Week 5 Update


Dear Families

Already we have taken a number of school tours for prospective families starting in 2022 at Edithvale and I have to say that it is an absolute joy to walk through the school every morning and see and hear calm classrooms focussing on phonics. Students continue to practise segmenting and blending strategies and use the language of digraphs and phonemes effortlessly. The excellent classroom practise is complemented by our READ program teacher/tutors.

This week’s Department of Education online channel “In our Classrooms”, after hearing about the great teaching and learning at our school, featured the following:
“Edithvale Primary School teacher Troy Wood completed a Masters of Learning Intervention at Melbourne University in 2020. He said the experience has been a great boost for him in helping his school plan and support students with disability and additional learning needs.
‘Our exciting journey and deep dive commenced last year,’ Troy explained.
‘Through completing this course, I have been able to provide our school with the knowledge of how to incorporate evidence-based practices across our learning areas.
‘This has not only resulted in more inclusive practices, but higher quality practices for all students in our school.”

We’re very proud that this online channel for teachers that identifies best practice approaches, evidence based classroom techniques and stories that celebrate the education profession, has recognised the work we do here at Edithvale.

Our First Student Free Day for the whole school will be held next Friday – 5 March. The first part of the day will be spent learning with Cathy Harrison – our Literacy critical friend who we engaged with during 2020. Her work has helped us consolidate our knowledge of phonics and assisted us to develop some scope and sequences for teaching the morphology of words in the middle and senior schools. Friday’s session is planned to extend ways we can use flash cards with substitution of phonemes and digraphs to create new words. We will follow up our work with morphology and how this can be transferred into improving vocabulary, and subsequently- writing.

The second part of the day is dedicated to staff completing their Level 2 First aid training- which we do every couple of years. This is another mechanism we have in place to help keep our students safe.

TeamKids are available for bookings on this day. Please contact them directly by phone on 1300 035 000 or via email at info@teamkids.com.au

School Council
We congratulate our newly elected School Councillors – Thomas Beilken, Aileen Dyce, Natalie Firth and Andrew Murray – and we are looking forward to starting our work together at the school’s Annual General Meeting on March 9. Craig Heywood (Year 1 teacher) also joins the team for 2021.

Our next meeting marks the end of an era for our school with Steve Smith (President) stepping away from official Council business for the first time in 7 years. Steve’s contribution to our school has been immense. He has overseen capital building works, overseen 2 successful Twilight School Fairs and helped to create a warm an inviting atmosphere at school. I have lost count of the number of sausages he’s turned and onions he has shredded in his efforts to raise funds for our school at various BBQs over the years. Steve’s contribution will be acknowledged and celebrated at our final assembly at the end of this term.

Thank you also to our departing School Councillors – Katie Middleton, Alison Read and Jodi Vuat – who are leaving us. They leave our school in a much better place than when they first arrived and their energy, enthusiasm and commitment over the years has been outstanding. Their promotion of our school in our community and the strong links they have made with supportive, local, organisations has helped create a great school environment and importantly, one that is well respected in the broader community.

We also thanks Jacqui Miller (Year 4) and Hayden Callahan (Year 2) for their vision, hard work and contribution to our School Council over the last 7 and 2 years respectfully.

Resilience Project – Students have enjoyed completing some gratitude, empathy and mindfulness activities in their journals over the last week or so. The journals are designed to help us all experience better wellbeing and feel happier. This week we focus on empathy. “Empathy and kindness are closely linked. So are empathy and compassion. To be empathetic is to put ourselves in the shoes of others to feel and see what they are. We practice this by being kind towards other people”- Resilience Project.

To help our families to facilitate positive conversations about empathy, you may like to ask some of these questions as you sit down for dinner together.

  • Who is someone you know who may be experiencing some difficulty recently and what could we do to help?
  • Remember when someone has done something kind for you recently. What did they do for you?
  • Say something kind to someone in your home.

Student Leaders – This week a few staff met with our student leaders and started to formulate a plan about how our leaders can make a difference to the lives of others through raising awareness and showing compassion and understanding to those less fortunate than many of us. Our student leaders are eager to support a number of charities this year and will be helping to lead our school to continue to be inclusive, caring and kind. Already our students are thinking about the plight of homeless people, those struggling with illness and families (local and international) who might benefit from donations of books, clothing or food.

Student AttendanceFood for thought

There is often a direct link between attendance and achievement. The State average for days off in Primary schools traditionally hovers around the 13-15 days per year mark. This equates to roughly THREE full weeks of missed learning  opportunities each year.

If students miss the basic skills in the early years of schooling they often experience learning difficulties later on. Children need to attend school regularly to make the most of the educational opportunities available to them.

It has been shown that poor patterns of attendance in the early years can lead to poor patterns of attendance throughout the school years.

Poor attendance also can make it difficult for students to form positive friendships with their peers.

As the table below shows – a 90% attendance rate might sound alright – but it still means that over the course of a child’s Primary and Secondary schooling, they would miss ONE FULL YEAR of face to face learning opportunities.

Take care and stay safe

James Whitla