Michael Portaro - School Principal
Dear Parents and Carers,
Dear Parents and Carers,
Did you get to read The Bad Seed? (https://youtu.be/1jOlvsf1pK8)
Please let me know by tapping the heart to the right of this paragraph.
This week I have been in and out of classrooms and the playground talking to students about their learning journey here at EPS. My favourite question is ‘have you had a good day?' Almost every time the answer is ‘yes I have’. Of course I then pursue that answer with a follow up question to really gauge! I am pleased to report that having a good day doesn’t mean I haven’t been asked to do anything I haven’t
wanted too, it is that the student response reflects engagement and application of knowledge to learning situations. I wanted to start the newsletter with this positive reflection so that you could perhaps begin your ‘after-school’ conversations with an opener like ‘three things that were positive about your day and one thing that you could work on!
Our brain instinctively goes to the negative; and if we are aware of this then we can plan for the positive or optimism in our lives.
Over the past few weeks, your child’s teacher has been busily writing the Term Two Academic Reports, based on the assessment and observations they have had of your child’s learning over this semester. These will be available to download on Sentral – more information to come. Please take the time to read over them and congratulate your child on the achievements they have shown.
Another very important part of our student reporting process is our mid-year parent/teacher interviews that are held to discuss each child’s progress in the first half-year and plans for further improvement during Terms 3 and 4. Our teachers are looking forward to meeting with as many parents as possible on the afternoon and evening of our student free afternoon on Wednesday, 25th July.
Last week Ms.Grosso and I attended the Regional Conference held over two days. We got to hear from some world renowned educational researchers and leaders about best practice in education at the moment. We had time to reflect on our work here at Elsternwick PS and walked away confident that we are doing the right work. We have a strong focus on quality instruction this year, working towards consistency across all classrooms. The conference was a great opportunity to network with other Principal Class teams from schools across the South East of Victoria, share our work and hear about what they’re also doing.
Have a great weekend,
Welcome to The Green Zone at Elsternwick Primary School!
We have been very busy over the past couple of months setting up a unique space to support the
wellbeing of students at our school. This aligns with one of our two AIP goals; for students, staff and
parents/carers to feel safe, valued and respected as members of our school community.
The aim of The Green Zone environment is to encourage calm, focus and supportive relationships. It
has also been designed to support the specific needs of our students with disabilities.
The Green Zone is a multipurpose space:
- Each class will spend one session per week in the space for explicit teaching of the wellbeing
(personal and social capabilities) curriculum
- Students will be able to access the space during recess and lunch, when identified by a
member of staff as finding the social and emotional aspects of break times challenging.
Parents will be notified when students have been invited to attend.
By the end of the term, each class will have had their first wellbeing session in The Green Zone to
explore it and understand how it operates. We are still in the process of co-creating an agreement
with students, but it will be based around the following principles:
This is the first time a space like this has been set up at EPS and we’re all very excited about it. Please
keep in mind that it is a work in progress and is not yet fully furnished and resourced. Please also be
aware that we may need to tweak regulations and agreements as we observe the space in
Thank-you to all that have had input into the collaborative process which has seen this room take shape!
Last week, Nicola and I hosted 8 teachers from Cranbourne South Primary School. The teachers visited us to understand how the Zones of Regulations has been imbedded at Elsternwick Primary School. We visited many classrooms and many of the students were able to explain to the teachers how they use the Zones of Regulations in their classrooms. It was affirming for both Nicola and I to hear the student’s reflections and see that our school wide approach is consistent and effective.
The Zones of Regulations has now been imbedded at EPS for the past three years.
Over the years, you may have heard your children come home to you and say to you “Hey mum, dad, I’m in the Blue zone,” or “I was in the Red Zone for a while today.”
So what does all this mean?
Self-regulation is something everyone continually works on, whether we are conscious of it or not. We all encounter trying circumstances that test our limits from time to time. If we are able to recognise when we are becoming less regulated, we are able to do something about it to feel better and get ourselves to a better place. This comes naturally for some, but for others it is a skill that needs to be taught and practiced. This is the goal of The Zones of Regulation (or Zones for short).
What are The Zones of Regulation?
The Zones is a systematic, cognitive behavior approach used to teach self-regulation by categorizing all the different ways we feel and states of alertness we experience into four concrete zones.
The Four Zones
The Red Zone is used to describe extremely heightened states of alertness and intense emotions. A person may be elated or experiencing anger, rage, explosive behavior, devastation, or terror when in the Red Zone.
The Yellow Zone is also used to describe a heightened state of alertness and elevated emotions; however, one has some control when they are in the Yellow Zone. A person may be experiencing stress, frustration, anxiety, excitement, silliness, the wiggles, or nervousness when in the Yellow Zone.
The Green Zone is used to describe a calm state of alertness. A person may be described as happy, focused, content, or ready to learn when in the Green Zone. This is the zone where optimal learning occurs.
The Blue Zone is used to describe low states of alertness and down feelings, such as when one feels sad, tired, sick, or bored.
All teachers and specialist teachers use ‘the zones’ in their classroom and have displays up to support the classroom learning. Many parents find it a useful tool to use at home to provide continuity in supporting children to understand their emotions and build strategies for self-regulation.
“Why does my child behave well for others, but not for me?”
This is a common question many parents ask. It’s frustrating!
I remember my primary school-aged children having very poor table manners at home, yet after sleep-overs and visits with friends we were always complimented for having children with beautiful manners.
“They showed my kids a thing or two about manners,” was the type of comment we received.
When one daughter was thirteen, she barely had a civil word for anyone who lived under the same roof as her. Yet following a weekend staying at a friend’s house, the supervising parents remarked how communicative she was with them.
“What do you do get such a lovely teenager?” our friend asked. “Send her to you!” was my reply!
So why do kids behave well for others and save their worst behaviour for their parents? It’s simple really…..because you love them.
It’s hard to be good all the time. When we are fully accepted by others we tend to show them our true selves warts n’ all.
The same theory applies with all our relationships, including dating. When you first started dating, you more than likely put huge energy into making the best possible impression. In the early days of dating you more than likely dressed to impress, were always ready on time and wore a perpetual smile.
When the relationship became more stable, you probably loosened up. You didn’t always dress to impress; you may have turned up late a few times and you were less are fussed about presenting your best possible face all the time. In short, familiarity breeds contentedness.
The same happens with kids. They become so relaxed with their parents that they will show their worst side to them.
They’ll be very polite to their teacher, barely speaking out of turn in class yet they can be downright rude and overbearing at home.
They’ll be friendly to peers at school but painful for siblings at home. Such is the way of family-life.
It’s important that kids know how to behave.
We’d all love our kids to behave appropriately all the time, but the reality is they won’t.
Most kids have L plates when it comes to learning how to fit in and behave around others. They make mistakes, yet they are always on a path to improvement…or should be.
It’s important that they know how to behave. That means parents teach their kids good manners; they teach them right from wrong; and also you teach them how to behave well in a variety of social situations so that when they are outside the house and around others, they know how to behave in public.
Sometimes kids are worse in public than at home.
This happens with toddlers who are really on a huge learning curve. It’s easier to teach them in the confined, organised environment at home. When they are in public spaces such as supermarkets they are so much harder to control!
Teaching kids to behave.
Here are four smart strategies you can use to teach kids of all ages to behave well – both outside and inside the family home:
1. Modelling: Kids are born mimics. The minute you become a parent you become a walking, talking social studies lesson (as in how to be social, generous and pleasant to others). They need to see adults and significant others such as parents behave well, behave generously and use appropriate manners (cos’ they will speak like you in public). Model the behaviours you want in your kids… as much as is humanly possible.
2. Mentoring: Good behaviour comes easily to some, but many kids need to be taught the nuances of behaving well and socialising. Boys, in particular, benefit from a parent who is willing to invest time and energy into helping them behave well. Toddler and teens both benefit from explicit teaching and coaching in what to do and say in the company of others. They benefit from hearing messages such as “Say thank you”, “Look your teacher in the eye when you speak” , “Address her parents by name”
3. Messaging: Astute parents give kids social scripts that they can use in a variety of situations. This social scripting starts when we tell a toddler to say hello to a relative and continues to providing more complex scripts to use in a variety of situations such as in a restaurant, at a friend’s house, at school, even online. It also helps if kids rehearse their lines before they use them in social situations. Behaviour rehearsal is particularly important for boys who are usually tactile, practical learners.
4. Manoeuvring: A great way to prepare kids to excel is through manoeuvring social situations much in the same way assporting codes create junior versions of their games, so kids can learn the basics without being overwhelmed by adult rules. Look for opportunities for kids to socialise at home in ways that mimic situations that they’ll encounter in public. For instance, once a week set up your mealtimes like a restaurant so kids learn how to behave in a restaurant situation.
Instructional Strategies in the classroom.
What are HIGH YIELD STRATEGIES?
These are strategies that have been proven through empirical research to contribute to improved student learning.
Why is a focus on high-yield strategies necessary at EPS?
Research and experience indicate that a deciding factor in improving student learning and achievement is the knowledge, skill and daily practice of classroom teaching. Classrooms are filled with learners whose strengths are as diverse as their needs, therefore our teachers use high yield strategies to meet the needs of students.
In every classroom at EPS, teachers use nine high yield strategies based on the research of world renowned educational professional researchers – Jane Pollock and Robert Marzano. These researchers at McREL analysed selected research studies on instructional strategies that could be used by teachers in K-12 classrooms.
They used meta-analysis (combining the results from a number of studies to determine the average effect of a given technique. The results are translated into a unit of measurement (method) referred to as an effect size - the increase or decrease in student achievement against the experimental group.
The nine High Yield Strategies with the highest effect size, are to identify Instructional Strategies that have a high probability of enhancing student achievement for all students in all subject areas at all grade levels.
Within our school’s GANAG lesson structure students have to opportunity to use these nine high yield strategies by:
Practising the strategy
Providing examples of the strategy
Giving and receiving feedback
Students self-reflecting on the strategy being used
Head Lice Alert
It is the responsibility of parents to check heads regularly - at least weekly. Please report any cases to the front office. Your support and cooperation in helping to eradicate this problem would be much appreciated.
Any donations of girls underwear would be greatly appreciated.
Winter Sport Round Robin
Last Friday all the Year 5 & 6 students competed in the Balaclava District Winter Sport Round Robin. Sports played were Football, Soccer, Netball and Teeball. The teams competed against the other 7 teams in our district. We had been playing practice matches against some other schools over the term and were looking forward to competing for the District pennants. Despite the arctic conditions when the cold front came through all the students competed with enthusiasm which made for a fun day.
Congratulations to the Soccer Boys A, Netball Girls A and Teeball teams who were premiers on the day and to the Football team for coming Runners-Up. The winning teams will now compete at the Division Finals on Tuesday, 24th July.
The Victorian Premiers’ Reading Challenge is chugging away nicely, with a number of students
already reaching the pinnacle of reading 100 books! Remember that the Challenge finishes at the
end of August. The July holidays may be a perfect opportunity to read and update books on the
VPRC website. Lost your login details? Send me an email and I’ll shoot them through to you.
We had a special guest, Andrea Murray, visit us recently and talk to the Grade 2’s and 4’s about a book she is writing about children with hand differences, and about accepting people who may look different. There were some wonderful conversations about tolerance, acceptance and diversity. Andrea gained some valuable and thoughtful feedback from the students after reading her book to them. We wish her well with publishing her book, and hope to eventually have a copy in the library.
We encourage children to borrow books over the holidays. When the weather is cold and bleak
outside, what better way to while away a few hours than getting lost in a good book. Our recent
arrivals, the Pippa’s Island series by Belinda Murrell is so popular, I’ve had to buy more copies for
the library. No doubt, there will be lots of excitement about the latest book by David Walliams – The
World’s Worst Children 3, scheduled to hit the EPS library new book stand next week. Stay tuned
for loads of more more wonderful books arriving in Term 3.
for his growth mindset in Reading and Writing this term, demonstrating amazing initiative in creating his own stories. Well done Marcus!
for identifying 3D objects in the classroom and taking photos of them using an iPad. Well done Archie!
for always offering to assist her teacher and peers in the classroom. Thanks Tilly!
for showing a strong desire to learn and know more about our Inquiry topic ‘What was it like back then?’ which was shown in his Information report on the topic.
for her enthusiasm and persistence during the writing of her very informative publication, ‘Green Juice Icy-poles’. We can’t wait for the demonstration and taste testing!
Miller is a great role model for others for her work ethic during Maths, always challenging herself and working through her Zone of Confusion.
Lucas is a highly responsible self-manager. He is always prepared for his lessons, completes his home-reading and takes care of his possessions.
for inspiring others through her curiosity and passion for origami during Discovery Time.
I’m Nicole Owen, the Vice President of the School Council. I’ve been a parent at EPS since 2010 and I have two kids remaining - Liam (3A) and Toby (6B). When not being a Mum or councillor, I’m an Ombudsman at the Financial Ombudsman Service.
I’ve been on the school council for four years, which has seen a period of tumultuous change, which is now settling down as our principal, Michael, implements his plans for EPS. Being on school council is my way of contributing to the school and giving back. I love being involved, learning how the school works, helping ensure the school’s governance is on track and working with Michael and the other council members to help set the direction of the school. There's always a myriad of conflicting priorities facing the school and it’s a pleasure working through them at school council.
At the school council meeting this Monday, we covered the usual agenda items, including
a report from Michael and a finance report. We discussed school enrolments, budgeting, the need for casual relief teachers and how this impacts our finances, staff and students. We also considered issues involving our local community, such as our discussions with Bayside City Council regarding the right of way across Brickwood Street that runs through the school and how this impacts on the safety of the school.
We touched on the vision and plans we're creating for building and grounds following generous donations from parents and also heard about the great plans for this year’s 80s themed parent's party to be held Friday, 17th August.
Feel free to say hello if you see me in the school yard, or send an email to [email protected] if you have any questions about school council or how you can get involved.
Can you believe it's almost the end of Term 2!!!!! I hope many of you have planned some time out over the holidays to recharge your batteries. I'm sure many have planned a winter escape to sunny climes to thaw out ✈☀ .
The PA team will be busy planning for all of our events in the second half of the year. We have some key roles for the Parent's Party that we would love some assistance with - more details below. If you'd like to know more get in touch with Jo and Kerry at -
Parent's Party 2018
Call out for volunteers!
Our EPS Parent Part is coming up on Aug 17 at St Kilda Town Hall, and this year’s party is proving to be bigger and better than ever!
Held every two years, our Parent Party is THE community event of the year and traditionally raises two thirds of our much-needed yearly budget.
We’re calling out to you, our school community – to fill three very important (and FUN) jobs:
Responsibilities include: Managing the bar, coordinating bar staff volunteers, accepting deliveries the day of the party and drinks storage at venue.
(Bryan Brown/Tom Cruise ‘cocktail’ moves fantastic but not essential)
Responsibilities include: Attending a briefing a couple of weeks out from the night and then on the Party day/night coordinating with the caterers/venue re timing etc.
Responsibilities include: Working with our production team to splice together video and graphics for the night
(You always knew your 80s movie and music video knowledge would come in handy, right?)
Responsibilities include: Coordinating the printing and display of posters and collateral around the school. Must be a deft hand with a staple-gun.
How to get in contact:
Please send us an email to: [email protected]
Once again the family movie fundraiser was another sell out!
A big shout out to Sarah Broadway (and helpers on the day) for all her hard work in organising another great movie outing. I think we can all agree the children loved the movie if the laughter was anything to go by.
Thanks to all those who purchased tickets. Your support helped us to raise over $2,100.
A reminder that there are still places available to look after the chickens over the holidays! Please go to the following trybooking link -
Save the dates
To help you manage your diaries please lock in the following dates:
Sew This Pattern Sewing Studio has opened up it’s sewing studio at 26 Horne street, Elsternwick and is running a school holiday program in July. STP studio offers after school classes and birthday parties too.
About the program.
Kids will learn to sew from the very beginning with basic hand sewing techniques and then graduate to sewing on a machine. Everything is supplied from sewing machines to fabric. Knowing how to sew is a fantastic life skill that is creative, practical and has many health benefits. These days with technology being such a big part of our children’s lives it’s even more important to be able to offer a skill that promotes mindfulness. Sewing is a creative process and it’s a fantastic way to express your own individuality not to mention it’s just fun!
Visit www.sewthispattern.com for details on the courses.
The course is designed for boys and girls aged 9 and up.The maximum number of students is four so each student will get personalised instructions and plenty of time to practise on the sewing machines supplied.