Welcome back to Term 2

22 April 2021

Welcome back to everyone and best wishes for a great start to our new Term!

The good news is that COVID restrictions have eased for schools and we are getting close to a return to what we all remember as “normal” school, pre-pandemic.  

  • Parent/carers can drop off on campus (no sign in required) however it’s assumed that this is for a short period of time. Castlecrag has particular requirements which will be communicated directly to parents of Kindergarten to Class 2.
  • If you are picking up your child early before the end of day, you must sign out at Reception. We need to maintain accurate records of attendance and we appreciate your assistance in this matter.
  • Visitors should maintain 1.5m physical distance from other adults (including staff) where practicable and other visitors when on the school site and at school pick-up and drop-off times where practicable
    • At all times where there are people gathering, personal hygiene, physical distancing, cleaning and record keeping requirements apply
    • Visitors must comply with sign-in arrangements
    • Visitors must be excluded if unwell, even with the mildest of COVID-19 symptoms

Glenaeon has an overarching COVID-19 Safety Plan in place for the school and the standard precautions remain:

Hygiene and Illness procedures – remain the same as always

  • Stay at home when unwell and get tested.
  • Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly.
  • Maintain respiratory hygiene.

Life will probably never return to the normal we knew, but with COVID plans in place, and accurate record keeping, we look forward to maintaining a semblance of the happy community life we all enjoy. These new guidelines enable us to confirm and continue planning our key community activities involving parents: the MidWinter Ball Event and the Family Fair in November. Our school festivals can now go ahead, as can in-person meetings. We will maintain some convenient aspects of remote learning such as some Zoom interviews in High School, but overall we can look forward to a resumption of face to face and in person meetings. Hallelujah! Our human community resumes!

Wellbeing Education:

This week Year 9 and 10 will be with a range of presenters undertaking a whole day workshop on respectful relationships. The program LoveBites comes with a very strong reputation in preparing adolescents to navigate the issues of managing relationships and consent. As many schools have found, our existing programs in Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE) are strong, but not strong enough. The LoveBites program provides a deeper dive for students, in a safe and secure setting, to really understand the significance of appropriate and inappropriate behaviours, and how to ensure our relationships are healthy and respectful.

In Term 1 there were sessions with DAYSS (Drug and Alcohol Youth Support Services), a well-respected program for both high school students and parents on managing alcohol and substance issues. We also continue to share with parents the workshops and education sessions offered by Headspace, a national youth mental health service. Our Wellbeing program has had a strong start in 2021 and there will be further initiatives and parent education through the year.

The Bird Panel:

During the break our Maintenance team caught up with many small jobs that can get overlooked during a busy term. One special job they undertook was to install the Bird panel: a beautiful rendering of our bush landscape featuring ten different species of birds that inhabit our Middle Cove campus. The project had its genesis when I visited the Newcastle Waldorf School in January and saw some panels they had painted that depicted bird species which had their habitats decimated during the 2019-20 bushfires. I asked Art Teacher Donna Miller and our local ornithologist and Science teacher Dr Stanley Tang whether we could do the same. They were both enthusiastic and we arranged a session of the Teachers Seminar PD days in January to be devoted to painting a panel depicting some of the 100 or so species of birds that inhabit or visit our campus.

The session proved very successful. About a dozen teachers spent hours painting the panels at the seminar, and then later during Term 1 completed a sophisticated rendering of our bushland and some of its bird species. The panels turned out to be enormous, and when put together, measured 4.8 by 2.1 metres. They now adorn a wall of the Alice Crowther Building next to the café.

Stanley Tang spoke at our first assembly for the term on Wednesday, describing the ten species on the panel, and something of their colours and habits. He gave the High school students a challenge to see how many of the ten species they could recognise, as many are tucked away in the painting of the bushland habitat. How gratifying it was to come up immediately after the assembly and see a gathering of five students intently searching the panel to see all the birds. It’s a great piece of work that both adds a beautiful aesthetic to our building, as well as celebrating our bush and birdlife. Congratulations to our creative teachers, and come and enjoy next time you are on campus!