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Letter from Ms Turner

09 February 2015

Dear Parents,

Over the past few weeks at Dover Court we have been developing the importance of ‘learning.’  What is it that makes the students think for themselves, enjoy their classroom activities and engage themselves in up to date technology that aids and excites our children’s learning in the classroom?  With this focus in mind when I visit the classrooms to see your children at work I have been asking them what they are learning rather than what they are doing.  Dr. Hopkins would encourage us all in the Dover Court learning community to ask children this question.

So what have we been learning? Our Literacy Week highlighted the importance of reading and it was clear from the amazing sum of money raised that your children were active participants in the Readathon Challenge, enjoying a whole variety of different genres of writing as well as gaining house points for their House: Cook, Columbus, Hilary and Armstrong.  Your children also had opportunities to develop their writing skills through a variety of activities which concluded with them writing about ‘Somewhere Unforgettable.’ Across the Juniors pupils wrote stories, myths and diary entries with a focus on descriptive use of language.  This also formed part of a school competition and the Global Classroom writing competition.  The children worked conscientiously on this piece of writing and the winning entries were awarded in the Celebration of Literacy Assembly – this was a challenging experience for the judges as the writing was of such good quality!

Through Literacy Week the children also enjoyed story telling workshops, thank you to one of our parents, Mrs Wright, who annually joins us for this important week in our yearly calendar. Another very exciting learning opportunity for the Juniors was collaborating with the Infants by reading books together, writing and acting out short plays and preparing Shadow Puppet Shows.  The teachers had opportunities to share their wealth of teaching practice with other colleagues in the school too.  The daily practice of DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) left the School in silence – a pin could drop! - as children concentrated on reading books independently. The week concluded with a marvellous Celebration of Literacy Assembly – I hope that you were there to enjoy it! We were entertained by ‘Mr and Mrs Twit’ (AKA. Ms Andrew and Ms Divers) and your children were able to show off their fine favourite book character costumes in a parade let by ‘Pirate Randall’.  The Assembly concluded with the ‘Book Oscar Ceremony’ with Oscars being given for the best author, best book, best animal and best male and female characters.  Our comperes for the afternoon, flown in from ‘Hollywood’ in their finery were Mr Rinaldi and Ms Small.  The assembly ended with a beautiful rendition of the song ‘Books can take us anywhere…just imagine…!’

Learning continued in and out of the classroom this week.  The budding scientists in Year 6 were involved in investigations to discover what happens to liquids through evaporation and filtering.  The Humanities topic about children’s lives in Victorian times made the Year 6 children empathise with the harshness and cruelty of life in the Victorian era in England.  Year 4 enjoyed a wonderful trip to Chinatown learning about aspects of the Chinese New Year festivities and practising their Mandarin whilst shopping (Ms Mu was extremely pleased with their language acquisition!). Year 3 were enraptured by an interesting and informative visit to the Science Centre where they were able to learn about light and shadow. Etienne reported, ‘we learned about light splitting!’ A few very fortunate Year 3 children enjoyed horse riding at the Riding Disabled Association, a Charity that we support at Dover Court. Finally , Year 5 were busy learning all about the Solar system helping with their own projects.

The Juniors were also learning to improve their skills and techniques in Swimming and PE and a group of girls in Year 4 competed in a netball match and received certificates for their fine performance.  There was also a very competitive football match after school with a supportive audience of parents.  In music lessons some of your children were using descant recorders and percussion instruments, including xylophones (soprano, alto and bass) and hand-chimes as part of their performance work.

Hence, there has been lots of learning going on in the Juniors and as we begin to use more technology in our classrooms you will visually see a lot more learning taking place in the classrooms through class blogs as they become established in class and develop over this term and Term 3.

Just a few gentle reminders that as your children have settled into their classrooms, we would be very grateful if they could make their own way to the classes once they are dropped off at School.  They are becoming increasingly independent – part of their learning process – and if you need to speak to a teacher, just write in the Homework Diary or send an email.  In addition, please continue to inform the teacher if you child is not going home on a bus either at the end of a school day or after an ECA.

Ahead of us is Charity Week which the children are extremely excited about and looking forward to. All pupils are able to wear ‘Mufti’ on Monday with a $2 donation but please do encourage your children to wear sensible, school shoes and not flip flops. Junior Charity Day is on Tuesday from 11am to 12pm.  Thank you for your support and help with the planning and purchase of things for the stalls the children are preparing. The Juniors are also invited to visit the Infant and Senior Charity stalls for a short period of time on Wednesday and Thursday and small denominations of money would be appreciated.

Thank you for your continued support with your children’s learning experience.  Chinese New Year Assembly is also imminent and the Year 4 children will be performing on Tuesday 17th February at 1.50pm and will be a delight to watch.  The School closes for the Chinese New Year holiday but the ECAs on Tuesday will still be taking place.

We look forward to seeing you around the school and at our events.

Ms Emma Turner

Head of Juniors