Junior School News - June 2019

Junior School News - June 2019

Junior School News – June 2019

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As I write my final newsletter, I reflect on the culture and learning stories of the Junior School.  We are committed to improvement; enthusiastically embracing the opportunities and challenges that come with preparing young people for, what is often described as, an uncertain future.  The use of the word ‘uncertain’ can be daunting.  Our approach is far from one of concern or fear, rather one tackled conscientiously by adapting learning programs and teaching methods to prepare our students.

Uncertainty around the future coincides with the good fortune of our society.  In a world of plenty, we are now more aware of the need to help our children to learn to deal with disappointment, by allowing them, at times to struggle, to support them as they solve problems independently and to highlight with them the growth that comes from the experience.  Building innate capacity to bounce back, to find satisfaction in the struggle and to be comfortable in the knowledge they have applied themselves fully to a task or situation, provides a solid foundation for their future.

Rather than fixating on what we don’t know about the future, we focus on what we believe will be the essential skills and attributes required to, not just survive, but thrive and prosper.  In addition to the enabling skills of literacy and numeracy, future-ready students need to be agile, flexible, adaptable and resilient.  In this edition, our Student Learning Leaders share with you learning stories from each of the year levels.


Prep Half Way Point

Are we there yet?  I am certain you have heard the common phrase multiple times throughout a long journey in the car. We are not quite there yet, but we have reached the halfway milestone in our learning journey. We are halfway to finishing your daughter’s first year of school, an amazing accomplishment for the girls (and the parents too).

The Prep team appreciate the supportive partnerships we have had on this wonderful journey we have travelled together, to the halfway point. It has shown many “firsts” for the girls. Both Prep B and Prep H forms have confidently achieved their first Chapel Service or Assembly. The girls have engaged in their first Science incursion, Big Bang, exploring how objects move. They have built and developed inspiring relationships with their Year 6 Buddies, often seeking each other out at break times. Finally, we are about to travel by bus to entertain our wonderful Mothers at High Tea – a first for many students.

The half way point will also deliver their first report card; to see their learning application, development and progress. Each child is on their own journey of learning and I encourage you not to compare their journey to another child, as each journey is unique, and each child has different giftings and talents.

As the girls continue to GROW and change into independent and autonomous learners, I am reminded of Eric Carle’s story ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ where a tiny caterpillar is transformed into a magnificent butterfly.

In the words of Eric Carle, “Over time I have come to believe many children can identify with the helpless, small, insignificant caterpillar, and they rejoice when it turns into a beautiful butterfly. I think it’s a message of hope. It says: I too can grow up. I too can unfold my wings (my talent) and fly into the world”.

The small caterpillars are well on their way to becoming the incredible butterflies we know they will become in their own time.


Year 1

In union there is strength. The sense of community fostered within the Year 1 cohort and its stakeholders, is a culture to be celebrated. Our Semester 1 journey is reflected in the words of Henry Ford as he advocates that,

“Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress.

Working together is success.” H. Ford

Collaboration has been the foundation on which the mindsets of Stacey, Kristen, Ali, Jane and I have honoured, optimising the learning of the fifty-five Year 1 students in our care. Ongoing interrogation and discussion of data has ensured our commitment to weekly flexible groupings (based on the needs of our cohort) ,in spelling with Head of Curriculum, Mrs Sam Birch and maths. We work in partnership to support, enhance and extend the needs of every remarkable personality who make up the Year 1 cohort and our commitment to improving outcomes is resolute.

Connection as a cohort is paramount and is evidenced in scheduled weekly THRASSAPOOLOOSA and enrichment sessions. Curious about how we may improve the quality of our pedagogy, visits to adjoining classrooms in order to integrate core curriculum areas and lean in on the strengths of our teaching team, is common practice.

Term 2 has been enhanced by a visit from Captain Travis and his team at The Southport Fire Fighters, opportunities for class contributions at Prep to Year 2 Assembly, Chapel, participation in the Prep and Year 1 Choir performances and chess lessons with Miss Evelina. We would like to thank you for the gift of your daughter. We value our Year 1 families walking beside us as facilitators of your daughter’s continued stepping forward into academic, social and emotional growth.

Connecting as cohort before the commencement of flexible groupings in Maths

Chess under the expert guidance of Miss Evelina

Captain Travis and The Southport Firefighters visited Year 1 to discuss fire safety.

The Prep and Year 1 Choir at rehearsal with Mrs Ishyama and Mr Yang


Year 2 – Time flies when you’re having fun…

They say ‘time flies when you’re having fun’ and this has certainly been the case in Year 2 this term! Our topics in Design and Technology, Science and Humanities have allowed the girls to be involved in learning that has strong applications to the real world, in areas that are of genuine interest and have generated authentic discussion. Our integrated science and design and technology unit saw the girls use their knowledge of push and pull forces to become designers and makers of toys. They were able to test their toys and then refine their ideas to suggest changes to make them move faster, in different ways and on different surfaces. In Humanities we have explored sources of information and investigated stories of the past. We have learnt about boarding at St Hilda’s in the ‘olden days’, how daily chores have changed (and become much quicker and less disgusting!) and had plenty of fun playing games from the past and comparing them to the toys of the present.

Alongside our academic learning, we continue to focus on our GROW wellbeing framework. This term we have had an emphasis on relationships and building the skills necessary to make friends and get along with others, as well as problem-solving ways to deal with challenges in friendships.

At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents (J D Hale). The Year 2 team would like to thank you for walking alongside us in your daughters’ educational journey.

Humanities excursion to Wolston House


Year 3 have had such a busy Term 2!

There are been so many exciting events and still so many more to come.

The Year 3 teachers have been so impressed by the academic growth of all our students.  At this time of year we are looking at how far they have come since Year 3 started and we are so impressed.  The girls have worked so hard and it is amazing to see such positive results.  A key factor that we think has assisted this growth has been our flexible, targeted groupings.  We have been focusing on some key skills, by analyzing data and utilising additional teaching staff to help facilitate growth in these areas.  You may hear that your daughter has been having maths, spelling or reading with a different teacher and with some different peers and this has been why.  The girls love working with different friends from across the year level and enjoy learning with different teachers.

Science has been very exciting this term. We have combined our Science unit on how heat moves with a technology challenge.  The girls were tasked with creating a coffee cup that could insulate heat effectively.  The girls had to conduct fair tests on a variety of materials to test their capacity to insulate heat.  They then used the results of that fair test to design their own insulator, which they then tested.  They girls loved conducting scientific experiments and using their skills to create their own design.  Our classrooms looked rather busy for a while, with felt, newspaper, foil and a range of other materials everywhere, but it was great to see and hear amazing learning taking place.

Our Humanities topics this term has taken us all over Australia!  The girls have been comparing features of the Gold Coast with features of another place in Australia.  We have been learning that tourism is a big industry in lots of different parts of Australia and that there are so many places of significance to the Aboriginal people all over the country.  The girls have developed their research skills as well as honing up on Technology skills as they have compiled their information in a Keynote presentation which they have delivered to the class.  Very busy indeed!

From all the Year 3 team we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your support and constructive feedback. We truly appreciate the hard work you do as parents and value the relationship between home and school.  We hope you have safe and enjoyable break and look forward to seeing you in Term 3!

Nina, Kate and Olivia


Year 4 Teaching and learning initiatives in Term 2

This term has seen the girls in Year 4 actively engaged and embracing their independence to learn. The girls participated in a range of flexible learning opportunities in English and Maths, which enabled them to work on developing their skills in reading, comprehension and spelling. Maths provided opportunities to work on number concepts such as fractions appropriate to their learning needs.

We have enjoyed code breaking in spelling, developing evaluative, re-ordering and inference skills in reading and working hard using and applying our knowledge of fractions to solve a pizza investigation.

The girls have also developed an understanding of plant life stages in Science and carefully cared for their much-loved bean plant. Some had to understand that not all seeds thrive to enable growth.

In Geography, our focus has been sustainability and learning how to write inquiry questions this was challenging but the girls enjoyed collecting data, creating digital graphs and creating and answering questions about their collected data. We also had the privilege of visiting the Mudgeeraba Light Horse Museum to learn about Australia’s war history.

A fabulous term full of curiosity and fun, and Term 3 is fast approaching and will be full of adventure as we venture into the world of quest novels through the amazing text, Rowan of Rin by Emily Rodda.


Year 5

The focus at the beginning of the term for Year 5 was of course NAPLAN. We as teachers have worked diligently to ensure that our students were ready for the challenge that NAPLAN presents. We ensured that their narrative and persuasive writing were as good as they could be, their weaknesses in grammar and spelling were addressed accordingly, and in Mathematics that they could tackle the various problems in a clear and methodical way. We were extremely proud of the way the students rose up to the challenge and hope that their results reflect the hard work that they all put in.

In Pastoral Care this term the students have been focusing on their character strengths and becoming aware of those characteristics which may need a little more work. They are beginning to realise that it is the values that we choose to live by every minute of the day that shape our character and that the more we use our stronger character strengths, the better we get along with people and experience wellbeing.

As we draw towards the closing of Semester 1, we teachers and students have forged relationships with each other, beginning to understand what our strengths and weaknesses are and what we need to do to improve ourselves as people. We are all learners together in our Year 5 family. We thank you for allowing us to teach your precious girls and look forward to a Semester 2 full of learning and growth.

Using technology to research information about The Australian Gold Rush.

Celebrating the end of NAPLAN week.

Building a sense of community and living our school motto of Non Nobis Solum to raise money for those in need.


Year 6

Shaun Tan’s novel has been described as a journey about who we are, where we have come from, and the humanity we share. It’s about hope, understanding and empathy for migrants. Our study of the Shaun Tan graphic novel told through sepia-toned images, reminiscent of archival photographs, challenged our girls to create the language, imagine the stories, discuss, analyse and write their own imaginative responses. Through a narrative approach, the girls were encouraged to interpret the images and gestures that the characters and panels expressed. They were able to imagine the world through already established understandings about what it means to be and also envision it differently. The rich conversations were inquiry based and further developed their critical thinking skills. Once the narratives were written the girls produced audio soundscapes using GarageBand. They then created augmented reality learning platforms, such as CoSpaces and Merge cubes.  The inclusion of these hands-on and tech-based activities provided a different lens and medium through which to consider and interpret their ideas and understandings of The Arrival and the world around them.


Year 5/6U

The day had arrived. Tuesday 28 May.  My class 5/6U, Mr Uebergang, Mrs Wilkins and Father Patrick set out on an important mission to a well-advanced factory. We came to school over the moon followed by a  cacophonous bus trip as we burst with excitement. All roads led us to Gilmour Space Technologies, a company filled with innovative scientists, engineers, experts and more. It is definitely not every day that you see a sign labelled, ‘Spaceship Parking 8am-6pm.’ We had one mission… to enjoy a once in a lifetime educational experience around rockets and geniuses.

We were warmly welcomed by the CEO and co-founder of Gilmour Space Technologies, Adam Gilmour. He was inspired to start this innovative company because his own dream was to enter the cosmos himself. In the beginning they mainly used metal such as aluminium, but are now replacing it with carbon fibre that is sturdy strong and very light. We observed the most recently built rocket, One Vision, whose mission is to insert a satellite into Earth’s orbit. Adam’s opinions about Mars’ colonisation surprised us. He thinks we are better off colonising our moon as it’s much quicker, closer, efficient and affordable. The factory was filled with simulators because it was once a training centre for astronauts. We experienced (including the teachers) an exact replica of a Chinese spacecraft with interactive buttons and sat in ‘comfortable seats’. We were told there was a secret pattern with the buttons that can trigger smoke to appear. Sadly, we weren’t able to read it yet a Chinese group of children has solved it before. There are some things that are beyond our ability right now and we won’t be able to do them… yet.

With the help of Adam, Lauren the rocket engineer and Nick the propulsion specialist, we managed to get a snapshot of how a rocket is powered. In a rocket engine, there is a fuel and source of oxygen that is called the oxidiser and when it is mixed, it explodes in a combustion chamber. The combustion produces hot exhaust which is passed through a nozzle to accelerate the flow and produce thrust. This is how a rocket gains its power to thrust itself to intergalactic space! Each rockets have stages which are structures that will fall off the rocket after it empties its power, to make the rocket lighter and easier to propel into space. These rockets can reach speeds close to the speed of sound. That is out of this world!

We were very privileged that Mr Gilmour and his co-workers spent their precious time to teach us about their impressive and confidential research about rocket science. They inspired us young girls to invest our time in the future with aspects such as engineering, science, physics and more! We learnt so much and as Nick said teamwork is the most important skill to have to succeed in life and work. This knowledge will not only help us with our project about Mars Colonisation but also our future. Thanks to Gilmour Space Technologies, we have opened up doors and paths in our own life to think about. Thank you Lauren for inspiring us girls that we can do anything, just as she has done (Lauren was a member of a group developing Mars Rovers). Who knew one hour could gain us unimaginable knowledge that will benefit us for later projects? We would once again like to thank Gilmour Space Technologies for their special presentation. If we could, we would LOVE to come back! Remember, if you dream it, you can do it!

Sophie Hirabe Year 6

Gilmour Space Technologies is an Australian and Singaporean company that specialises in creating rockets with hybrid engines. Year 5/6U was lucky enough to visit Gilmour Space Technologies. A hybrid engine uses two types of fuel to make it more efficient and environmentally friendly. The engine has liquid oxygen and rocket propellant 1. These rockets travel three times faster than the speed of sound. These rockets are built to send satellites into orbit. The CEO and founder of Gilmour Space Technologies – Adam – showed us the rocket.

It was an incredible experience and it felt so surreal to be standing next to a device that would soon start a journey into space! Adam taught us how the different parts of the spacecraft worked and the stages it would have to go through to get a satellite into orbit. We also learnt that they use some sort of “solid power” to power the rocket. It can be made of iron, metal, plastic and even salami! Have you ever seen the launch of a rocket? It appears that smoke billows out from the base but in actual fact some of that is actually liquid oxygen that is kept at  -180 degrees.

We saw many amazing things. We saw the rocket’s energy pack and pipes to pump liquid oxygen into the fuel system. We even got the chance to sit in a life sized replica of a Chinese capsule built to send astronauts to the space station. We realised how small it was and three astronauts had to be cramped in there for 2-3 days!

A few people from Gilmour Space Technologies talked to us. One of them was an engineer named Laura. She explained how she designed rovers for Mars in University with all the tools they need to move heavy objects, scan for life and collect data and objects. After that another engineer named Nick. He talked to us about the importance of teamwork and working together in jobs and to still be humble, but input your ideas nonetheless. What inspiring people they were!

Imogen Bellchambers Year 5U


Our partnership with you is vital as we work together to encourage our girls to be socially articulate, self-confident, aspirational, positive, happy and able to work productively with others. Occasions such as the Mother/Grandmother breakfast provide opportunities to share their learning through this cross generational social opportunity.

It was such a delight last week to share in the festivities of Mother/Grandmother morning.  Both the P-2 and 3-6 mornings, although a little chilly, were wonderful as we shared some breakfast delights whilst partaking in some musical talents of the Year 2/3 choir and Junior Strings. The morning festivities continued in class with many interactive and engaging activities planned to celebrate that very special bond between grandmothers, mums and daughters.

Junior School Musical – Aladdin Jr

The Junior School Musical, Aladdin Jnr was a huge success.  Thank you to the St Hilda’s community for your support of this wonderful performance.  The girls involved will cherish these memories for a lifetime and remain connected by the experience and perhaps be inspired to continue to perform on stage. View Photo Gallery Here. 

Thank you for your support and for the contribution you make to the St Hilda’s School community. Personally, my sincere thanks and appreciation for your generous spirit and kind words of support. St Hilda’s School will always hold a very special place in my heart.

Tracey Maynard
Head of Junior School

Love, Compassion, Forgiveness, Hope, Grace