Angus Burch has this year won his grade category and has been announced the overall Tasmanian winner for his entry in the National competition, What Matters. You can read Angus' piece, entitled "Precious Life" here.
We have also prioritised Wellbeing – which is now, more than ever, exceptionally important. Connection to trusted grownups, and siblings is vital. Having happy, settled children who are not anxious around the changes they are facing is the goal of any learning at home.
If you are using our resources - the Learning Overview is the key document – please open this first. There are also supporting documents delivered via email and also hosted on our website
Our Department of Education also has a suite of resources to support families – these can be found at https://www.education.tas.gov.au/learning-at-home/
We know routine and certainty support wellbeing – so we have some tips below that may help
Develop a routine
Children and young people are used to the routine and structure of school. To support their ongoing learning, it is important they have as much routine and certainty as possible in their day. You can support your child or young person’s learning by –
Creating a supportive learning space
It is a good idea to set up an ‘at home’ learning space where children have access to the things they need. A dedicated learning space separates work and play which supports children’s focus and concentration. This will allow you to organise and manage learning materials and assist where necessary.
We have also created a daily planner sample to assist you with planning each day at home. This is ONLY a guide and can be found on our webpage.
It is important to keep in mind that Learning at Home will look different for each group of students – they are different ages and at different stages of development.
Our students from Grade 1to Grade 6 can have a list of tasks/activities chosen from our overviews to complete, that you can expect them to do with a level of independence.
Our kinder to prep students will need more adult assistance with their tasks, there will be more games, more exploring together, more reading to, and with each other, but you can balance this with free time to build, play outside, make with parents at a distance.
Audio books are your friends during this time – they will give everyone some quiet, focused time.
We look forward to seeing what our children are up to so send us any photos of them learning at home – maybe even teach them to zoom – so that at some point in time they can chat to us this way.
We wish you well – enjoy happy times together
Reflections on learning at Lansdowne by past student and Public Education Ambassador, Bryher McKeown.
For those of you who don’t know, my name is Bryher McKeown. I’m about to begin year 12 at Hobart College and I am fortunate enough to be an Ambassador for Public Education.
My educational journey began at Lansdowne in 2005, I was a serious, excited and bossy 4 year old. Little did I know on that first day of school, the massive impact that the teachers, community and culture of Lansdowne Crescent would have on me, an impact that has guided the entirety of my educational pathway to this day.
Throughout my 8 years at Lansdowne I learnt, grew and changed a lot. Lansdowne prepared and enabled me to take ownership over my own learning. And it was you, the incredible, hardworking and dedicated teachers that prepared me for the years to come, it was you who were kind, caring and attentive towards every students needs. It was you who acknowledged that education is so much more then whether you can add numbers or read. As while they’re important aspects of learning, you acknowledged the importance of life skills, of teaching assets like integrity, respect and kindness. You, the teachers of young children, who help the next generation achieve their best have been incredibly influential in my life.
Some particularly important experiences that Lansdowne gave me were:
In years 2 and 3 I was fortunate to have consecutive years with Ms Thompson. We became particularly involved in the school Kitchen garden and for the first time I learnt to grow, nurture, harvest and cook fresh vegetables. It was particularly hilarious when we forgot about the potatoes we had planted and months later we found ourselves digging up hundreds of potatoes and distributing them around the school. This taught me about resourcefulness, sharing with other students and community. We also had a strong education focus on water and water conservation which really helped me gain a social conscience.
I gained a love for maths in years 4 and 5 in Miss Pace’s class. During these two years I was fortunate enough to experience the benefits of a composite class allowing me to make new friends in the grade above mine. Miss Pace loved maths, a love which supported me to develop my own maths skills. My newfound love for maths dictated a lot of my subject choices to this day.
In year 5, I was fortunate enough to be involved in Lansdowne’s very first Land to Sea Project, my peers and I developed and interpreted a walking trail around Knocklofty Reserve. I was also supported to travel to Melbourne for the Kids Teaching Kids Conference, where my friends and I ran and participated in workshops run by children from around the country. This helped me learn about not only sustainability but also the importance of peer led learning, I gained new knowledge from friends and began to pass it onto my peers. This meant that I retained the information easier and enabled me to take ownership over my own learning.
While these last experiences came from a rather different angle, the crazy performances and fun days in 6 B/C with 6 W next door really shaped my attitude towards learning. These taught me how important it is to step out of your comfort zone, don a wig and sing incredibly out of tune, dress up in outrageous outfits. But most importantly this was done together, with my year 6 peers. My years cohort was relatively small, this meant that we gained the benefits of a conjoined classroom and we all became incredibly close. Which meant that despite the fact that the majority of my friends didn’t go to the same high school as me, we to this day are all very close. My Lansdowne peer group are still an active part in my social life even 5 years later.
These few examples, and the hundreds of other incredible learning experiences and opportunities that Lansdowne gave me, have equipped me with the tools to approach school in a resilient and ever curious manner.
After singing my way out of the year 6 leavers assembly and enjoying a long, hot summer, I began year 7 at Taroona High School in 2014. While High School ended up being the most amazing 4 years full of personal growth, finding new passions and leadership, the beginning was rough. Going from a grade of around 40 students to a year group of 270 is never going to be easy and while the first 3 terms of year 7 were a struggle as I tried to find my place in a massive grade, I believe my primary school experiences helped me over-come the large transition between Primary School and High School. But after finding my place at Taroona I began to thrive and I decided that in order to get the most out of my wonderful public education I’d get involved in a broad range of extra-curricular activities. I began to play the flute in Concert Band (and later the ear splitting piccolo), I joined a volleyball team and found my love for public speaking and debating , a love which defines a large proportion of my life today. When talking to current primary and high school students, my best advice is to get involve in what you love. Since finding my love for debating I have been to various state and National events, these include Tasmanian Youth Parliament, UN Youth and representing Tasmania at the National Schools Debating Championships. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t have been able to have these experiences if it weren’t for the incredible public schools that I have attended. It is teachers like you, who teach to the whole student and who inspire students to gain experiences, that encouraged me to get involved in out of school activities, that helped me gain the most out of my education.
While my time at Lansdowne helped shape me into the person I am today and I wouldn’t have changed my Primary School education for the world, reading and learning about this wonderful school’s 2019 focus on Student led pedagogy and equipping students with tools for life makes me incredibly excited. I wish I could be a student once more to experience its positive effects first hand. But, I’m excited for the next group of students to grow as they move through primary school and on towards high school, I’m excited to see the wider impact that this incredible program has upon the Lansdowne Community, the parents, siblings and next generation of Lansdowne learners. Because I believe that it is student voice that helps us to achieve throughout education and beyond. When students stories and perspectives are known, it means that we can engage in making sure the content is tailored towards our needs, it means that our teachers can help us learn better and help us gain more than just the Australian Curriculum from school. Because the beauty of our Public Education System means that classrooms are diverse, they reflect the diversity of the real world which allows us to gain fundamental skills such as inclusivity and celebration of difference. It is this exact approach that my fantastic teachers took, throughout Primary School, High School and College, this exact approach that means that I can stand in front of you as the confident, relaxed and driven learner that I am today.
December is always a crazy time in any school but also always a very special time. At our school it is when we take time to honour and farewell the leaving grade 6s. It’s a whole school affair at our place, our younger students loving being part of the celebrations, watching on their role models and heroes and waiting impatiently for when they get to be the big kids. Our grade 5s pay special tribute to the 6s through a drama/arts performance that recognises the 6s and wishes them well. Then the 6s themselves celebrate their primary school years through song – and the photo montage - and then more song and it is always uplifting and usually teary. The community stand to applaud the leavers and celebrate alongside them as they leave the GP room …. and leave grade 6.
Each leaving grade 6 year group is special and each year we are proud of our leavers – what it exactly is that we are proud of changes slightly as determined by the group itself. Some years we might celebrate the strong positive culture within the group, or the clear determination to achieve, the love of learning, the collaborative nature, or the joy they feel in seeing one another succeed. This last characteristic – the joy in one another’s growth and achievement, has been a recurring story for our leaving 6s…each year the strong bonds they form around a collective love of learning is highly apparent. It is clear how much each year group is invested in the achievements of their peers – they genuinely love for each other to do well. Our 2018 leavers were no exception. Each student personified our school values, demonstrated a genuine care for their peers and for their teachers –which was actually palpable -,showed a strong love of being at school and of learning, and were inclusive, empathetic, caring and kind.
At the 2018 Leavers Assembly I acknowledged the leavers with these words…
I would like to acknowledge the Grade 6 leavers. I first met this group when they were in Prep. They were very cute and a little bit crazy as all preps are. They provided me with a wonderful welcome to Lansdowne – I can still see their bright and smiling faces beaming up at me as I walked through the prep classrooms each day. Right from day 1 they impressed me with their beautiful social skills, their love of learning, their care of one another and their respect of all staff and grown-ups along with their high levels of empathy. They have welcomed new members to the grade each year and become very beautiful friends. They were an absolute pleasure to take on camp this year and I must say many of us will be teary when we bid them farewell. They will leave us feeling a huge sense of achievement as we know they live and breathe each of our values and they are each an embodiment of our vision – leaders of their own learning.
I am proud of our grade 6 leavers and am very excited for them as they enter a new phase of education and learning. And I am proud of us – all of us in the Lansdowne community who influenced their education – teachers, school staff, community members and of course our wonderful parents and extended family members. Our collective focus on developing our students as highly confident and capable young people who have our core values deeply embedded, who love learning and who are just great people is evidently paying off – clearly seen in these young leavers.
Goodluck class of 2018 - we wish you every success.
Lisa Ford is a clinical psychologist and founder of the Resilience Co. As a mum of 2 with another on the way, Lisa brings knowledge and direct experience to her wide range of research. Alongside nature play teacher - Kara Spence, Lisa advocates for the return of risky play into the lives of our children. Read her thoughts about risky play and its benefits here in our latest blog.
It's time to trust our children again. There is a gentle revolution unfolding in the way we approach risky play in childhood. Our children desperately want to be a part of this risk revolution. Are we, as adults prepared to allow them to join it? When you understand the important role that risky play has in our children’s development, and WHY they need it, it becomes clear if we want to build a generation of resilient, creative, problem solvers and innovators, we must embrace reasonable risk into their lives.
And when you see how being outdoors, in nature, provides the most perfect canvas upon which our little ones can write their own adventures, face reasonable risks, and reconnect with our world, and themselves; It makes us wonder why we didn't turn of the TV and send them outside sooner.
The late 80’s, early 90’s saw the emergence of the zero-risk childhood. Playgrounds changed almost overnight, and threats of litigation and claims of negligence began hanging over the heads of parents and schools across Australia. Our society’s obsession with safety and insistence on control created the bubble wrap generation of children. Yet our obsession with safety has not led to any significant decrease in accidents- in fact there is an every growing pile of evidence to show children sheltered from risk are MORE accident prone, have poorer spatial awareness, and are more reliant on others to judge risk situations for them. Now that bubble-wrap generation are having children of their own, and passing on their own risk aversion. We are building a generation of children who don’t know how to analyse a risk situation, don’t trust themselves to cope, and are less likely to take ownership and responsibility for their choices when a risk does not pay off.
Risky play combines fun and stress. Learning to navigate that low-level stress helps build resilience. Absolutely bumps, scrapes and the occasional broken bone does happen; but these are just the feedback their little bodies need to improve their judgement and decision making for next time. Children developmentally NEED challenge, adventure and uncertainty. There has been a staggering decline in outdoor play and nature play over the past 30 years, and children are not getting a risk reward experience from their natural environment anymore. Being outside presents so many beautiful and powerful learning experiences for their developing brains. And when they are engaging with nature, what do we, as adults have to teach them? Nothing! You have permission to sit back, and relax. Nature is the most natural and effective teacher we could ask for, if we allow and trust our children to build a relationship with it in their own way.
I’m not talking about letting your children abseil unassisted down a cliff face, or dive into murky water. I’m talking about reasonable risks; weighing up the possible benefits against the possible outcomes and their likelihood. A leap towards the edge of safety. And for each of us as parents what we decide is a reasonable risk will be different. And that is ok. For each of our children, they will have different propensity for risk taking. Some will be social risk takers, and others will be physical risk takers. Just try stepping back and allowing your children to decide their own relationship with risk. They naturally seek out the experiences they are ready for. Your child needs a HEALTHY relationship with risk so they learn to trust themselves, and to understand their own limitations and strengths.
Allow your children space to navigate their world. Even if you don’t trust them yet to make good choices (that will come!) at least trust them to learn from mistakes and to cope with whatever messy emotions come with those choices. Children learn though experience, not through advice. Let’s give our children back the moments of joy and wonder and failure, and the excitement of gentle fear. Let them live messy, unapologetic, adventurous childhoods.
One of the happiest mornings at Lansdowne last year was the beginning of term 2. The West Hobart oval, which we are lucky enough to be able to use each day, had been closed since the end of the previous year. The children had been eagerly awaiting its re opening and on that day at the beginning of Term 2, I knew it was open from the squeals and cheers I could hear as soon as I stepped outside for duty at 8:30. On arrival at the oval I was greeted with the sight of children running with open arms down onto the oval, looks of pure joy on their face, they were rolling down the bank, playing catch chase and kicking balls into the air. It was a wonderful sight to see.
The outdoors classroom website we connect with - https://outdoorclassroomday.com.au - reports “It’s a fact that 90% of adults played outside as children – and now, generally, its 30% of children.”
Well, not our children – because 100% of them (more than 400) play outside every-day, before school, at recess and again at lunch – and most often, after school as well.
“Being outdoors helps children focus, boosts creativity and is so much fun. Children who have the freedom to play outside - making friends, getting lost in the moment and having fun, are better prepared for whatever tomorrow throws at them”.
“Playing helps children build friendships, test their own boundaries and solve their own problems.”
This week, we celebrate outdoor classroom day at Lansdowne – our Kinders and Preps head to Knocklofty on Wednesday and the rest of the school goes up on Thursday. They will be great days, filled with a range of active and reflective activities at Sheree’s Hollow, near the reflection pond, and we thank Narelle Henderson, Leearna Downham, Lynette Moore and Sheree Martin for championing this event for us.
But really…its outdoor classroom day every-day at Lansdowne. The lucky children of West Hobart getting to enjoy the beautiful recreation grounds every day that they come to school…finding joy, happiness and excitement in learning in the outdoors.