From the Head of Junior School – 21 October 2019

Upcoming special events: Prep and Year 1 Concert; Grandparents’ Morning
With great anticipation, we look forward to the Prep and Year 1 Concert on Tuesday 22 October from 6pm in our Auditorium. The concert flyer was emailed home last week. This biennial concert will go for about 45 minutes and is always unique! Register your attendance at

Information regarding details for the annual Grandparents’ Morning was emailed last week. There will be time for each grandparent or special friend to visit the children in their classrooms, followed by an assembly then morning tea. The ELC children will then host their grandparents after recess. We are excited about hosting our special friends who come to visit on the day, show off our beautiful school and welcome them back to our community. If you have any queries, please direct them to your child’s class teacher.

Transitions and Preparations for 2020
I have interviewed every 4-year-old child and their parents who are going to be part of our Prep cohort for 2020. I believe it is important to make connections with students and families prior to commencing formal schooling. I do feel like a rock star when I visit the ELC as the children excitedly call out my name and come and say hello to me! This is one of the many advantages of a ELC-12 school as the journey and resultant connections are forged early on. The ELC staff will soon commence class placements for our three small, Prep classes for next year. The teachers know the children well, what their needs are and what the best class composition should be for them.

Likewise, the teachers in the Junior School will soon begin the 2020 Class Placement process, after staffing has been finalised. Each year the staff work very hard to get the classes just right. This is something the teachers and I will work diligently to do, which is creating classes that are balanced based on several criteria which include but are not limited to: academic needs; special needs; gender balance; pastoral and welfare needs; social and emotional needs. It is a highly complex process but one that we spend a lot of time on so that we ensure each child’s needs are met. Forming classes firstly based on friendship requests can be problematic and compromise placing each student in the right cohort arrangement and with the right teacher who will bring out their best. Your current child’s teacher knows your child well and in every aspect! If parents feel they need input during this process, please direct your emails to me. Whilst we cannot guarantee that we meet all requests; we will certainly take reasonable requests into consideration. For example, parents may want to share with me the qualities and traits you feel your child needs in a teacher.

We will have a transition day for new 2020 students in Years 1-6 in a couple of weeks’ time.  Our Prep transition program commenced last Thursday for all the 2020 new SMS Prep students and families (i.e. not currently enrolled in ELC) with further sessions later in the term for all 2020 Prep students and parents as noted on the Whole School Calendar.  The Year 6 students also have two transition days coming up for the girls at SMS Senior School and boys at BGS Senior School which are again noted on the calendar.

Outdoor Education experience: Year 3 and 4 Camp
I will be joining the Year 3 and 4 children on camp in a fortnight’s time at Camp Jungai in Rubicon, a beautiful part of Victoria! Like all Outdoor Education Camps, the Year 3 and 4 camp is an integral part of the co-curricular program offered at St Margaret’s and Berwick Grammar School.

When reflecting on their schooling, both my adult children often cite their Outdoor Education camps as some of the most memorable experiences they had at school. I think it is because camps can be very formative and influential in a child’s early life. Outdoor Education camps encourage students to: enjoy co-operative activities; view challenge as a means of growth; develop practical, recreational and spiritual relationships with natural environments; learn how to contribute to a sustainable future; recognise the link between effort/action and result/consequence; further develop positive relationships between peers and beyond; develop their leadership skills and have safe and positive fun in an adventure away from home. It is normal for a child (and their parents) to feel a little unsure about staying overnight at a camp but feel assured that the children are in the safe hands of the experienced SMS and OEG staff. I cannot wait for the experience and get to know the Year 3 and 4 children even better during our 2 and a half days away! The education the children receive at camp lasts many years and contributes to their character and life experience.

Maths Talent Quest results 2019
Congratulations to the following students for entering this year’s MTQ competition. Our students have achieved some excellent and newsworthy results. Credit awards: Selina Luo, Lucas Algie, Sebastian Matin. Distinction Awards: Shipra Patange, Zaynah Afsheen, Imaya Rajakaruna and Siya Sehgal (joint entry) and Lauren Nelson. High Distinction Awards: Kate Dougall, Anika Fazan, Seyara Munasinghe. We are proud of all our students for their efforts!

Ms Louise Sayar
Head of Junior School