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School News

Celebrating Success and connecting with Technology

As we approach the end of Term 3 at St Andrew’s School we reflect on some of our achievements. Our participation in sports and competitions that exercise the mind help our students to problem solve and to work as a team. We also take an in-depth look into our relationship with technology at school and at home with our inaugural Click&Connect Week.

Celebrating success

Sport
We always continue to share many successes in our School. For the first time, the School has begun competing in table tennis, with both of our teams performing extremely well. In fact, the teams won all of their matches very convincingly. We are so proud of our table tennis teams in this new interschool competition. We have also had success on the netball court and football field. This year success in interschool sport has been an absolute highlight.

Tournament of Minds
St Andrew’s students from Years 4-7 participated in the South Australian Tournament of Minds Final at Flinders University, Tonsley Campus in Week 8. Tournament of Minds is an international competition for Primary and Secondary aged students that requires problem solving and team work. The two St Andrew’s teams have spent six weeks forming a solution to a real-life challenge that they presented on the weekend as a 10-minute dramatic presentation.

In addition to these prepared solutions, the students were called on to solve a ‘spontaneous’ challenge, requiring quick thinking, collaboration and creativity. Both teams will now compete at a virtual international final on 16 October.

Mind Lab
I also wish to congratulate our Mind Lab teams. We entered two teams this year into the Mind Lab competition and we placed both first and second in the competition. That is, our first team took first prize, and our second team, our future, took second prize. In different times our teams would find themselves jetting off to Europe in the upcoming holidays, however, that does not take the shine off their success as Australasian champions.

Click&Connect Week

As we approached the end of Term Three, a term which we began by connecting online rather than face-to-face, we spent a week exploring the relationships we have with technology in our School and in our homes.

In Week 8, 6-10 September, we explored this topic in detail, with the inaugural St Andrew’s Click&Connect Week. Click&Connect Week is a pilot education initiative designed to help parents develop a positive relationship with their children around digital technologies. It provides prompts to celebrate positive uses of technology, explore creative pursuits, and encourages us to take time for important conversations about how we best use our devices.

Andrew Przybylski, Professor of Psychology from Oxford University, engages in research that explores how people interact with the virtual world. Professor Przybylski problematises the term ‘screen time’, something we all refer to, and questions why we don’t have ‘book time’ or ‘food time’. He suggests that the term ‘screen time’ is a negative in our world and works to romanticise and create the analogue world as wholesome, good and helpful. In creating analogue and digital as opposites when the analogue world is something many adults feel more comfortable with, the digital world is therefore seen as inherently bad, distracting, unhealthy and of little use. This seems to be amplified in childhood where screen time has been seen to cause both physical and mental harm to children, with very little discussion of the benefits the digital world can bring when families focus on their relationship with technology.

We can though, choose to engage in positive relationships with technology. For adults this means carefully considering and choosing how we wish to be with our children and technology. Alexandra Samuel has grouped parenting styles around technology into three areas. This can be useful in helping us think about the relationships we wish to have with technology and our children. Samuel’s classifications are:

  1. Digital Limiters. Digital limiters are parents who prefer to keep their children offline for as long as possible, or strictly limit screen time. It is interesting to note that in Samuel’s research she found most parents of pre-school children form this relationship with technology in their household but it rarely lasts. The children of digital limiters are known as digital exiles due to limits around their technology use.
  2. Digital Enablers. Parents who are digital enablers respect their child’s choices online and take their cues from how other families use technology. As this is such a new space for everyone it is little wonder that many parents share and develop their parenting style, and therefore their family’s relationship with technology, from other parents. However, children of digital enablers often tend to become digital orphans as they explore the online world with limited parent guidance.
  3. Digital Mentors. This parenting style falls somewhere in between. Digital mentor parents enjoy spending time with their children online. They model the notion of curiosity with their child and foster online learning, growing their child’s digital skills. Children of digital mentors become digital heirs as they inherit their parents’ curiosity and engagement behaviours.

As with all categorisations, it is rare that one person will fit neatly into one category; we probably all exhibit aspects of each parenting style.

Technology is a key learning tool, and its importance as a vehicle for learning will only continue to grow. We also strive for our children to understand what it means to be a good person, and this means having a moral compass in the virtual world. With this in mind, as a school we would like to create with our children a culture of digital mentorship, rather than censoring or policing how they engage with technology. Policing children, or not discussing difficult topics around technology with them, usually makes them more curious about what goes on in the darker realms of the virtual world. We know children are going to come across things online that are troubling, and by having open and positive relationships with our children, this enables us to have conversations with them when things go wrong. If we are also using technology with our children, they also watch and hear what we do when we encounter problems – and often this is where the greatest learning occurs.

For a school committed to cultivating curiosity, inquisitive mindsets and an entrepreneurial approach, we are committing to providing more support to our families by encouraging parents to feel confident with parenting and technology – Click&Connect Week is just one way we are providing this support.

Thank you for your ongoing interest in and support of our School. I look forward to connecting with you again soon.

Warm wishes

Jackie Becher
Principal

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The life-changing power of self-belief

Self-belief allows you to believe in your ability, consider yourself capable of success and, importantly, achieve your goals.

Like the children at St Andrew’s School, I had the honour of attending an independent school. To this day I stand in awe of my own teachers’ passions about their profession and the way they invested in all children within the school, not just their own classrooms.

My teachers’ passion was contagious, and with their support, encouragement and outstanding teaching, I grew and thrived in my school environment.  Not being overly mathematically inclined, I found I was provided with extra support when things challenged me beyond my ability to understand concepts, and I began to not only understand mathematics but even grew to enjoy it. This encouragement and support from my passionate teachers in turn grew my own self-belief.

I had been provided with experiences and opportunities to enable me to understand that self-belief also includes having a positive attitude, an enquiring mind and a healthy dose of persistence and dedication.

While my personal ‘eureka’ moment was many years ago, the self-belief it delivered has been a constant companion, to this day feeding my tenacity, igniting my curiosity, exposing me to new ideas and concepts and helping to shape who I am today.

Self-belief is also central to the St Andrew’s School ethos, where a passionate teaching and support team is committed to each and every child, cares for them deeply and has been known, on numerous occasions, to sacrifice a lot for them.

We want every child to believe in themselves, to feel valued, to have their achievements shared and celebrated, to enjoy the fruits of open, curious and questioning minds, and to be successful in their own right.

We also encourage a community spirit, where we all feel a strong sense of belonging and will happily play our part and contribute to the school community. A couple of recent examples are the regular St Andrew’s community podcasts and students coming forward with great design ideas for our new treehouse and playground.

Please click link below for Year 4 Weekly Podcasts
https://podcasts.apple.com/au/podcast/year-4-weekly/id1476781023

It’s particularly humbling when we see our children take this spirit into the outside world and become true, valued and selfless global citizens – and even more so when they never forget and remain proud of their school.

Self-belief plays a huge role!

 

Jackie Becher

Principal

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Belonging is key to global citizenship

Harmony Day

St Andrew’s students wearing ‘a touch of orange’ to celebrate Harmony Week

Harmony Week’s theme of Everyone Belongs has been key to St Andrew’s success for 171 years. Belonging is a key value of our school and we have many ways of ensuring everyone is welcome here.

In the 21st century belonging is key to global citizenship and we continue to develop and evolve how we create an inclusive, harmonious community at our school. We use strategies both to include our community as well as highlighting the dispositions need to be welcoming to others.

This year for Harmony Week we are choosing to embrace the theme two ways. One, with a focus on the attitudes children require to enable everyone to belong, and two, the St Andrew’s Local Hero Awards, which will stretch across the year.

The Local Hero Awards are an opportunity for our children to vote for the peers in their class who always make others feel like they belong. Children have thought about and researched what helps make us feel like we belong. The data has then been used to create criteria and children are now voting for their St Andrew’s Local Hero! These children will be celebrated and held up as role models to other children.

Across the year we are working hard with our school community to celebrate diversity. We know that as global citizens we need great emotional and social intelligence, whilst also having an open mind and curiosity about our multicultural society. With that in mind, we are working with our families from diverse cultural backgrounds to expose children to a range of beliefs and values. We are finding through this work that children are making connections and discussing similarities and differences.

This work heightens and strengthens our commitment to idea of international mindedness that is key to the success of our International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme. Ensuring our children have the skills, knowledge and ability to consider many different perspectives ensures we are creating global citizens who will be committed to the assertion that “everyone belongs”.

Jackie Becher

Principal

 

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My reflections on the decade past

Deb Dalwood with students

 

With all its COVID-influenced changes to what we previously considered ‘normal’, I was thinking the other day that 2020 feels more like a decade than a year!

And that got me thinking a little deeper, delving into my memory bank to recall 10 reflections on the decade just past.

In no particular order, let’s start with character. Over the past 10 years, character and who you are as a person have become far more important than test scores. We now fully appreciate that keys to success lie in the likes of resilience, getting along, having a growth mindset and being confident.

We also celebrate mistakes. They are good, we learn from them and they build resilience to try…and try again.

Secondly, I have witnessed significant growth in wellbeing, social and emotional education. It manifests itself in our behaviour, where empathy is no longer in short supply. We feel for one another and the community in general. We also have the courage to take a stand and speak out when confronted by issues and developments we deem unsavoury, inappropriate or downright offensive.

Students, too, have a greater voice in their learning, sharing their goals with teachers, enjoying more control of their lives and generally feeling good about their futures, which brings us to the third reflection…

The rise in the use of data to inform teaching. It stands to reason that the more we know about a student, the better equipped we are to understand their journey – and that is when we can play the greatest possible role in making it a success.

Perhaps the fourth reflection is a result of this as today’s generation places far more importance on its endeavours to look after Mother Earth and ensure the sustainability of our fragile planet.

They are acutely aware of their impact in this regard, they exhibit a passion to protect and gently nurture our environment and they are determined to leave future generations with a better place to call home.

Moving on to number five, one of the great joys has been seeing students coming to realise why certain subjects are part of the curriculum. They understand the purpose of the lesson and experience more of those thrilling ‘aha’ moments when suddenly they get the WHY! They appreciate what it all means, they apply their minds to solve problems and reach solutions that will make our world just that bit better.

No reflection could exclude communication. Information is everywhere and channels of communicating and sharing it abound.

Deb Dalwood
Principal

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Respecting tradition, embracing change

St Andrew's School Past Backpacks and Hat

While the word ‘tradition’ tends to be bandied about a little too freely these days, its true meaning speaks of those beliefs and behaviours that have shaped – and continue to shape – people or organisations over the ages and remain of special significance to this day.

They hold us together, they unite us, the give us a deep sense of belonging and, in many ways, they define us.

This has certainly been the experience at St Andrew’s School – and it is perhaps particularly pertinent to reflect on them as our 170th anniversary year draws to a close.

That’s a rich history, but as with all histories, those that survive and thrive, live to tell the tale, if you will, share a common trait: agility, in the form of the ability to adapt and change with the times without sacrificing those dearly held traditions.

I believe when looking back over the St Andrew’s School history, it is fair to say that we have done this rather well – the most recent example being our adaptation of our traditional events due to the restrictions placed on us by COVID-19.

There is a special St Andrew’s community connection that pervades all we do. It is built on the values and beliefs of our founding fathers and mothers and remains evident today in the many school events and occasions that bring us together, connect us and provide that deep and lasting sense of belonging.

Although some of them have been modified this year, we have held onto our many precious traditions such as our celebration of Founder’s Day, our music and theatrical events, our fundraisers, our sporting activities such as the mostly competitive but always respectful Sports Day, and the time-honoured St Andrew’s to Henley Beach bike ride.

Then there are my personal favourites, which I know I will greatly miss when my part in the greater St Andrew’s School story comes to a close at the end of the year: the Speech Night and the Over the Bridge Ceremony, with the lone piper on the achingly beautiful bagpipes, the dancing, parents revelling in the occasion and the general fanfare.

In all of these – and others too numerous to mention – our great spirit of camaraderie has always shone through.

Let us not forget our spiritual connection.

Embedded in the core beliefs of ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ and ‘love your neighbour as yourself’, it is Christian theology as its most primal. And with its emphasis on inclusivity, our faith has certainly helped us to not only adapt to but embrace a changing world.

Our traditions have been enriched in more recent times by both the cultures of our first Australians and those of the many migrants who hail from all corners of the globe and now call Australia home. Their traditions, customs and rituals, given prominence in a myriad multicultural celebrations, now occupy equally important slots on our annual calendar of events.

Our Acknowledgement of Country is now a fixture at all St Andrew’s School events and is carried out with the utmost dignity and respect, as are the smoking ceremonies that are now synonymous with the opening of new buildings on campus.

Chinese New Year, too, has taken on added importance and, along with other cultural celebrations we have hosted, provides young and old with a great insight into other cultures, how they have made us a richer society and helped us to grow, individually and as a truly connected community.

They have contributed to our sense of family and belonging; they remind us that we care about each other.

I hope and trust this has been your experience at St Andrew’s School.

I know it has been mine – and while I know I will miss it, I feel enormously blessed to have been but a brief chapter in the St Andrew’s School journey of respecting tradition and being confident enough to welcome and embrace change.

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Proud history will help to shape brave new world

Air raid shelters on the oval, a young boy’s chivalrous gesture that lead to a healthy bequeathment, an earthquake that shook the buildings’ very foundations – and a commitment to strong values that absolutely nothing could jolt over a rich and rewarding 170-year journey.
These are just some of the moments that leap off the pages of St Andrew’s School’s history, an Adelaide educational institution that opened its doors to its very first students on 23 September 1850.

That’s just 14 years after Governor Hindmarsh strode ashore at Glenelg so it is fair to say that we have played an enormous role in educating South Australia’s young boys and girls and, in the process, giving an impressive list of Olympians, academics, artists, scientists, entrepreneurs, philanthropists and religious and political leaders a great start to their future endeavours of shaping society for the better.

As history tells us, the school sprang from the seed sown at an 1848 dinner to celebrate the consecration of the nearby St Andrew’s Church. Over the meal, someone wondered aloud how wonderful it would be if the next meaningful project was a school to provide elementary education for “children of the industrial classes within the principles of the teachings of the Church of England.”

The idea was warmly embraced by the ladies and gentlemen of the day and a year later, ground had been broken.

It’s hard to believe that the tiny original school building that emerged as reward for their hard work – and which still stands on the campus today – was meant to house 200 students!

How times have changed, how our campus has evolved to offer today’s learners the very best facilities and educators they could wish for, anywhere in the country.

Along the way, that little school building has witnessed a great deal. It saw the arrival from England in the late 1800s of Archdeacon and Lady Dove, who immediately set about convincing the church to better support the school and improve the teachers’ wages.

It was there when Principal Miss Porter presided over an era characterised by the hardships of World War I and the Great Depression. A formidable figure, she is credited with initiating fundraising drives – like the St Andrew’s Fair and Ball – that brought the community and friends together who continue to play a vital role in the school to this day.

Miss Porter is honoured for her contributions, which also include being a stickler when it came to English language usage, demanding nothing but the Queen’s English in both written and spoken form, with the Lavinia Porter Building bearing her name.

Those familiar with the campus will know that other buildings bear the names of the much-loved Rev Eggleton and a certain Mrs Habich (more of her later) but might not be aware that during World War II, air raid drills were practiced, air raid shelters were established on the oval and community drives raised fund for first aid supplies.

Our future focus on education and global thinking also saw us lead the way as one of the first International Baccalaureate (IB) schools in the country back in the 1990s and we offer one of the most extensive primary school education programs available anywhere in the world.

But what of Mrs Habich?

Well, she was so impressed when, while on a journey into the city one day, a young St Andrew’s School boy offered her his seat on a crowded bus that, when she died in 1989, she left the school a not insignificant $400,000!

That’s a fitting note on which to close as it truly reflects our strong values of instilling in our children a desire to lead a good and rewarding life, one that is connected and community driven.

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Year 1 and 2 Craft Competition

In September, Lucian Hamilton (2B) ran a craft competition for Year 1 and Year 2 students to raise money for St John’s Ambulance Service. At the end of Term 3, Lucian along with Ms Heather Wood, Deputy Principal – Learning and Teaching judged the entries and awarded a winner for each year level.

The winners were announced at the end of term JP assembly.

Winners:
Ethan Zhang 1B
Rafi Malik-Wauchope 2E

Year 1 winning entry submitted by Ethan Zhang 1B

Year 2 winning entry submitted by Rafi Malik-Wauchope 2E

Ethan was chosen by Lucian as he liked the shape of the jellyfish and it was made to stand up on its own. Rafi’s entry was selected as he had put in extra work to share information about the glass squid.

We chatted to Lucian about how he came up with the idea and how the competition worked out.

How did you come up with the idea?

I love crafting and making things from recyclable materials found around my home so I came up with the idea to have a crafting competition so others would do it too.

How did you go about running the competition?

I spoke to Ms Wood about having a competition in Term 1 and we started to organise it but then I couldn’t do it because of COVID-19. When I found out about the theme for Science Week, I thought that would be great for the competition.

I put lots of notes together and made a plan to give to Ms Wood about how I wanted to run the competition. I chose Years 1 and 2 so it was easier to run, and came up with some rules like it had to be made of recyclable materials and you had to do it yourself without lots of help from a grown up. Also, the projects had to be about the Science Week theme Deep Blue: Innovations for the Future of our Ocean. We put a note on SeeSaw to ask people to do it.

Why did you choose St John’s Ambulance Service as your charity?

In Term 1, I wanted to help the emergency services after the bushfires happened early this year. But then once COVID-19 happened I saw the doctors and the nurses on the TV and they looked like they needed help. Ms Wood made me a list of different charities to choose from and I chose St John’s Ambulance Service because they help the doctors with sick people.

I hope St John’s can use the money to buy more things and help people who are sick. Maybe they can use the money to buy a defibrillator to keep people alive.

How many entries did you get?

I had 34 entries from Year 1 and 7 entries from Year 2.

How much did you raise?

I raised $213 from entry fees and other donations.

How did you feel after you successfully finished the competition?

I feel proud that I did a good job and raised money for St John’s.

What did you learn from running the competition?

I learned that one idea can make a huge difference. I am making a difference to the Ambulance service and I’m helping people.

Deputy Principal – Teaching and Learning, Heather Wood, reflects on Lucian’s craft competition and process…

Student Agency is a key component of the IB Primary Years Programme. Agency is the power to take meaningful and intentional action. Students at St Andrew’s are given opportunities to:

  • have voice, choice and ownership
  • influence and direct learning
  • contribute to and participate in the learning community

As Lucian has shown, young students are capable of making a significant, positive difference to the world through their actions.

Photos of other entries submitted and Lucian selecting the winners

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Year 4 students interview COVID-19 anti-microbial material inventor Harrie Schoots

Students from St Andrew’s School were given the opportunity to interview and speak with Harrie Schoots, a textile chemist working for Ascend Performance Materials in America and President-Elect of the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (www.aatcc.org) this month. The Year 4 students are currently studying a unit on Materials in Chemistry and Harrie’s specialty field made him the perfect person for the students to talk to.

“It is very important that students make real life connections to their classroom learning.” Ms Carla Moffat, Year 4 teacher said.

Harrie has been working in the apparel and textile industry for over 25 years both in manufacturing and as a specialty chemical supplier. He has patented over a dozen technologies which aim to lower the environmental impact of textile processing. Harrie’s most recent project was inventing a new anti-bacterial/anti-microbial fabric which has just gone on the market in America to help fight the spread of COVID-19.

Students spoke to Harrie during two different sessions via Skype. The Year 4 classes brainstormed a list of questions to ask Harrie about his background, why he chose to be a scientist, how people process colour and how he invented the anti-microbial material, Acteev Protect™. Harrie explained what his role as a textile chemist looks like, saying it’s much like being an artist in addition to a scientist. He is inspired to create an industry that is as environmentally sustainable as possible. In his role, he has saved trillions of litres of water, through innovation and refined processes that demand less water and have less impact on our resources. Harrie also explained how people process colour, the dyeing process of fabric in the industry and how he used a zinc element in creating his anti-microbial material to the students.

“I am drawn to sharing textile chemistry and apparel science with students because it’s such a rare skill set, yet we all wear clothes!” Mr Schoots said.

Its important students, who eventually become consumers themselves, become educated in how the textile industry impacts the environment and how they can learn to reduce negative impacts through their buying habits.”

Retailers and brands are listening, and when consumers speak, either literally or with their wallet, they will implement change to satisfy a consumer request”

After this session, the students were given an opportunity to reflect on their learnings including what they learnt with students saying, “I learned that zinc can kill viruses because the virus thinks the zinc is good for it and different types of fabric can have a different result to the virus. Changing fabric is a science but also an art.”

Many students also found the presentation inspirational saying “He inspired me to help people and animals” and “He inspired me to be a scientist”.

During Harrie’s second session, students from other Year levels were invited to attend. Harrie spoke exclusively about his anti-bacterial/anti-microbial fabric which COVID-19 cannot survive on. Masks are currently being produced and sold using this fabric at www.blendedhuemanity.com.

This was a one of a kind experience for the students who were able to not only hear from a real life scientist but also participate in an interview process from beginning to end.

“Harrie was the right person to inspire the students to not just be the best they can be in their chosen line of work, but to make the world a better place.” Ms Moffat said.

He inspired many of the students in science and additionally, to be a person who cares about people, their impact on the environment and making the world safer in general. His invention of the COVID-19 killing fabric is testament to this.”

 

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St Andrew’s students embrace education in the great outdoors

When our children rode their bicycles or walked to school, spent part of their afternoons kicking the footy or throwing the netball, there was doubtless less need for it, but as we now find ourselves citizens of the digital age, it has become a vital component of the school curriculum.

I am talking about education in the great outdoors which, over the past two decades, has come to the fore and, more recently, gone on to embrace nature play and interaction with our environment.

It is most rewarding to see how enthusiastically our St Andrew’s School students enjoy our carefully devised outdoor education program that seeks to align activity with classroom endeavours, amalgamating all disciplines and seeing to it that skills are transferable.

Over the years, it has been equally rewarding to see the enormous benefits that flow from a comprehensive outdoor education program. We know how good it is to be active, all the more so when it takes place in the fresh air and under a warm sun – with all the slip, slop, slap, seek and slide measures adhered to, of course!

We have seen our students’ health enhanced, along with their learning capacity. The physical exercise, complemented by the mental stimulation of creating new things and allowing the imagination to run wild, leaves them suitably tired. A good night’s sleep invariably follows, as does a brain that is fresh and alert the next day.

In keeping with trends and innovative thinking in the area of outdoor play, our program has developed greatly since our first tentative steps some 20 or so years ago, to the point where a sizeable portion of our campus is now devoted to outdoor education activities.

And when our own space imposes limitations, there is always great public space to discover and explore, whether it’s an educative meander along the nearby River Torrens and its abundant Linear Park, or heading out into the bush on day-long excursions or overnight camps.

Closer to home, we have created a mosaic of pleasantly shaded outdoor areas, where on any given day, you’ll find children in the playground; planting, watering and nurturing flowers and shrubs in our school garden; pulling on the aprons and heading for the mud kitchen to bake a ‘mud cake’ with a difference; or sitting quietly on the outdoor furniture while they update their nature diaries to record the day’s collections and observations.

Others may well be found engaging in simple and soothing activities such as sitting down to read a book while breathing in the fresh air, taking in nature’s many aromas and absorbing the sounds of the wind through the trees, birdsong and chirping insects.

Nature play has certainly added to their rich understanding and appreciation of the world we live in and our role as the current custodians. But more than that, it has also allowed them to grasp the difference between danger and risk. We always work to eliminate danger but through nature play – whether climbing trees or jumping across streams – our students are encouraged to weigh up what’s risky and then, when comfortable with the degree of risk, have a go.

We are not done yet, with some ambitious plans already unfolding or in conceptual stage.

Our playground masterplan will see us introduce more wood structures and ninja equipment into the environment, while at the end of the secret garden, we will create a little farm area that, with a veggie patch and a chook run, will help children understand where their food comes from.

Yes, there is a place for digital technology and sedentary moments in our school curriculum, but let us never forget the enormous benefits of outdoor play. It has been around and doing good since time immemorial and you can be sure its merits will demand it is here to stay, at least at St Andrew’s School.

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  • St Andrew’s School is a South Australian independent, co-educational specialist primary school providing excellence in education from playgroup through to early years and on to Year 7. Principal Jackie Becher – an International Baccalaureate School – UNESCO Associated School.