25 August 2022

Dear Families

On several occasions this fortnight I was able to notice and observe our children in service to others on many levels. We have a strong history of academic success and participation in events and our children excel in state, national and even international competitions. While we can celebrate wonderful results or be told that our school was chosen for their child’s education based on Naplan results, Tournament of Mind success, future scholarship opportunities or our excellent education… we are so much more than that. Our teachers are likely to name success of their students through them being collaborators, principled, caring, thinkers, reflective, flexible, curious, balanced, empathetic, respectful and open minded. The point being, that these skills and dispositions for learning named by teachers are the attributes that support the academic, or personal success and participation, through the offerings of a school such as ours.

Without a doubt we are pleased to offer so many varied opportunities for our children. This could be in classrooms, or, as part of the co-curricular program. We are responsive to our community and when possible, offer additional activities if there is a need. An example is the introduction of Chess Club for our R-2 children in 2022, this is so popular that the waiting list has deemed it viable to provide an additional afternoon for this activity in Term 4. While new opportunities are introduced, we also know that past offerings may become less popular, and things change over time.

Our staff have recently finalised an intensive professional development program with Kath Murdoch. All teachers, ELC to Year 6, were involved in learning labs, professional readings, collaborative programming with Kath, lesson observations, debriefing and mentoring, and additionally using this in their classrooms and as collaborators of learning in support of one another. We are all lifelong learners and as educators, it is important to see ourselves as contributors who make a positive difference to our own lives, the lives of others and our planet, as a whole (Murdoch, 2015). Just like children are learning, we are learning too, and we then have a stronger sense of purpose, connection, and worth which transfers to how we interact and teach our children.

I began this week’s article with a statement about noticing and observing service in action. My ‘take away’ noticing was listening to our Year 6 children who volunteered to be tour guides for School Tours one afternoon and on the weekend. They shared their experience of being a student at St Andrew’s School, from ELC to Year 6, and what they liked most, their favourite subjects and as guides they provided insight, assistance, and conversation to their adult audience. Their genuineness, confidence and appreciation of the School and teachers was sincere and beautiful to listen to. Their love of the School and ability to share their positive perspectives so articulately was beyond their years. They radiated happiness and interest and a sense of pride in their School. These are not things that can be taught but are rather the culmination of a caring school environment that provides experiences and opportunities for each child to be the best that they can be and enjoy their learning journey, experiences, and community.

Thank you to all our students who this fortnight went beyond their normal school day to support others through service, this included: Kross Café duties, Saxophone playing for entertainment, School Tour guides, representing the School at the Anglican School Student Leaders Workshop, Bands Cabaret performers, rubbish rangers, running the Book Week Parade and I am sure there are many other things I have missed but others have noticed, identified and thanked our children. Let’s see what other ‘noticing’ happens in the next fortnight.

Cathie Egarr
Interim Principal