Parent engagement warms the winter days in the Junior School

With winter well and truly upon us, nothing warms the student spirit more than having parents and special guests on site to share and participate in the learning experiences. The past two weeks have been no exception. We have been able to welcome parents to many special occasions and celebrations across our Junior School ranging from our Piccolo Canto Choral Concert, Upper Primary Maths in Action Morning, Winter Music Concert, Year 3 to Year 5 open dance PE sessions and of course the Year 3 Garden to Table Program.

The Piccolo Canto Choral Concert started this sequence of opportunities for parents to celebrate student learning and growth. With over 200 parents in attendance to witness the joy of students singing as part of a large choir and enjoy the opportunity to incorporate movement across the songs, there was a genuine sense of hope for the future. Parents were also encouraged to participate in the fun and festivities of the concert by joining in with the singing of verses and completing actions.

The Upper Primary Maths in Action morning provided the opportunity for students to demonstrate skills and understandings they have developed across a variety of Maths outcomes through gameplay, technology, manipulation of concrete materials and problem solving strategies. Parents’ mathematical understanding and capabilities were also tested across the morning with several students being able to both individually and collaboratively outwit, outsmart and outplay their parents.

In terms of showcasing the musical talents of students in the Junior School and the diversity of Musical opportunities Carey provides, The Winter Concert had it all, from individual performances to student and parent performances and of course the ensembles including Strings, Plecstrum, Los Bandidos, Bel Canto and Vivace Choirs. The concert was punctuated with humorous introductions from the Junior School Music Captains and our jovial Head of Music Mr Barker.

We all know the health benefits from a body and mind perspective that regular exercise provides and it is fair to say that some of the parents recognised that they may need to get out on the track a little more following the Year 3 to Year 5 open dance classes. Students started the sessions with many leading their respective classes and year levels with energetic warm-up dances and movement patterns before inviting their parents to the dance floor to complete the circle of learning by teaching their parents the dance sequence. Several parents quickly realised they had worn the wrong attire or footwear, however displayed great perseverance and grit to keep going and learn the complex and dynamic dance patterns. It was the day after that I had several parent conversations that all lead to the same point, there was a real need to do some stretching post the PE lesson as bodies were feeling the after-effects of such dynamic action.

With the kitchen in full swing following Year 3 students harvesting from the garden, it is safe to say that on Mondays the lower level of the Hickman building smells more like a five-star restaurant kitchen then a Junior School environment. With parents both supporting the gardening component of the Year 3 program and also being present in the kitchen, the dishes of leftovers that have been gracing the staffroom tables have been well received and appreciated as our term draws to a conclusion.

There are still many opportunities for parents to engage in the learning opportunities and growth of their children this term from attendance at Year 5 and Year 6 APS sport fixtures on a Wednesday afternoon, the Year 5 Market on Wednesday 22 June, participation in the Library Book Chat sessions and our special Junior School food train which will be revealed on Thursday 16 June at 11.30am on Cluny Green. Parents are most welcome to attend and see the generous contributions of students and families.

Whilst the end of term usually brings a sense of happiness and relief to many that there will be two weeks of holiday, the end of this term brings with it a close of a chapter and a sense of tremendous sadness as we farewell our much loved Lee Taylor, Deputy Head – Student Learning after 31 years of incredible service to Carey. Lee has not only been a classroom teacher, Specialist teacher, Learning Development teacher, CARE teacher and Deputy Head, most importantly and possibly most fondly for the current and past students and staff, someone who cares deeply about each individual and how she can support them and contribute meaningfully to their development and wellbeing. Personally Lee, I will miss you incredibly, as will so many of our community and know that your actions will forever be with us as we continue this journey with you in our hearts.

I wish all the community a safe and restful holiday break and may the time allow you to again connect, reset and re-energise for an action-packed Term 3.

Alby Ingles
Deputy Head of Junior School Kew – Student Wellbeing