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NEWS

IN BRIEF

Storytime all over By Jed Lanyon Chum Creek Primary School was one of the 9890 locations who shared a reading of Alpacas with Maracas as part of National Simultaneous Storytime on Wednesday 22 May. The school invited Natalie Kerst from Big Bouquet alpaca farm in Healesville to read this year's chosen book to their students. At 11am, everyone participating in the National Simultaneous Storytime read Alpacas with Maracas. The Australian Library and Information Association said that over one million people took part in this year's reading across Australia and New Zealand. Ms Hosking said that Chum Creek Primary School had participated in the yearly reading for seven years and that they always aim to get the community involved in the event. "Each year, depending on the theme of the book, we try to ask someone from the Healesville community to read. We've had the CFA, we've had bus drivers and the police," she said. "It depends on what the book is, one year it was about a cow, so we asked a local farmer to come and read and he brought his cow too." Ms Hosking said that inviting people in to read to the school can be an intimidating task and that some years they struggled to find a relevant reader, but this wasn't the case with Ms Kerst from Big Bouquet. "Im one of the tour guides at the Big Bouquet so talking to groups of people is something I do on a daily basis," she said. "I've also got two little kids myself who are pretty tough critics, so this batch of kids was pretty easy." Several senior students travelled to the alpaca farm to learn more about the animal,

Natalie Kerst read Alpacas with Maracas to Chum Creek Primary School students. Picture: JED LANYON while documenting their experience to show other students via video. "A lot of our kids here knew nothing about alpacas and we couldn't all go to the alpaca farm, so we thought this was an easy way to teach them a little bit about alpacas," Ms Hosking said. Chum Creek Primary School doesn't just take part in the reading, but made the entire school day to be alpaca themed.

"The playgroup children made alpaca faces, and then we do Auslan, so we're going to be looking at the story and learning and watching how interpreters do that story in sign language," Ms Hosking said. "And then in other classes they are going to be making some alpaca puppets." National Simultaneous Storytime aims to promote the value of reading and literacy as well as the value and fun of books to schoolchildren.

Students mentored for film projects By Jed Lanyon Ranges Academy of Performing Arts (RAPA) is working with Healesville High School students to create their own film projects to be shown at the Belgrave Cameo for the Lantern and Light International Children's Film Festival on 20-23 June. The film festival is expected to feature 200 students from 25 schools who will put forward short films that will be selected and screened with prestigious awards given to the best film in various categories. Healesville High School's year 10 media students have taken on the project by using an old school building now dubbed the 'Arts Factory', where they have the creative freedom to build any movie set they like for their project. Some students created bedrooms and other home settings, while others went for a darker theme turning the school's photography darkroom into the set of a horror movie. Media teacher and director of curriculum Tanya Ryder-Barnes said, "They have no limitations; they could literally choose any kind of

narrative, any kind of style, which initially was quite challenging because they had to come together and agree with each other." Executive director of RAPA Rainsford Towner has been mentoring the students on their short films throughout the term. "He's sat with them and given them a lot of thoughtful time with their scripting, storyboards and given them some ideas. He also ran a workshop with them showing them how to be on camera," Ms Ryder-Barnes said. Even though Ms Ryder-Barnes had previously worked in the media industry for the BBC in London, she said that it has been important for the students to hear a different voice from the industry and one that they do not hear on a daily basis as a teacher. "One group put green paper around the windows of my car and then we filmed them in it and now we can put moving images on the windows by using the green screen function. "It's improving their editing skills and it has them overcoming certain obstacles because obviously they are too young to drive and nor would I let them drive my car," Ms

Ryder-Barnes said. Mr Towner said he believed it's important to use this film festival to give young people a voice. "The more we look at the political world we're living in. The more important it becomes, in my view that these kids are talking about their future and filmmaking can do that more so than other things. "The students are so engaged, their faces are lit up, they're passionate and their conviction is beautiful," he said. "I know for a fact that they'll never forget this moment in their lives, at this school, when they made a movie. "You know how you remember back to your school days and for most of us it's filled with negative memories, but amongst that you have those positive memories of school life? "This is one of those positive memories of what they achieved in their school environment in their school life," Mr Towner said. For more information on the Lantern and Light International Children's Film Festival, visit https://llicff.org.au/

Research shows high risk taking behaviour for rural drivers The Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF) is imploring regional Victorian drivers to choose road safety, with admissions of risky road behaviour significantly higher amongst rural road users compared to city drivers. New research has put the spotlight on the dangerous behaviours of regional drivers and the need for further education. Released by the Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF) in the lead up to Fatality Free Friday on 31 May, the research reveals that having children in the car is still not a deterrent for the region's drivers taking risks on the road. 45 per cent of regional Victorian parents admitted to breaking road laws or undertaking risky behaviour when their own children are in the car, compared to just 26 per cent of Melbourne drivers. One third of regional Victorian drivers admitted to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, while one in four admit to speeding on a regular basis. ARSF founder and CEO Russell White urged rural road users to reconsider their behaviour when driving. "While parents are most guilty of bad behaviour with children in the car, the majority of rural drivers seem to believe it is acceptable to take even greater risks if it's just themselves in the car," Mr White said. "The research shows that when we're driving alone, the likelihood of taking a risk increases by roughly 20 per cent, with men more likely than women to take risks on the road. Road users can #ChooseRoadSafety and demonstrate their commitment to reducing the nation's road toll by taking the pledge by visiting https://arsf.com.au/take-the-pledge/

Cash for community Several Yarra Ranges groups are welcoming grants to boost equipment and skills. The Belgrave and Seville junior football clubs, 1st Kallista Scout Group, Sherbrooke Archers, Monbulk Bowling Club and South Belgrave Football Club were among 386 grassroots sports clubs across Victoria to share in more than $530,000. Monbulk MP James Merlino on Thursday 23 May announced the clubs had successfully applied for funding in round two of the State Government's 2018-'19 Sporting Club Grants Program. The grants provide clubs up to $1000 for new uniforms and equipment, up to $2000 to train coaches, officials and volunteers, and up to $5000 to improve operational effectiveness. The Belgrave and Seville juniors will use their grant money for uniforms. The 1st Kallista Scout Group, Monbulk Bowling Club and the Sherbrooke Archers will buy equipment. The South Belgrave Football Club will conduct committee effectiveness training. "The Sporting Club Grants Program is giving grassroots sports clubs in Monbulk the support they need to grow their ranks and help more people than ever play the sports they love," Mr Merlino said.

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