Junior School News - March 2020

Junior School News - March 2020

Junior School News – March 2020

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From the Head of Junior School

What a wonderful start to the 2020 year we have had in the Junior School.  The girls are very busy, engaged in their learning and are demonstrating great positivity and motivation towards every aspect of their School days.  Our Junior School Captains, Charlize and Clementine, have provided the Junior School with inspiration through their motto: Kind Spirit, Brave Heart, Strong Mind.  Each Tuesday morning you will find the Captains welcoming the Junior School girls and parents in the MPC carpark drop-off area.

As the girls settle into the routines of the year and we continue to focus on our Triple Cs, it is important that they build the habit of organising their belongings and ensuring they have all of their uniform requirements including their panama hat and their red play hat every day.  Please remind your daughter about the need for these items.  I would also like to ask for parent help to ensure your daughter is at school on time each morning as this helps to maximise your daughter’s learning.  In accordance with our Code of Conduct, the School requires girls to be at school by 8.15am and be present during the day until the end of school at 3.25pm. Thank you for your help in ensuring your daughter gains the most from each school day.


The learning of our girls is a priority for our teachers and an important part of learning is the excursions that the girls undertake.  This term, Year 5 visited GOMA and QPAC to support their learning of the creative arts specifically Visual Arts and Drama.

Our Year 2 girls made important links between their science learning in class to their real-life experiences of the process of water at Hinze Dam.

Dress Like a Fairy Day

Our Student Representative Council Captains have been very busy developing key goals for the year ahead.  One of their goals is the rejuvenation of the Fairy Garden located outside of the Visual Arts classroom.  To support this important work, the SRC are hosting a dress like a fairy day with a gold coin donation on Thursday, 5 March.  I look forward to seeing our Junior School filled with many happy fairies.

Car Park

We ask that parents not drop off or collect your daughter/s in Cougal Street.  Junior School girls should be dropped off and collected in the Prep to Year 2 drop off carpark or the Year 3 to 6 drop-off area outside the swimming pool area.  I ask for your support to ensure that you drop and go in the moving lane.  If you wish to exit your car, please park your car and then assist your daughter to collect her items and make her way into School.  It is very helpful if we can keep the cars moving in the drop off areas please.

Visiting School during the day

If you are visiting the Junior School outside of the drop off and pick up times, please sign in at Visitors’ Reception.  All visitors to our school must sign in and display their sticker badge.  You will be approached by a staff member if you have not signed in.  The purpose is to ensure the safety of our girls at all times. Thank you for your assistance.

Open Classrooms

This Friday, 6 March, all Junior School classrooms will be open from 2.50pm to 3.20pm for parents to visit and share their daughters’ learning experiences.  I encourage you to join your daughter and celebrate her achievements from the first half of this term.

Mobile phones and devices

Girls are very aware of their responsibilities regarding the safe and appropriate use of mobile devices during school hours.  St Hilda’s School has a strong cybersafety policy and it is designed to support our girls and families.  Junior School girls from Prep to Year 5 are required to sign their phone into the Junior School Reception prior to the start of the school day and collect their phone at the end of the day.  All Year 6 girls are required to secure their phones in their lockers before the start of the school day and access their phone at the end of the day.  It is important that any messages are passed through Junior School Reception so that we are aware of your daughter’s needs and are able to ensure she is safe.

In addition, any mobile device such as smart watches and iPads are to be connected to the school WiFi during the day to ensure that the school filters are being applied to your daughter’s device.  Girls are not permitted to send and receive messages from their devices during the school day as this causes distraction from learning and disregards the School rules.  Please see below for additional information.  Thank you for your assistance in helping the School and your daughter manage safe device use.

Below are the instructions for turning off messaging on the Apple Watches.

Parenting Workshops

During Week 4, Steve Window, Anglican Schools Cybersafety and Wellbeing Advocate, presented our Junior School Parent Workshop focusing on the topic of Cybersafety and how to help your daughter be safe online.  Thank you to those parents who attended.  It was a very worthwhile evening with many valuable strategies shared.

Other important parent sessions hosted this term have included Volunteer Induction workshops, how to support your daughter’s reading development and information sessions regarding the personal development program that the girls have started studying as part of the curriculum.  Further information about upcoming parent workshops is available from Junior School Reception.

Reading, reading, reading – is it really that important?

In each newsletter I aim to write about different ways to help support our girls to achieve their very best. Following are a number of strategies to help support your daughter’s reading skills.

Recently, it was identified in research that when tracking a range of data relating to student reading achievement over a long period of time, one overwhelming point became evident.  This point was that students who demonstrated a strong ability and achievement in reading comprehension in the Junior School years were the students who achieved the strongest results in the Senior School years.

When learning to read, it is important to understand that reading and reading comprehension are two different skills. While reading involves translating and decoding text into sounds and spoken words, reading comprehension involves taking what was just read and deriving meaning from the words. In simpler terms, reading comprehension is the ability to read, understand, process, recall and learn from what was just read.

I encourage you to support your daughter to read regularly and to question her about what she is reading.  Ensure your daughter provides you with answers that are accurate and supported by evidence.  By using full sentences to explain her ideas and understanding, your daughter will also extend her ability to respond to comprehension questions in written form.  The following are a few strategies to help support your daughter’s reading comprehension skills.

How can I help my child with reading at home?

All students need to read aloud so that you can hear the progress they are making.  Older children can read fluently, at speed, however, they could be skipping over a range of words and changing the meaning of what they are reading.  Encourage your child to read a paragraph aloud here and there during their reading time.

  • Question, Question, Question – successful reading is about comprehension. We read to be entertained, to learn and to gain information.  Ask your child who, what, where, when questions and extend their thinking by asking more inferential questions focused on How and Why.
  • Vocabulary – build your child’s vocabulary by introducing new words each week to your child. Explain the meaning of each new word and demonstrate using it in context.
  • Encourage your child to respond to questions using full and complete sentences and by providing reasons or evidence from their reading. If students respond in full sentences, they are more likely to write answers in full sentences.
    • Before :
  1. “What do you think the book will be about based on the title and cover?”
  2. “What type of characters do you think will be in the story?”
  3. “What do you know about this topic?”
    • During :
  1. “What has happened in the story for far?”
  2. “How do you think the character will handle the situation?”
  3. “Is there anything you are wondering right now?”
    • After :
  1. “What was the main message in the story/text?”
  2. “Tell me the story in your own words”
  3. “What were the most important events in the story?”
  • Variety of texts – assist your child to read a variety of texts such as narratives, information reports, recounts, discussions and explanations. This is important and will help her be able to comprehend information from a range of different kinds of texts.
  • Make connections. As you and your children read aloud, share experiences you have had that relate to the story and have them share theirs. It is important to make connections with the characters and events in the story.
  • Create a visual. Sometimes children have a hard time visualizing what they just read. Help your children visualize by describing the scene, characters, and plot. You can have them draw in pencil, pen, markers, or coloured pencils. They will be involved in creating their own story, which will help them to get a clearer understanding of what is happening.
  • Make inferences and predictions. Making inferences and predictions supports asking questions. Inferring is the ability to take clues and given knowledge from a text and conclude what will happen next. To help them infer, ask them to predict what might happen next in the story.

Enjoy the next few weeks of the term as they are filled with many exciting activities and events.

Amanda Shuttlewood
Head of Junior School

From the Deputy Head of Junior School

How time flies when we are having fun! Classroom routines and structures are underway and as we move past midterm, the beginning of the year seems like a distant memory. The girls have already embraced many opportunities and it is delightful to note they have positively and enthusiastically grasped 2020 with the promise of and hope for great growth.

Parent Volunteer Induction Sessions 

Thank you to all parents who have been available to give of their time to come in and undertake the volunteer induction session. This enables participation in volunteer work within classes, incursions, excursions, etc. The next Parent Volunteer Induction session is scheduled for Thursday, 12 March 8.30am-9.00am and will be held in Meeting Rooms 1 and 2 in the James Admin Building. All parents who wish to volunteer in some capacity are most welcome to attend. Subsequent Volunteer sessions will be held each term and advertised to parents. We deeply value your assistance and offer of help and thank you for this commitment.

Internet Safety Session and Cyber Safety Agreement

The recent internet safety session with Steve Window was very beneficial for many reasons. During this session Steve shared some very valuable information, tips and links to keep your daughter safe as a digital user. I have tried to capture all of this information for parents in one single document – Cyber Safety Tips and Links. We hope you find this a valuable tool when negotiating this space.


Additionally, could I please ask parents to check your daughters’ Cyber Safety Agreement in her Student Organiser and ensure this has been signed and discussed with your daughter. This will ensure girls truly understand their commitment as part of the School community and their responsibilities as a digital user.


It is delightful to see the girls in full school uniform, whether this be their formal uniform or their sports uniform. It is clear our girls are proud of their uniforms and benefit greatly from the sense of belonging this brings.

Of late, it has been noted that there have been students who have misplaced their play hats and/or their panamas. As you can appreciate, sun safety is always a priority at school. Whilst we refer girls to the lost property locations around the school and ask them to check with Junior Reception when items are misplaced, on the odd occasion, these items unfortunately cannot be found. I encourage you to check in with your daughter/s and ask if their play hats/panamas are named and being brought to school. The girls are enjoying the benefits of a ‘Spot On’ sticker if they are in full uniform.

We all play vital roles in the girls’ learning journeys and with much in the calendar between now and the end of term, including Dress like a Fairy day, Grevillea Fundraising day, Years 2-12 Cross Country, and the Year 6 Canberra Tour (just to mention a few!), it is important to connect with your daughter and continue open lines of communication. I wish you all a wonderful couple of weeks ahead.

Melissa Wilkins
Deputy Head of Junior School


Love, Compassion, Forgiveness, Hope, Grace