School Camps - Light Breaks Through


I have spent a lot of time at school camps. It often happens that students undertake an activity they find extremely challenging and surprise themselves and their parents. Challenges come in all shapes and forms: being away from home and sleeping in a dorm environment; facing an activity that involves being up high; giving others the opportunity to say something instead of just telling everyone what they need to do; or having to be part of a group for two days when you only know one or two people. As a staff member, it is a privilege to see students’ eyes light up when they discover that the abseil harness will safely hold them as they suspend themselves over the edge. They suddenly feel safe and the descent is now focussed and manageable. It is a wonder to see bright smiling eyes as students’ unclip from the second run on the flying fox, adrenaline and a tremendous sense of achievement joyfully surging through their body. They have done what they never thought they could and they have done it well. The success just radiates. For some, there is the consolation that they harnessed up and faced their fears, even if they did not step off. That is far braver than the student who does it all effortlessly. In all my time, I have never seen anyone put down. Everyone is encouraged. Seeds of determination are planted – ‘Next camp or at Ironbark, I will be able to do that’. As parents, we aren’t always in a safe, managed place, when we have to face our fears and limitations. The learning can be painful as we work out how to deal with what we are experiencing. The promise of Easter is that there is always a way through. Hebrews 12:1-2 encourages us to persevere and draw strength from Jesus, who joyfully persevered through the absolute worst, including death on the cross, to bring light, life and healing to all of us. And when we do get it, what a joy! Suddenly a lot of opportunities open up.  Pastor Michael Mayer, Indooroopilly Chaplain read more

From the Head of Primary Years


Last week was the first full week for students and teachers. There were many tired faces by Friday, but it was exciting to see how much learning had already taken place. Essential agreements lay the foundation for respectful relationships and these have been worked out in each classroom between teachers and students as well as student to student. These are framed in a positive way and support the way in which we treat each other while we are together. Have a chat to your child to find out some more about the specifics of their class’s essential agreements. We were also very well supported by parents in our assemblies last week. Many awards were handed out to worthy candidates. Please feel free to attend either or both of these weekly events whenever you are able.  Parent Information Evenings Thanks to all parents in the Upper Primary Years who met with their child’s classroom teacher last week. The message of building relationships was strong throughout the evening and I encourage you to continue to do this as the year progresses. This week, the Lower Primary Parent Information Sessions will take place. All presentations will be uploaded to the appropriate year level pages on Firefly. Staff look forward to working with you during what will be an exciting year ahead.  Parent Support Group Meetings The Lower Primary Parent Support Group had their first meeting on Tuesday, and it was great to see so many enthusiastic faces ready to support the work of the Primary Years. The Upper Primary Parent Support Group meeting will be held next Tuesday at 8.45am in the P&F Centre. Everyone is welcome to attend. We will run through the major events of the year as well as look at goals for 2018. Chapel Offerings Each week there is an opportunity for families to offer a gold coin during our Lower and Upper Primary Chapel services. We would love to see this grow to continue the work that has been achieved in the past. This money is collected each week and goes towards our sponsorship of two children through the World Vision program.  This is purely voluntary but very appreciated.  ‘Make this year your child's best ever at school’ by Michael Grose A new school year means a fresh start for students. Regardless of your child’s performance last year, they start school with a clean slate. A break offers students the chance to begin new habits and adopt new behaviours. Here are seven ideas to help you make the most of the fresh start and make this year your child’s best year ever year at school: Commit to your child going to school every day on time. One of the most important things you can do to ensure your child has a bright future is to make sure he or she goes to school every day – and gets there on time. Kids spend more time asleep than at school, so we need to maximise every day to get full value.Help kids start each day well. A good night’s sleep, a healthy breakfast and some words of encouragement from you will help set a positive tone for a day of learning. This may mean that you adjust your morning routine so that kids have plenty of time get up, eat and get ready for the day.Establish work and study habits. The most successful students are those that develop regular study habits that suit their lifestyle, their study style and their school’s expectations. Find out the work expectations from your child’s or young person’s school and help them establish a work routine that matches.Make sure your child gets enough sleep. Many children and young people are sleep-deprived, which impacts on their wellbeing and their learning. A good night’s sleep consolidates learning, as well as assisting future learning. Children need between 10-12 hours of sleep each day, while teens need a minimum of nine hours. Help kids get sufficient sleep by having a regular bedtime and get-up time each day. Have a 45-minute wind-down time each night, and remove screens and mobile phones from bedrooms.Insist kids exercise. The old saying about ‘a healthy body and a healthy mind’ is so true. Exercise releases the chemicals needed for learning and wellbeing. Yet kids today get less exercise than those of past generations, which is an impediment to learning and mental health. Health professionals recommend a minimum of 60 minutes of exercise per day for kids of all ages. Encourage your child to play sport; promote free and active play and look for ways to make moving part of their daily lives.Focus on being friendly. Schools are very social places requiring kids to negotiate many different social situations each day. Yet we often only focus on academic learning. There are strong links between social success, and academic success and wellbeing. Encourage kids to be open and tolerant; to be friendly; to be sensitive to others; to be involved in plenty of activities and to be social risk-takers. These are all characteristics of socially successful kids. At the same time discourage anti-social behaviours such as over-competitiveness, self-centredness and lack of sharing.Develop self-help skills. Successful students are often well organised, self-directed and self-motivated. Personal organisation seems to come more naturally to girls than boys, however both genders benefit from coaching in this important area. You can foster organisational skills and self-direction by developing simple, age-appropriate self-help skills related to their everyday lives. Such skills as making lunches, packing school bags, and organising after school schedules can be great lessons that impact on how kids perform at school. At the start of the school year kids are likely to adopt changes than at any other time. Make the most of the opportunity by focusing on two or three areas to really focus on and you’ll find that the rest will fall into place Pam Carden, Head of Primary Years read more

From the Head of Junior High


Year 7 Camp  It was my pleasure to attend the Year 7 Camp last week. As its name suggests the ‘Year 7 Fun and Friendship Camp’ provides an opportunity for students to get to know each other in a fun and friendly environment. This is particularly important as we focus on creating cohesion between those students who have continued at the College from Year 6 and those students we welcomed in to our community this year. From a teacher’s point of view, a camp such as this is an incredible opportunity to lay the foundations of strong relationships with students. Even after twenty-five years of attending school camps, I am still amazed by how much a teacher can learn about the young people in their care in just a few days at camp. It provides the perfect opportunity to observe their level of social confidence, independence, resilience, problem-solving and team work. It was a great week and I commend the ‘Class of 2023’ (scary isn’t it!) for their enthusiasm and participation. Junior High Leaders This year, Junior High will once again have leadership positions for students in Year 9. The standard of applications has been extremely impressive and those who were shortlisted for the position of Captain presented speeches to the Junior High students and staff at Assembly on Tuesday. We are in the process of shortlisting those students who have applied for Student Representative positions and they will be notified in coming days, with interviews to occur next week. We hope to be able to finalise the process and announce our new leaders in Week 5. An installation ceremony will occur as part of our Junior High Assembly in Week 7, and students will take up their positions of responsibility as our 2018 Junior High Leaders. Leadership Speeches Candidates who were shortlisted for the position of the 2018 Junior High Captains presented speeches on assembly. Well done Nanditha, Rachel, Sophie, Ella, Leopoldo, Josiah, Oscar, Jackson. Information Evenings Thank you to all the parents who have attended our Junior High Year Level Information Evenings over the last two weeks. I hope these evenings have provided you with the opportunity to fully understand the support networks we have available to you as your child progresses through Junior High. Information presented on each evening has been placed on Firefly > Resources / Secondary Indooroopilly / Year Level Pages / Junior High Parent Information – Years 7, 8 or 9. We recommend that, if you were unable to attend on the night, you read through the information provided and connect with your child’s Form Class teacher or Year Level Coordinator.    Anticipation Gives Way to Reality As we move through Week 3 the level of energy, driven by the anticipation of all that the new year has on offer, quickly gives way to the reality of homework and routines. Adjusting to the increased workload each year can be difficult. The amount of homework issued and time required for study and assignment preparation varies throughout the term and from subject to subject. If you feel your child is doing ‘too much’ or ‘too little’ homework and needs some support in managing their time and routine, please: Spend some time with your child to look at how they are using their study/ homework time to see if there are any obvious issues of distraction, time wasting, trouble getting started etc. Encourage your child to seek out their Subject teacher or Form teacher during a lunch time to discuss how they are travelling. If the concern is related to the amount of homework being given in a specific subject, making contact with the subject teacher is essential. Contact can be made via email, telephone, personal appointment or through the student diary. In cases where homework has been unable to be completed a quick note in your child’s diary will suffice.  Study Techniques Study is different to homework. It usually involves students revising and learning material covered in class that will need to be recalled at a later time – usually during an exam. If your child finds it difficult to know ‘how’ to best approach studying, I recommend a visit to the following website www.vark-learn.com. After completing a brief questionnaire, students can discover which is their preferred learning style.  Printable ‘SWOT – Study Without Tears’ sheets are available and great study techniques are listed, which you can encourage your child to use. Award Ceremonies Next Tuesday 13 February, we will hold our Junior High Academic Excellence & Ironbark Awards Ceremony. The event will be held in the Performing Arts Centre Auditorium and will run from 8:15am until approximately 9:45am. Academic Excellence Awards recognise academic excellence across all academic subjects studied during the previous year. Academic Excellence Awards acknowledge individual academic performance within the academic subjects studied by the student. There are two categories for awards – Gold and Silver. The Proxime Accessit and Dux are awarded to the student within each cohort who achieves the second highest and highest overall GPA. Enquiries about GPAs should be directed to Mrs Rachael Turnbull, Head of 7-12 Curriculum – Students. Parents and Guardians of award recipients were sent their invitation via email earlier this week.   Year 7 Camp Lost Property We still have some lost property from Year 7 camp. Parents are welcome to come to Junior High Reception to look through these items or alternatively call Mrs Alison Arnold on 3377 6503. Items have also been on display for students to see. Any unclaimed items will be disposed of at the end of February. Trish Allen, Head of Junior High read more

Palms and crosses


This coming Sunday is observed as Palm Sunday in many churches across the world. We recall Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, welcomed and hailed by crowds like a king (Mark 11:1–11). But the shouts of ‘Hosanna’ quickly turned into ‘crucify!’ when Jesus didn’t fulfil the expectations of the crowds. They were looking for a strongman, but he came as servant, they wanted the Roman overlords to be challenged, he challenged their own religious system, they wanted glory, he came in humility. And so, by Friday he hangs on a cross, jeered by the crowd. I suppose it’s an experience we occasionally share – one day, the cool guy or girl… the next, shunned and condemned. One day, the political newcomer to change the world; next day, in a forgotten backwater or worse. Jesus’ reaction to all this is important to me: He prays from the cross: ‘Father forgive them.’ It gives me hope in my own fickleness and uncertainty. It gives me hope when things haven’t turned out as I planned or wanted them to. And I suppose it is a model for dealing with such situations, when we might be tempted to lash out or become bitter. Furthermore, this is not the end of the story. On Easter Sunday, he is alive – Christ is risen! God brings new life out of what might seem dead ends, hopeless situations. He still does and often in unexpected ways. As we near the end of Term 1, with all the stress and pressures at the present time, may you be able to look forward to Easter, and know that even in your failures and fickleness there is one who is with you always, who stands rock solid, by your side. May He fill you with hope and joy this Easter. Thomas Böhmert, College Senior Pastor read more

Meeting hate with love, suffering with care and rejection with welcome


College Senior Pastor, Thomas Böhmert As we go back to school and work this week we do so in the confidence that we are safe—just as most people do when they gather for worship. Sadly, this was not the case for those who gathered for worship at two mosques on Friday in Christchurch—in peaceful, far-away from conflict, friendly New Zealand. The events there are a brutal reminder of the reach and impact of extremist ideology—and a call for us to support civil society. Our hearts go out to those who suffered loss and whose lives were brutally disrupted in a sacred space. NZ PM Jacinda Ardern said it was one of the country’s ‘darkest days’. She also said of the victims that ‘they are us’, that is, not a ‘them’ as the gunman sought to portray them. In the aftermath of the attack, many people in major cities across the world reached out to Muslim friends and strangers to offer sympathy and support. As the stories unfold of heroes and victims, your children will deal with confronting events in various and individual ways. They may be confused. Feel helpless. Have worries and fear. Others may have been affected by the impact of Social Media. Helping your children It is important to check in with your child and discuss what happened and why. Ask them what they have seen on the internet or TV and how they feel about it. Allow your children the space to talk. Assure your children they are safe and this is an unusual and extreme event. Be aware this may trigger memories of previous traumatic events. With older children you may wish to talk about extremism and why someone might want to hurt people. Reflect on what makes them angry or frustrated and how they deal with such things. Also think about where your children might get their information from, how they use digital media and how this may be helpful or harmful. College counsellors and Chaplains are available to talk with St Peters’ families further if required. Please reach out to the counsellor by email for an appointment through Fire Fly—search ‘Counselling’ for details. Assure your children of God’s love for all people, his presence with all those who suffer and his call to us to share his love in practical ways. As a Lutheran family, in schools and churches and as individuals working together, we seek to meet hate with love, suffering with care and rejection with welcome. Roman 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. read more