance to get an insight into a career they’re considering entering or studying towards after completing their school years. This short period of work experience could either make your child fall in love with a career to work towards or help them rule out some options. Either way, there are positive outcomes that can inspire them through the next few years of intense study and give them a defined purpose. When they can visualise their future outside of school, they can be more focused on getting the results they need during their school years. And let’s face it: having something to work towards and look forward to is always a great motivator. -


Work experience can be a valuable experience for students. It’s their chance to find a future career path that’s right for them and an experience that could be a game changer for their education. WHO’S RESPONSIBLE FOR MAKING IT HAPPEN? Ultimately, it should be your teenager’s responsibility to decide where they will do work experience, and to arrange it all. They will need some support and encouragement from home and school, however, and you’ll want some input to make sure all their arrangements are suitable and safe.

on that responsibility. This is a big part of learning about the working world and the industry they’re interested in. If it’s a small local business that your teenager would like to do work experience with, then it could be worth dropping in or giving them a call to discuss this. If you’re dealing with a larger business, it’s worth advising your teen to contact the human resources department to make that initial contact.



Your teenager’s school careers counsellor, teacher or coordinator can help them consider the best work experience opportunities. Other ways of finding work experience include networking with your friends and family and your child’s friends’ parents, because you might be surprised who knows of great opportunities within their own networks.

You – or your child – should check whether they are covered by the employer’s insurance. This can be checked with the employer your teenager is doing work experience with or by contacting WorkSafe Queensland. For any legal concerns or considerations, refer to the Fairwork Ombudsman website.

Online research can also be useful, both for your child to find out more about the industry they’re keen on and to search for specific opportunities. For example, a work experience listing service like Work Experience Directory, My Future or Work Inspiration could be a good source, and of course good old Google could help too.


Making contact with an organisation to ask about the potential to do work experience with them can be daunting, but it’s important for your teenager to take

Fairwork Ombudsman: student-placements

Work Experience Directory: My Future: Work Inspiration: WorkSafe Queensland: -



Food for thought by Belinda Brown

WE ALL KNOW THAT MORNINGS ARE BUSY AND IT’S EASY TO FORGET THE IMPORTANCE OF A NUTRITIOUS BREAKFAST TO SET YOUR CHILD UP FOR A GREAT START TO THE DAY. PLANNING AHEAD AND TAKING JUST A FEW EXTRA MINUTES WHEN PREPARING BREAKFAST AND SNACKS FOR SCHOOL LUNCHBOXES CAN HAVE A SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON YOUR CHILD’S ATTENTION SPAN, CONCENTRATION, MEMORY AND BEHAVIOUR THROUGHOUT THE SCHOOL DAY. Our brains have limited capacity to store energy, therefore they rely on nutrients and energy from the food we eat daily to develop and function in the best possible way. Consuming breakfast and snacks that are rich in ‘brain foods’ such as whole grains, fibre and protein while being low in added sugar will give your child a boost during the school day. Children who eat a nutritious breakfast and snacks are also more likely to consume the level of fibre, calcium and other important nutrients required to fuel the body.

WHY IS BREAKFAST SO IMPORTANT? Health practitioners regularly preach that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but why is this so? Breakfast is the process of breaking the fast after an extended period of rest. When we consume a nutritious breakfast, our bodies are given a fresh


supply of glucose, known as blood sugar, which is the brain’s basic fuel. When blood sugar levels are low, adrenaline and cortisol hormones are released which can cause feelings of agitation and irritability. This can affect a child’s concentration and may lead to destructive behavioural outbursts. Associate Professor in Social Health Sciences at Flinders University Claire Drummond states, “Eating a good breakfast can lead to better academic performance and a higher enjoyment of school. Also, children who regularly skip breakfast are more likely to be disruptive in class or to be absent from school. Repeatedly eating breakfast can lead to children learning to associate feelings of well-being with feeling less hungry. In the long term, eating breakfast affects a child’s health, which in turn will have a positive effect on brain performance.” -

There is now overwhelming evidence proving the positive benefits of eating a healthy breakfast for developing children. Consuming a nutritious breakfast has been shown to create a feeling of fullness for longer and improve cognitive functioning and academic performance. From birth, nutrition plays a vital role in the development of our brains and the way in which we focus and learn. School-age children who don’t eat breakfast are likely to struggle to activate enough energy in the morning to cope with the demands of school, consequently affecting learning and interaction with other students.

THE IMPORTANCE OF QUALITY NUTRITIONAL SOURCES It is not only the food source we are consuming that is important, but also the process that the food has gone through to end up on our plate. What is most important is the quality of the food source. With growing demands for mass production, our food has been altered and manipulated by intensive farming methods to cope with demand. Food that was initially a quality source of protein has been changed to contain more harmful chemicals, pesticides, toxins and fewer nutrients than ever before. We have all been there, reaching for packaged food such as chips, muesli bars, biscuits or roll-ups as a lunchbox snack. The truth is, these items offer little to no vitamins or minerals for your children. Swapping these items for ‘real foods’ as close to their natural state as possible will offer your child a solid foundation for a lifetime of positive food choices. Try out some of the following top tips to ensure you are using good quality nutritional food sources. + Visit a local farmers market and aim to buy local organic produce, which is pesticide and chemical free. A farmers market is a cost-effective way to purchase fresh produce. Spray-free produce is often available if organic is not available or beyond your budget. + Use ‘out of sight, out of mind’ thinking and toss out all the processed packaged snacks in your pantry. Try this for at least two weeks and I guarantee your children will be happy to eat their new fresh food choices. + Offer fresh fruit as a snack option. Utilise fruits that are in season, choosing a variety to keep your child interested.

+ Add fresh vegetable sticks with a side of hummus as a snack. Great choices include carrot, celery, capsicum or cucumber.


+ When it comes to dairy products, look for items that are simple and contain only a few main ingredients with no additives. Great snacks include sliced or cubed cheese or natural yoghurt. Try to avoid yoghurts marketed towards children as these contain large amounts of added sugar and possible additives. + Create snack sections within your pantry and divide them into segments. Dried fruit, nuts and seeds are excellent snack options. Aim for organic where possible. + Dried fruits: Purchase dried fruit that does not include added sugar. Great snacks include apple rings, dates, figs and raisins. + Raw nuts: Go for raw nuts as these do not contain added oil or salt. Great snacks include cashews, almonds, walnuts and macadamias. + Seeds: Great snacks include pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.

HOW DO WE MAKE SURE OUR CHILDREN GET THE BEST START TO THE DAY? Eating habits formed at an early age generally continue into adulthood. Therefore, poor dietary patterns among young children can have direct implications on their lifelong health and well-being. Education begins at home with positive parental influences, and encouragement of a regular and nutritious breakfast prior to school is a great way parents can positively influence their child’s eating habits. In addition to a nutritious breakfast, children also need regular small snacks throughout the day to provide them with energy for growth and concentration. Most primary schools have a short mid-morning break – often called ‘fruit break’ – when students can eat a small healthy fresh snack such as a piece of fruit or vegetable to help them to refuel. Snacks such as this are essential for the brain to develop – to learn, remember, create, solve and to meet the many challenges that children face in school. A first break snack provides energy for a child’s cognitive development and other physical activity. -



A BRAIN BOOST FOR BREAKFAST… Wholegrain bread or organic cereal, fruit, milk, natural yoghurt or eggs are good breakfast options. For children older than two years, low-fat milk or nut milk is a good beverage to include with breakfast. If your child doesn’t enjoy the types of foods generally associated with breakfast, consider serving dinner leftovers or a mix of fresh vegetables that may appeal to them more. Here are a few of my favourite nutritious breakfasts for children and the whole family. TWO-EGG OMELETTE A time saving tip for busy mornings – before bed, cut an array of vegetables and fresh herbs. You can use any vegetables that you have, but one of our favourite omelettes includes basil, broccoli, red capsicum, turmeric, zucchini and carrot. In the morning, simply mix your vegetables and herbs with two whisked eggs, heat one tablespoon of coconut oil in a pan and cook until golden brown. PROTEIN-POWERED SMOOTHIE A smoothie can be a perfect breakfast for children who usually skip breakfast or eat on the run. Blend the following ingredients until smooth. ½ cup nut milk (we love almond) 1 tbsp honey 2 tbsp organic oats 1 large banana 1 cup Greek yoghurt Sprinkle of nutmeg

SUPER MUESLI One batch of this muesli makes roughly 4½ cups. For an extra dose of nutrients, serve with fresh fruit and a dollop of natural yoghurt. 2 cups organic oats ¼ cup flaxseeds ¼ cup chopped walnuts ¼ cup chopped almonds 2 tsp ground cinnamon ⅓ cup fresh orange juice ⅓ cup rice malt syrup ¼ cup coconut sugar 2 tsp coconut oil 1 tsp vanilla extract ¼ cup goji berries ¼ cup dried cranberries Preheat oven to 180°C. Combine oats, flaxseeds, walnuts, almonds and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Combine orange juice, rice malt syrup and sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over a low heat until the sugar dissolves, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and stir in coconut oil and vanilla. Pour heated mixture over oat mixture, stirring to coat.  n a lined baking tray, spread O mixture in a thin layer and bake for 12 minutes, stir mixture, then bake for a further 12 minutes or until golden brown. Spoon mixture into a bowl and mix through goji berries and cranberries. Cool completely before placing into storage containers. The muesli should last for up to seven days in a cool pantry. For breakfast on the run, divide the muesli into smaller containers that are ready to be topped with fruit and natural yoghurt for a quick breakfast.

A BRAIN BOOST FOR FIRST BREAK… Your child’s school may specify what type of food students can bring for their first break snack, however you may like to try some of these quick and easy healthy options. + Fruit skewers – slice banana, strawberries, rockmelon, watermelon and alternate pieces onto a wooden skewer + Veggie sticks with dip – slice carrot, cucumber and red capsicum lengthways and serve with a dollop of hummus + Whole fruit – mandarin, kiwi fruit, strawberries, apple, pear and peaches + Cheese – cheese wheels, diced cheese or cottage cheese with rye crackers + Yoghurt – calcium-enriched soy yoghurt, natural yoghurt and coconut yoghurt + Tofu bites – bite-sized tofu pieces baked with parmesan cheese + Bliss balls – blend dates, almonds, pumpkin seeds, goji berries, cinnamon, coconut oil, sunflower seeds and cacao together until a sticky mixture forms, then roll into bite-sized balls

Belinda Brown is a food and lifestyle coach with qualifications in food coaching and nutrition. Belinda’s passion lies in child nutrition, the role of nutrition in chronic diseases and healthy weight loss; however, she has an array of clients from all walks of life. Belinda’s mission is to inspire and educate people to learn that quality nutritious food can be delicious. For more information on Belinda, visit and

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10 TIPS to add variety to the lunchbox by Justine Simard-Lebrun

Making school lunches can make every day feel like Groundhog Day. Whether you pack the lunchbox at night or in the morning, there never seems to be enough time to create exciting or creative meals and snacks. It’s easy to fall into the ‘quick sandwich’ trap…because it’s easy to make and gets no complaints from the kids. The good news is, variety doesn’t have to be complicated and a little thought and planning can go a long way. If you’ve run out of ideas for making nutritious, interesting lunches for your little ones, here are some easy tips to add more variety.

10 TIPS TO ADD VARIETY TO THE LUNCHBOX: 1. Use leftovers. Cook a little extra for dinner and include leftovers in the lunchbox. Roast meat, roast or steamed vegetables, meatballs, pizza, pasta, quiches, fried rice and fish can be served cold the next day. Alternatively, reheat the dish in the morning and use a hot food container.


2. Rotate the protein. Protein is often considered the main part of the meal, and there are many options here. Use sources of protein such as beef, chicken, turkey, ham, fish (tuna, smoked salmon), eggs, tofu, cheese, beans and legumes in rotation to include a wide variety of foods in your child’s lunchbox and give you a starting point for lunch ideas. -

3. Rotate the fruit and veg. A healthy eater is one who eats a wide variety of fruit and vegetables. The possibilities here are endless! Carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes and cucumber slices are great, but there is so much more on offer. Keep trying different fruit and veggies at home until you know your child will eat them in the lunchbox. Don’t stop at raw veggies – try roast potatoes, pumpkin or beetroot (great as a snack!) or marinated olives and gherkins. 4. Have a no-sandwich day. Pick a day of the week to be a no-sandwich day. If your child is used to sandwiches, one day a week will make a good transition to new lunches. Try a salad (pasta and rice salads are great if your child isn’t yet fond of garden salads), serve leftovers, hard-boiled eggs, a frittata or a nutritious savoury muffin, or a tasting plate (cheese, cold meat, dip, vegetables, etc.) 5. Hot and cold. If you haven’t already, invest in a small hot-food container to double your lunchbox options! Leftovers served hot are particularly nice in the colder months, and your child will feel spoiled with spaghetti, fried rice, a curry or a hearty casserole at lunchtime! 6. Add something new. Rather than preparing something entirely different, simply add an ingredient or two to old favourites. Add a new vegetable to your sandwiches, try a new cheese, add a new spice to your muffins or add seeds or fruit to your salads. 7. Use your freezer. Cooking in batches (when you have a little time up your sleeve) and freezing foods makes lunches easy on those busy mornings! Freeze muffins, meatballs, cooked chicken, bliss balls, frittatas and quiches, some sandwiches and leftovers, and rotate them over a few weeks. Put them in the lunchbox straight from the freezer, or thaw them overnight in the fridge if you need to heat them up in the morning.

"It’s easy to fall into the ‘quick sandwich’ trap…because it’s easy to make and gets no complaints from the kids." 8. Change the combination. We’re creatures of habit and we tend to serve the same winning combinations of food. Ham with cheese, turkey with cranberry sauce, eggs with bacon, sausages with mash potatoes, curry with rice… Don’t be afraid to mix things up! Try sausages with pasta, ham with eggs, turkey with tzatziki, a rice salad, etc. 9. Plan weekly. Writing a weekly lunchbox menu might seem like more work, but spending 10 minutes to think and plan your meals can get your creative juices flowing. It will help you balance your meals throughout the week and think of different combinations. Keep your meal planners in a folder and recycle them in a few weeks or months. 10. Get inspired. For a constant supply of ideas, follow Facebook pages or websites that share lunchbox photos and recipes. Look through your recipe books every so often, or search for new recipes on the Internet. Ask your friends about what they put in their lunchbox. Don’t forget to ask your child too – they may be full of good ideas! Variety is important for a healthy diet, and it’s also an essential part of learning to like new foods. By adding more variety to your child’s lunchbox, you can help them expand their diet and create healthy eating habits. So take little steps to change up the lunchbox every day, but remember to keep it simple… with more variety, your child can eat plenty of nutritious foods to fuel their busy day!

Justine Simard-Lebrun is the founder of Kids Love Good Food and the author of the book Try It You’ll Like It – A parent’s guide to raising healthy, adventurous eaters. As a mother of two and parenting educator with a background in behavioural and nutrition psychology, Justine provides simple, down-to-earth strategies that help parents beat fussy eating and raise children who love good food. -



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Head lice, nits... by Eva




• Keep long hair tied back, especially at school.

• Only apply a treatment when you find live head lice on the head.

• Where possible, keep hair short. • Don’t share brushes or combs. • Avoid sharing pillows. • Wash combs and brushes after each use under hot water (60°C) for 30 seconds. • Check your child’s head regularly with a comb and conditioner.


• Head lice occur in both clean and dirty hair. • Head lice are more common in long hair. • Infestations are two to four times more common in girls. • Head lice spread through head-to-head contact. • Head lice don't always make your head itchy so you need to look closely to find them. • Head lice can't survive for too long off the head. Focus treatment on the hair not the house.

• Always treat everyone who has head lice at the same time. CONDITIONER & COMBING TECHNIQUE This is always the best place to start. The conditioner stuns the little suckers by blocking the holes they breathe through, making it easier to comb them out. What you will need: • white coloured hair conditioner • ordinary comb • fine tooth head lice comb • white tissue or kitchen towel Cover the scalp and hair from root to tip with white conditioner and then use an ordinary comb to detangle the hair and distribute the conditioner. Then divide into four sections. Comb hair from root to tip using a fine tooth head lice comb, wiping the comb onto white tissue after each stroke to check for head lice. Continue over the whole head and dispose of tissues into the rubbish bin. Rinse the hair and dry with a hot blow dryer where possible. Change all bedding, pillowcases and sheets in hot water and dry in a hot dryer for good measure. -



SHAMPOOS, MOUSSES & LOTIONS • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and do not use on children under two years of age. • There are no chemical treatments that will kill all the eggs. • Seven to ten days after the initial treatment a second treatment should be applied to kill the nymphs that have hatched from the remaining eggs. • Do not apply the treatment more than once per week otherwise irritation can occur or the treatment will become ineffective. • If after three weeks head lice are still found, try non-chemical methods until no lice are found. • Eggs are always the most tricky to kill. • The most effective way to remove eggs is to actually pull them off the hair using your fingernails (or tweezers if you don’t have nails). • After five minutes of using the product, examine the tissues and assess the lice as dead (no movement), inactive (louse is stationary but moving legs or antennae) or active (louse moving). If the product is effective, all lice should be dead.

According to Queensland Health, the following ingredients were approved in Australia by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (2003) for use against head lice: • Pyrethrins, eg. Amcal Head Lice Foam, Lyban Foam • Synthetic Pyrethroids (bioallethrin, permethrin), eg. Paralice, Quellada Head Lice Treatment • Organophosphates, eg. Exolice Medicated Foam, Lice Rid • Combinations of Herbal and Essential Oils, eg. Quit Nits Natural Head Lice Treatment, Herba Lice. If live head lice are detected immediately after the end of a treatment, this could be the result of using an ineffective treatment formulation or the lice have become resistant. Try changing to a different formulation with a different active ingredient or try the conditioner & combing technique. Sometimes the reappearance of head lice shortly after successful treatment, could be that head lice have hatched from eggs that survived or there could be re-infestation from another source. It is important to maintain a weekly preventative routine to check for head lice and follow up with treatments.

Courtesy of Queensland Health. For more information, visit


“Get a spray bottle and pour in a decent amount of tea tree oil, say 1/8 full, then top up with warm water. Spray the whole head until it is wet. Wrap in cling wrap or a shower cap for an hour and leave it. Wash out and use your nit comb. You'll find you get plenty of dead or half-dead lice.” “Make up a squirty bottle with 1/2 conditioner and 1/2 water, and add a good splash of tea tree oil (a few drops of clove oil as well if you can get it) and spray it on every day! Even after you've finished treating regularly this is a great preventative.” “I just put vinegar in my daughter’s hair every weekend and comb with a lice comb. It’s the only thing that is working for us. I prefer the vinegar to the conditioner as I find the vinegar dissolves the glue that attaches the nits to the hair better than conditioner – it gets them all out.”

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WHEN YOU’RE RUSHING IN THE MORNING IT’S ALWAYS HARD TO COME UP WITH HAIRSTYLES THAT ARE DIFFERENT TO THE BASIC PONYTAIL OR PLAIT. We’ve done some searching for you and have collated some instructional videos of some creative and fun ‘nit proof’ hairstyles. And a great tip to be doubly protected from these critters is to spray hairspray over the hair.



An easy style to achieve and one that keeps the hair nice and secure.

Braiding can scare most people away but this style is really very simple once you watch the video.



If you’re not a fan of plaiting or braiding, a simple twist makes this bun a bit different.

All girls just wanna have fun, right? Well this hairstyle is fun and great for preventing nits too! -



Avoid Back-breaking School Bags by Australian Physiotherapy Association

As well as encouraging parents to look for ways to incorporate physical activity into their child’s school days, the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) cautions parents on the importance of buying safe school backpacks for their kids. APA physiotherapists recommend schoolchildren should wear a backpack that weighs no more than 10% of a child’s body weight, yet research on back problems in children aged 12–17 years found 61% carried more than 10% of their body weight on their backs on a daily basis. “Far too many students are carrying around very heavy weights on their back – particularly those in high school,” APA National President Marcus Dripps said. “We know an overloaded or incorrectly-worn backpack can be a major source of chronic strain and can cause shoulder, neck and back pain in children. “Stress put on the spine can cause your child to lean too far forward and experience distortion of the natural curve, rolling their shoulders and causing a more rounded upper-back. Neck and shoulder pain can also develop from wearing a bag on one shoulder, or a bag with straps that are too thin that dig into the shoulder muscles and strain the neck,” Mr Dripps said. The APA has also said 2015 is the year to move more and sit less to combat the issue of childhood obesity. “Around a quarter of all children aged 2–16 are overweight or obese and this statistic continues to rise,” Mr Dripps said. “Parents play a vital role in nurturing their children’s attitudes towards physical activity. If you’re active yourself and incorporate it as part of your every family life, it will be easier for your child to follow your lead. Walking with your children to school or positively encouraging your children to get involved in school or extracurricular activities they like can help to keep them active. It will manage weight gain, while also helping to build and maintain a strong spine.”


KEY TIPS TO REMEMBER: • Wear backpack load close to the spine – pack the heaviest items nearest to your child’s back. • Children must wear both straps at all times. • Backpacks should always weigh less than 10% of your child’s body weight. • Ensure your child is carrying only what they need – encourage your child to be organised and check their timetable when packing their bag for school. • To decrease the load your child should have separate folders for each subject so that they can only bring home what they need for their homework. • Encourage your child to be physically active – walking to school every day has many benefits for you, your children and your community. • Parents should contact a physiotherapist if they are concerned about their child’s posture, back health or obesity and weight management related conditions. Paediatric physiotherapists have particular expertise in this area.

FIVE THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN CHOOSING A BACKPACK: • Shoulder straps should be wide, comfortable and sit well on the shoulder. • Waist and chest straps will help transfer some of the load to the hips and pelvis. • A padded back-support will allow the pack to fit ‘snugly’ on the back. • The backpack must fit the child. Don’t buy a big pack to ‘grow’ into. When sitting with the backpack on, the pack should not extend higher than the child’s shoulders. • Look for a backpack that carries an endorsement from a professional health organisation. For more information, visit http://www.physiotherapy. - -


tie their shoelaces HEAD TO TOE


YOU’LL NEED: • 1 pair of lace up shoes • 1 thick piece of cardboard • A felt tip pen (or a printer) • Sticky tape • Scissors • Velcro dots (heavy duty) • Super glue

MAKING LABELS • Write (or print labels) with ‘Left’ and ‘Right’ and secure them to the cardboard as shown in the image.

PREPARING THE SHOES • Secure some heavy duty velcro dots to the card using super glue. • Secure some heavy duty Velcro dots to the bottom of each shoe using super glue. • Make sure the velcro dots are in the same place for the left and right shoe. This allows the child to accidentally put the wrong shoe on the wrong side. Note: Even if you use sticky velcro, still secure it with the super glue because the sticky velcro is not strong enough to secure the shoe and will come off when your child is removing the shoe. NEXT, PRINT OUT THE FOLLOWING SONG RHYME AND ATTACH IT TO THE TOP OF THE CARD WITH STICKY TAPE SO YOUR CHILD CAN SING ALONG WHEN TYING THEIR LACES.



Stick to cardboard

110 -

Print out!

The ‘Tie Your Shoes’ Rhyme Sing to the tune of Hokey Pokey

You make the first bunny ear You make the second bunny ear You make a cross & fold one back & out the hole he pops You pull it really hard & you could cross it over again And now you're wearing shoes & socks! -




education BOOKS AND APPS WE LOVE NURTURING INTELLIGENCE: HOW TO ENCOURAGE LEARNING AND DEVELOP CAPACITY Alison Willis, PhD, Balboa Press, RRP $24.45 Review by Eva Lewis Recommended age: Parents With so much pressure on parents today concerning their children’s development, the latest research that Alison Willis, PhD has presented in Nurturing Intelligence: How to Encourage Learning and Develop Capacity is refreshing for any parent looking to better understand and support their child’s learning ability. Navigating the world of childhood intelligence and learning is daunting but Alison, an educational researcher, university lecturer, classroom teacher and mother from the Sunshine Coast, brings simplicity to the seeming complexity. The book is an easy read at 59 pages, great for busy parents, but even so, it is hugely valuable and explains concepts in a way that parents can turn into tools to help their child learn more effectively. The explanation of fixed and growth mindsets in children and what it means for a child to live a fulfilling and contented life was one of the many enlightening topics discussed. In fact, the book made sense of my own childhood learning and development and gives great explanation into how I became the person I am now. With so much focus on systems and grades these days, this book offered different perspectives that I had not yet considered and it has increased my


confidence on the topics of intelligence, learning and education, especially with a child soon to attend school. With topics on environment, mindsets, creativity, experience, esteem and more, I’ve learnt so much more than I expected and am really looking forward to putting it into practice with my son. I’ll leave you with one of the many thought-provoking quotes throughout Alison’s book... “Creativity can be described as imaginative processes that lead to original outcomes that have value.” – Sir Ken Robinson

JESSICA’S BOX Peter Carnavas, New Frontier, RRP $24.99 Review by Renee Wilson Recommended age: 3 – 6 years The night before her first day of school, Jessica cannot sleep. Lying in bed staring at the moon, her mind races with thoughts of tomorrow. When tomorrow finally arrives, she sets off to school with confidence eager to make plenty of friends. She arms herself with a large cardboard box with something special inside which she is certain will help her win over the kids at school. Except it doesn’t. They laugh or walk away leaving Jessica in despair. The second day she tries something new inside her cardboard box and the third, each with disastrous results. Just as she’s on the verge of giving up, she realises quite by accident that she doesn’t need a cardboard box, a teddy bear, cupcakes or a puppy to -


make people like her, she only needs herself. Jessica’s Box is a heartwarming tale teaching children the value of self-confidence and the importance of trusting in yourself and being true to yourself. The narrative and illustrations complement each other beautifully making this a heartfelt, sometimes sad and sometimes funny read. Originally published in 2008, the Cerebral Palsy Alliance released a new edition of Jessica’s Box with Jessica depicted in a wheelchair.

her education with an ‘unschooling’ approach. Mariah has worked in the field of education for over a decade. She has taught in the classroom, developed curriculum in many different subject areas, trained teachers, and raised two daughters. This book would be a great read for a parent who is thinking about homeschooling or a parent who desires to encourage a love for learning in their child. It gives confidence to natural discovery and curiosity while providing solid ideas on how to guide those moments to their best advantage.

This book is the perfect conversation starter with children soon to start school or kindergarten. While Jessica’s wheelchair is not referred to in the book, it opens up the opportunity to discuss disability and diversity with your child.



Reduce the stress of studying maths and help your child with their homework, following this simple visual guide which will demystify the subject for everyone.

Mariah Bruehl, Random House, RRP $32.99 Recommended ages: Parents Playful learning is the magic that takes place when we combine a child’s sense of joy and wonder with thoughtfully planned learning experiences. Through easy-to-implement, hands-on projects, you can engage your child in fun and creative ways that encourage learning and impart the joy of discovery. With a little bit of information and forethought, you can play a pivotal role in the cognitive and creative development of your child. Mariah Bruehl writes from the perspective of a mother whose child goes to school, but supplements

Dorling Kindersley, RRP $29.95 Recommended ages: 9 years +

Using clear, accessible pictures, diagrams and easyto-follow step-by-steps – and covering everything from basic numeracy to more challenging subjects like statistics and algebra –- you'll learn to approach even the most complex maths problems with confidence. The guide includes a glossary of key maths terms and symbols. The perfect guide for every frustrated parent and desperate child, who wants to understand maths and put it into practice. Recommended for mathematics tackled in Australian schools between the ages of 9 and 16, it is an essential addition to the home library. -



ANY QUESTIONS? Marie-Louise Gay, Allen & Unwin, RRP $19.99 Recommended ages: 6 years + “Sometimes a story starts with words or ideas floating out of nowhere. Some words are captured and written down…while others get thrown out or carefully put away in a drawer for future use. Until slowly, slowly, a story emerges…” Many children want to know where stories come from and how a book is made. Marie-Louise Gay's new picture book provides them with some delightfully inspiring answers in a fictional encounter between an author and some very curious children, who collaborate on writing and illustrating a story.

The interesting point about this story is though it focuses on a positive message for our youngest school goers it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. It includes lists such as ‘things we need for school’ and ‘things we can eat at school’. Beautifully crafted by Jane Goodwin and with illustrations by Anna Walker that bring out the nervous excitement of the first day of school, this is a wonderful resource for Prep classrooms and a must have for families preparing their children for this next step.

Any Questions is a creative and unique read about how basic ideas can transform into stories. It will entertain all who read it and perhaps inspire some young writers to being their own creative journey.



Are germs gross, or great? Simon is going to have the best week ever. Who cares if he has a cold? He goes to school anyway, sneezes everywhere, coughs on everyone and touches everything. This hilarious picture book has a very clear message about keeping sickness at bay. From the author-illustrator of The Great Lollipop Caper, Dan Krall’s fabulous illustrations shine, especially Sick Simon’s gooey green gloop!

Jane Godwin, Penguin Australia, RRP $24.99 Recommended ages: 4 – 6 years Tim, Hannah, Sunita, Joe and Polly are all off to school for the first time. There are new friends to make, fun ways to learn, and lots of different things to discover. From Jane Godwin and Anna Walker comes this beautifully illustrated and told picture book that focuses on the feelings and experiences of starting


school. Many children feel can feel anxious about this new step in their life, Starting School may help to calm those nerves and encourage discussion about topics such as making new friends, school rules and routines and remembering new names.

Dan Krall, Simon & Schuster, RRP $21.00 Recommended ages: 4 – 8 years -



Coming late May 2015 to the AppStore for iPad, iPad Mini

iPad, coming soon to Android, Free

LessonBuzz is a high quality, high impact English literacy app designed to engage children aged 4 to 13 years via self-motivated learning. The app encourages a child’s development by identifying their functioning work level and building on their strengths. LessonBuzz targets common learning needs and encourages individualised development in areas such as general knowledge, writing, comprehension, language and spelling skills.

MWorld is an exciting, innovative educational app for children. Authored by brilliant academics from Monash University, MWorld lets your child turn their screen time into a journey of discovery, a priceless blend of fun and learning aimed at curious minds aged 8 to 12. Spread across 10 subject areas and 50 titles, MWorld’s content is unrivalled for depth and richness. Inspire your child's natural curiosity and help them learn about the amazing world we live in. From the mysteries of outer space to the depths of the ocean, from the marvels of ancient civilisations to the delights of language and culture. MWorld lets you explore the world in all its glory through a series of spectacular multimedia titles. Explore, earn points and compete with your friends, in class or at home.

LessonBuzz creator Marie Cullen has 35 years teaching experience and is committed to encouraging each child’s aptitude for learning. “In many cases, there is a discrepancy between a child’s class level and their functioning work level,” says Mrs Cullen. “LessonBuzz has been created on the premise that education is not ‘one size fits all’. Using LessonBuzz, parents can identify their child’s work level and start them on modules which allows kids to reach their potential. They can also track their child’s progress.”

Some other great reads and apps you and your kids might like to check out… -




MEET JULES SEBASTIAN Official ambassador for PlayKids in Australia

by Eva Lewis

JULES SEBASTIAN (GUY SEBASTIAN’S MULTI-TALENTED WIFE) HAS JUST BEEN ANNOUNCED AS THE OFFICIAL AMBASSADOR FOR PLAYKIDS IN AUSTRALIA – THE WORLD’S LEADING EDUCATIONAL ENTERTAINMENT HUB FOR PRE-SCHOOLERS AND WE WERE LUCKY ENOUGH TO INTERVIEW HER! But first, what is PlayKids? It’s a one-stop app destination offering a huge range of educational games, books, lullabies and the hottest kids TV shows, which can be viewed offline once you download it. The PlayKids app offers ageappropriate, educational and trusted content; it’s an app that provides peace of mind for parents because they can control what their children see. The app has so many educational benefits and encourages children to explore and learn colours, sounds, shapes and more in a safe and playful environment. Jules is a super busy mum, she’s been involved with Fashion Week, working on her ‘Tea With Jules’ YouTube series and is about to join Guy for Eurovision, all with her two young children in tow. Given Jules’ busy schedule, she is passionate about the safe use of technology for her children and


finding the right age-appropriate and educational content, which is why we were so keen to interview her about her involvement with the PlayKids app. WHY DID YOU BECOME INVOLVED WITH PLAYKIDS AUSTRALIA? I really liked the fact that the app was educational and entertaining. The app has lots of things for kids to learn like colours, shapes and music. My 3-yearold, Hudson, loves to put his toys away into the box on the app – can’t complain about that! It also has some great kids shows like The Wiggles, Olive the Ostrich, Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom and Sesame Street. This provides a safe place for him to watch shows that are targeted to his age group. It’s great for those times when I need to have a shower, when we’re travelling or when I just need a minute of peace and quiet! -

AS A BUSY MUM, WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE ASPECT OF THE PLAYKIDS APP? I like to know that when Hudson is playing on the app there are a variety of things for him to do on there and that he is learning things too. I would not want him to be playing with games and apps if it was purely for entertainment the whole time. It gives me peace of mind to know that when he is on there, he is stimulated enough to stay on there as I know it is a safe place for him to play. WITH THE RISING CONCERN OF THE IMPACT OF TECHNOLOGY ON KIDS AND TOO MUCH SCREEN TIME, HOW DO YOU FEEL THIS APP IS DIFFERENT AND HOW DOES IT BENEFIT YOUR CHILDREN? I think as a parent you have to decide boundaries and time limits on your kids being involved in technology. As I mentioned, I will always choose being out and about and outside over being indoors on the iPad, but for those moments when you need some quiet and still, apps are a great way to find it. I think it is important to know there is an educational element to the app and I always play on the app myself to see exactly what is on there and that it won’t lead them to something I don’t approve of. I have Hudson sitting next to me or close to me so I can monitor what he is playing. Just be aware and across whatever they are doing. Encourage playing with toys and reading books too – let them use their imaginations!

HOW DO YOU ADAPT THE USAGE OF THE PLAYKIDS APP INTO YOUR BUSY ROUTINE? Having two little boys is pretty crazy around our parts, so I do like to get them out of the house to burn their energy, but for those ‘life’ moments when I’m getting ready or making dinner, or need to send an email or two, it is a great way to get Hudson (Archie is only one so he hasn’t quite progressed into technology yet) to sit still and in one place where I can keep an eye on him. It is also so great for when we travel. Kids and planes are not a great combination, so it is great to know that he can be happily entertained for the extent of a flight. LASTLY, WHAT DO YOUR KIDS LOVE MOST ABOUT THE APP? Hudson loves the music element of the app. He bashes out some tunes on the piano and gets really into it. He really likes the matching game and the learn to draw section too. It is a really well rounded educational tool. There is also a stories section where it is narrated and turns the pages on some of the classics like Goldilocks and the Three Bears and The Three Little Pigs – he really loves those too. Learn more about the app at iTunes for Apple devices – Google Play for Android devices – apps/details?id=com.movile.playkids -


OPEN DAY Calendar




53 Ward Street, Indooroopilly, 4068

303A Broadwater Road, Mansfield, 4122

109 Golda Avenue, Salisbury, 4107

(07) 3870 7225

(07) 3347 6444

(07) 3719 3111


Open day date

School Open Days and School tours are opportunities for parents to enjoy a tour of our facilities and see what we can offer with regards to your child's education.


Prep Tours are held each Term for parents of prospective Preppies. Come and see our wonderful Prep facilities and school grounds. Tours start at 10am from the Administration Office. Please book for a Prep tour on 3347 6444.

Thursday, 11 June: 6.30pm–8pm

Sunday, 17 May: 10am–1pm. Enjoy performances, displays and information while you discover the benefits of an all girls’ secondary education.

Secondary Info Night is an information session for parents of children in Years 5 and 6 This year our evening will be held on 28 May.


Open day date Open Evening – Open Morning – Thursday, 27 August: 9am–11am Open Morning – Thursday, 5 November: 9am–11am www.brisbanechristiancollege. -

Add these dates to your calendar!




161 Dennis Road, Springwood, 4127

Old Logan Village Road, Waterford, 4133

23 Gregory Street, Clayfield, 4011


(07) 3299 0888

559 Beenleigh Redland Bay Road, Carbrook, 4130

Open day date

Open day date

Term 2 Open Day: Tuesday, 26 May: 4:30pm–6:00pm

Tuesday, 16 June

(07) 3808 8368

Open day dates 30 July at Springwood: 9am 31 July at Carbrook: 9am 2 September at Carbrook: 9am 3 September at Springwood: 9am 27 October at Carbrook: 5pm 29 October at Springwood: 5pm

Term 3 Open Day: Wednesday, 19 August 4:30pm– 6:30pm

Thursday, 13 August Thursday, 15 October

Term 4 Open Day: Wednesday, 14 October: 8:00am–10:00am Canterbury Events Centre – Enter via High Road -


OPEN DAY Calendar

FAITH LUTHERAN COLLEGE, REDLANDS 132 Link Road, Victoria Point, 4165

GOOD SHEPHERD LUTHERAN COLLEGE NOOSA 115 Eumundi Road, Noosaville, Qld 4566

and 1-15 Beveridge Road, Thornlands, 4164

(07) 5455 8600

(07) 3820 5200

Open day date

Tuesday, 26 May: 9.00am– 10.30am and 3.30pm–5.00pm

GRACE LUTHERAN COLLEGE Anzac Avenue, Rothwell, 4022 and 129 Toohey Street, Caboolture, 4510 (07) 3203 0066

Open day date

Open day date

Faith FunFest: 23 May

Sunday, 31 May: 1pm–4pm

August Open Day: 27 August

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Add these dates to your calendar!



126-142 Wises Road, Buderim, 4556 (07) 5477 3444

Corner of Queen Victoria Parade and Chermside Road, East Ipswich, 4305

(07) 3454 4547

Open day date Thursday, 4 June: 9.30am–11.30am

Open day date Thursday, 13 August BookingEventSummary. aspx?eid=74838

JOHN PAUL COLLEGE John Paul Drive, Daisy Hill, 4127 (07) 3826 3333

Open day date Tuesday, 26 May: From 9am Saturday, 22 August: 9am–12pm (Open Day Saturday Home Games and Performances) Wednesday, 14 October: 6.30pm–8.30pm (Open Day and Prep Information Evening) -


OPEN DAY Calendar

MONTESSORI INTERNATIONAL COLLEGE 880 Maroochydore Road, (Entrance on Stark Lane), Forest Glen, 4556 (07) 5442 3807

Open day date



302 Manly Road, Manly West, 4179

82 Cremorne Road, Kedron, 4034

(07) 3906 9444

(07) 3357 6000

Open day date

Open day date

Saturday, 22 August

Sunday, 17 May: 10am–1pm

Thursday, 28 May: 8.45am–10.30am Parents of children aged 0-5yrs only.

MORETON BAY COLLEGE 450 Wondall Road, Manly West, 4179 (07) 3390 8555

Open day date Friday, 21 August

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Add these dates to your calendar!




2 McKenzie Road, Woombye Qld 4559

20 Cooroy-Belli Creek Road, Cooroy QLD 4563

4 Lamond Cres, Coloundra, 4551

(07) 5451 3333

(07) 5447 7808

1300 173 848

Open day date

Open day date

Open day date

Friday, 29 May: 1pm–6pm

Thursday, 28 May: 9.30–10.30am and 4.30–6.30pm

Saturday, 30 May: 11am–2pm

Two sessions, one in the morning from 9.30-10.30 for parents who would like to see our Prep-Year 12 classes in action. In the early evening from 4.30-6.30pm we will also have guided tours with interactive displays, a sausage sizzle with light refreshments and live music. No bookings are necessary, but please phone their office if you would like further information or to obtain an enrolment package. -


OPEN DAY Calendar


ST PAUL'S SCHOOL 34 Strathpine Road, Bald Hills, 4036


(07) 3261 1388

372 Mons Road, Forest Glen, 4556

(07) 3480 3600

(07) 5445 4444

307 Scarborough Road, Scarborough, 4020

Open day date Tuesday, 21 July: 9:00am–10:15am

Open day date Sunday, 26 July: 10am–1pm

RSVP for the tours to our School Registrar, either by email:


Open day date Wednesday, 12 August: 10am or phone: 07 3261 0122

Add these dates to your calendar! 124 -

2015 school calendar Queensland state schools DEC 2014








1 2 3

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

6 7 8 9 10

8 9 10 11 12 13 14

8 9 10 11 12 13 14

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13



14 15 16 17 18 19 20

11 12 13 14 15 16 17

15 16 17 18 19 20 21

15 16 17 18 19 20 21

21 22 23 24 25 26 27

18 19 20 21 22 23 24

22 23 24 25 26 27 28

22 23 24 25 26 27 28

28 29 30 31

25 26 27 28 29 30 31


29 30 31


S M T W T F S 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

S M T W T F S 31





1 2

1 2 3 4 5 6

1 2 3 4

3 4 5 6 7 8 9

7 8 9 10 11 12 13

5 6 7 8 9 10 11

12 13 14 15 16 17 18

10 11 12 13 14 15 16

14 15 16 17 18 19 20

12 13 14 15 16 17 18

19 20 21 22 23 24 25

17 18 19 20 21 22 23

21 22 23 24 25 26 27

19 20 21 22 23 24 25

26 27 28 29 30

24 25 26 27 28 29 30

28 29 30

26 27 28 29 30 31









30 31


1 2 3 4 5

1 2 3

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

2 3 4 5 6 7 8

6 7 8 9 10 11 12

4 5 6 7 8 9 10

8 9 10 11 12 13 14

9 10 11 12 13 14 15

13 14 15 16 17 18 19

11 12 13 14 15 16 17

15 16 17 18 19 20 21

16 17 18 19 20 21 22

20 21 22 23 24 25 26

18 19 20 21 22 23 24

22 23 24 25 26 27 28

23 24 25 26 27 28 29

27 28 29 30

25 26 27 28 29 30 31

29 30


JAN 2016



1 2 3 4 5


1 2

6 7 8 9 10 11 12

3 4 5 6 7 8 9

13 14 15 16 17 18 19

10 11 12 13 14 15 16

20 21 22 23 24 25 26

17 18 19 20 21 22 23

27 28 29 30 31

24 25 26 27 28 29 30

There are 195 school days in 2015. Semester 1 2015 commences for teachers on January 22 and for students on January 27.

STAFF PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT DAYS Staff professional development days for teachers are January 22 and 23, and October 19, with three additional flexible days. Schools are able to decide when their flexible days will be held, as long as they are in the school holidays or out-of-school hours.

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS Public holidays are set by the Industrial Relations Minister. Public holidays for a local show are not shown due to diversity of dates across the state.

For more information and the latest version of this calendar, visit

School holidays Public holidays Flexible staff professional development days Staff professional development days School terms FINAL DATES FOR STUDENT ATTENDANCE November 20 is the final date for Year 12 attendance for receipt of a Senior Statement. November 27 is the final date for student attendance in years 10 and 11. Some schools in regional, rural and remote areas will close for the Summer holidays on December 4. All other state primary, secondary and special schools will close on December 11. In 2016, all state schools will re-open for students on January 25. The information in this calendar was correct at the time of publication (August 2014) but may be subject to change.

- on the coast

- in the city Published by Mother Goose Media -

Education Guide 2015  
Education Guide 2015  

Kids on the Coast & Kids in the City Magazines. Education Guide 2015. We’re excited to present South East Queensland’s ultimate guide to edu...