the Nor'Wester

20 September 2019
Issue Nineteen

We respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the country throughout Victoria and pay respects to the ongoing living cultures of First Peoples.

upcoming events
assistant principal's message
school life
oshc & sprout
school council
Brunswick North West Primary School
Culloden Street
Brunswick West, VIC, 3055

upcoming events

term 4, 2019

14.10.2019 - Junior Indonesian Dance Incursion 

15.10.2019 - Junior Indonesian Dance Incursion

16.10.2019 - Finance Committee

17.10.2019 - 2020 Foundie Info Night 

                           - CET Meeting 

18.10.2019 - Grade 2 Plant & Produce 

21.10.2019 - OSHC Committee 

                           - B&G Committee 

22.10.2019 - Education Committee

30.10.2019 - Grade 1 Campfire

31.10.2019 - School Council 

04.11.2019 - Student Free Day

05.11.2019 - Melbourne Cup 

06.11.2019 - 2020 Foundie Transition 

12.11.2019 - CET Meeting (Planning 2020 Calendar) 

13.11.2019 - 2020 Foundie Transition

                           - Finance Committee

14.11.2019 - SIC Meeting 

15.11.2019 - Grade 1 Plant & Produce 

17.11.2019 - Working Bee

18.10.2019 - OSHC Committee

                           - B&G Committee 

19.11.2019 - Education Committee

20.11.2019 - 2020 Foundie Transition 

26.11.2019 - RAM Seniors Excursion 

27.11.2019 - 2020 Foundie Transition 

28.11.2019 - School Council 

03.12.2019 - School Council Dinner

04.12.2019 - Big Day Out 

06.12.2019 - Foundie Plant & Produce 

10.12.2019 - Grade 6 Transition Helper Morning Tea 

11.12.2019 - Grade 6 Graduation

                           - Finance Committee 

16.12.2019 - Fun Day and Monday & BBQ 

17.12.2019 - End of Year Family Picnic & Arts Festival 

20.12.2019 - Last Day Term 4!


volunteering @ BNW

We pride ourselves for our sense of belonging as it is beneficial for everyone. Family involvement in school strengthens our young people's connection to their education, it demonstrates the community connection many families choose our school for and helps us provide the best educational program and environment possible. In an attempt to better communicate with those interested in volunteering, the school is trying to build a volunteer register. We would love all family members to complete this short survey to help us collect this information. All information will be kept private and no one will be asked to commit to any volunteer work in the survey. 

There are so many different ways to become involved in your child's education and we love it when you want to get involved, but we must remind all family members that Working with Children Check cards are required by law.



assistant principal's message

dear familes,

As you may have noticed, while Wendy has been away for three weeks, Shalani and I have been helping out in her role. I say helping, as the mammoth size of the role is impossible for anyone to slip in to for a few days! There has been a lot of “I’ll pass that on to Wendy when she returns”, sorry Wendy!

My first day in the office I was excited! I had my list of exciting projects I wanted to spend some uninterrupted time on (that is hard to find that in a Foundie class!). However that first day, I did not do one thing on my list. I spent the day supporting students and teachers, returning phone calls and chasing information. It was non-stop for the day but by 5:30 I had ticked one thing off my list, I was excited!

This is a normal experience for Wendy and Hannah (aside from the 5:30 finish - I got out early!). However my role that day was significantly reduced by the extra hours Wendy had put in before she left, the extra tasks Hannah had taken on during Wendy’s leave and Shalani’s hard work the week before. I had a quarter of the amount of work to do, yet still didn’t get time in working hours to complete it!

Wendy and Hannah’s role at this school is phenomenal. It is impossible to describe the amount of work they do, yet they both do it, day in and day out with a smile and kindness. They spend their days dropping whatever they are doing to individually support whoever needs it. They could be interrupted ten times trying to send the one email. But with each interruption, they give their full and wholehearted attention to the students who have had an argument, or the teacher worried about one of their students or the family who is asking for support.

As teachers, we have the emotional labour of caring for 20-30 students in our class (plus some residual for past students of course!), but Wendy and Hannah have the emotional labour of caring for 420 students, their families, and 40-odd staff. This emotional labour is in addition to the mountains of admin that comes with a school, and the extra projects they both work on just to make our school that best it can be. 

So as we embark on term 4, the term where we are finalising 2019 as well as getting ready for 2020 as well as the normal day to day life of a school I encourage you to think about and maybe say a thank you to our amazing leaders.

Thank you, Hannah and Wendy, for all that you do for us as a school. For supporting, encouraging, challenging and loving me personally and professionally. 

We are so very lucky to have you.

school life

animal day

This week the foundies were learning all about animals and their environments. To celebrate their new found knowledge everyone came dressed as an animal on Thursday and all their habitats were on display. 



As the term draws to a close, I can’t believe there is only one more term left before the year is over! Jessie and I have had a massive year of professional development and am so pleased with the direction we are going in term 4 and beyond.

Our next job is to slightly change the way maths is taught. Not in any drastic way but in a way that helps all students have a strong grasp of those foundational building blocks, so that they can continue to thrive in maths. We have been deep diving into the curriculum, pulling it apart, analysing it and really teasing out what those concepts mean. We have then been looking at Di Siemon’s work around the Big Ideas which is the idea that there are important concepts students must master in order to understand maths. For example, place value. Whilst place value may seem like a simple concept, there is a plethora of things you need to know about place value to be successful in addition, subtraction, multiplying, dividing, using money, reading and writing numbers. In fact, it could be argued that place value is the most fundamental concept students need to learn in mathematics.

The same can be said about counting. Counting is an essential building block for all mathematical concepts. Just think about all the times you’ve used counting today alone and how hard it would be if you couldn’t count.

This is why Jessie and I are changing the way we teach maths by having a heavy focus on those Big Ideas (counting, place value, multiplicative thinking and partitioning). Now, that doesn’t mean we are getting rid of other topics like addition or subtraction, but rather, making sure we are teaching the concepts that students need to understand that before we move on. Di Siemon talks about how additive thinking isn’t a Big Idea because it relies on other building blocks to develop it. If students aren’t able to count or have a strong understanding of place value (such as part-part-whole) then they will struggle with addition, because that won’t have those fundamental skills to build on and will come up against a wall sooner or later on their mathematical journey.

We are very excited to allow teachers to slow down and really teach those essential skills, which will mean students will have really good foundational (note: this doesn’t mean it is a Foundation level skill, but rather, those fundamental skills all student need to know) skills to allow them to flourish in maths.

Term 4 will be an exciting time for us, and we are excited for what 2020 will bring.  If you want more information on the Big Ideas, check out this great article

I also have been receiving some interesting articles from parents that I love to read! If you ever find an interesting maths article, want to find out what we’re doing or just want to talk about maths, feel free to send me a message on Sentral. We are an open book and want to get as much maths info out there as possible!

We have also prepared a maths bingo for you to play over the holidays. If you can show Jessie or I that you have been able to complete all of the bingo squares, come and let us know and we will give you a special prize!

Have an amazing, safe and restful 20160 hours J


Jessie and Alice

book swap 

Many thanks for your participation in BNWPS’s Great Sustainable Book Swap!

Foundation, Juniors & the Middles participated in a gold coin book exchange last Friday lunch time to raise funds for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. We raised $77. This money will help to improve literacy levels in remote communities while also promoting engagement in texts and reading in our immediate school community. The event also helped us appreciate the valuable resources we have and that sharing is a great way to enjoy something with others.


appreciation of above-and-beyond

This week’s appreciation simply has to go to Shalani Marasinghe and Deborah Robins. Shalani and Deb are exceptional teachers and colleagues, who are committed to the education and the rights of every child every day. As with all our teachers, it is easy to thank them for going above-and-beyond every single day, however over the past three weeks, they have impressed me and their fellow teaching staff more than I was prepared for!

Over the past three weeks while Wendy has been on leave, Shalani and Deb have taken over her role; they have opened up the school and stayed back late for meetings, they have managed sick teachers, replacement staff and changing teacher aide timetables, they have stood in for me while I have been sick and have managed a number of student situations with impeccable professionalism and compassion.

Our teachers all have an incredibly rich understanding of our students; not just students in their immediate care, but students and families across our school. The way Shalani and Deb have been able to take on roles of high sensitivity and confidentiality without a hiccup is just another demonstration of the deep care, collective responsibility and connection our staff feel to all our students. 

Thank you Shalani and Deb, our school would not have run so smoothly without you these past three weeks. Thank you for all your actions while in the AP role - the big and the small. Thank you for having such a strong and cohesive classroom that you were able to leave them for over a week each. Thank you for your ongoing support of our students, families and staff - we are all very lucky to have you in our community.

threatened species children’s art competition

Earlier this year students wrote about micro-bats at Merri Creek and created an artwork to support their writing. This project drew our attention to threatened species in our local area, as well as helping us further develop our writing, creativity and teamwork skills. A Certificate of Participation

was awarded to Craft Club &1/2A from VIC 2019 Threatened Species Children’s Art Competition.

We also hope that as a result of discussion and participation in such projects students feel empowered to make a difference and are aware that everyone can be an active part of change.


Well done! 

building works

With each passing week, we make quiet progress in this area. Last week, Mat Foley of Content Studio presented to and heard from school council on the vision, priorities, and our school's journey so far. In addition to this, there has been a close analysis of our 'entitlement'.

Entitlement refers to how much space a school is expected to have allocated to certain areas within the grounds; how many square metres are given to classrooms, office/admin, gym, library, etc. These numbers are predominantly based on the number of students enrolled within the school. The analysis of the spaces we currently have or use, compared to what DET says we should have access to, has come back as expected - we are short on space in almost every way!

Our biggest gaps are in learning areas (mostly classrooms) and resource-intensive spaces such as a proper music room, gym, library or STEM lab. Interestingly, we have too much of one thing - portables! Although portables are classrooms, they are considered temporary spaces and our school site should have more permanent learning areas.

One idea that may surprise community members is that we actually have almost the exact allocation of student toilets. However, as our architects have pointed out, just because we have the right number of square metres on our site, does not mean our toilets don't need significant attention!

The next stage of this process is for initial ideas to be fleshed out with drawings and more detailed plans. A number of options will be put forward, before one plan of action is decided upon and then carried through to the next stage of planning. As I mentioned in last week's newsletter, the sizeable sum of $6.23million will not cover all the works we want (or are entitled to!) so the next stage of prioritisation is a really important one that I will be sure to keep you updated on.


All the BNWPS kids have been working really hard on a bunch of different songs this term in Music and I'd love to let you have a listen!

The Foundies & Juniors have been learning Echo Songs, songs that have a call and response element, and they've been practicing singing in a group and individually. They're all cute and wonderful!

The Middles & Seniors have all created their own Class Bands. As a group they've chosen a song to arrange and rehearse, individually picked whether they wanted to play an instrument or sing, and worked brilliantly together to record a fantastic piece!

I've uploaded these recordings online to Soundcloud, please have a listen:

Next term will be focussed on live performances. We will have a few different music events early in term 4 before we all get to work on the end-of-year Art Attak festival.

Continual and enthusiastic thanks to the supportive BNWPS community, and of course all the students, for being so passionate about the performing arts program!

See you in term 4!!

Jack Madin

oshc & sprout

dear sprout commuinty 


Unfortunately, with the rising costs of ingredients, and in the interests of Sprout's sustainability, it has been necessary to increase some prices.

Sadly, $1 snacks will no longer be offered, apart from fruit. Mini muffins will no longer be on the menu as a regular item.

As of term 4, popcorn, pretzels, and a bag of 5 pieces of licorice will cost $2. Individual pieces of licorice will cost 50c.

We have always tried to keep the prices at Sprout as low as possible, and while it may seem a steep jump from $1 to $2, by eliminating $1 snacks we are able to keep the cost of muffins and biscuits, and some lunch options down, making them accessible to all.

Please note that Pizza day has moved from a Thursday to a Friday!

Thank you for your ongoing support of Sprout. We are committed to providing nutritious snacks and lunches prepared fresh daily. Our philosophy is all about nourishing children, supporting community, and warmly welcoming all.

At present we are cash only. Correct money is appreciated but we always place any change back in with the order. Please let your child know if they need to expect change (and whether or not they are allowed to spend it!)

Here is a refresher on how to order lunches:

  • Refer to the menu. Write out your lunch order, including your child's name and class (your teacher's initials e.g. unit DR) and place it in a lunchbox along with payment.
  • Your child puts the order into the lunch order crate in their classroom first thing in the morning.
  • The class lunch order crate is then brought to the canteen where the orders are recorded box by box.
  • Lunches are prepared and packed back into each class box and picked up just before the lunch bell.
  • If you are ordering for multiple children, please provide a specific lunch order for each child. If payment is in one sibling's lunchbox, please note this on all orders. This avoids confusion.
  • Recess cannot be ordered; this needs to be purchased over the counter.

If you have any queries, please don't hesitate to contact me at

Wishing you all the very best!

With thanks for your understanding,

Kris Bidenko

Canteen manager

wominjeka everyone,

Wominjeka everyone,

Thank you to all the families and children who have taken our survey.

We have been listening to your feedback and have lots of exciting news about incursions, excursions, clubs and activities for Term 4.

This week, students from grade 4, 5 and 6 went to Jacob’s Reserve. Students loved walking down the road, enjoy the refurbished playground, climbing trees and relax in the nature. Students suggested if they could have more outings like this one and we are considering the idea to offer weekly excursion from term 4. A  permission form will be sent out in the first week of term 4, which will cover all the outings. If your child does not want to participate in one particular outing, that is ok: students are always given the opportunity to choose if they want to stay at the program or going to the park. However, a permission form must be signed in case your child decides to attend the excursion. Here some moments from our first excursion:

This term’s Hip Hop dance incursions with Natasha and Perry  were a great success, engaging a mix of children who enjoyed working together to create dazzling routines.

In Term 4 we are planning to offer a similar series of acrobatics incursions, taking place once a week, with specialist educators and equipment - dates to be confirmed soon.

Here some pictures from the Hip Hop program


Acrobatics Program

Circus Incursions

Circus Incursions with Tara and Jo will continue from Week 1 to Week 5 in Term 4 every Friday.

A big thank you to Tara and Jo for their passion and work with the students – we always love to have you here.


Live Australian Reptile Show: Thursday November 14 at 4pm

This hands-on show will captivate students as they learn about the weird and wonderful characteristics of Australian reptiles. Everyone will have the chance to interact with frogs, turtles, a bob-tail lizard, a goanna, a dragon lizard, pythons, and even a crocodile!


 Cooking Club

Cooking Clubs is more popular than ever, and cooking will now be offered on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

In Weeks 1 and 2 children will be making their own sushi. Senior students will be encouraged to do as much of the recipe research, food prep, cooking, and cleaning as possible to build autonomy, independence and practical life skills.

Sadly we can only accommodate 6 or so children in the kitchen at a time for a more effective supervision and better outcomes but we do have a system in place to ensure all children who are interested in taking part will have a turn!


Downball Tournament and Outdoor Sports

Like many of our educators, Eric is a big kid at heart and his 2019 Downball Tournament has been a success, with a systematic rotation of players and some amazing medals children will cherish for life.

In Term 4 we hope to organise similar tournaments and more structured sports on the oval and basketball courts. This will include Wednesday afternoon soccer games, badminton, and traditional games from a variety of cultures which we have been researching.



Important Notes and Reminders

SunSmart Policy: From September 1 until April 30, all students are required to have their hats and encouraged to wear sunscreen. At this stage we are checking the UV daily, and it is moderate (Level 3) between 10:30am – 2pm.


Permission to use Computers at OSHC

Please email permission to Bernadetta if your child would like to use Google Classroom at OSHC or take part in coding and programming activities, as per our ICT Policy.


Excursions in Term 4

Permission slips will be sent out early in Term 4 for Middle and Senior students to take part in excursion. At present these excursions are modest forays into the wider world but we are hoping to build on this and venture further as children develop safe routines and practices.


school council

stay tuned for school council news next term 


brunswick secondary college twilight market 


the Nor'Wester