St Paul's Lutheran Primary School and Kindergarten

Caboolture, Queensland

Principal's Blog

Term 4 Week 1

Dear Parents and Caregivers

Welcome back to the start of the final school term for 2017. I hope that you have enjoyed the Spring break which brought with it beautiful outdoor weather and then some much needed rain over the past two days to slow things down again. We are thankful for this time of rest to catch up with friends and family. We are also thankful for safe travels for those who have been away over this time. Traditionally, Term 4 is a very busy time for all as we look at finishing the school year strongly but also find ourselves planning for the following year.

As part of our planning and preparation for the 2018 school year, I have included an information letter [see attachment] regarding the ongoing implementation of Flexible Learning at St Paul’s in 2018 and beyond. This will provide you with both accurate and up-to-date information regarding how we continue to approach learning at St Paul’s to create better learning opportunities for every student in our care.

This is also the time of year where we get ready to farewell our Year 6 students as they begin to prepare for their transition to high school next year. We also look forward to welcoming around 52 new Prep students and their families to school as they take part in an orientation morning in Week 4. In light of this it is most appropriate that our first value for Term 4 is Courage [being brave] as these students and their families at opposite end of the schooling spectrum begin preparing for changes in 2018. As part of our ongoing partnership and transparent communication with you as a family, every family continuing at St Paul’s in 2018 will, next week, receive a Class Placement Form to complete and return to us as we begin to put in place our draft class lists for next year.

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome those students and their families who are new to our school this term. We look forward to our partnership and journey with you as we together nurture the growth of your child during your time at St Paul’s. We also welcome back, from extended leave, our PE teacher Ms. Jess Gall. We look forward to hearing her many stories and adventures from her time overseas and I know that she is looking forward to connecting with all the students again.

One of the events to be celebrated at St Paul’s this term is the 500 Anniversary of the Reformation which was led by Martin Luther and became one of the most significant turning points in the history of the Church. Information about Martin Luther and the Reformation will form part of our weekly Chapel services on a Wednesday morning, with these celebrations culminating in the Year 6 students leading our Reformation Celebrations at their School Sunday service on Sunday 5 November. Everyone is warmly invited to attend these events over the coming weeks.

As announced in our weekly newsletter last term, one of the major events on the school calendar this term will be our whole school [Prep – Year 6] End of Year Graduation and Awards Service. This event will take place at 6:30pm on Tuesday 28 November. In order for us to begin planning for this event, every family will receive an invitation this week asking you to indicate whether your child[ren] will be in attendance as well as the number of adults from your family attending too. I thank you in advance for your co-operation in returning the required RSVP on time.

As we begin to wrap up the school year, you are all reminded of the strong open door policy which is propagated across all areas of school life at St Paul’s. Please do not hesitate to make an appointment, sooner rather than later, with either any member of the school’s Executive Team or your child’s classroom teacher should you need to discuss any aspect of your child’s journey with us.

Many blessings to everyone for a wonderful Term 4.

Yours in Christ

Anton Prinsloo Principal

Term 3 Week 9

Dear Parents and Caregivers

 

What an incredible week we had last week celebrating Fathers, Grandfathers, our Senior School Chess Team and a group of very talented athletes!

 

It was wonderful to host and be part of a gathering of 140 Fathers and Daughters last Thursday afternoon. We definitely have a group of very talented Father Hairdressers at St Paul’s! We hope that you enjoyed attending this memory making time as much as we enjoyed hosting it. Thank you to the St Paul’s and Caboolture Men’s Shed team who helped to make this community event such a huge success.

 

Congratulations to our Senior School Chess Team of David Bogaart, Taylah Herson, Harry Cope and Nathaniel Van Lonkhuyzen on winning the B-Division at an inter-school tournament held at Nundah last week. These students dedicate at least one lunch time every week to keep fine tuning their craft and sharpening their chess skills under the watchful eye of Pastor Mike and our Business Manager, Mr. Bloxham – and we all thought that they were only pretty faces! These students will now begin preparing for a local inter-school chess tournament to be held in Term 4.

 

Four athletes from St Paul’s represented both the school and Caboolture District at the Regional Athletics Championships held on the Sunshine Coast last week. I am proud to announce that two of these athletes, Hayley Smith and Oyin Oguntoyinbo have qualified to compete for the Sunshine Coast Region, at the upcoming QLD State Athletics Championships. Hayley won the 100m for her age group while Oyin came first in both the 100m and High Jump for his age group. Well done to both of you – what an outstanding athletics season it has been for our students!

 

Have you bought your tickets? Looking for a wonderful night of entertainment? The sounds of sweet singing, beautiful costumes and dress rehearsals, happening around the school, have caught my attention over the past fortnight. I am now looking forward to seeing the Senior School musical “Safari” in its entirety on Thursday night. You are warmly invited to join me at this colourful event. Ticket sales will be available at the door on the night. See you there!

 

Last week Thursday every student brought home a letter providing information about the first ever St Paul’s Colour Run which is to be hosted by the school’s P&F Group next term – Friday 3 November. All families are warmly invited to attend this event with their student on the day. Please remember that your and your child's RSVP to attend this event need to be returned by next week as the school has to place its order, during the upcoming term break, for the correct amount of glasses and paint.

 

Flexible Learning at St Paul’s:

This week I will be sharing with you excerpts from an educational publication called TeachStarter.com about Flexible learning and classroom spaces.

What is flexible seating in the classroom?

Flexible seating ditches the traditional notion of “rows of desks facing the teacher at the front” and instead provides students with a variety of seating options so they can choose the one that is most comfortable for them. This type of classroom ‘un-seating’ aims to create a learning environment that more truly reflects the nature of the hyper connected, ever-changing, globalized world that we now live in; a learning environment that inherently requires students to master skills such as flexibility, creativity, problem-solving and collaboration.

“Not permanently stuck at a desk. Your get better furniture. You get choice about how to learn.”—Year 4 student St Paul’s.

To understand the philosophy behind this student– centred approach to the classroom setup, it can be helpful to think about how an early learning setting often features different ‘zones’ for children to engage with, such as a reading nook, an open floor space and a “home corner.” Providing these zones in day care kindergarten classrooms encourages each individual child to play, explore and learn in the way that appeals the most to them.

“We don’t have desks and dull depressing colours.” Year 4 student St Paul’s.

In essence, flexible seating in the classroom allows students to form their own micro-climate, where they can exercise some control over the physical and mental “conditions” in which they learn best. “Flexible seating guru” Kayla Delzer suggests that some of the benefits that students experience when using flexible seating include:

• Increased metabolism

• Increased oxygen flow to the brain

• Burning extra energy

• Improved core strength and posture

• And increased motivation and engagement.

These benefits combined, are linked to higher academic performance, better health and improved behavior.

“ Learning in the agile learning lab accommodates to everyone’s levels and abilities. There’s many more choices for everyone’s preferred style of learning and it’s generally more comfortable physically and in terms of learning.” Year 5 student St Paul’s.

The best ideas, tips and tricks from teachers who have made the change from a traditional, teach-centred classroom environment to a flexible, student– centred one.

Like any new process or routine, the success of flexible seating lies in setting up, clearly communicating and following through with expectations. Students will need time and support to learn the new skills required of them in a flexible learning space. Some common “rules” include:

1. The teacher can move a student at any time. “We can sit with our friends as long as we are on task. Sometimes we have to sit in our Collaborative Learning groups for some activities, but it still is comfy no matter where we sit.

2. Students select the seating option that they know helps them to work best for the activity they are completing. “I really like reading on the lounge. I am comfortable and can enjoy reading and really focus on the book.”

3. Set up a clear process to settle arguments over seating. For example, if two students would like that same spot they could play “scissors, paper, rock” to determine who gets the spot. Alternatively, the teacher can decide where both students will sit or may remove a specific seating option for a period of time.

4. Establish familiar attention grabbers. This classroom management technique is important in any classroom, however agreeing on whole-group attention grabbers with your students as you transition into a new classroom environment will help!

“It is pretty exciting everyday there’s lots of things we could be boing and I feel really motivated because I enjoy the agile learning lab!” Year 5 student     St Paul’s.

Some commonly used flexible seating options include: bath mats, yoga mats, exercise balls, cushions, fold out couches (lower grades), milk crates with a thin cushion or bath mat seat, wobble boards, low stools, high stools, chairs, standing desks (with no seating), bean bags, a small couch or sofa and clip boards or lap-tables.

Storage

Teachers are freeing up floor space by allocating cupboards, shelves or boxes for students workbooks and folders and pooling student equipment, such as stationery and other materials, into shared stocks that are brought out when required. Rather than being time-wasting, this actually speeds up transition times as students are no longer digging through messy desks trying to find their own materials.

Moving Against the Tide

In systems that are increasingly dictated by structure and expectation, more and more teachers are seeing flexible seating as a means to incorporate more student-centred, autonomous and responsive philosophy and pedagogy in their classrooms. While still meeting the day to day obligation of curriculum and assessment requirements, teachers taking this approach see their student’s soft-skills develop in a way that requires little scaffolding beyond the initial transition to this new way of working. This is in turn is supported by learning frameworks such as the Daily 5 (English), Daily 3 (Maths) and Inquiry Learning across all year levels as St Paul’s.

 

Date claimer: Term 4

This year, for the first time, the whole school [Prep – Year 6], will be part of a combined Closing Service and Awards Night on Tuesday 28 November at 6:30pm. As we go through a rite of passage with our Year 6 students each year at their closing service, we feel that the time has come to share this rich tradition with all our students and their families as we celebrate and acknowledge both the students and the school’s achievements, for the year, on the same night. We look forward to all our school families joining us for a night of celebrating in November. More information regarding this event will be sent home early in Term 4.    

 

 

Wishing every family a safe week.

 

Yours in Christ

Anton Prinsloo

Principal

Welcome to Term 2

Dear Parents and Carers

 

Welcome back to Term 2! I trust that you have had a great Easter break as a family and have made the most of the beautiful Autumn weather. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome those students and families who are new to our school community this term. We look forward to working closely with you as together we forge a transparent working relationship and partnership to ensure the ongoing growth of the children in our care.

 

The school came through quite unscathed from the rain event which created so much devastation at the end of last term. I need to acknowledge and thank those staff members who went about ensuring the safety of all the students, parents and staff on the final Thursday of last term in such a selfless way. Unfortunately this weather event resulted in the postponement of our end of Term 1 interviews which will now take place at the end of this week.

 

Included in this brief is information about a number of significantly important school [community] events which will be taking place over the next 4 weeks. They include:

Agile Learning at St Paul’s Information Night on Thursday 27 April at 6pm

Mothers and Sons’ event on Thursday 4 May from 4:00pm – 5:30pm

Triple-P Parenting Program on Thursday 11 May at 1:30pm and 6pm respectively. [Spaces to this event will be limited to 30 people per session]

 

Congratulations to a number of our past students on their remarkable sporting achievements at National level over the past fortnight:

Jonah Gordon - Class of 2015: 3rd place in High Jump at the Australian Junior Athletics Championships

Kaylee McKeown - Class of 2012: Qualified for the World Swimming Championships in Budapest at the Australian Swimming Championships

Taylor McKeown - Class of 2007: Qualified for the World Swimming Championships in Budapest at the Australian Swimming Championships

 

Please note that our next newsletter will only be published in Week 3 due to the ANZAC Day holiday next week.

 

Wishing all our students, staff and families a wonderful Term 2 as we continue to LEARN, LIVE and GROW in 2017.

 

Yours in Christ.

 

Anton Prinsloo

Principal.