Archived: Newsletter #13 20/09/2019

Principal’s Report

While recently doing some professional reading, there was an article “Deliberate Practice” by Dr Maryam Abdullah on the Independent School Victoria Parents’ Website ( that took my interest because it struck a chord (pardon the pun) with discussions I’ve been having with our Instrumental Music Teachers about the level of practice that the students were doing (or not doing) at home. I think many parents have expressed similar frustration over the years with music lessons but also other activities their children undertake which also require practice. The same principle of course applies to so many aspects of the learning that takes place at school related to the skills required to successfully read, write or recall basic number facts. In all cases, the teacher/instructor guides the student with appropriate strategies and skills but this is enhanced when practising the skill at other times.

What is Deliberate Practice?
A highly effective and well-researched technique called “Deliberate Practice” allows you to repeatedly work on a mental or physical skill with the aim of getting better in the future. Research suggests that children as young as five can start to understand deliberate practice, and children and adolescents who engage in it make gains in school achievement and motor skills. By encouraging them to engage in deliberate practice as they get older, we can help our kids achieve their goals.

Deliberate Practice has four principles:
Working on weaknesses: Rather than doing things that you already do well, deliberate practice focuses on the things that are hard for you. For example, you might replay the part of your trumpet solo with the hard high notes that you’ve been having trouble with, rather than the parts that you know well.
Full concentration: Deliberate practice is difficult when you face distractions that make it hard to stay on task, like noise, social media, or people nearby. Instead of writing an essay with your phone beside you while hanging out with your friends, you might go to a quiet library and tuck your phone in your backpack.
Feedback: Deliberate practice involves finding out what you got right and where you made mistakes by asking a teacher or coach or checking your work. For example, if you made mistakes on your maths homework, you might review your work again and talk to your teacher about how you can solve those problems correctly in the future.
Repetition until mastery: Deliberate practice requires you to keep working on your weaknesses, stay on task, and get feedback until you master your specific goal.

Encourage your children during this holiday period to practise their musical instrument, kick with their opposite foot, over and over again, learn a couple of the more challenging ‘times tables’ or to try something they feel they’re not very good at. Let me know how it goes!!

Meditation and the School Holiday Period
The school holiday period provides us all with an opportunity to relax and revitalise ourselves after a fulfilling term. An essential ingredient in the success of our school and the benefit it brings to children and their families is our commitment to the school’s philosophy, which includes our routine of twice-daily meditation.

Meditation for our students begins at school, but with the aim of it playing an important role in the lives of our students. It is important that the routine that the children follow when at school is continued while they are on school holidays. The daily routine of meditation, whether it be the Word of Wisdom or the sitting technique, should not be solely associated with attendance at school. It should be reinforced as a skill/technique that adds value to our lives and is done on a daily basis.

It would be appreciated if you would gently encourage your children to continue being regular with their Word of Wisdom and TM Meditation over the school holiday period. Happy Holidays everyone!!

Important Information for Term 4

Monday 7th October is a School Planning Day (Student-Free Day)

Tuesday 8th October is Parent/Teacher Interview Day (Student-Free Day)

For students, Term 4 begins on Wednesday 9th October

Term 3 Highlights
BOITE School Choir Performance
Congratulations to all students who performed and took part in the concert and rehearsals for The Boite Schools Chorus. 

At the conclusion of many weekly afterschool rehearsals, students performed in a very grand event at The Melbourne Town Hall and took to the stage with over 300 students, an ensemble of professional musicians and performed under the direction of conductor and opera singer Jessica Hitchcock. (See the photo of our students during their final rehearsal at the town hall.)

Students performed music from the Dhungala Songs Book, which is a book of original songs written by Deborah Cheetham (Short Black Opera). The music is expertly written for children’s voices and includes words and phrases in eight different Aboriginal languages. 

In the art classroom Ms James helped the children create some gorgeous pictures exploring some of the favourite characters from the songs, Parrwang the Magpie and a whale from Bermagui in Yuin country (see picture). 

In the music classroom, students explored the concept of song lines, discussed the different Indigenous languages and places where the songs originated. We are now continuing the explore the repertoire and work out how we can sing all the parts without 300 other singers.  

Many Thanks to Virginia Bott who conducted the after school rehearsals and prepared the students for their grand performance. Her direction and guidance at school and non-school rehearsals was joyful and inspiring for all involved.

Katrina Wilson O’Brien

Science Week
Science Week holds an important place in our school calendar each year. A primary school with a teacher dedicated specifically to the delivery of the Science curriculum to students from Yrs P-6 is very rare in primary schools.

Mrs Aston has been encouraged and supported to explore creative ways in which to highlight and celebrate the incredible work she undertakes with our students each week, and she never lets us down.

Mrs Aston proposed an idea which immediately attracted my attention and support. Students with their parents or other adults coming together to resolve science challenges through collaboration? Brilliant!!

And so the STEAM Challenge was born……..

School Holiday Reading
With bookstore shelves and online sites bursting with options, it’s often difficult to know what to choose when buying a book for a child. Many of you will have appreciated that during our recent Book Fait at the school

Speech Pathology Australia run its own Book of the Year Awards, covering from birth to age 10, as well as an award for an Indigenous children’s book. Speech Pathology Australia have book awards because speech pathologists understand the link between language, speech and reading. They are in a unique position to recommend books to parents and teachers. Perhaps you may consider a school holiday visit to a Bookstore to encourage your children to develop an even deeper appreciation for the value of a good book.

The winners in recent years include:
Birth to 3 years
Heads and Tails, written and illustrated by John Canty
A ‘guess the animal’ book, with lots of clues, with the final clue: the animal’s tail. The book also takes the child and parent on an adventure.
The judges said: ‘Heads and Tails has an excellent use of descriptive language, and is based on a relevant and meaningful interest in animals for children of this age category. Simple and repetitive sentence structure, encourages identification by features.’

3 to 5 years

Rodney Loses It!, written by Michael Bauer  and illustrated by Chrissie Krebs
Rodney the Rabbit loves to draw. Disaster strikes when Rodney loses his treasured pen – Penny Pen. And so the search for the missing pen begins.
The judges said: ‘The book has a strong narrative, excellent use of rhyme, complex vocabulary, and non-literal language (e.g. ‘drawing caper’). It has a strong structure with a clear beginning, middle and end.’

5 to 8 years

Danny’s Blue’s Really Excellent Dream, written and illustrated by Max Landrak.
Danny Blue lives in a world where everything is blue, where everything is the same.  But then one day Danny sees something in a dream that is unlike anything else.
The judges said: ‘The author does an excellent job in creating a sense of wonder, mystery and excitement; and the book has a robust vocabulary and language that is age appropriate. There are many opportunities to explore print, alphabet knowledge, while the illustrations and text work together to provide meaning.’

8 to 10 years

The Grand Genius Summer of Henry Hobler, written by Lisa Shanahan.
Reluctant adventurer Henry Hobbler is worried about his summer holiday camping at the beach. And everyone wants him to ride his new bike without training wheels. He discovers courage through a new friend.
The judges said: ‘The narrative structure of the story is clear and easy to follow, featuring characters who are readily identifiable and easy to connect with. A delightfully easy read that cleverly encompasses the issue of childhood anxiety against the backdrop of a typical Australian summer holiday at the beach.’

Indigenous Children

Sorry Day, written by Coral Vass and illustrated by Dub Leffler.
Maggie is at Parliament House in Canberra, waiting with her mother for prime minister Kevin Rudd made the public apology to the Stolen Generations. Maggie becomes separated in the crowd and is lost.
The judges said: ‘The story develops and addresses key issues of the Stolen Generations in a poignant and powerful manner, juxtaposing the past and present while evoking an emotive response through the use of rich vocabulary. Powerful and very beautiful illustrations help tell this dramatic story…’