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