Dear families,

The first week of school was a mixture of learning conversations for reception parents, and children getting back into the school routine. Pleasingly both went well. It was excellent to speak with so many of you last week and it has been a very positive start to the year. Atticus enjoyed the many parents and children who welcomed him and gave him a pat.

Last week we held a short assembly to welcome new students and allow some practice for those who have not experienced many or indeed any assemblies. We welcomed Jessie Plisko who is teaching year 3 and comes from Wilson Primary School. Regular assemblies are here again and you are welcome to attend.

This time at the beginning of the year, also gives us an opportunity to monitor classroom and yard behaviours with a particular focus on children making and keeping friends.  This is both at school and OSHC. We expect all children to follow the value of respect whether at school or in OSHC.

The yard is always a different social experience than in the classroom and for the most part goes well. Our classes have been very settled in the first week and have set the standard for the remainder of the year. The yard has been a place where we have noticed a small number of children at different year levels from years 3-6 begin the term engaging in play that is rougher than we can accept. The aim is to keep all children safe and socially engaged with friends in appropriate ways. Our reception to year 2 students appear to be playing really well at break times.

We know that play is an essential part of a child’s development in school settings for several reasons as play allows children to explore and understand the world around them. Through imaginative play, they can learn problem-solving skills and develop their creativity. Also, play promotes social interaction and collaboration among peers. It helps children build relationships, learn communication skills, and develop empathy. Additionally, play improves physical health and enhances motor skills through activities like running, jumping, and climbing which is why we have the types of play equipment that we do. Furthermore, play provides an outlet for self-expression, allowing children to express their emotions, frustrations, and imaginations in a safe and constructive manner. Ultimately, play in a school fosters overall growth, enabling children to learn, develop, and have fun simultaneously.

However, when play becomes too rough, it carries a risk of injury, reinforces aggression, excludes some children, and disrupts learning. It is crucial for teachers and parents to monitor and guide children’s play but not accept play that is overly rough. Together we have to ensure that it remains in balance, promoting healthy development without compromising safety or classroom cohesion.

We are reminding children this week of their responsibilities when playing at break times and teachers will carry out a focus on how to manage the recess and lunch times productively. Of course most children are not involved in rough play, but we do not want it to spread. The values that we recognise are important at school, respect, care and community will form the foundation for this work.

To support us in this, it would be appreciated if as a parent of a year 3,4,5 or 6 child, you could have a chat (positively) with your child(ren) about the values in relation to playtime as well. Even if your child is not directly involved it is an opportunity to share about play experiences and how to make and keep friends during this period of the day.

Our teachers, SSO’s, Parent Network and OSHC staff are looking forward to our upcoming Acquaintance Evening on Tuesday. ┬áThe sausage sizzle is a great way to cater for tea for the family and we have Parent Network managing this plus staff cooking the BBQ. Drinks will be for sale but are very well priced. School Sport and OSHC will have tables with people there to answer any questions that you may have. Angela Burrows will be in the front office and is available for any parents to ask finance questions or to just have a chat. Our specialist teachers will be in their rooms and hope that you drop in. Leadership will be out and about during this time.

Questions are often raised at this time of the year about pupil free days scheduled throughout the year. Until they have all been approved by Governing Council, I can only share that the first pupil free day is not until term 2. We felt that it would be more beneficial to wait till term 2. As soon possible, I will share these dates with you.

Thank you for being a part of the great start to 2024.

Kind regards,

Steve Freeman