Harmony Day

The power of food bringing people together was on full display when the school celebrated Harmony Day recently.

This years’ message of “Everyone Belongs” was particularly relevant to the school, given that a school survey taken in 2016 revealed how culturally diverse families were that attend Aubin Grove Primary School.

The “Community Matters” survey showed that the school community was a cultural melting pot with 52 per cent of students having parents that were born overseas, of which 25 per cent had lived in Australia for less than five years; and 27 per cent of students having been born overseas.

Students in all year groups completed activities relating to their family origins over the past few weeks, which then culminated in a “Bring a picnic for Harmony Day”, where they were invited to bring a share plate of food relevant to their culture for lunch.

Kids Matter committee member and deputy principal Mesha Steel said the resulting day was absolutely amazing.

“It was such an all-inclusive day, everyone was so proud to be able to share meals that are important to themselves and their families with their fellow students,” she said.

“And in turn, everyone enjoyed the opportunity to try foods they may never have tried before.”

Mrs Steel said there were a lot of different cultures within the school, and Harmony Day had presented an opportunity to showcase those cultures.

It was hoped the celebrations may be expanded into a “Global Picnic” next year, which would involve families being invited to enjoy the picnic with students.


Junior Choir

The junior choir made its performance debut at the Honeywood Harmony Day Festival last weekend.

The students sang beautifully to “True Colours” by Cyndi Lauper and “Count on Me” by Bruno Mars after just four rehearsals with music specialist Ash Verbickis.

They have already been invited to perform at the festival in 2018.

Macbooks and iPads

Technology plays a big role in the day-to-day learning of students at Aubin Grove Primary School.

Every classroom is equipped with interactive whiteboards, while students from Years 3-6 are using MacBook computers.

Even the younger children start early with exposure to iPads from Kindy right through to Year 2.

To ensure that students are getting the most out of the devices and in turn enhancing their learning, the school has technical support in place for teachers.

Year 5 teacher Emily Arrowsmith has been involved with the 1:1 MacBook program since its inception in 2014, under which each student in Years 4-6 uses a MacBook computer.

For the past year Mrs Arrowsmith has taught four days a week, before spending each Friday in a support role helping teachers to integrate the technology into their lessons.

This includes holding personal development sessions after school on the use of new apps; helping with lesson plans that utilise the various apps; and even going in to classrooms to model or demonstrate lessons for teachers to observe.

“It is really a matter of making sure the computers are being used to most effectively enhance the students’ learning,” she said.

Mrs Arrowsmith said there was a focus on one app per term in Year 4 and 5, so by the time students reached Year 6 they had a wide knowledge of a whole suite of apps, and information and communication technology (ICT) skills, to draw on.

She said students were able to take control of their own learning through the use of programs like Google Classrooms, which teachers used to set daily tasks.

Year 3 students were prepared for the MacBook program with weekly sessions in word processing using the two banks of school-owned MacBooks.

Mrs Arrowsmith is also charged with maintaining the school’s eSmart accreditation achieved last year, which involves cybersafety being taught within the curriculum.

In the junior school, each class from Kindy to Year 2 has a bank of nine iPads to use in lessons, giving each class one iPad for every three students.

Providing support to teachers in those classes and helping them get the most out of the huge range of iPad apps is Year 2 teacher Nina Collinson.

Mrs Collinson, who is also the point of contact for the entire school’s interactive whiteboards, teaches teachers how to use those apps suitable for learning, while also modeling lessons for teachers when using the apps.

“I can go into the classroom and take the lesson with students, and then I can stay on and observe how the students are using the app and provide support for the teacher,” she said.

Mrs Collinson said she had been amazed at the tasks students were able to complete using the iPads.

Both Mrs Collinson and Mrs Arrowsmith work with the teams of teachers within each year group to ensure there is consistency between classes.