Principal

CamNews

Principal

October 9, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

As we emerge from the Stage 4 Restrictions in Melbourne it is vital that our children continue to re-engage with physical activity and connectedness with the natural world around them.

A number of years ago I heard Richard Louv, Author and Chairman Emeritus of the Children and Nature Network (an organisation supporting the international movement to connect children, their families and communities to the natural world) speak about the importance of nature in the development of young people. He asked the audience to think about the special memories that we had as young children growing up – the places that we now find in our hearts.

I thought about those times of freedom, exploring outside after school, on the weekends and during holidays. The times when, with friends and our bikes, we would spend hours outside and return home having experienced a variety of adventures in our local area including parks. I also thought about camping and bush experiences or times collecting tadpoles or fishing for yabbies. He then challenged us to think about whether our children will have these types of places to go to in their hearts and for us to consider the implications of this; the impact on their health, development of creativity and connectedness to the world that sustains us.

We are hardwired to be emotionally connected to nature. Our ancestors were hunters and gatherers and had strong connections to the land. Louv spoke about the impact of nature, particularly on young children. Over a number of years, he has brought together work from studies and argues that direct exposure to nature is essential for a child’s healthy physical and emotional development, as well as their ability to learn. Louv has coined the term ‘nature-deficit disorder’, not as a medical diagnosis, but a description of the growing gap between human beings and nature, which he argues has implications for health and well-being of the current and future generations.

Whilst there are still many ways that people can be connected to nature, rapid urbanisation has certainly had an impact on the way this happens. Our children do not have the freedom to play and explore as we did when we were young (less open space and the fear of ‘stranger danger’) and whilst we must always have their safety as a priority, as Louv says, we must be careful not to create ‘containerised kids’. We must also be careful not to make our children fearful of nature. Our local parks connect people with nature and urban nature is just as important as wilderness to give our children the opportunities for outdoor independent play.

In his article ‘Do Our Kids Have Nature Deficit Disorder?’, Louv argues that studies in California and across the United States have shown that schools that used outdoor classrooms and other forms of nature-based experiential education such as camps, saw significant student gains in a number of other subjects across the curriculum. He also stated that researchers at the Environment Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois have discovered that children as young as 5 showed a significant reduction in the symptoms of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder when they engaged with nature.

Recent studies have also suggested a connection between the decline in outdoor activities and the rise in both childhood Vitamin D deficiency and myopia. Studies have also suggested a similar link with childhood obesity.  Camps and opportunities to learn outside will continue to play a pivotal role in an education at CGGS.

Similarly,we are all aware of the benefits of developing physical skills and fitness through regular physical activity. Research highlights the important links between physical activity and improvement in academic performance. Being active improves blood flow to the brain and oxygenation levels enhancing levels of concentration and the ability to process, store and retrieve information.

The correlation between physical activity and positive mental health is also important when considering a young person’s wellbeing. This can occur by boosting energy levels, relieving stress, improving sleep, improving self-esteem and confidence and building meaningful relationships with others.

As we emerge from a period of significant restrictions due to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, it is important that we prioritise encouraging and supporting our children (and ourselves) to continue to reconnect with physical activity and exposure to nature. Even with our current limitations, there are still many local options for exercising and family connection in our local areas.

In the coming months nurturing our health and wellbeing will continue to be important in our recovery andcan be greatly enhanced by the connectedness to physical activity and the outdoors – in doing so we also connect with the gift of nature that sustains us.

With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody
Principal

Principal

CamNews

Principal

September 11, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

As the end of the term is now upon us, I want to thank you for your support in this important partnership in education. It is incredible to think that many students have not experienced learning at school for the whole term, yet they have been involved in a wide range of curricular and co-curricular activities.

Yesterday we enjoyed the Ormiston Creative Arts Festival with a morning of Music and Speech and Drama performances from Early Learning 3 to Year 6. We were also able to view the Junior School Art Show in the virtual gallery that was set up by Mrs Gibson. It was very exciting to see so many girls performing, as well as the wonderful art that has been completed during remote learning.

Today, in Senior School we held the House Celebration Day which has included a wide variety of creative tasks run by staff as well as the Performing Arts Festival in the afternoon. Congratulations to our Dance, Drama and Music Captains for their creativity and perseverance in putting together such an inclusive program.

Thank you to the teams of staff who have organised these virtual events to showcase such a broad range of student initiatives and work.  It is a very exciting way to conclude the term.

I would like to acknowledge Mrs Jennifer Sui and Mrs Fiona Gibson, who will be taking Long Service Leave for the whole of Term 4. We hope that they have a well-deserved break and, as the term progresses, enjoy experiences further afield. We look forward to welcoming them both back in 2021.

Today is also the final day for Mr Mark Corrie, our Director of School Operations and VCE Coordinator. Mr Corrie commenced at CGGS in 2013 and has overseen a number of key aspects of our operations including the diary, excursions, emergency teachers and emergency management, as well as teaching Physical Education. We will miss Mark’s friendly and welcoming demeanor and wish him well in his role as Director of Education Operations at Peninsula Grammar.

Last weekend, we were featured in an ‘Innovation in the Classroom’ supplement in The Age. Please click onto the button below for the article.

This week there has been media attention about online safety as inappropriate material was circulating on a number of social media platforms. Independent Schools Victoria (ISV) run a number of seminars for parents and there is one next Monday about online safety for your consideration. Please see the information below:

Online safety – The Parents Website webinar

With the issue of the online safety of young people at the forefront of our minds this week, ISV is hosting a webinar for parents and carers on the subject this coming Monday, 14 September, between midday and 1.00 pm.

Virtual Childhoods – keeping our kids safe online will be presented by Caroline Ellen, a social worker, parenting coach and founder of Stronger Safe Kids. The event is free, but registration is essential. Full details are available on The Parents Website.

This is the latest in a series of webinars presented by ISV’s The Parents Website to support parents, carers and their families during these challenging times.

Even with significant Stage 4 restrictions in place during the holidays, I hope that you are able to have enjoyable moments together as a family. I am looking forward to spending more time with my family as well as time in the garden to unwind, relax and re-invigorate, ready for Term 4.

Take care.

 

With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody
Principal

Principal

CamNews

Principal

September 4, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

In education and many other industries, this current time is being viewed as an opportunity to review our practices and consider what should be reduced and what should be prioritised as we move forward.

The ongoing debate about the relevance of the single rank of an ATAR score, and the need to recognise and celebrate the development of the whole person is gaining greater traction and focus during this pandemic. A number of universities are already using supplementary evidence in ranking students for their entry into some courses.

During this term we have been continuing to refine our …BY DESIGN learning framework that many of our Senior School teachers are using. We purposefully designed curriculum and learning opportunities that not only focus on essential knowledge and skills, but also on the transferable skills, the ability to apply knowledge and concepts to new situations as well as activate wellbeing, amongst other important design principles. This approach has been integral to the success of our remote learning program.

Scores and ranks also send an important message in what we value in education and schools. As this landscape is changing, there is now greater attention on what we are measuring and reporting on. This is not just about simple improvements, but about fundamental change if we are to enable young people to demonstrate their capabilities and uniqueness.

At CGGS, we have been working for some time now on looking at a variety of ways for students to demonstrate their mastery and success. One of the ways gaining greater traction is that of ‘Credentialing’. Credentials provide proof of a person’s abilities and experience and come in many forms including badges, certificates, diplomas and degrees. Technical and transferable skills can be credentialed by the school or external organisations. We are close to releasing our first credentials during  Term 4 in some Senior School programs and I look forward to sharing these with you at the time.

Dr Charlotte Forwood, our Director of Learning Design and Development, has prepared some information on credentialing and I attach it below for your interest.

There are many exciting possibilities that are emerging from Remote Learning that we will be able to retain and further develop as we re-emerge to face-to-face teaching. Next term I will also be asking for your thoughts on new possibilities.

In the meantime, as we slowly contemplate the next announcements and hopeful emergence from the current restrictions, stay safe and well.

With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody
Principal

Principal

CamNews

Principal

August 28, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I was checking my Twitter last night and saw a post saying, ‘Looking forward to precedented times again.’ I couldn’t agree more!

It is interesting that, during our school terms, we often feel a cycle of energy – times of real flow and other times when it feels like you are pushing against a tide. At this stage of Term 3 it is usually the latter and I am wondering if you are also experiencing this at home.

During these times at school, we often need to encourage and motivate the students as tiredness begins to set in. This is certainly much easier to do when you are in face-to-face teaching. Often it can be as simple as prioritising time for more joyful activities, having a bit of fun and bringing humour into your day, exercising or even just spending time outside as the natural environment plays an important role in our wellbeing.

As we move towards the end of term, I am focussing ahead to the impending announcements on 13 September, and there may even be further ones during the holidays. When the time is right, I am particularly looking forward to enjoying the sounds of friends reuniting and students playing together.

Our teachers are planning for both remote and face-to-face learning next term and we are doing the same for our trial VCE Examinations in the holidays. Plans are also underway for alternative Presentation Evening, Leaver’s Service and Valedictory celebrations for our Year 12 students.

I would like to say thank you to our CGGS parents and guardians. Thank you for your work in supporting your daughter’s education at this time, whether she is 3 years of age or 18 years of age. This is one of those critical times when we all need to work together for our children. I have always believed that school communities are about partnerships, and this could not be more important than right now.

I don’t underestimate the challenges that families may be facing including working from home whilst supervising your children. I have also expressed this gratitude to our teachers and professional services staff, many of whom are in a similar situation.

Please stay safe, stay connected and know that we are here to support you. We are never more than a phone call or email away.

I hope you enjoy the sunshine this weekend – within the Stage 4 restrictions of course!

With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody
Principal

Principal

CamNews

Principal

August 21, 2020

In our centenary year and in a year of constant change, during remote learning our three School Captains – Felicia, Laurya and Loren, together with the School and House Captains and School Leaders, captured our student body with their “GLOW“ of positivity and enthusiasm throughout the year. They could not have foreseen the way in which 2020 was to unfold however they have continued to lead with great optimism throughout this change. I am very pleased to include their article below to give an insight into their commitment and work as Captains this year.

 

With best wishes
Debbie Dunwoody

 

School Captains Reflection

Whilst in the midst of Term 3, we have collated our reflections, initiatives and our intentions for the rest of the year.  

As the school turned 100 years old this year, we wanted to choose a theme that would encompass the sentiments of celebration, positivity and passion. Our chosen word, ‘GLOW’, is defined as discovering how we can be the best versions of ourselves by radiating positivity and enthusiasm, and by living generously. It is a word that we felt not only encapsulated the school’s motto and values, but also had the power to strengthen our school community through the attitude that ‘when you glow, the world will glow with you’. After asking our community ‘What makes you glow?’, we created the brand of ‘2 Cents’ which focused on spreading inspiration, encouragement and motivation through posting quotes and inviting everyone to share their ‘2 Cents’. Additionally, our virtual shout-outs have provided an opportunity for the community to continue to give gratitude, love and appreciation to one another, despite being apart.

Our community’s ‘glow’ has never shone brighter and the challenges we have faced this year is a testament to our amazing, close-knit school community that we are so fortunate to be a part of.  

Term 1 – Girl Power 

Especially in the world we live in, the theme of ‘GIRL POWER’ for Term 1 emphasised the need to empower the women around us and particularly young women to be supportive of each other and courageously fierce. 

From the beginning of the year, we hoped to encourage inter-year level empowerment and therefore, adapted the ‘Big Sister Little Sister’ program to involve buddies for girls in Years 7, 11 and 12. We see this program as a way for ‘Big Sisters’ to form a genuine, compassionate bond as an inspiring mentor for their ‘Little Sisters’ in Year 7, from the beginning of their high school journey. To strengthen the bond between buddies over the course of 2020, we had the Big Sisters send introductory letters and check in emails, hosted a buddy quiz competition, organised a buddy ‘get-to-know-you’ lunch and prepared small group Zoom catch-ups and games during Remote Learning.  

Furthermore, it was fitting that International Women’s Day was celebrated in Term 1 whilst we delved into the importance of women lifting each other up. A small group of Year 12s travelled to Parliament House for the annual breakfast hosted by the Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia. In a room full of young women, the contrasting portraits, all except two, of former male Premiers stood out to us whilst discussing various topics including women in politics, gender-biased language and equality.  In addition to this, we were delighted to assist in hosting Camberwell’s own International Women’s Day breakfast and have Old Grammarian Kim Henderson speak on her journey of becoming a women’s rights activist with some highlights from her extensive work experience.  

Putting our spin on Valentine’s Day, we decided to celebrate ‘Galentine’s Day’ instead and the compassion and love in our friendships! We are very appreciative of the students and staff who helped us prepare packets of mini heart-shaped sugar cookies in time for the ‘Galentine’s Day’ Stall. Not only could the cookies be purchased, but the girls were given the opportunity to write special notes of gratitude for their peers to be delivered later in the day and this further spread joy and positivity throughout the school! 

Term 2 – Legacy

As we celebrate our school’s centenary year and honour the history and traditions that came before us, ‘LEGACY’, our theme for Term 2 reminds us to learn from the past and envision the future to make the most of the present.  

The three of us wished for our legacy to be driven by giving back to the community and being thoughtful and selfless in service. This inspired us to work with World Vision by using the funds raised from the Galentine’s Day stall to sponsor a girl. The purpose of this initiative was to highlight to the students how fortunate we are to receive the education we do and the power of community in being able to support another girl with her education. It was then that we introduced CGGS to 9-year-old, Chanda from Cambodia and ‘Letters to Chanda’ was born. Throughout 2020, student representatives wrote letters on behalf of their year level to update Chanda on CGGS school life and get to know her hobbies, siblings and favourite subject.

We hope that the future School Captains continue this legacy, supporting Chanda through her schooling years and strengthening this connection whilst it serves as a reminder of the importance of supporting the women we meet with each day, to the women around the world. 

Commencing Term 2 with remote learning came with its challenges, as we had to re-invent the activities that we had initially planned for. We shifted our focus towards maintaining a sense of community and school spirit while everyone was physically distanced through heavily using our school Instagram account, @wearecggs. Pivoting off our hashtag, #TogetherApart, we made a Netflix starter pack, which included movie and TV-show recommendations and a Spotify playlist called ‘QuaranTUNES’, filled with uplifting and motivating songs. Whilst these initiatives were small, they acted as a reminder for the girls that we were very much in this together.  

Along with other various captains, we formed a Wellbeing Committee, guided by Ms Woolcock, and organised Wellbeing Wednesday activities, such as yoga sessions and making gratitude jars. This provided an opportunity for the girls to step away from their devices and invest in their mind, body and soul.

Overjoyed that we were returning back to school after six weeks in remote learning, we couldn’t wait to see everyone face-to-face. We welcomed everyone back in a GLOWing manner, with streamers, balloons, music in the courtyard and chalk signs, as well as positive messages on the lockers. Click below to expand the photos to see how we welcomed back our peers.

Before transitioning back on site, we wanted to recognise and thank our fellow captains for their amazing efforts in helping to sustain our Camberwell energy in an overwhelming and difficult period. Hence, we held a ‘Leading in Lockdown’ lunch, organising the tables to allow captains who don’t usually work together to connect and reflect upon their own legacy they created as role models of the school.  

We continued to show our gratitude, welcoming the teachers back with a card left in their pigeon holes that we made on behalf of the students of CGGS to thank them for their dedicated, ongoing support. We also coordinated a special card for the Year 12 teachers that had a picture of our cohort doing a love heart sign, as our way of recognising their tirelessly efforts to ensure that we were prepared to tackle this demanding year.  

Term 3 – Originality 

During term 3, we explored the letter ‘O’ which represents originality. ‘Originality’ celebrates diversity and each individual’s unique qualities, encouraging everyone to stay true to themselves.   

In the midst of our second lockdown, we introduced the ‘2 Cents Podcast’, which aimed to keep the community connected whilst we were physically apart. In sharing the opinions and the insights of our school community, we have been able to shed light on important issues such as the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement. In addition to raising awareness, the podcast has sparked discussion in topics of self-care, wellbeing and expressing individuality. In coming episodes, we will invite various guests to share their ‘2 cents’ on areas such as leadership, empowering women, careers and managing money. The podcast has contributed to the legacy that we want to leave with Camberwell, as we hope that this initiative will continue to develop and grow over the years under future captains. 

You can listen to the first episode of the podcast via this link below.

sptfy.com/dv2O

Another initiative, which showcased the community’s originality, was the introduction of ‘Fun Fridays’. Each Friday, we selected a theme to spice up our outfits on Zoom and spread some fun and positivity. Thus far, the Year 11s and 12s have worn pyjamas to school and we have had a Year 7-12 ‘beanie bonanza’.

Our intention for Term 3 was to create a visual representation of individuality and connection within our community by constructing a fingerprint mural that included everyone in the school. Our hope is that this mural will be created as soon as all year levels return to school.   

Term 4 – Willpower 

In Term 4, ‘willpower’ will delve into mindset and perseverance as everyone is inspired to give it their all until the very end of the year! 

Having faced many hurdles throughout this year, we understand that at times, especially throughout remote learning, our motivation levels dipped and therefore it is beneficial to explore ways we can improve our focus and productivity to best see us through our end goals. For students sitting end-of-year assessments and VCE exams, this will be imperative this year. Willpower also captures the perseverance that the three of us, along with all school leaders, have required when working through the changes and challenges of leading during a pandemic!  

The three of us are so honoured and grateful to have shared this experience together in our school’s centenary year! We could not have achieved our goals this year without the support of our families, friends and teachers. Furthermore, we are very proud of all the 2020 leaders for their creativity and resilience and thank them for leading by example! We also wish to extend our gratitude to Mrs Dunwoody, Mrs Poyser, Mr Burnell, Ms Woolcock, Mrs Robinson and Mr Perkins. With each new unknown, we felt your support and thank you for guiding us, believing in us and trusting us with our creative endeavours. To the future leaders of the school, we are confident you will embrace your unique qualities, lean on each other for support and continue to lead our community with courage and integrity. 

‘Glow’ reflects CGGS’s vibrant and optimistic attitudes. ‘Glowing’ encompasses how a Camberwell girl radiates her passions. ‘Glow Gals’ make up the Camberwell community, stick together and conquer what lies ahead. 

As the terms progressed, it seemed that the year kept throwing us curveballs that lead us from starting with Plan A and ending with Plan Z but nonetheless, we hope that we inspired and continue to inspire CGGS to always GLOW no matter the hurdles that present itself.  

With best wishes,

Your 2020 School Captains, FL2
Felicia Spiridonos, Laurya Dang-Nguyen and Loren Palma 

Principal

CamNews

Principal

August 14, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I hope that this edition of CamNews finds you well. I thought that it would be appreciated to share a video this week rather than more things to read. It’s hard to believe that we are now just over half way through Term 3 and I hope that you are able to share some lovely family moments over the weekend.

With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody
Principal

Principal

CamNews

Principal

August 7, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I have been thinking a lot about members of our community this week as it has been such a significant one in the history of Victoria. The Stage 4 Restrictions are so important for dealing with this contagious virus and they are requiring us to approach so many aspects of our daily lives in a different way. It is a key time where we all have to focus on our wellbeing and ability to manage these different pressures.

With so much to process and do, I have found myself feeling quite tired by the end of each day and have been giving greater priority to ensuring that I try to include things in my day that enhance my resilience. Sometimes I need to focus on smaller steps when addressing a challenge so that it doesn’t become overwhelming, or ensuring time for doing the things that will bring joy into my day (especially since our students are working remotely).

My close network of family and friends provide support, encouragement and understanding at these times as does my faith and belief that we begin each day with new hope.

We all create our own toolkit to develop resilience, starting from when we are young.  One of our School Counsellors, Beth Sarlos, and Deputy Head of Senior School – Student Wellbeing, Kath Woolcock, have written an article titled ‘Developing Resilience’ to share ideas about how young people develop resilience and how our pastoral care program at CGGS supports this development. I encourage you to have a read of it. Click the button below to access it.

With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody
Principal

Principal

CamNews

Principal

July 31, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

This week I was honoured to be invited as a panellist at the Australian Council for Educational Leaders (ACEL Vic) ‘Future Possibilities Forum’, with educational thought leader, Adriano di Prato, Director of Digital Learning, Lauren Sayer and Principal, Nathan Chisholm.

We all spoke on different aspects of future possibilities around education as we progress out of the COVID-19 pandemic, followed by a Q&A session as a webinar. I was invited to speak about the most valuable resource that we have in schools – our staff.  My topic was to talk about future possibilities from a lens of school leadership that empowers and operates from a deep position of trust and permission, tapping into the talent from within. I would like to share with you some of my insights.

As an educator, I have always believed that we are educating young people for their future. Through a lens of the development of the whole person, teachers must have a deep understanding of subject disciplines and ways of teaching (pedagogies), key principles of pastoral care and wellbeing, and an understanding of the landscape ahead.  For example, as we educate our Foundation students today, we also think about the world in which they will be graduating from school in the 2030s.

As an educational leader, I believe that it is my responsibility to ensure that our staff (both teachers and professional services staff) have every opportunity for growth and development too, by allowing them to imagine, design, co-create and lead innovation in education. When I interview new staff, one of the questions that I ask them is “what do you need to be the best that you can be professionally?”  Their answers are usually around things that they value such as:

> Being part of a supportive team

> Feeling safe to contribute ideas and try new things

> Having someone to go to for help

> Working in an environment where they feel trusted

The importance of collegiality, support, kindness, permission, courage and trust also resonates very strongly with me. I would also add enjoyment – enjoying working with others and bringing joy into the workplace.

COVID-19 tipped everything upside down, and it did it really fast. It tested us to see if we really did ‘walk the talk’, highlighted our strengths and exposed our weaknesses. At CGGS our response showed our strength, agility and ability to innovate. Not everything has been perfect (it never is), but we have been intentional and responsive in the design and delivery of our programs and work. The key factors in our success have undoubtedly been our staff and the culture of our school.

At CGGS the staff are well practised at working in teams – where they demonstrate respect for their colleagues, understand the importance of relevance and rigour in education, and are given permission to have courage to innovate by their Principal. This is greatly enhanced by a culture that is based on valuing the individual, inclusion, integrity and continuous improvement. Our big ideas don’t come from one person or just the leadership team (including me), but from diverse groups of staff who practise co-designing solutions.

As Principal, I believe it is important to role model expectations and ways of working. I believe very strongly in

> the importance of knowing and respecting each individual

> valuing collaborative work

> seeking honest and reliable feedback and sharing it to improve practice

> being purposeful in all that we design and implement, not allowing a fear of making mistakes to deter us from improving educational outcomes

> laughing with colleagues, getting to know them and showing them that I care for them and their professional development

If I do this with my staff, then it is highly likely that they will care for and nurture their students in such a way too.

It is a very challenging time for us all now. The concerns about health, work and education are more deeply felt than a few months ago. I hope that you all feel the support of the CGGS community and know that we are here to help where we can.

Even with these challenges we have a number of teams who, in addition to their daily work, are looking at the new initiatives we should retain beyond this remote mode, that improve practice. This is by exploring how we can design new possibilities, that continue to honour rigourous learning and wellbeing, citizenship and service, and ensure relevance in changing times.

In again borrowing the words of Vivien Greene, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain”, we seek to strive for better education. Our world continues to change and by accepting and understanding this change we learn to dance differently, and in doing so, we focus more clearly on preparing our students for their future.

As I mentioned in last week’s editorial, we will continue to offer you the opportunity to give feedback on either learning at school or remote learning during these restrictions. Please click onto the button below to enter your feedback.

To end, I am excited to let you know that CGGS has joined a new social media platform, we are now on Instagram. We are thrilled to be able to show you an inside look on life at CGGS through this interactive platform. Please feel free to follow us on Instagram, our username is @camberwellgirls

 

With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody
Principal

Principal

CamNews

Principal

July 24, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

As another school week concludes, we have seen many examples of how our students and staff have settled quickly into their new learning environments, whether it be at school or at home.

During both times of remote learning, we have valued the opportunity to build our connections. These have been through curricular, co-curricular and wellbeing programs, alongside the many student-led weeks and activities that have included online forums, house events and the further development of Junior School Chapels and the Senior School Chaplain’s assemblies.

It is quite common to hear people talking about how they are going to look after their wellbeing better in this period of ‘Stay at Home’ restrictions. We are very conscious of how we can continue to help our students take care of themselves in these times of uncertainty. To address this:

> A greater number of wellbeing activities are being presented in the Health and Physical Education program utilising a combination of both synchronous and asynchronous components in Senior School.

> Blocks of ‘Rest and Revive’ times have been included between classes to ensure there is more time for moving, stretching, hydrating and refuelling.

> Tutor and Form time has been redesigned to allow for students to meet with their Form/Tutor teacher in small group mentor meetings. This provides opportunities for students to share challenges and highlights of remote learning and seek support if needed.

> In Junior School, the weekly learning program has been designed to take in to account cognitive load, with tasks that require a lower cognitive load purposefully assigned to the afternoons and the end of the week. All F-2 literacy and numeracy Zoom meetings have been scheduled to take place in the mornings to help students and families to build routines.

> In Years 5 and 6 we have begun using Zoom breakout rooms to allow for more opportunities for student connection and small group discussions.

> Our class teachers are continuing to run daily Zoom class meetings and teach our BRAVE wellbeing curriculum. This term’s focus for all year levels is on exploring and developing coping strategies.

> We offer Ormiston Active, a co-curricular movement program, 3 times per week to offer students an extra opportunity in the day to move their bodies.

To help encourage times off devices during the day, a number of fun challenges, year level challenges and social events have been developed to engage students.

In connecting with families, our Online Learning Conversations last term were very successful and we have further enhanced this model to offer Year 7 and 8 interviews this week, whilst preparing for our Online Junior School Learning Conversations in a couple of weeks time.

Last term, we were very grateful when the Parents and Friends Association sponsored the ‘Creating Connection When Physically Disconnected’ online course by Enlighten Education and Dannielle Miller. A number of parents completed the course and it has now been extended until Sunday 9 August for your convenience. You can register by clicking on the button below.

Feeling connected and feeling well are important factors in a young person’s development. This is particularly prevalent now as we live under restrictions and need to practice hygiene and health protocols every day. I was delighted when the Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia (AGSA) published ‘How we created connection while students were physically disconnected’, written by our Deputy Head of Senior School – Student Wellbeing, Ms Kath Woolcock.

By clicking on the button below you will be able to view Kath’s article as published on the AGSA site recently.

Finally, throughout this period of remote and onsite learning (ELC, Years 11 and 12), I will continue to periodically send you a questionnaire so we can continue to look at your feedback in a timely manner to improve our practice. The first of these questionnaires will be in next week’s CamNews.

Our children will learn more effectively if their wellbeing needs are met, so this must be a focus whilst we are all continually adapting to new scenarios in our daily lives.

If you have any concerns or questions at any time, please don’t hesitate to contact your daughter’s teacher or coordinator.

 

With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody
Principal

Principal

CamNews

Principal

July 17, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I warmly welcome you all back to Term 3. Whilst it was not quite the return that I had expected, these times are showing us that we need to be very flexible. I have enjoyed seeing our very youngest and oldest students back at school, and other year levels on screens and Yammer pages as they recommence a period of remote learning.

Whilst we are in remote learning, we will publish CamNews every Friday.

Once again our teachers have ‘sprung into action’ to prepare the materials and activities for remote learning. There is certainly benefit in having already implemented a remote learning program, and this has enabled rigorous discussions in teams about modifications and the continued development of targeted experiences in both learning and wellbeing programs.

As we learn to accept continued flexibility in our thinking and planning, we also need to ensure that we try to retain a sense of joy, optimism and purpose in our lives. When presenting to staff earlier this week, I spoke about the Dunwoody family’s favourite ‘go-to’ movie,The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

I have to admit that we watched the movie a couple of times during the holidays. We love the storyline that is about a person transforming their life, the wonderful scenery, inspiring music and some very entertaining characters who speak about having courage and going into the unknown.

There is no doubt the impact of this virus is taking many of us into the unknown. At CGGS we have, and will continue to, ‘lean into’ this experience, support each other and create new learning opportunities. I continue to feel incredibly proud of our teachers who are not daunted, but excited by this challenge and role model how we can pivot and adapt to new and emerging situations.

Retaining a sense of fun and joy is also important. Many of you will remember the quote that I shared last term about not ‘waiting for the storm to pass, but being able to dance in the rain’. One of our teachers shared with me her Term 3 take on ‘dancing in the rain’ which is now about ‘partying in puddles’ – such joyful images!

At CGGS our work will continue this term – with courage, purpose and a sense of fun, as we model to our children and students how to respond to challenges in changing times.  This is important preparation for life.

 

With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody
Principal