Middle Years Update
For many years now, I have noticed that for some families at the beginning of the year it can be a bit of a challenge to switch back into the ‘school routine’. For others, it definitely feels like time to move back into a more structured part of the year. The notion that it takes time to develop or re-form habits is interesting when applied to the summer holiday period, with the stark contrast to that of the daily routines of a school term. We go from the lazy days at the beach, regular family celebrations, heaps of potential screen time, sleep ins, fewer commitments, free time, televised sport each evening and being in a smaller family group to earlier mornings, classes, competing demands, meetings, expectations, rules, being a member of a larger group, being organised – and the list goes on. Clearly this can make the transition from long summer holidays to the school term a challenge for some students (as well as parents and staff).
One of the big challenges some students will face is the reduction in screen time and access to media and social media. Although this may be a difficult adjustment, I feel that developing a balance in terms of accessing media and communication is a welcome opportunity with the beginning of the school year. The students have been reminded in assemblies, mobile phones are to be kept in their lockers throughout the day. This is especially important at recess and lunchtime when we would like students to focus on face-to-face interactions and being active.
By and large, Koonung students are very engaged in physical activity, music, library activities, lunch conversations and many other activities, however, for some we will need to keep reminding them of this arrangement. Over the last six months we have seen an upswing in the number of students who don’t even choose to bring a phone to school every day, which is pleasing as they begin to develop self-regulatory skills that they will need as they get older.
First term is also a great opportunity for students to introduce some good learning habits. For example, being organised, communicating well with the teacher or setting aside time for learning in the evenings even when there is no set homework (there is always something that can be revised, read or remembered). For some it may be getting outside and being active, getting enough sleep or eating well, and we can all work on being respectful to ourselves, each other and adults. Throughout the term in assemblies, and in classes, we will be focussing on these habits, as well as our whole-school school values.
Tips for parents
- Always leave electronic devices in the kitchen overnight, not in bedrooms
- Parents should know social media passwords
- Always encourage open communication about online activity
- No mobile phones while studying
- Make sure all social media accounts are on ‘private’ settings
- Only be online ‘friends’ with people you know
- Wifi can be disabled in the family home at night
Eric Perkins Scholarship
Commencing in 1964 the Eric Perkins Scholarship has been awarded to two students across the Box Hill District. The scholarship is to honour the memory of tireless former Lion, Eric Perkins. Eric was a dedicated worker within our community with a specific focus on education and the development of our youth.
Schools are asked to provide the academic records, as well as any details of extra-curricular community and sporting involvement. The nominees also go through an interview process in front of a judging panel at the Box Hill Lions hall in Box Hill South.
It gives me great pleasure to let the Koonung Community know that our own Middle School Captain Chloe Pedler has been awarded the honour of receiving the Eric Perkins Scholarship for 2019. Well Done Chloe!
International Women’s Day
Koonung is a proudly co-educational school, and we believe that encouraging respect and empathy between boys and girls is key in developing students who will have a positive impact on the world. Celebrating International Women’s Day on Friday 8 March is one way we highlight this.
International Women’s Day is a global opportunity to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. This year we were again fortunate to be invited by MASH Rotary to attend a breakfast and listen to inspiring guest speakers. Our Middle School Captains represented our College at this event.
Middle School Captains Amelie Bassora, Chloe Pedlar and Hay Tran reported the following:
This morning the Middle School female captains along with Mrs Howe and Mrs Lee went to the Box Hill Town Hall for the annual Women in Rotary International Women’s Day Breakfast. This year’s theme was Women of diversity, success against the odds. We heard from 3 key-note speakers including Stephanie Woollard OAM, who told us her story of how she founded the 'Seven Women' organisation. This organisation educated, trained and gainfully employed women with disabilities. Ella Lucas told her life story from when she was in foster care to her time being disengaged from school and how she defied the odds by finishing school and enrolling in tertiary studies. Ella told us about the special women in her life that mentored her along the way and pushed her to succeed. The third speaker was Steve O’Malley AFSM who is a Multicultural Liaison Officer with the Metropolitan Fire Brigade. He told of a story a little girl who was inspired to become a fire-fighter and how all boys and girls should be able to do whatever occupations they desire. We sat with Mont Albert and Surrey Hill’s Rotarians and had a lovely breakfast and great conversation about all the great opportunities we have here at Koonung.
Upcoming Middle School events
Tuesday 12 March – Year 9 Parent Information Evening 6pm
Friday 15 March – Year 8 Team building Day
Year 7 Camp
While transition is an ongoing process, the highlight is most definitely the Year 7 camp to Alexander Adventure resort. I love the energy and enthusiasm our new Year 7 students bring to the camp which includes canoeing, raft building, rocking climbing and archery. By the end of the camp, I can see students from a host of different primary schools bonding together and getting to know each other. Koonung brings together families from a number of wonderful primary school communities. Connecting families with the Koonung community is part of the transition process and it contributes to a feeling of belonging and connectedness which helps our students feel part of Koonung and helps foster the students ambition to do their very best in all things. Thank you to all the staff who came on Year 7 camp. A special thank you to the ex Koonung students who gave up their time, along with the Year 12 student leaders for coming to visit and helping out with activities and at lunchtime.