This term has already seen a number of changes in the weather.  This week it looks like it will start being very cold.  I am always amazed at the number of children who come to school in this weather as if it were summer.  I know that often parents struggle getting a child to wear a jumper and long pants to school but it is a wise thing to pursue.  We see children who are quite cold even though they won’t admit it.  It also seems to exacerbate the winter sniffles and colds that abound at this time.

On Saturday at the Showdown we saw a great battle between AFL teams.  However, nothing like the battle that little Finlay Naylor is going through.  It was a delight to see him present Taylor Walker with the Showdown Medal. We all wish Finlay the best on September 19th in St Louis when he undergoes the surgery so long waited for. We will be thinking of the entire Naylor family as well at this time.

Recently on the Woodend Parent’s Group Facebook page, there was a conversation about the play areas around the school. I wanted to reprint two comments that I made in this forum as I know that not everyone is a member.

At this stage the ‘middle’ playground is planned to remain for 2018 and 2019. I do understand that it is well used and we are seeking to replace it with other play equipment during the building phase. The playground equipment itself has originated from several suppliers over the years, and apparently from a working bee or two. It has been there from near to the inception of the school. Consequently it doesn’t meet current standards and so has to be removed at some time regardless of the building taking place. The challenge will be where to place new equipment. One proposal is to place it near to the flagpole area. Another is to consider placing some equipment outside of the school fence in order to make it accessible to the community as well.

The children will also be asked to give their thoughts as to what they would like to see in a play area and possible locations around the school. I am aware that this end of Sheidow Park is not well resourced as far as playgrounds are concerned so consideration will certainly be given to supplementing what is already next to the oval (but outside of existing fencing). The children love the oval Nature Play areas and they get used a lot, so it may be possible to extend that concept as well over time.

This week our annual Parent Opinion Survey will be sent home to families. Please give some time to filling out this short survey, as it gives us good feedback from which to determine the best way to keep improving our great school.

The Japanese Trip is only 33 days away.  We leave on 8th September for the home stay visit to Myojo Gakuen Elementary School near to Tokyo. This is an experience that is unique in that very few South Australian Primary Schools offer such an experience.  When in Myojo, students will practice their Japanese language, work in classrooms with Japanese speaking students, present a short activity for their host class and experience life with a traditional Japanese family.  These are experiences that can only occur through a school.  Sarah Vinall is the key organiser and has devoted much of her own time to ensuring everything is well prepared.

If you are considering this opportunity for your child in the future, speak with Sarah Vinall or myself at any stage.  Costs are a key factor and we have been able to maintain a cost of $3,000 which covers all associated expenses. This is equal to approximately one large take away coffee per day for roughly 20 months. Not bad for a one off lifetime experience with a possibility of leading to a desire to study Japanese further. If taken through to SACE or IB Diploma, studying a language in year 12 has the potential to attract selection rank bonus points (formally known as ATAR) for entry into either Adelaide or Flinders University.

Kind regards,

Steve Freeman