Dear Parents and Students,
What a bright and cheerful start to the year we’ve enjoyed. It was so heart-warming to see our students returning so enthused about the new school year. I’m sure that’s the reason the parents seemed to be smiling so widely too on the first day of school!!
In our first School Newsletter for this year, our teachers have taken the time to share with you the beginning of the year from their perspective and within the classroom programs they teach.
We have begun the year with great excitement about the new faces and initiatives that will enhance those already in place in 2016. We welcome Natalie Banks and Tess Brady as the new Diamonds teaching team (affectionately known as Team Tessalie). Mrs Banks and Miss Brady have already established a wonderful rapport, both as a teaching team and with their students. We also welcome Alexis, Angel, Billi, Mara and Lenny (Pearls); Ashwin and Shelley (Diamonds); Ajasbi (Emeralds).
This year we’ve introduced Before and After School Care and have been thrilled by the response we’ve received by parents and students to this initiative. We have also had a great response to the newly-introduced Instrumental Music Program with Mrs O’Brien teaching piano to the many students who’ve already expressed their interest in attending lessons. Our school has now joined the Keon Park District Primary Schools Sports Association where we will participate in the Athletics Carnival, Cross Country, Basketball and Indoor Soccer.
Our Tennis Coaching Program at Keon Park has returned on Wednesday afternoons during Term One, while our Sporting Schools Program has shifted to Tuesdays after school with the Term One activity being the IAAF Athletics Program. We are also partnering with Collingwood Football Club to participate in their Magpie Rookie Program which will run during the week of 6th March.
20th Year (1997 –2017 )
In 2017 we plan to have a few celebratory events to commemorate the 20th year of our school. This wonderful milestone serves to remind us of the unique qualities and purpose of Maharishi School and what it brings to the young people in our care and more broadly to the educational landscape of Melbourne.
Maharishi School is non-denominational and open to students of all cultural backgrounds. We are represented by students whose heritage originates from 15 countries around the world. Our school’s purpose is to offer a unique combination of academic excellence in the areas of study of the Victorian Curriculum (F-10) while developing students’ consciousness and creativity and a high quality of life both within the school environment and for the individual student through our integration with Consciousness-Based Education.
Our teachers work to fulfil this purpose through a carefully structured curriculum which combines the learning goals and curriculum requirements of the Victorian Curriculum (F-10) with an educational approach which: • nurtures the happiness and inner creative genius of every student • directly develops qualities such as learning ability, creativity, confidence, self-esteem and moral reasoning • supports the principle of ‘unity in diversity’, encouraging the individual growth of each student along with growth of ideal social behaviour — tolerance, respect for others etc. • fosters growth in the direction of higher states of consciousness: the ability to think and act spontaneously in accord with Natural Law
At Maharishi School, the SCI Principles form the basis for the Integrated Units of Study at each year level. Areas of study in the Victorian Curriculum are integrated by teachers into each of the principles during each year from the Foundation Year to Year 4. In Years 5 & 6, the Fundamentals of Growth are used in the same way as the SCI Principles for planning the teaching and learning programs undertaken by students.
The teachers and students look forward to presenting their understandings of the SCI Principles and Fundamentals of Growth to you throughout the year. It is wonderful for us to see the influence of CBE and watch the students experience and develop the full range of their own creativity and intelligence. You will experience this, both formally and informally, through the many ways in which we celebrate student achievement and through your everyday interaction with your children. I expect you will greatly appreciate the development of their confidence, self-esteem, creativity and the choices they make.
New Mathematics Program
The teachers and I have been reviewing aspects of the school’s teaching and learning programs in recent months with one focus area being the teaching of Mathematics. Our newly-introduced student assessment programs enabled us to closely evaluate the effectiveness of the current approach, while also looking at areas that did not meet our expectations for the standard of development in students. We concluded that our students would benefit further with a greater emphasis on problem solving, visual literacy (reading and interpreting tables & graphs) and the higher order thinking required in the application and analysis of mathematical concepts.
In addition to the criteria mentioned above, it was imperative to us that a Mathematics program enable us to differentiate easily within a classroom without the necessity to only develop students mathematics skills by accelerating them on a vertical continuum. We sought a program that supported an approach to student assessment that focused on development of knowledge and proficiency while also helping us achieve our aim of depth and breadth of learning for our students. Importantly, we also wanted to move away from a “one size fits all” year-level textbook/workbook.
In 2017 we are introducing the iMaths program as a whole-school initiative. iMaths is a program that immerses students in relevant real-life Mathematical investigations. iMaths integrates ten of the most commonly used problem solving strategies which we will explicitly teach and use within iMaths Investigations. These strategies are structured to give students the ability and confidence to solve any problem a variety of ways. Teachers and students will use the iMaths Online platform and have access to multiple mathematics levels so that skill development can be specifically targeted to students, reflecting the reality that each of us has strengths and areas of need that do not fit snuggly into a one-year-level textbook.
We are excited about the learning opportunities this will bring to our students. The key to our new approach is to engage students in developing their mathematics skills by learning concepts in the context of mathematical investigations. The students will see the reason they need to learn a skill as they will not be able to progress with a specific task if they cannot effectively use the skill. This is a subtle yet very important shift in the teaching of mathematics. That is, we can effectively deal with and overcome the dreaded “Why do I need to learn this?” question. We are making mathematics more relevant and engaging for our students.
eSafety for our Children
The Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner has developed a resource for parents called iParent—where parents can learn about the digital environment and keep updated on their children’s technology use. You can find guidance for using safety settings on your family’s web-connected devices, tips for choosing movies and games and strategies for keeping young people safe online. Check out the website. We can all benefit from the guidance provided. https://www.esafety.gov.au/education-resources/iparent
Parent Satisfaction Survey
You may recall that towards the end of 2016 all families were sent a Parent Satisfaction Survey to complete. Although we did not receive responses from everyone, our return-rate was 54%.
I appreciated receiving the feedback and the staff and I have reviewed the collated results to get a sense for the feeling of our school community and compare this to our own perceptions.
The results of the survey are normally published in the school’s Annual Report to the School Community which is due for publication in June/July. I am thrilled to share with you that 100% of respondents to the survey indicated that they were either ‘Satisfied’ or ‘Extremely Satisfied’ with the school.
My best wishes to everyone for a wonderful second year together and 20th year for Maharishi School. On behalf of our school community, I would especially like to wish Liz Watt, a wonderful teacher and colleague, the best of luck with the upcoming birth of her second child. We will miss her warmth (and IT savviness) at the school but look forward to sharing in the exciting news soon. Liz will finish up at the school this Friday 10th February so please make sure you catch up with her prior to her departure.
I hope that 2017 will be a fulfilling year for us all.
Happy Birthday to the following students who have either celebrated or about to celebrate their birthday: Happy 7th Birthday to: Georgia (Pearls) Alize (Pearls) Lenny (Pearls)
Happy 9th Birthday to: Samaya (Diamonds) Aiden (Diamonds) Jesse (Diamonds)
Mrs Burnham – Library
Welcome back to the library. The new cataloguing system was installed in January and we are beginning to catalogue all books.
Pearls Library Session – Wednesday
Diamonds Library Session – Monday
Emeralds Library Session – Wednesday
All students are permitted to borrow 5 library books each for 2 weeks. Overdue notices will be sent via email after this time. Please ensure your child has their “book bag” or a dedicated “library bag” to place their books in to for safe keeping.
World Read Aloud Day is Thursday 16th February. World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words and creates a community of readers taking action to show the world that the right to literacy belongs to all people. Please think about sharing a story with your child on this day.
Premier’s Reading Challenge – details and permission slips will be advertised in March.
Susie Burnham Librarian
It has been an extremely happy and cohesive start to 2017 in the Emeralds classroom. The students are bubbling with enthusiasm to embrace all of the academic and leadership opportunities that make years five and six such a rewarding group to teach. Each child in year five and six are sitting in their meditation technique twice daily, and from that expanding awareness of unboundedness comes pure creativity, energy, intelligence and purposefulness. These are our first four topics for study in SCI Fundamentals of Growth, and therefore our integrated focus in the first term is evolution: how we grow and progress both as individuals and a society. Maharishi says: “Greater creativity alone can be the basis of progress… the genius of people is hidden in the silence of their awareness… in that settled state.” In the first week of term, the students made beautiful, genuine posters illustrating their personal expression of creative intelligence. We look forward to sharing those with you at next week’s Assembly.
The class has collaborated open-heartedly to formulate a high level of support for all of our new Prep ‘Buddies” and also other new children in the school. Already at play and lunch times, the Emeralds can be seen in the playground fostering caring and happy relationships with the younger members of our beautiful community. We will continue to have regular ‘play dates’ in school hours with our Pearls buddies to cultivate a strong sense of belonging, care and the celebration of each individual student.
In week 3, we will commence Leadership interviews for our Year 6 students, so stay tuned for updates regarding leadership roles for 2017. Students will be submitting their applications for leadership positions prior to being formally interviewed by a panel of school staff. This process is a transparent and equitable method for selecting leaders – but more importantly, it provides students with the all-important opportunity to practise the interview process prior to the commencement of Secondary School applications. In the last week of term, the Emeralds will take their newly- appointed leadership responsibilities to a Leadership Convention for Primary School students (run by Halogen Leadership) to the Convention and Exhibition Centre and engage in a focus day to support their growth and development.
In week 7 the Emeralds depart on their four-day School Camp to Beechworth, a town famous for its role in the Gold Mining period in the 1850’s. This camp is selected to complement and engage students in our main integrated focus for Semester One: The Evolution of Colonial Australia (19th Century). The Emeralds will be studying fiction texts, historical sources, and engaging with various forms of media to bring this period of Australia’s history. To commence the topic, we are reading the wonderful author Jackie French’s novel, “The Night They Stormed Eureka” to get a child’s perspective of what it was like to be on the Ballarat Goldfields at the time of the Eureka Stockade. Ultimately, our direct learning lessons on Colonial Australia will culminate in individual student inquiry projects on their chosen aspect of the period (Term 2).
We are looking forward to leading the school in embracing all of the extra-curricular activities on offer this term: the Collingwood FC “Magpie Rookie Program”, after school Athletics on Tuesdays (and interschool Athletics on March 8th), Tennis on Wednesdays and Swimming on Fridays.
Please contact me via the school office or via Tiqbiz if you would like to set aside some time to meet.
Looking forward to a wonderful term, Samantha Russell Emeralds Teacher 2017
A Sparkly Beginning!
Wow, it’s been a pretty fabulous start to the year in the Diamonds Classroom! You have an assured recipe for goodness when you throw in two SUPER excited teachers, 15 AWESOME students including one WONDERFUL new student (welcome Shelley), a FAB returned student (Welcome back Ashwin) and a year ahead full of promise! We started the year with some good settling in activities to help us connect with each other and allow us to feel present in the classroom. These included some art, drama exercises and of course, sack racing, which made us all giggly, and a bit wobbly!
We then went on to introduce our topic for the term, Traditional Storytelling, which focuses on the long history of storytelling for the purpose of imparting historical information, cultural values, language and morals. We will also consider here how storytelling has been a vehicle for generations to pass on their deep wisdom to the future generations, which has allowed these younger generations to grow and flourish. This deepens our understanding about how ‘The Nature of Life is to Grow’ and how we grow in a myriad of ways.
Our Numeracy program has also begun with enthusiasm and we were stoked (and somewhat surprised) to see how ready, willing and clearly excited the students were to get stuck in immediately. We certainly don’t remember Numeracy being this fun when we were at school, but it is a testament to the school and the students, and of course the parents, that the program is received with pure joy.
We now look to getting cracking on all other subject areas and will begin encouraging the students to take some ownership over their own learning through reading independently at home and being responsible for filling out their reading diaries and practicing their spelling.
We look forward to the FABULOUS year ahead and to sharing it with all of you. We have such a sparky class and we are thrilled to be part of it. Shine on you crazy Diamonds!
Natalie Banks & Tess Brady Diamonds Teachers
Pearls First Week Our first week of school was incredibly smooth and relaxed. The Grade 1 and 2 Pearls reunited on Wednesday and enjoyed chatting excitedly with others about their holiday adventures. This term, we will be looking at journeys around Australia, which will be a great opportunity for the children to share stories of their family holidays and adventures around our beautiful country.
On Thursday, our beautiful new Foundation Year students joined the class and were welcomed and supported by the caring Grade 1 and 2 children. The preppies easily integrated into this caring and lovely group of students. We have many exciting things planned this year, including a brand new, investigation-based maths program called iMaths. 4 times a week, the children will take part in Integrated studies, where our topic of “Are We There Yet? – A journey around Australia” will cover History, Geography and SCI principles.
The Pearls enjoyed a lovely AUSLAN lesson with Mrs Aston on Thursday and on Friday they took part in a music class with our talented Mrs O’Brien. The week finished off with Swimming at Reservoir Aquatic Centre and then some very tired students made their way home for a good rest. What a jam-packed few days! I am simply delighted to be the Pearls teacher this year (with the marvellous assistance of Mrs Burnham).
Leisa James Pearls & Art Teacher
Science & Auslan
Thursday brought a wonderful start to Auslan for the year with happy and positive students relaying the purpose of Auslan to new students. The classes enjoyed recapping the signs for animals with enthusiasm, the Pearls teaching these not only to the new faces in the class but also to Ms James. This term in Auslan the students will learn the basics of communicating non-verbally, using the signs for words they would use in their daily conversations.
Science this term will focus on Biology as it aligns well with the SCI principles the students will be studying in class. I am very much looking forward to setting up experiments to reveal the wonder and nature of living things with the students. Raja Aston Science & Auslan Teacher
This term I have been collating and analysing student assessment data, as well as collaborating with all staff and assisting where needed. I’m looking forward to finishing up on Friday 10th of February and starting my maternity leave. I’ll be making sure to drop into the school from time to time throughout the year to visit everyone! It’s been wonderful to be a part of the new school year and see all the students, if only for a few short weeks.