One of the roles I hold is the Independent Schools’ Representative for Queensland on the Australian Primary Principals’ Association. This association has representation from the State, Catholic and Independent Sector in every state and we meet every 12 weeks to discuss issues from a federal perspective in relation to Australian Primary Schools. Issues which come up at most meetings are NAPLAN and its relevance, NAPLAN on line and the ability of some schools to have sufficient hardware to cope with it, a child’s ability to participate fully in NAPLAN especially once on line, funding fairness, teacher preparedness (we discuss ways for teachers to be trained to cope with a modern teaching environment), indigenous issues in education, report cards and emerging trends and many other primary school related issues. Over the past two meetings we have been hearing from a psychologist by the name of Professor Frank Oberklaid. Professor Oberklaid’s longitudinal studies are demonstrating the things which are most important for children to thrive in our world. He argues that as much early intervention as possible allows for the best longitudinal results. Much of his work is relevant to 0 – 3 year old but I think it has relevance right up to our 12 year olds. Professor Oberklaid’s main suggestions are summarised in a program entitled Thrive with Five and I list them here for your consideration. Professor Oberklaid contends that if parents and schools work together on these five issues, then a child will thrive.
Play: Make time to play. This means a balance between outside and inside play. Play is when kids develop key motor skills like running, balancing, throwing, catching, and muscle strength. Play also is about game skills, taking turns, sharing, following instructions, creativity, imagination and having fun.
Talk: The more you talk with your children, the better their speaking and language skills become. They increase their word vocabulary, can pronounce words better, understand instructions, develops imagination and general knowledge. We know talk and oral language skills help learning to read.
Read: Reading with and to children sets up behaviours and attitudes for later learning. Being a reader influences your children. Reading is more than books: it’s the signs, packaging and notices. Through books we develop imagination, creativity and knowledge. Being able to read is a life skill.
Eat well: Ensuring your children eat well: sustains energy for learning. They can concentrate better, enjoy games, play longer and achieve more in learning. Limit the sugar intake from earlier on will set up better habits later. Healthy eating by parents will influence your child’s attitude to eating.
Sleep: We know that children need 8 hours sleep to allow the body and mind to rest and grow. Limit screen time (TV and Computer), set up routines and behaviours for long term attitudes towards sleep. Children are more alert if they have had good sleep time. Model the behaviour you want: turn off your screens and ensure you get enough sleep.
I am endlessly impressed at Grace with the nurturing parenting I see every day. Students come to school well prepared and are clearly loved and valued. This is particularly noticeable when I go around giving out birthday cards and hearing about the thoughtful gifts given. My favourite this year thus far was the Year 4 student who had been given a litre of glue so the family could make slime together! All the children though speak so enthusiastically about the gifts which are clearly reflective of the child’s interests and loves which again is tantamount to how much care there is in our community for our beautiful children.
Reports and See Saw
Thank you the parents who have fed back to me positive comments about the report card and our See Saw app. Please remember these should be looked at together so that parents can see continually what is happening in class and what the child is achieving. The teachers will publish their term’s overviews this week so that you can see the learning which will be approached this term. With all three things, I am hoping parents will acquire a strong overview of the teaching and learning program at our school. As our report card is new, if you have any feedback you would like to give me to consider with staff about its design, please do not hesitate to contact me by phone, email or by coming and seeing me.
Trudy Moala, Principal