Junior School News - November 2019

Junior School News - November 2019

Junior School News – November 2019

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From the Head of Junior School

A warm welcome to our final Junior School newsletter for the 2019 academic year.  It has been a very busy final term with many learning, sporting and musical events occurring. In addition, our outdoor education program has been very active with our Years 3, 4 and 5 girls heading to camp.

I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to join such an amazing Junior School team this term.  We truly have very passionate teachers who care greatly for the education of the head and the heart of every one of our girls.

During the past few weeks our girls have been very busy creating, inquiring, designing and making during our STEAM project days.  The girls were tasked with designing architecturally efficient buildings capable of withstanding a range of extreme weather conditions; innovating to create and design a fun park using the online educational version of Minecraft; and solving an everyday problem of how to store your device safely and efficiently by designing and 3D printing a device stand.  It was exciting to observe the girls applying their scientific, mathematical, engineering and English skills to solve a range of purposeful problems.

We congratulated Mrs Neville as she travelled to Singapore to present a number of workshops at the Edutech Conference.  Mrs Neville presented on the importance of activating deep learning through the use of digital technologies and flexible learning spaces and explained how eSports is a valuable learning experience for students.  Well done, Mrs Neville!

The final eSports competition was hosted by St Hilda’s during Term 4.  The competition involved more than 15 schools with teams of four students competing in elimination rounds playing a series of online games to reach the final winning team.  The focus of eSports is to teach students about the importance of safe online engagement.

This term has been filled with great achievements in sport.  Our St Hilda’s team won the All Schools Touch Football Cup final! Despite the team being down two players, the team drew strength from each other to win with a convincing 7-2 final!

In another event, the Andrews Cup Gymnastics team competed in Brisbane against Clayfield College and St Margaret’s School achieving an overall second place.  Well done, St Hilda’s gymnasts!

St Hilda’s Musical talents were evident in our Years 4-6 Choir and Years 4-6 Vocal Ensemble who attended the annual Music Fest Competition held in Brisbane. Our girls achieved a Gold Award for the Years 4 to 6 Choir and a Silver Award for the Years 4 to 6 Vocal Ensemble.

Thursday 21 of November brought with it a celebration of Year 6 and their time in the Junior School. The students, families and teachers came together for a special graduation service in the St Hilda’s School Chapel followed by a morning tea in the Bev Philben Room. The morning was full of smiles, tears and excitement mixed with the sound of remarkable singing and plenty of laughter. The Year 6 girls of 2019 can be proud of their achievements during their time in the Junior School and now find themselves prepared and ready for Middle School. Thank you to all who made this such a special morning and to those that have played a role whether it be big or small in the development of these young ladies over the past 8 years.

A final recognition of a few important Service Learning experiences that our girls have been involved in during the second half of this term.  Our Year 6 girls visited Abri Aged Care where they played games with residents and shared in engaging conversations.  The Prep girls visited the Anglicare Respite Centre at St Peter’s Church where they impressed the residents with their beautiful singing voices as they shared their favourite Christmas Carols.

All of our Junior School staff and girls have been busy rehearsing and preparing for our final major events of the year, the Christmas Concert and Speech Day.  It will be wonderful to see our ‘village’ come together to celebrate these very special occasions.

As you read through the newsletter, I hope you enjoy the contributions from Melissa Wilkins, Deputy Head of Junior School and each of our year levels from Prep to Year 6.

I would like to wish all of our wonderful St Hilda’s families a safe, relaxing Christmas and a very prosperous New Year.  As we move into the festive season, I would like to share with you a few holiday tips for the long Christmas and New Year break from school.

Holiday Hints and Ideas to Keep Your Daughter’s Mind Active!

With the Christmas holidays upon us, it is a time for relaxation, fun, spending time with family and friends and, yes, I am going to say it…revising some schoolwork to keep the learning habit going!  In Australia the Christmas break is a long one and research has shown that this lengthy holiday is one where students may lose some of the knowledge and skills learned in the year that has just been completed.

While this holiday is a very important time to rest and renew, I also recommend incorporating some regular revision to assist your daughter to maintain what she has learned in the previous year. Revision does not need to be onerous or ‘not fun’!  It can be incorporated into holiday activities and doing this regularly can help to keep the ‘learning habit’ in place.

Following are a few hints for how to keep learning happening during holiday period:

  • Do a little and often
    • Using the workbooks that came home from school, set about completing some of the pages that have not been finished. This might be once or twice a week for 30mins.
    • Practise times tables regularly – can be done as a game or as songs.
    • Reading – encourage some reading practice to happen every day. Creating a reading habit will help your daughter improve her fluency, accuracy, vocabulary and comprehension.
  • Build literacy activities into everyday tasks
    • Encourage your daughter to write and revise a Christmas shopping list. This could be for presents or for the grocery shopping that must be done.
    • Encourage your daughter to write Christmas cards and post them to family and friends. Suggest to your daughter that she write a special, individualised message inside each card. This will allow her to use her creativity and written expression skills.
  • Build numeracy activities into everyday tasks
    • Let your daughter know the budget she must adhere to when buying Christmas presents and encourage her to work out how much money she will spend on each person and how she will keep a record. Older girls can help younger girls to complete this task, a great opportunity for collaboration and tutoring.
    • Encourage your daughter to also record the actual amounts against the budget amounts to add the total. When wrapping Christmas presents, encourage your daughter to work out how much wrapping paper she thinks she will need for the gifts she has. Or challenge your daughter to work out how much wrapping paper has been used to wrap all the gifts.
  • Encourage Science skills
    • Set your daughter tasks to help in the garden. Give her the responsibility of ensuring the plants are cared for and have all that they need.  To do this, she may research plant types and their needs on the internet and then set about caring for them accordingly.  Discuss how plants are different and why.
  • Interesting outings
  • Build social and verbal skills
    • The holidays are a great time to spend with friends playing and being active. Help your daughter organise play times with friends to build her social skills and to strengthen friendships.
    • A critical area for social success is being able to communicate verbally. Engage your daughter in conversations and encourage her to speak in complete sentences, fully explaining her ideas and thoughts.
  • Technology
    • Technology is a good way for your daughter to relax and revise key concepts from school. There is a temptation for girls to access technology for unlimited times during the holidays.  Research suggests that two hours per day of screen time is the maximum limit for upper Junior School students.  The time is less for younger girls. By limiting screen time, you will help to ensure your daughter remains social, active and healthy.  You also ensure your daughter’s eyesight and hearing are protected.

I hope these hints are helpful. Enjoy the Christmas and New Year holidays and I look forward to welcoming everyone back to a very exciting and prosperous 2020!

Mrs Amanda Shuttlewood
Head of Junior School

From the Deputy Head of Junior School

World Kindness Day

‘Every act of kindness grows the spirit and strengthens the soul’

World Kindness Day was held last Wednesday, 15 November. The entire Junior School came together to celebrate and emphasise the importance of being kind. We often speak of the importance of kindness and began 2019 with the quote: ‘throw kindness around like confetti’. We all know a random act of kindness can dramatically change someone’s day. With this in mind, we acknowledged this special day with each girl contributing to a pledge wall of kindness in the Prep Undercroft. The girls were tasked with writing a kindness message on the body of a butterfly and decorating their butterfly. The rainbow of kindness can be viewed in the Prep Undercroft and will remain there to remind us all about the importance and impact of kindness.           

Lost Property

As the year comes to a close, I would like to urge all parents to check the lost property bins located outside the Library, in the Sports Complex and outside Year 1 to ensure any named items are returned to their owners. The Junior School Reception also has a small collection of items should you be searching for something specific.

End of Semester Assemblies

We invite you to join our final Junior School Assemblies. I have listed the dates below for your convenience. These assemblies will showcase each year level and celebrate the learning and growth of the girls. We look forward to sharing these special moments with you.

P-2 End of Semester Assembly
Monday 25 November

Year 3-6 End of Semester Assembly
Tuesday 26 November

With only a few weeks left until the end of another year I wanted to sincerely thank you all for your contribution and support throughout 2019. It has been a big year in the Junior School with many new initiatives and successes. There was the delightful Musical, Aladdin Jr, the exciting and adventurous new playground, our first Honours class, academic successes and an abundance of social and emotional growth. All girls have contributed to yet another wonderful year in the Junior School. We look forward with excitement and reflection on building upon these wonderful initiatives and as always endeavour to further enrich your daughters’ experience in 2020. I wish all families a safe and joyful festive season with your loved-ones and look forward to connecting with you all in the new year.

Mrs Melissa Wilkins
Deputy Head of Junior School 

Prep Happenings Term 4

A graduation brings much excitement to the graduate, the family of the graduate and the educators. This year I had the pleasure of attending a graduation ceremony, celebrating completing further study alongside my peers. At the conclusion of the night there was a buzz in the air of accomplishment and a sense of relief to be finished. My gaze fell upon two of my Masters peers who graduated alongside students they had previously taught who were gaining their first teaching degree. What an amazing feeling it was for them!

Over many years I have had the privilege and pleasure to see some of the students I have taught become teachers, real estate agents, bank managers, lawyers, builders, travellers, jewellery designers, musicians, and parents. As we celebrate the end of our Prep year I wonder what the future holds for each of them.

As graduation from your daughter’s first year of school approaches I am reminded of the words by Robert Louis Stevenson:

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant”.

Many seeds have been planted this year so that the girls could GROW.

Seeds of Getting ready to learn;

seeds of Respect for themselves and others;

seeds of Owning their actions;

seeds of Willing to give things a go.

In a few short days, your daughter will finish her first year of school. I’m sure there will be feelings of celebration and excitement, and maybe a little sadness, as she ventures to Year 1, as well as wondering what the future may hold for her. The thrill and anticipation of finding out who their next teacher could be, who is going to be in their class with them, but also leaving what they have known all year. Orientation Day supports their curiosity and helps transition them into the possibilities of another great year with more friends and a different teacher in Year 1.

Year 6 Buddies

Beautiful friendships have been developed over the year with their Year 6 buddies. We wish them all the best on the educational journey as they graduate from the Junior School. They have been wonderful role models for our Prep girls.

Fun times with our Year 6 buddies in Prep G
Prep H buddies having morning tea together
Prep B with their buddies

Pre-Prep Buddies

The Prep girls in turn have been great role models as buddies for the Pre-Prep girls who are coming up to Prep next year. They showed wonderful leadership skills and care for the girls. Reading stories, drawing and showing them around the playground gives the Pre-Prep girls the confidence to transition with ease.

Prep G helping their Pre-Prep buddies
Prep H helping their Pre-Prep buddies
Prep B helping their Pre-Prep buddies

Prep H – Chapel

Prep H hosted Chapel this term. They spoke about how our feelings can go up and down. They told us about managing the feelings in our hearts.

Prep G and Prep B – Assembly

Prep G assembly item
Prep B assembly item

Both Prep G and Prep B had the opportunity to share an item in assembly this term. Prep G danced and made everyone feel happy. Prep B sang “If You’re Happy and You Know It” with help from some well-known faces showing the feelings of happy, sad, surprised, scared and angry.

Remembrance Day

The Preps each made a poppy to complete a wreath for the Remembrance Day Service. We observed the minute of silence as we remembered the soldiers who bravely fought for our freedom. Lest We Forget.

Our Prep Journey

The Prep journey of discovery, growth, social and emotional development, academic increases, grit, determination, perseverance and resilience is coming to a close. The girls have shown our School values of love, hope, compassion, forgiveness and grace towards others. The journey is an incredible one when embraced with hope and faith that “all things will work out for good.”

Our Prep team are grateful for your support this year as we partnered together for each girls’ journey of learning and discovery. We wish you a wonderful end of the year as you celebrate many achievements and accomplishments – big and small.

From our grateful hearts,
The Prep Team

Year 1

“Dots cannot be connected looking forward:

you can only connect them looking backwards”, (Jobs, S, 2005).

As the Year 1 teaching team marvel and reflect upon the accomplishments and opportunities for learning for the class of 2019, we honor our students as active and mindful learners. Their abilities to engage, connect and relate to each other and the development of their knowledge, skills and understanding have significantly evolved.

The excursion to Wolston Farmhouse at Wacol was a highlight of the Term 4 calendar, as the Year 1 cohort travelled back in time to the 19th century. Discovering the heritage charms of this bygone era, the girls enjoyed a tour of rural life in 1852, which complemented the Humanities and Social Sciences unit topic ‘Personal Family History’.

Developing a deeper understanding of relationships, managing conflict, and resilience have been explicit teaching themes during Semester 2 Enrichment time. Our School Values of Love, Compassion, Forgiveness and Grace have guided the words and actions of the Year 1 cohort in 2019, and the School Motto, ‘Not For Ourselves Alone’, has resonated with Year 1 who have collected bottle caps for the Envision incentive, supported the annual St Hilda’s Giving Tree Appeal and the Samaritan’s Purse Shoebox initiative.

To those students and families who will be concluding their St Hilda’s journey in 2020, please know you have left us better than you found us. To those students and families who move forward to Year 2, Anne Frank, said it best,

“What a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lives haven’t even happened yet”.

On behalf on Ali, Baby Wood, Stacey, Kris, Jane and myself, may the blessings and happiness of the Christmas season be yours. Being witness to your daughter realising her potential and essence has been a privilege.

Ms Katherine Holmes
Year 1 Student Learning Leader and Coordinator of Parent and Community Engagement

Year 2

A psychological study suggests that the old saying ‘time flies when you’re having fun‘ might really be true; with a slight twist… time flies when you’re having goal-motivated fun.

When people experience positive emotions or states, they feel like time passes faster than when they experience negative feelings. No wonder this year seems to have flown by in the blink of an eye!  Year 2 has definitely been jam-packed with learning-based, goal-motivated fun. To summarise how much fun we’ve had, the Year 2 students shared their thoughts on what they have enjoyed the most.

Believe it or not, maths is one of the most common things that the Year 2 children said they loved most!  In particular, chunking for addition and subtraction was high on their likes. Learning about lifecycles in science was another highlight. Watching the metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly, in the classroom, provided a real-life experience that infused the girls with wonder, excitement and an appreciation of nature. Learning about life in the past and changing technology was also a favourite and making a self-designed poster to summarise this learning proved to be a hit with the girls! PE, drama and art also rated amongst their favourites.  It was equally heart-warming to see that the kindness of teachers was appreciated by many.

Coming together as a Year 2 cohort during our enrichment lessons, and having the opportunity to make new friendships, crafted happier students and demonstrated the importance of incorporating social and emotional learning into the curriculum.

On behalf of Kym, Andrew and myself, I can say that we have had as much fun teaching your daughters as they have had learning. It has been our absolute pleasure and privilege to work in partnership with families to achieve the best outcomes for your children. Thank you for your support in all that we do and best wishes for a safe, joyous and relaxing holiday

Mrs Marina Jacovou-Johnson
Year 2 Student Learning Leader

Year 3

Camp, NAPLAN, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, STEAM houses, Jellurgal Centre, Sports Carnivals, Gold Coast Historical Museum, Starlab with TSS …. It has been a very busy year and that list doesn’t even include learning reading, writing, spelling and maths!

We have achieved so much this year and the girls have grown and changed enormously.  Our recent Year 3 Camp certainly showcased the level of independence, maturity and resilience that the girls have developed this year.  Camp was a highlight of Term 4 and provided the girls with numerous positive, challenging and fun activities that they shared with their friends.

Another key event this term has been the collaborative construction of weather resistant houses.  The girls were tasked with creating homes that could withstand specific extreme weather conditions so as to assist people who live in areas that experience cyclones, floods, earthquakes etc.  The girls researched the effects of these events, gathered research about designing and building weatherproof homes from Builder Jared van Heerden and worked in teams to meet the design challenge.  It has been fantastic to see the girls engaging in this STEAM project developing skills and knowledge but also working with their peers and problem solving as a group.

The Year 3 teachers would like to take this opportunity to warmly and sincerely thank all of our parents and families for the support, humour and guidance you have provided to us this year.  Teaching your daughters has been a privilege and we have thoroughly enjoyed it. We hope your daughter will also take with her many happy memories, new skills and a love of learning as she moves into Year 4.  We wish all of you a merry and safe Christmas.

Mrs Nina Lee
Student Learning Leader

Year 4

Year 4 have been extremely busy this term engaging in a variety of learning experiences. The highlight has been camp, where the girls travelled to Lake Ainsworth at Lennox Head in Northern NSW. The girls participated in lots of activities which aided in developing their resilience, perseverance and teamwork skills. The activities included canoeing, sailing, water initiatives, indoor climbing, archery, dance and more.

Cohort flexible groupings have continued, and the girls have demonstrated their growth in comprehension and mathematics where lessons have been tailored to the needs of each girl. Coming together as a cohort to engage in GROW and STEAM challenges has also been wonderful.

Persuasive advertising has been our focus in English where the girls have created their own cereal brands and designed an accompanying cereal box focusing on the language features included on commercial cereal boxes. The girls then wrote persuasive arguments on why their cereal should be bought. The oral presentations were engaging and entertaining.

Mathematics has seen further work in the strands of statistics and probability with chance, and numbers with the generalisations for odd and even numbers, as well as the revisiting of the number operations of multiplication, division, subtraction and addition.

In Science and Design Technologies the girls have been learning about the properties and characteristics of materials and have repurposed materials from home to design and create convict bags to last the treacherous journey that the first fleet embarked on.

In History, our focus has been the impact of the European settlement on the Eora peoples and how their lives changed and what continued after settlement. This topic involved looking at a variety of primary and secondary sources and answering inquiry questions before demonstrating their knowledge in paragraphs.

In GROW we have be looking at resilience and how to persist and not to give up in order to achieve our goals.

In STEAM Year 4 used Minecraft EDU to embark on some amazing challenges which brought together learning from all areas of the curriculum. The girls utilised communication, collaboration and problem-solving skills to design and create:

  • Symmetrical images (Math)
  • Pixel Self Portraits (Digital Art Media and Math)
  • New book covers for their favourite books (English)
  • Roller Coasters and land, sea, air vehicles to demonstrate their understanding of Forces (Science)
  • Multistorey tree houses and Sustainable homes (HaSS – Geography, Materials – Science)

Mrs Raechel Alback
Year 4 Student Learning Leader

Year 5

The final term of Year 5 2019 has arrived in the blink of an eye.  It doesn’t seem like two minutes have passed since the girls came into our classes all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, excited for the year to come. Now, here we are at the end of Term 4. But just because we are nearing the end of the year doesn’t mean that we have let our foot off the pedal. The staff have organised the final topics for the term so it will be all hands on deck teaching the content and skills ready for assessment.

This term the students have been preparing for their leadership positions by writing resumes and attending interviews. They attacked these with determination and courage.  We were extremely impressed! In addition, they have been on an extremely busy but rewarding camp at Camp Goodenough, where they took part in a plethora of different outdoor education pursuits, such as the high ropes and crate stacking to name a few.

In our enrichment program this term the girls have been learning how to understand the differences between positive and negative relationships and ways to negotiate and resolve conflict situations.

In Year 5 this term we look forward to spending our final days together as the year draws to a close , while celebrating the successes and learning opportunities we have had along the way.  Mrs Bosiljevac, Mrs Kefford and I have enjoyed the privilege of being able to teach your beautiful girls this year and we wish you and your family an enjoyable Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Mrs Eileen Power
Year 5 Student Learning Leader

Year 6


What a fantastic end to the academic year for our Year 6 girls. Over the last week we have been treated to some amazing original poetry oral presentations with many girls stepping up and electing to recite their original poem to the entire Year 6 cohort. This is not an easy thing to do and we are so proud of all of our girls, especially those who pushed themselves to overcome their fears of public speaking. We heard multi-stanza, free-verse poems in which the girls applied their understanding of a range of poetic devices and delivery techniques to influence their audiences. The overall standard of the poems was very high, and we thoroughly enjoyed listening to their oral presentations. The girls then backed up their presentations with a complex poetry comprehension. Their collective results for this comprehension were also very pleasing.

Graduation Preparation

Our Year 6 Graduation rehearsals were very smooth ahead of the ceremony held Thursday 21st November. We are so proud of our girls for the level of maturity, dedication and effort that they have all put into making this an event to remember. It was a bittersweet feeling to watch the girls graduate. We are excited to be walking beside our girls as they prepare to join the Middle School, but we will be sad to see them go. We hope they will visit the Year 6 Hub next year and offer them an open invitation to do so.

Mr Daniel Martinez
Year 6 Learning Leader and Coordinator of Innovation

Love, Compassion, Forgiveness, Hope, Grace