Issue #1 13/2/2018

Start of the Year

The beginning of the 2018 school year has been full of highlights and good news stories.

Our Welcome Assembly last Monday highlighted the lovely community spirit we enjoy. I believe parents and families of our new Prep students as well as parents of the new students at other year levels were made to feel a sense of belonging as they enjoyed mingling with members of our school community that morning. The parents and students from China who are with us for the first two weeks of this year were also made to feel welcome and felt a great level of reassurance when seeing and feeling the beautiful school environment which they have chosen for their children in Australia.

The teachers have been thrilled with the manner in which the students have settled into their class routines. It is inspiring for me to see and hear teachers speaking with such enthusiasm about the students who will be in their care during 2018. My appreciation goes to everyone for contributing to such a wonderful beginning to the new school year.

School Information Evening

In 2018 we are introducing a different format to the traditional first Parent/Teacher Meetings for the year.

Prior to the students’ return this year, the staff and I reviewed the manner in which we communicate with parents early in the year about each student and the classroom and school programs that have been planned. It was in this context that we decided it would be valuable to introduce a change from the norm of the past few years and provide parents with a greater insight to our classroom programs and expectations for our students. It also enables us to reinforce how the Consciousness-Based Education Curriculum is integrated into the Victorian Curriculum and the manner in which the students study the SCI Principles and Fundamentals of Growth.

This Information Evening will be held next Tuesday 20th February at 5.30pm and is expected to be around 90 minutes in duration. A separate invitation outlining the format for the evening will be sent out to all families this week.  Please keep that evening free as we would like 100% attendance, with all families represented.

“Chat with the Principal” Session

I was thrilled with the turnout for our first session together on Monday morning. I was expecting around 3-4 parents but was excited to have 15 parents attend. There was some wonderful discussion about the range of initiatives the school has in place as well as those we are looking into for future implementation. Parents provided a great insight into the things they value about the school and its positive influence on the students. We also discussed a few ideas that parents who were at the session will share with other parents. Alternatively, you may provide some feedback directly to me at The topics discussed included:

  1. Conducting a weekly Group Meditation session directly after Assembly each Monday for all parents. A child-minding service that will enable all parents to attend is under consideration. The first session will be next Monday 19th February.
  2. Parent Seminars will be planned throughout the year to cover topics related to the philosophy of the school but other suggestions from parents are also invited.
  3. A reintroduction of Student Lunches was canvassed. Parents at the meeting were asked to give consideration for their willingness to participate in the preparation of school lunches or to investigate through their own network the availability of a qualified individual such as a chef who may consider taking on the Student Lunch Program. The school will also be investigating the availability of a contracted catering service to provide a lunch service.
  4. Parents were asked to consider how their own expertise may be used in adding further value to our Homework Club Program (e.g. Cooking Club, Gardening Club, Construction Club, Technology/IT Club, etc.).

I hope to see you and hear your feedback, either via email or at the next Chat With the Principal session on Monday 5th March. There may even be some Tim Tams on offer + the return of the Chocolate Bowl (sshhh!!)

Chinese Students & Families

It has been heart-warming to see the students from China enjoy their time at our school and make new friends. The teachers have planned a special “Aussie Morning Tea” this Friday for the students to introduce them to some typical Aussie delights!!

The students will be completing their stay with us this Friday 16th February . We have planned a “Farewell Assembly” at 12.00pm where there will be an exchange of gifts between our school and the students. Some of our students will also be performing a couple of songs. Everyone is welcome to attend and say goodbye to our special new friends.

2019 Enrolments

It is wonderful for our school to be able to say at this very early stage of the year that the interest and the enrolments for  Year Prep (Foundation) for 2019 has already been very strong. The number of requests for tours and actual enrolments in the past week has taken me aback, but in such a good way! We have already filled at least 50% of the anticipated places available for Foundation Year students and indications are that the strength of interest in our school will see us fill these places soon. May I encourage our existing families who have a child who will be starting school in 2019 to immediately register and secure their place. If our existing families have friends/relatives who are looking for a school for their child in Year Prep (or any other year level) in 2019, please ask them to contact Suzi at the Office to organise a tour of the school.

Instrumental Music Program—Piano & Guitar

In my letter to the school community a couple of weeks ago, I explained the need for changes to the Music Program in 2018. That is, Physical Education classes have replaced the Classroom Music Program for Semester One only, with a return to Classroom Music in Semester Two.  I feel we have struck a nice balance of Specialist Programs for the students.

In the meantime, the Instrumental Music Program will continue. We have secured the services of Nick Aston who will be our Piano Teacher. Nick is an Instrumental Music Teacher at two other primary schools and also teaches at a Music School in Greensborough. Nick will conduct his lessons each Wednesday, beginning this week.

Luke Miller will continue as our Guitar Teacher but cannot resume until he has confirmed his attendance requirements at University where he is studying his Master of Teaching (Music). We will contact parents very soon with details.

Homework Club

The Term One Homework Club will begin next Monday 19th February. The session will run from 3.30 – 5.00pm. Please note there will be no After-School Care on this day, only participation in the Homework Club until 5.00pm.

The activities for this term will be:

  1. Drama Club (up to 12 students)
  2. Art Club (up to 12 students)
  3. Gardening Club (up to 8 students)

An “Activity Selection Form” will be sent home on Wednesday.

Steve Charisis – Principal

We would like to acknowledge and congratulate our  student leadership team for 2018. We look forward to their contributions to our school community both as individuals and as members of this Student Leadership Team.

School Captains:Natasha Agati & Maya Constable

*SRC Captain:Jamie Gioskos

Sports Captain:Andrew Emmanuelle

*EY&R Captain: Pearl Stewart-Young

Technology Captain: Tiago Coelho

*SRC – Student Representative Council

*EY&R – Environment, Youth & Recreation

Term 1 Class Captains

Congratulations to our Term 1 Class Captains:

Pearls:            Lenny Cove & Phoebe Fredericks

Diamonds:    Ashwin Krishnan & Isabella Mihos

Our Class Captains will join me, the School Captains and the SRC Captain every fortnight for lunch in my office and an SRC Meeting where they will share their classmates’ ideas for the school.

Key Dates:

Wednesday 14th February:              Tennis Coaching Program (3.30 – 5.00pm)

Friday 16th February:                   P.E. Classes & Swimming Program (All students in Sports Uniform)

Final day for Chinese students (Farewell Assembly at 12.00pm)

Monday 19th February:                Homework Club (3.30 – 5.00pm)

Tuesday 20th February: School Information Evening (5.30 – 7.00pm)

Wednesday 21st February: Tennis Coaching Program (3.30 – 5.00pm)

Friday 23rd February: P.E. Classes & Swimming Program (All students in Sports Uniform)

Monday 5th March: Chat With the Principal Session (after Assembly & Group Meditation for Parents)

Wednesday 7th March: Keon Park District Sports Association Athletics Day (Meadowglen Athletics Stadium)

Safer Internet Day

On Wednesday 7th February, the Emeralds joined thousands of other Australian students and participated in a “Safer Internet Day” virtual classroom run by the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner. This year’s theme was ‘Create, connect and share respect: A better internet starts with you’.

These were some comments about the lesson from the class:

Pearl “I liked the virtual reality style classroom”

Tiago ”I liked the safer internet day idea”

Jesse “I liked how they asked us questions and the way that all the schools joined”

Lucas “Different schools had different opinions and the whole class had to agree on our choices”

Jamie “I liked everything!”

Olive “I thought it was clever that they were talking about safety on the internet while we were on a safe site!”

Dries “I like how it was a big community”

Andrew “I liked the idea of it”

Veer “I like how we could express our feelings”

The lesson was fun, interesting and engaging. As well as surveys and activities, students were asked if their online posts would pass the “Nana test”!

The main tips for students when engaging on line were:

1 – Asking before tagging someone in a picture or video.

2 – Not revealing personal information

3 – Recognise that others’ opinions will be different to yours

4 – Only say online what you’d say to someone’s face.

After doing the virtual classroom, the Emeralds made their own personal pledges for how they can help to make the internet a safer place for everyone.

The Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner has an excellent website with support and resources for families, children, students, teachers and parents. Subscribing to their regular e-newsletters helps to keep parents and students updated on issues and trends:


CBE in the Emeralds Class

The Emeralds first “Fundamental of Growth” for the year is the theme “Creativity”. Maharishi said that “Creativity comes from deep inside us” and is cultivated through our practice of TM. The Emeralds have been expressing their creativity and favorite things on our “Creativity Quilt” which is being displayed in the classroom.

Samantha Russell