New Cultural Centre designed for the next generation of learning
The next important stage of Westminster School’s $38 million Campus Masterplan is underway with the development of an impressive Cultural Centre that will redefine the heart of the cultural precinct on campus, giving students and families an even greater sense of connection to the School and community.
Adjoining Westminster’s renowned auditorium, the Michael Murray Centre for Performing Arts, the school’s new cross-disciplinary Cultural Centre will include advanced performing arts, music and drama studios, a library with collaboration spaces, a café facing the playing fields and a 250-seat dining hall.
Contemporary learning inspired by progressive workplaces
Designed by Brown Falconer, the $14 million Cultural Centre is another remarkable example of the school’s evolving education facilities, which have been thoughtfully devised to complement contemporary learning while being inspired by progressive workplaces.
“The Cultural Centre is a state-of-the-art facility that provides both teachers and students with greater flexibility, configurability and connectivity,” says Phillip Styles, Chairman of School Council.
“Long gone are the days where identical school classrooms come off long corridors with inflexible spaces. Through a collaborative process involving the school council, school leadership and staff, our architects and builders, Sarah Constructions, we have designed a centre where students and our school community can spend more time and gather on campus.”
Scheduled for completion in Semester 1 2022, the Cultural Centre’s dining space will serve weekday lunch to all students, including boarders, whereas the café will also find a ready audience in parents, community groups and visitors, particularly around performances and sporting matches. The dining facilities will also be open to students and their families throughout the day and evening.
“Similar to universities, students will be able to access and study from the Centre for longer periods of time. This includes having the option to book tutoring or continue studies on campus after traditional school hours, giving working parents the reassurance that their child is in good hands,” explains Principal Simon Shepherd.
“With many of our students travelling from destinations like Mt Compass, Willunga, McLaren Vale and the Adelaide Hills, this added flexibility will definitely be of great benefit to them.
“Our families will also have the option to join their children for breakfast or dinner in the dining hall, something we are sure parents will appreciate instead of racing home after an end-of-school sports training session or performing arts rehearsal.”
“We want Westminster to really be a home away from home for our students and their families,” says Principal Simon Shepherd.
New Creative Arts and Digital Media Centre at Westminster
Within the Campus Masterplan, this month will also see the official unveiling of the school’s new Creative Arts and Digital Media Centre in the Carter Wing. The refurbished wing is the final piece in Westminster’s world-class STEAM precinct which comprises the three-storey Inquiry and Innovation Hub that opened in late 2020.
The $6 million Carter Wing includes six purpose-built spaces for pottery and ceramics, print making, photography, art, drawing and painting, digital media and studio, and a specialised maker space. The new building also houses a learning suite for the school’s STRETCH program, which provides additional teaching support for students.
Further stages of the Westminster Campus Masterplan include a new Year 12 Centre, that will commence construction later this year and an outdoor social space known as Westminster Green, with its own amphitheatre.
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SCHOOLS, WE NEED ACTION AND IT NEEDS TO BE NOW
How is this for a stat?
70% of children and adolescents say that they are dissatisfied with their body making body Image the #1 issue for this impressionable group.
Let that sink in.
It’s the 5 year old that sees herself as ‘too fat’ and is wanting to go on a diet. The 14 year old that socially isolates himself from his mates because he hates his ‘small’ body. The 12-year-old that compares her body and acne-prone skin to that of the ‘flawless’ Bella Hadid.
Research indicates that adolescents with higher body satisfaction are more likely to engage in healthy eating and exercise, and are less likely to be overweight, smoke and consume alcohol and illicit drugs.
Wouldn’t we want this for all of our children?
One thing is for sure, it is absolutely critical for schools to embed addressing this issue into the curriculum…which leads to the question, what exactly is happening in our schools to tackle this?
Taryn Brumfitt is the fiercely passionate thought leader behind the Body Image Movement, the Director of the inspiring documentary Embrace (which is currently on Netflix), best bestselling author (x 3) and an internationally recognised speaker. She has been recognised by the United Nations Women, Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, the Geena Davis Institute and Ashton Kutcher who famously praised her activism as ‘good for the world”…and she lives right here in Adelaide!
Taryn is dedicated to spreading the message that our bodies are more than ornaments – they are the vehicle to our dreams – and boy, has she done that by positively impacting millions of lives across the globe.
As she leads into the production of Embrace Kids, a feature-length documentary to increase body positivity aimed at children aged 8-12 years, Taryn is turning her attention from international corporate speaking gigs to something near and dear to her heart, presenting at local South Australian schools.
“It’s been a thrill and an honour to be so impactful and busy on the international speaking circuit,” says Taryn.
“A keynote to the leadership team at Google HQ in Silicon Valley is definitely a career highlight, but I’m excited for this next chapter, focussing on the health and wellbeing of kids in South Australia”.
With close to a hundred school speaking visits under her belt already, Taryn knows how to connect with her audience, both males and females, from reception to Yr 12’s. Her ability to connect intrinsically and tap into her own personal journey leaves a lasting impression on students. Not just for kids, schools are also booking Taryn to present her “Developing Daughters Supporting Sons” seminar– a talk for parents focused on how to encourage a body positive environment at home.
And this is where you come in to help…
Can you spread the news of the “Embrace Your Body” and “Developing Daughters Supporting Sons” talks at your school? Tell your school principal, class teacher or governing council to simply connect with the team at Body Image Movement (email address below) and ask for more information on how Taryn can speak at your school.
It may seem like such a small act, but by simply passing this information on, you are playing a part in helping the Body Image Movement inspire kids to move, nourish, respect and enjoy their bodies.
School speaking enquiries can be directed to Dianne Dumanovic, Marketing & Comms Manager via email@example.com
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Montessori: A different way to learn
Placing your child into the care of someone else, in an environment other than your home, is an act of enormous importance that hinges entirely upon trust. You have to trust the people caring for your child, trust that the setting is safe, trust that your child will be nurtured and inspired. So, what does a parent do if they can’t find a place they trust? In Barbara Langford’s case, the answer was to create one herself.
Back in 1989 Barbara was a young mother with a two-year-old daughter. She simply couldn’t find a preschool setting that reflected her family values and offered the level of education and care that she felt her daughter – like all children – truly deserved. Barbara had already started investigating the Montessori method of education after coming across a book that described an approach to teaching that she felt aligned with her parenting philosophy. Barbara, previously a Dental Hygienist, completed a training course in Montessori Education and then “with stardust in her eyes” and a great deal of support from her husband Stephen, she began the journey to establish Jescott Montessori Pre-school.
“There were many unexpected challenges along the way. In hindsight, I’m glad I wasn’t armed with all of the knowledge up front, or I might never have been brave enough to complete this journey. I just followed my instincts and learned an incredible amount each time I had to overcome an obstacle put in front of me.”
Jescott Montessori opened with 8 children attending, including Barbara’s daughter Jessica. Twenty years later, Jessica joined her Mum as a colleague and business partner having completed her Bachelor of Education in Early Childhood, a Montessori Diploma and a Diploma in Positive Psychology.
“I am incredibly privileged to share my passion and love for children with my daughter Jessica. Our vision and values align, but we have our own perspectives on the finer details and we challenge each other to grow beyond what we would each achieve alone. There are moments when the ‘Mother’ in me wants things done my way but we negotiate with respectful love and work to find creative solutions that are enriched by that collaborative process. She is an incredible young woman and an exceptional educator and recently she gave me the gift of my first grandson, Robin.”
The success of Jescott Montessori planted the seed that grew over three decades to become the flourishing family tree of seven early learning centres that make up SA Montessori today. Each of the SA Montessori centres retains the core value of respect and belief in children’s innate abilities. All of the centres offer high quality care and education and this has been recognised with the awarding of the “Excellent rating” four times by ACECQA, the national body that oversees over 15,000 early childhood services in Australia. There are only 48 centres Australia wide to have been awarded this accolade since 2012.
There was never a ‘business plan’ to expand beyond Jescott Montessori, but demand from families encouraged Barbara to be open to other opportunities to extend the wonderful Montessori experience to other children.
“Serendipity has played a big part in the expansion of our centres. Opportunity has come our way many times when we weren’t actively looking for it. We were approached to establish centres at Westminster School, Loreto College, Walford School for Girls, St Spyridon College and St. Aloysius College. What higher endorsement could we have gained than to be trusted to run the ELC’s for these prestigious schools.”
Along the way, Barbara Nache, Adriana Francescangeli, and Pam Francescangeli joined Barbara and Jessica as co- partners in the establishment of some of the SA Montessori centres. Together these ladies have formed an exceptional friendship that keeps the spirit of family alive as a reminder of the true beginnings of SA Montessori, when a young parent simply wanted to trust that her child would be cared for and inspired the way she deserved.
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The new literacy learning way
Katharyn Cullen, Head of Junior School at Seymour College, believes in manifesting a love of words in our next generation. With a strong focus on – and belief in – the benefits of explicit literacy instruction, Katharyn’s enthusiasm and passion for promoting a love of language stems first and foremost from a sense of responsibility to our youngest learners, our children.
Impassioned to change the literary trajectory for each and every learner, Katharyn is calling teachers and school leaders to action.
Changing the way we think about Spelling
How many children think about spelling in a negative way? They view it as a hostile barrier which interrupts the fluency of their writing. They see it as a mountain, too hard to climb or they perceive it as an ongoing battle of rote learning ‘list words’ which relentlessly continues throughout their entire primary education. Too often, students’ questions about the spelling of words are answered with, ‘it’s a special word’ or ‘you’ll just have to learn that one by heart.’ More often than not, the only tool students are given to help them spell is, “sound it out”.
Australia’s steady decline in English results
Based on PISA and NAPLAN testing, the reality we’re facing in Australia is a steady decline in our English results, with no significant improvement in reading levels in secondary schools since 2008 (NAPLAN) and and a significant decline in 15 year olds’ abilities in reading since 2000 (PISA). In an attempt to improve literacy results at a primary school level, many school leaders think the answer is to purchase commercial or published programs but this is a quick-fix remedy to a much bigger problem. By relying solely on phonics programs, with only 12% of words in English actually being spelled the way they sound; Katharyn believes we are literally setting our students up for failure.
Is it any wonder that we have a national literacy crisis?
Named on the 2020 Educator Hotlist as an influencer in reinventing the educational landscape in Australia, Katharyn shares a love and commitment to the growth and progression of each child, actioned through the continual learning and improvement of each teacher in her team. This vision has been key in the creation of the innovative Junior School model at Seymour College, which has improved teaching standards, enhanced student engagement and lifted educational outcomes.
We chat with Katharyn about her tips for improving literacy outcomes and what the Junior School model for education at Seymour looks like in the classroom.
Katharyn’s Top Tips For Literacy:
1. Manifest a love of words
Ban the boring! At Seymour, our girls are constantly looking to up level their work using rich language. They just love to play with words to make their writing exciting which in turn, manifests a love of literature. The confidence they have to take risks is built on skills not limited to simply learning phonics, but by learning how spellings have evolved to represent sound (phonemes), meaning (morphemes), and history (etymology). The English language is exciting, and our passionate teachers explore and share this love of words with the girls.
2. Deep dive into quality literature, use it as your springboard!
We relish the opportunity to study, unpack and explore words. We value spelling as a unique skill which, when taught explicitly through quality literature, vastly improves our girls’ understanding of vocabulary. In turn, their capability to write with a deeper awareness of grammar and punctuation is greatly enhanced.
3. It is all about teachers’ knowledge of language and linguistics (no more ‘bossy e’ or ‘two sounds go walking, the first does the talking…’)
Good spelling comes from good teaching. This acknowledges the English spelling system as logical and organised, based on a rich history of language and meaningful reasons for why words are spelled the way they are. At Seymour, our girls love to learn, and our teachers love to teach. Our expert teachers are raising readers by fostering a deep understanding of words, literature and cultivating a love of language.
4. Spelling is the bridge that interrelates reading and writing.
Spelling is integral to writing, and individuals who are not fluent and accurate spellers can struggle to write detailed texts. When a student is unable to spell a word with automaticity, the thinking processes involved in creativity and getting ideas down on paper are disrupted. This means that students are more likely to select alternative words for their writing, just because they feel more confident to spell them. It is vital that our students are able to articulate the creative ideas that are in their head so that their teachers have a true understanding of their ability.
The innovative Junior School model at Seymour
With Katharyn at the helm, the team at Seymour have designed a ground-breaking model for education, one which focuses on deep connections, student engagement and teacher impact. The traditional timetable with the one class, one teacher model of education has been reimagined, delivering amazing results.
- Seymour teachers have specialised in Mathematics or English, working together to deliver best practice influenced by extensive professional development with world-renowned experts.
- The unique ability to tailor learning to the interests of the girls lies in this small group structure, with exposure to these specialists beginning as early as Reception.
- From Year 2-5, girls work solely in small English and Mathematics learning groups. This allows for differentiated, personalised, and tailored learning opportunities.
A driving point of this innovative Junior School model is developing deeper levels of understanding and higher levels of skill. This is achieved through extended periods of English and Mathematics learning time every day, reflecting what the research says about how girls, more than boys, desire a depth of understanding that is often unavailable in traditional classrooms.
Seymour girls understand that learning today is knowledge for the future.
Seymour College, 546 Portrush Road, Glen Osmond
Seymour Junior School: The Small Group Structure
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A NEW CONCEPT IN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION & CARE
ECHOES MONTESSORI: PROVIDING INTERGENERATIONAL CONNECTION
SA Montessori is incredibly proud to announce an innovative and inspiring new partnership with ECH, one of the largest integrated providers of retirement village accommodation and ageing care services in South Australia.
Connect, learn and grow
Together we are building a pioneering project that will place early learning and retirement residences side-by-side. The two services will not only be co-located on the same plot of land, but will be deeply integrated through a range of opportunities that will facilitate consistent, authentic and ongoing intergenerational interaction. Children and elders will not only share land, but will share their lives with one another as they connect, learn and grow.
This intergenerational village will be located at 85 Smart Road, Modbury and will be opening in January 2021. The main road provides convenient access for families from surrounding areas, but this street frontage will be the only man made piece of the site’s perimeter. The rest of the development is embedded into Linear Park, meaning that the children and elder residents will be embraced by nature. They will also be reciprocating that care through the thoughtful touches of the village design, such as the urban farm that will be tended by little hands and big ones alike.
The children attending Echoes Montessori Early Learning Centre will engage in their regular Montessori learning and care programs within their safe and secure centre. They will be further enriched by the inclusion of contact with their older friends as they come together for shared activities on a regular basis both within their centre and amongst the many shared spaces of the community such as the gardens, library, art room and multi-purpose hall.
The children will be given opportunities to safely interact and learn alongside older residents who choose to share their wisdom and life skills with their younger ‘apprentices’. Gardening, art, dance, yoga, woodworking, music, pottery, sewing, cooking, reading and simple companionship, are some of the planned activities to be included in the daily programs.
Intergenerational engagement is the most natural, healthy and holistic way for a community to thrive. Research from around the world highlights the positive outcomes for children and adults alike when generations come together.
SA Montessori and ECH share an emphasis on the values of empowerment, dignity, independence and respect. SA Montessori provides more than just traditional ‘child care’, and ECH does not simply offer stereotypical ‘aged care’. Both SA Montessori and ECH care for their clients, enrich their environments and prepare their professionals in a way that promotes meaningful growth and positive outcomes for every unique individual. For the past three decades, SA Montessori has been bringing exceptional early learning experiences to the children of Adelaide and supporting families with the process of parenting. We continue to embrace the privilege of our role in the lives of children, but we are also evolving to create a connection to our elders as well.
The importance of community: restoration and reconnection
The events of 2020 have reinforced how absolutely vital that sense of community truly is. Many people around the world have been asked to live without access to their loved ones or their communities, and we have seen the pain this has caused. Our focus on holistic wellbeing has become more pertinent than ever in these times, with this project acting as a symbol of restoration and reconnection. We are thinking creatively to ensure that we have a model where intergenerational engagement can occur in a variety of ways and environments so that meaningful connection is always possible in a safe and healthy setting. We have always believed, and this year has shown, that as a society we truly are ‘better together’ and we feel so proud to be unveiling an environment that lives these values.
Connection and communication are human tendencies important to us all, and there is no better way to achieve this than for generations to spend time together.
To register your interest and for further updates:
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Taking her first steps into the Wilderness
The first step of your child’s education is a milestone moment for families, and where a lifetime of learning begins.
It’s no secret that the early years of your child’s life are fundamentally important for building the foundations of their future development. Wilderness School believes in providing the highest quality early childhood program which honours and celebrates the unique qualities of each girl, every step of the way.
Early Learning at Wilderness
Within your first moments inside the gate of the Mamie Brown House in the morning, the starting place for three-year-old girls at Wilderness, a journey of curiosity and wonder begins, for both you and your daughter. This is where she embarks on her first steps into the Wilderness – and on her educational journey – and only time will tell what she could become.
The big wide world awaits her…The Wilderness School Early Learning Centre is where she starts.
Will she visit the chickens on the way down to the House? How many eggs have they laid?
Will she make a mud pie in the mud kitchen, play with her new friends in the cubby or paint under the trees?
Maybe today she’ll put her gumboots on and water the garden.
Inside, there are even more possibilities.
Becoming a Wilderness girl
Taking that first step into the Wilderness for our youngest learners is the start of their educational journey. From the beginning, ELC girls see themselves as ‘Wilderness girls’. They wear a uniform, learn from highly-skilled early childhood teachers and and participate in specialist lessons within the School, including lessons in Music, Yoga, Library and Physical Education, and, most importantly, they are connected to the School Values, especially that of Respectful Relationships.
As the girls play and learn together, the spirit of unlimited kindness is reinforced and valued at every opportunity.
Inspiring a love of learning
Wilderness girls are encouraged to explore their interests and actively engage in their education. It is here your daughter’s dispositions, experience and knowledge are enriched and respected and her individual right to learn is acknowledged and supported.
Fundamental to the Wilderness way is that a spirit of joy should underpin all teaching and learning and thus, inspire a love for learning in each and every one of the girls. Joy in the ELC is experienced through the development of friendships, creativity, imagination, new learning, play and simply by being together in the moment, enjoying this special time of early childhood.
The calm and welcoming atmosphere of the Early Learning Centre provides the perfect space to say goodbye and begin the day knowing your daughter will be safe, stimulated, and inspired through an education that will prepare her for the next step on her journey to being the ‘best she can be throughout her life’.
Learning through play
The Wilderness teaching and learning program is inspired by the principles of the Reggio Emilia philosophy, informed by The Early Years Learning Framework, connected to the high quality, innovative teaching practices at the School and, most importantly, created especially for your daughter.
The Wilderness ELC runs with consistent routines and timings very similar to any Wilderness School day. ELC girls really do attend ‘school’ but the learning is conceptualised in a way that is high quality and age appropriate and emerges from the needs and interests of the girls individually, and collectively as a class.
Begin the learning journey at Wilderness
Your daughter may begin her early learning journey in the year that she turns 3, as long as her birthday falls before 30 June in the respective year. If your daughter turns 3 years of age after this date, she will commence in the following year.
0–3 YEARS: Get started on your Wilderness way at Playgroup
Your daughter doesn’t have to wait until she’s three years old to become part of the Wilderness family and learning community. Joining the welcoming playgroup, held every Friday morning during term time for children aged 0-3, will give both you and your daughter the opportunity to become familiar with the school environment, meet future Wilderness friends and get to know other families.
If you would like to know more about the Playgroup or Early Learning at Wilderness, please contact the Wilderness Registrar, Mrs Natalie Klein at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit:
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