I have always had strong, independent women play a significant role in my life - my mum, wife, sisters and now daughters. On International Women’s Day, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank the women in our School community for their positive impact.
Music plays an essential role in our holistic approach to education at Gippsland Grammar. This morning, our students competed in our House Singing Competition, with the theme of ‘The Greatest Showman’. Each House - under the guidance of House leaders – selected and practised their song over the past few weeks. Listening this morning, you could see the joy and excitement on the faces of every choir member. Cranswick Dargo won in a tight contest. A big thank you to Mrs Katie Germaine for organising the event, and to Miss Laura Evans and Ms Jan Henry for being our judges.
New Building Official Opening and Open Day
I would like to extend an invitation to members of our school community to witness the official opening of our new Year 3-4 Learning Centre on Wednesday, 13 March at 10:30 am. The formal ceremony will include guest speaker and past Head of Campus, Mrs Elizabeth Board, musical performances and a blessing of the building by the Bishop of Gippsland, The Right Reverend, Dr Richard Treloar.
Our new building is a contemporary learning space that will foster collaboration and make learning visible, with a focus on sustainability. We will open the new building to our School community on Friday, 15 March from 3:30 pm until 4:40 pm to give parents and carers the opportunity to explore our new learning space.
Wellington Swimming Carnival
Our students had a fantastic Wellington District Swimming Carnival on Thursday, competing with great enthusiasm and sportsmanship. The majority of our swim team is continuing on to the next stage of competition. Congratulations to all those involved.
The following students make up our swim team; Jack Crowe (Age champion), Charlie Price, Jonah Brown (Age champion), Molly Dettbarn, Zayden Burton (Age champion), Lily Canfield (Age champion), Will Murray, Teddy Ripper, Scarlett Tavasci, Obi Vardy, Makaylen Di Sisto, Blake Fairweather, Jessica Martin, Zoe Hoernlein, Himesh Rajapaske, Oak Czosnek, Billy Staples, Evie Humphris, Xanthe Wade, Gracie Millington, Kody Said, Cooper Beckman, Lola Van Burkel and Aliesha Turnbull.
Taiko Drumming Incursion, 7 March
All students in Years 4, 5 and 6 were fortunate to participate in a Taiko Drumming incursion, organised by Mrs Jan Chalmer, Teacher of Japanese. Taiko is an ancient Japanese form of percussion using large drums. Our students learned basic drumming techniques, including how to hold the ‘bachi’ drumsticks’ so that they bounced off the drums when struck. They also learned of the importance of teamwork and self-discipline, in an energetic one-hour session. Thank you and ‘arigatou’ to Ms Kiyomi Caldwell, from ‘Tyke-Oh’, for her wonderful sessions.
Recently, teachers have noticed a spike in students talking about the online MoMo phenomenon. The ‘Momo’ challenge is an online game that appears on Facebook, Whatsapp and Youtube. The scary doll-like figure allegedly targets children and teens and asks them to participate in a game which involves setting them challenges or dares that become increasingly violent and scary in nature. I am sharing this with our School community not to worry parents, but to keep you informed.
Below are some guidelines from for parents and carers on how to keep your child safe when they are using apps or devices. The information was sourced from National Online Safety, based in the UK.
1. Tell them it’s not real
Much like any other monster or fictitious character, it’s important that your child understands that Momo is not a real person and cannot control them, tell them what to do or harm them. Also, tell your child not to go openly searching for this content online as it is only going to upset them and cause them distress.
2. Be present
While it’s not always possible to be with your child 24/7, it’s important that you are close to them when they are watching videos or playing with devices so you can monitor what is going on. Also, talk with your child about how they use devices and watch for any signs of behavioural changes.
3. Talk regularly with your child
Have frequent open and honest conversations with your child about screen time and let them know that they can talk with you about anything and everything. Encourage your child to feel confident about having discussions with you about issues and concerns they have related to the online world.
4. Set parental controls on all devices
Set up parental controls for your devices at home to help restrict the types of content that your child can view, as well as help you monitor their activity. On YouTube, turn off the ‘suggested auto-play’ on videos to stop your child from viewing content they may not have selected.
5. Talk to your child about peer pressure
Trends and challenges can be tempting for kids to take part in regardless of how scary they seem and especially if ‘everyone else is doing it.’ Talk to your chuld about how they don’t need to bow to peer pressure or do anything they are not comfortable with, either online or offline. If they are unsure, encourage them to talk to you or another trusted adult.
6. Do your research
As a parent, it’s natural to feel worried about your children’s safety, in the online or offline world. However, remember not everything you see online is true. Check the validity of the source and be mindful of what you share as it may cause unfounded worries.
7. Report and block
Flag and report any material you deem to be inappropriate or harmful as soon as you come across it. You should also block the account/content to prevent your child from seeing it.
8. Get support if necessary
Speak with educators at your child’s school if you have concerns regarding their online activity. If your child sees something distressing it is important they know who to turn to for support and guidance. They can also contact the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.
Jie Van Berkel