Library Refurbishment

“Wow. Awesome. Amazing. So cool.”

These are just some of the phrases you are likely to hear when passing the school library lately.

After some 18 months in the planning stage, the much-anticipated refurbishment is nearing completion.

And the initial reaction from students, teachers and parents alike has been extremely positive.

Attracting the most attention has been the brightly coloured, custom-built seats which help to define the different zones within the library.

In the junior area, inviting orange couches curved into an “S” shape and interspersed with shelves give young students a comfy place to sit amongst the fiction and non-fiction books.

Within this area, non-fiction books to a particular theme- for example, space, dinosaurs, or sharks- have been grouped together in tubs to help children searching for specific books more easily.

The mid-section of the library is centred around a vibrant pink oval-shaped couch, which is surrounded by shelves containing non-fiction books and spinning shelves filled with home readers for students from years 3-6.

All fiction books for older students are now on shelves running along the back wall, making it easier for them to choose between them.

While classes have been held in the library previously, the teaching area has also been revamped with new furniture.

This includes desks which can be flipped vertically for easy storage, complemented by smart black chairs; and a separate break-out area near the interactive whiteboard highlighted by the addition of a bright green, semi-circle couch.

Two booth seats with a desk between them within the teaching zone provide the ideal environment for education assistants working with up to four children at a time as the facing seats make it easier for students to focus in on the teacher.

The revitalised library has fulfilled a vision years in the making, and involved library officer Liz Rothwell and colleague Michelle Martin visiting a number of libraries to investigate how they utilised their space, as well as canvassing feedback from staff about their requirements.

They concluded that along with having the separately defined zones, and furniture with curved lines, the space needed to be light and bright- which meant the big grey shelving that used to dominate the middle of the library would be replaced.

Some of the shelves were relocated to the art room, while others will be used by other schools.

Another important point was that all furniture was to be on wheels, which meant the layout would never be boring as it could be changed frequently, and it could also be moved to one side to create a big space if required.

Principal Frank Pansini said the substantial investment made by the school was well worth it, as the library was used by every single student that attended Aubin Grove.

“Every week more than 1100 students visit the library to borrow books, with many of those also visiting with education assistants or for specialist classes,” he said.

“The upgrade has transformed the library into a 21st Century space, making it a more flexible, effective and student friendly environment.”

Parents are welcome to visit the library and see the changes for themselves.

Year 6 Student Leaders

Year 6 represents a big milestone for children in their schooling lives.

As well as being their last year of primary school, it also comes with the added responsibility of being the eldest and therefore leaders of the student body.

But for the 2017 Year 6 student body at Aubin Grove Primary School, this is an opportunity that they have been looking forward to, and are accepting the challenges with open arms.

While 18 of the Year 6s have official titles, including Head Boy, Head Girl and Faction Captain, every single one of the 94-strong year group is regarded as a student leader.

This is signified by the badge they were all presented with at a special ceremony earlier in the year.

And it is this badge that Rory C. looks forward to putting on his school shirt each morning.

“It makes me feel so proud,” he said.

“It reminds me that I am a leader, and that I need to set an example for everyone else.”

All students within the year group are given the opportunity to undertake daily tasks around the school grounds, adding to their sense of responsibility and in turn helping the school run smoothly.

These tasks include the locking and unlocking of gates before and after school; putting up and taking down the flags both inside and outside the school; collecting and emptying recycling bins from classrooms; and acting as a peer mediator for younger students at play times.

Then there is the organising of assembly chairs for guests; running lunchtime activities; working on the school reception at morning tea time once a week to allow reception staff to go to the staff room; and distribute, put away and help restock teacher duty bags each recess and lunchtime.

Each of these tasks requires students to give up their time willingly to complete them, particularly with the peer mediator.

But that is not an issue for Bella H., who said the role enabled the Year 6 students to help pre-primary children in the Naturescape playground, or Years 1-2 in the Spiderman playground and surrounds, by giving them someone to play with.

“We can be positive role models for them, and we can help them to build friendships by being seen playing with big kids,” she said.

“It’s a lot of fun.”

Jacob C. said they could model good behaviour for the younger students such as sharing, and how to be nice to each other.

Students generally complete each task once or twice a week for a few weeks, with roles changed regularly to ensure everyone has a turn.

Liam D. said he felt a sense of responsibility when rostered on for a task, because he knew people were relying on him and he did not want to let them down.

Year 6 teacher Mel Cross said the students were doing a lot around the school, a lot of which was unseen.

“They have a big year- they are getting ready for high school; consolidating all of their primary learning while still adding to it; physically and emotionally growing- it is full on,” she said.

“The badges are not there as an accessory, they really are all leaders.”