Principal’s Blog

_MG_0312-2-marilyn-web
by Marilyn Smith
Principal

22 May 2014
Last week children in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 took part in the NAPLAN tests. In many schools they were expected to remember all they have been coached in; how best to achieve the highest score possible for their school in the nationwide, standardised testing program. Lists of impressive words were memorised, formulaic responses based on likely topics were memorised and teachers and children alike worried about whether they would measure up.
Sadly, it seems that more and more parents have come to believe that this set of numbers does add up to the sum total of a school’s worth. This is despite the repeated evidence of research, which roundly contradicts both the validity of the test results and their use to evaluate a school.

At Preshil approximately half of our parents exercise their right to withdraw their children from the tests. We neither encourage, nor discourage them in this decision, knowing that our parents are informed and thoughtful in their educational judgments. We do not drill our children or shape our curriculum to concentrate on these limited areas of learning. The Preshil ‘results’ therefore have little value, other than a ‘snap shot’ of the individual child’s performance on that day.

I was, however, very pleased to hear that the choice of topic offered in the ‘Writing Task’ was embraced readily by our students, (who have been allowed and encouraged to make choices since the Nursery School) and seized the opportunity to write on something they personally felt strongly about, even if this isn’t reflected in a ‘better’ score for the school! This is in contrast to hearing about the concern expressed by a number of teachers from other schools who were dismayed to find that their students were unable to use the topic they had prepared as a class and did not know what to do.

The ability to choose is fundamental to creativity, to problem solving and to collaboration. It fundamentally distinguishes higher order thinking from the skills developed through rote learning and a standardised content based curriculum. Preshil’s enquiry-based approach to learning is now further enhanced by our BYOD approach to technology.

May 2014
A Memorial Celebration to honour the life and contribution of Margaret E Lyttle was held at Arlington on Sunday 4 May 2014. Several hundred people attended this occasion and shared memories of their experiences at Preshil and the impact Margaret had on them as children, as parents or as members of her staff.

It was a significant event for the school and I would like to share a small document read to the assembly as a way of encapsulating her expansive educational ideas and sharing some of the guiding principles which have shaped the school. Margaret acknowledged the profound influence on her thinking of her aunt, Greta Lyttle, and the quotations included here are from her writings.
__________________________________________

The following General Principles were annexed to Margaret’s Will and are to provide guidance on some of the Principles on which Preshil is based. The 6 points are Mug’s supported by an italicized quotation from Margaret J.R. Lyttle.

1. Education is reverential -in the sense that we discover in children – not just talents and faculties but also their traumas and disabilities is to be revered. “There is in each child an element of the Divine”. “The Divinity in the child -its individuality, its distinctive characteristic, its originality, its selfhood … “

2. Education is an expression of love which both constrains and liberates. “Human love is man’s strongest controlling force as well as his greatest life-giving power “.

3. Education is the discovery and development of self-discipline in the child which finds its initial expression in social relationships and, secondarily, in intellectual exploration. “We believe that the only true discipline is self discipline and therefore children are taught to realize that the only sensible behaviour is social behaviour and that the rights of others must be observed.” “Discipline, if it is this inward, worthwhile discipline, may be defined as an inward harmony manifesting itself in the group and community. It is as if the various instincts and urges of the child’s psyche act in harmony with each other because they are controlled from within and not inhibited from without…. ” “I want you to rid your minds of that idea for a moment for the discipline I am going to speak about is no rigid set of laws or compulsions imposed by some dictator on a cowed and submissive people, nor is it a rigid set of do’s and don’ts imposed by some teacher on a cowed and submissive group of children and yet this is what the popular conception really amounts to. I consider that the outward discipline defeats its own ends and is therefore, worthless …” “…Preshil is therefore neither a school founded on the ‘discipline of the birch’ nor a school devoid of discipline. It aims at self discipline and aspires to help create the complete individual -the young human being happily adjusted to its environment’.

4. Education aims to produce wisdom before erudition “The general objective of the school is to fit the children for a changing society. The world which they will enter is in a state of flux and its immediate or ultimate character is unpredictable. The school believes that its best service to the child is to make him a well-adjusted individual, capable of making his own judgments and socially equipped to cooperate, in such a fashion as his subsequent judgment may dictate with his fellow beings”. “Preshil believes in the religious doctrine of’ the brotherhood of’ man and the secular doctrine of the interdependence of man. It tries to cultivate the qualities of’ compassion and courage, appreciation of beauty and appreciation of ‘life; and to give its children the resolution and forthrightness of thinking which will enable them to keep these things in the stresses of their later life …”

5. Competitive impulses are discouraged within the educational process because they afflict the child with unnecessary anxieties about itself and an arbitrary and extrinsic standard for judging the worth of others. “The aim at each stage is, therefore, to help the child to be a member of a social group. The disciplines are the disciplines of the group and uncooperative people are asked to work or play elsewhere until they wish to come back and cooperate. Preshil does not give marks or prizes. It is fundamentally opposed to setting one child against another, believing that all should be free to develop happily and fully without fear of failure or hazard of contempt. Children move along at their own individual pace”.

6. Education needs to extend the child’s experience of delight into the activities of thinking and achieving. “We shall try to impose as few rules and behaviour patterns as possible, except as are understood by as many of the community as possible to be necessary for cooperative, joyful, learning and living together. What we are after is a place where people can find what they love to do and where children can learn to build from that, lasting and deepening adequacies in a broad range”. (From: Secondary Extension Profile, 1970-1972)

March 2014
On 1 March 2014 Preshil became a recognised candidate school for the Middle Years Program of the International Baccalaureate. This is a significant milestone for the school in the achievement of our strategic objectives and is an exciting occasion for a number of reasons.

In 2012 when the School Council started a consultation with students, teachers and parents we identified the core elements of the school and the qualities the school saw as non-negotiable values to take into the future. Much of what was seen as needing to be cherished had been captured in the document known as the ‘Courage’ booklet, compiled by a group of passionate alumni, parents and teachers in 2009. These core elements were focussed on the ideas and practices of Margaret E Lyttle and her aunt, Greta Lyttle before her. The document spelled out the philosophy and principles which established Preshil as a progressive school with a pre-eminent emphasis on respecting each individual child; their needs at each stage of their development and the relationships they formed as being fundamental to their capacity to learn, to express themselves creatively and to interact with others confidently and compassionately.

All this is a preamble to the reasons why Preshil is so strongly aligned with the underlying values of the International Baccalaureate programs and why we are so pleased to become part of this growing global organisation.

At the heart of the IB is the concept of the Learner Profile which identifies a number of strengths we would like every student to find their own way of exhibiting: becoming knowledgeable in their own areas of interest and pursuit, as inquirers and thinkers and as able communicators. We want all our students to develop their own principles while remaining open-minded to different perspectives and caring of others. We want them to be courageous while also remaining balanced and reflective.

The common rhetoric of schools often espouses such values and then stifles each individual who dares to question, who does not conform to uniform expectations and has other life goals not included in the daily round of competitive striving and popular images of success.

The IB community emphasises global connections, rather than international relations, community service and connectedness based on our common humanity rather than on national identity and political power. From this comes the notion of community service and multi-lingual understanding. There is a conscious commitment to ethical interactions and striving for peace, all strongly embedded in the traditional values of Preshil.

Finally the IB program is focussed on developing intellectual rigor, rather than academic competition, where each person can define their goals and strive to achieve the unattainable, far beyond the narrow confines of a standardised curriculum.

It is for all these reasons that we are excited to find, and define, Preshil’s own place within the International Baccalaureate. As we begin to develop our Middle Years Program we will offer many opportunities for parents, and prospective parents, to be involved. We all need to ensure that the program is shaped to our culture and enhances the very elements we treasure from our past.

February 2014
This last month has been filled with messages and tributes to Margaret Lyttle. The Margaret Lyttle Foundation is now in the process of arranging a memorial celebration; as soon as they confirm the date and the details we will let everyone know.

Margaret Lyttle referred to the Nursery School as the heart of the primary school and so it still is today. It is nestled in the middle of the Primary School where our youngest children are watched over and visited by the older children. They have 10 and 11 year old ‘buddies’ who take great pride in these protective friendships and are involved in joint projects in art as well as games. Margaret Lyttle believed in the crucial importance of these early years, insisting that the children’s play was their ‘work’ and that they would learn and develop at their own pace if this play was respected and nurtured.

At Preshil our 3 and 4 year old children are absorbed in play of all sorts. Children start in the Nursery School when they turn three. They have the opportunity to explore, and to choose, to build structures, to make art and music, to climb, to get dirty and to have their curiosity become the basis for structured, shared projects and serious discussion. The 3 and 4 year olds are together and they are able to build strong relationships with each other and with the teachers during their two years before they move on to the Fives. The four year old children take their responsibility to look after the younger children seriously and there is explicit teaching for emotional and social development, relationship building, as well as the language the children need to communicate and express their feelings and ideas.

Last year the adventurous Nursery School staff, Rebecca, Oriana and Courtney, added landscaping and gardening to their repertoire of skills and worked with our wonderful parent volunteers to create a much more beautiful and natural setting for adventure and outside play. The children helped to plan, to plant and to water. A real hill, high enough to inspire some serious rolling and clambering, now provides a focal point. Plants have flourished and this development has led on to other outdoor possibilities yet to be tackled.

This year we are providing extended care of the children for Nursery School parents who need this. Angelique Matthews, an Early Learning Assistant who also works with Talitha in the Fives’ room, provides a welcome for early arrivals from 8am and Courtney Booth remains with the children until parents arrive up to 6pm. Courtney has provided a warm and caring presence as an Assistant in the Nursery School for several years. This extended care arrangement provides a perfect continuity of the program for the children and maximum peace of mind for parents.

At Arlington the school still offers a genuinely preparatory first year at the primary school.

Our Fives classroom is a wonderful place which continues the play-based learning so confidently embraced in the Nursery School. This group of no more than twenty children has a well-defined and somewhat protected area in the school. The bigger, older children are mindful of the needs of the Fives; they don’t run in this area and visit ready to provide assistance to smaller friends. Kevin Borland designed this space with a play area underneath – just the right height for small children. Here children find their own paths to literacy and numeracy, continuing in the school’s tradition of allowing the children to choose, with sensitive and observant teaching, ensuring that just the right level of confidence-building and challenge is provided for each small individual.

As we spend time in the next few months recollecting the extraordinary educational vision of Margaret Lyttle in this unique children’s world of Arlington it is remarkable, and comforting, to realise how much has been preserved of her creation. So much that has been fought for and protected across the intervening decades since Margaret held the reins of the school, in the face of many educational fashions and fads, remains as the foundation of Preshil’s approach to early childhood development. The fact that many other schools are slowly introducing elements of “personalised” and “play-based” programs, and a stream of visitors come to look first hand is testament to her courage and wisdom.

Welcome to Preshil for 2014

The start of each year is always exciting and a little daunting for children and teachers alike. The prospect of a new year, of boundless possibilities and new challenges are a yearly invitation to renewal and a fresh start.

The year 2014 started in a sombre and significant way with the passing of Margaret Lyttle, on 4 January at the extraordinary age of 101. We are very lucky to have a school shaped so powerfully by the educational ideas of Margaret and her Aunt, Greta Lyttle. The place Margaret Lyttle has in the hearts of so many alumni remains an inspiration. Her reverence for childhood, the belief in the primacy of strong relationships in fostering learning and her understanding of the essential role of creativity in childhood development are still themes in current progressive education.

On 14 January Margaret’s family and guardians organised a private celebration of her life. Guests were invited to her beloved home, Arlington, to share stories and memories of this remarkable woman. Since then there has been a School Meeting at each campus to share with the students the memories some of our teachers still treasure from their days working alongside Margaret.

In 2009 members of the Preshil staff, parents and community undertook the task of attempting to capture the core values and philosophy of the school. They produced the Courage document, which is a little booklet that continues to influence the educational thinking and the programs across the whole school. Copies of ‘Courage’ are available from the Office at either campus.

The Margaret Lyttle Foundation is in the process of organising a public Memorial Celebration and details of this event will be published as soon as they are finalised.

Over the summer break both the senior and junior schools have had significant improvements made to the grounds and the classrooms. Indoor spaces have been painted, newly carpeted and thoroughly cleaned. The walls now await the children’s art work and examples of learning to bring them to life.

The Kalimna building has had the first modest stages of refurbishment and we are eager to get on to more substantial renovations we began planning and fundraising for last year. This beautiful building will be home to a genuinely exciting, challenging and progressive Middle Years program, to be developed over the next few years.

In the first few weeks of this term parents are invited to a series of information sessions and Fireside Chats. We hope this encourages all our parents to feel welcome and to enable them to communicate regularly and openly with their children’s teachers. I look forward to seeing you at these sessions or to catching up with any of our parents who would like to meet with me.

28 October

This year’s Valedictory Dinner was a lovely evening. For the first time we invited the 10 and 11 year-old children to actively participate in the evening by welcoming the Year 12s into the Kevin Borland Hall that they had so painstakingly decorated, and presenting them with their handmade gifts.

The younger children had gone to immense pains, assisted by their teachers, Deb, Michael and Natalie, to develop the theme of the Wizard of Oz. They arrived in brilliant costumes, adding a delightful sense of whimsy to the event as the Year 12 students and their parents, teachers and members of the School Council gathered for drinks before the dinner.

Building relationships across the year levels is at the heart of the Valedictory tradition and so it was very rewarding to see this new development enhance the sense of connection and friendship for these students who, as they come to adulthood, will come to see the gap of six years as insignificant.
It is central to the Preshil philosophy that the Year 12 students do not approach their final exams believing that somehow they will be defined by the narrow and artificial ranking system devised for tertiary entrance in our society. There are so many, and increasingly varied, pathways for all school leavers to carve out their dreams and to create new ones.

We are fiercely proud to be a school that does not use our VCE results to entice only academically ambitious students into this cycle of self-perpetuating school elitism and will continue to support a cohort of students who have the confidence to define their own personal best and their own ideals for the person they are, be they conventional ambitions or dreams outside and beyond our current notions of success.

Recently we have had many teachers undertaking a wide variety of professional development courses. They return with very positive feedback reinforcing our belief that Preshil continues to represent so much that is progressive in education. In the “Early Years of Learning” Preshil has a thoroughly embedded approach to the crucial role of play in children’s learning, which is the envy of so many teachers who would love to be able to implement programs and practices which are so strongly supported by contemporary research. This approach is very difficult to even contemplate in the strictly regimented programs and spaces of some kindergartens and Prep classrooms.

Similarly, we take great pleasure in the increasing understanding of storytelling as a powerful element in brain development and confident learning. At Arlington we have a very rich practice of oral storytelling and regularly reading stories to our children across the whole school. This flies in the face of the NAPLAN requirement that children from the age of 6 concentrate on learning the writing conventions of persuasive writing, at the expense of writing stories; it is sad to think of schools needing to put their NAPLAN results ahead of the longer-term best interests of the children and the life-long pleasure they can take in their own reading.


23 October

It is the third week of term and suddenly we are acutely aware of all that needs to take place before the end of the year.

Uppermost is the importance of this time of year for those preparing to leave both the Junior and Senior schools. For our year 12 students we will gather them for the Valedictory Dinner in the Kevin Borland Hall. All of the Preshil staff look forward to this event and know that this is a point in the year when we all share mixed feelings of sadness, together with a great wave of professional pride, as we see these wonderful young adults who have been so much a part of the school and our lives for however long they have been at Preshil, many of them for 13 or 14 years, preparing to embrace their lives beyond school.

For the children moving on from Arlington, most of them to the Preshil Senior Campus in Sackville Street, there is a very enjoyable and well-planned transition program to ensure that they finish the year confident of their identity within the senior school community and able to say goodbye to their teachers and the childhood world that is Arlington.

On Thursday 17 October we held our first parent information night to introduce the Middle Years Program that will provide the curriculum framework for all of our Year 7 to 10 students. Preshil has applied to become a candidate school of the International Baccalaureate Organisation, aiming to implement the Middle Years Program and later the Diploma Program. At the session parents were introduced to Natalie Jensen, the MYP Coordinator, who explained the overall structure and the conceptual basis of the learning that is constructed by each student. We were very happy to have parents confirm that this new development is closely aligned to the school’s values and philosophy and very encouraged to welcome families to Preshil specifically so they can be a part of this program. We will have another information session on Friday 15 November at 9.30am in the Senior Campus library.

Part of our plan for the Middle Years involves a thorough refurbishment of the beautiful Kalimna building. This grand Victorian mansion, so painstakingly renovated in the 1990s, needs some love. We need to consider how the internal spaces are to support the diverse and collaborative approaches required by students needing to access resources and facilities unimagined even thirty years ago. Gone are the days of the dedicated computer lab; flexible use of many different devices are now allowing, and demanding, some wonderful changes to the notions of classrooms. Together with Preshil’s tradition of ensuring that spaces are welcoming and relaxed, this makes for an exciting and enjoyable project.

We are inviting a team of students to work with our architect to develop ideas for this building, ensuring that Preshil’s commitment to the sense of ownership of the spaces our students have always enjoyed continues into the future.

To make the plans for Kalimna a reality we have embarked on a focussed fundraising campaign. As part of this campaign our school community is privileged to have the members of the Preshil Foundation supporting us. On Monday 28 October they are hosting a dinner at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, where Andrew McConnell, one of Australia’s finest chefs and Preshil parent, will delight guests with his wonderful food. There are few places still available for what promises to be a memorable night of Art, Food and Wine, so please contact the school if you and your guests are able to join us.

Marilyn Smith | 22 October, 2013


June

We have arrived at the end of another term and once again there has been so much activity and so many wonderful contributions to the school from our community of students, staff and parents.

Last Sunday we finished a very enjoyable and productive working bee at Backhall/Kalimna, where a team of enthusiastic and generous parents has worked to continue our transformation of the front garden into a welcoming and attractive entrance.

Rosemary Simmons has designed, donated and now completed, with help from Cathy Durkin, a delightful border of delicate and charming native plants, which is a great inspiration for us to build on.

Last Tuesday we hosted another of the legendary nights of performances at Dizzy’s Jazz Club, with students from year 7 to 12 joining with our terrific music staff in ensembles and solo acts.

We are always delighted and proud to have so many of our students with the courage to stand up and perform – supported in the knowledge that their performance will be enjoyed and appreciated wherever they are on their musical journey. This was the third musical event in as many weeks with students at both the junior and senior school involved and once again we were made aware of what a rich musical culture we have at Preshil.

For this term the Winter Solstice Concert promises to be a fitting culmination with an exciting program of orchestral and vocal performance. The Winter Solstice has long been a highlight for the Arlington children, with the lantern parade weaving around the garden on this darkest of nights and familiar faces lit up in the firelight. This year we have been very fortunate to have a group of parents bring together an amazing silent auction which will add great interest to this event and make a great contribution to the school’s resources.

For most teachers this is a very demanding time of the year with the end of the first Semester for VCE students and the preparation of reports for all students across the school. Preshil teachers take considerable pride in these reports, which avoid the bland cutting and pasting of comment bank reports common in many schools and illustrate the detailed knowledge every teacher has of each individual student. Parents can expect to learn how their child is progressing in all areas of their learning and they are invited to follow up these reports with further questions in the first weeks of Term 3.

For the second year we have taken advantage of the beautiful front rooms in the Arlington house to hold a Winter Dinner for all staff from both campuses. We are able to set up a single long table stretching from the Sitting Room across the entrance hall and into my office. With the open fire, plenty of candles, platters of terrific food prepared by our talented in-house cooks and great live music from our staff musicians it is a real pleasure to look along the table and know we all share a deep commitment to Preshil, to each other and to the children.

For the first time this year we are taking the three week break over this holiday period. This means that there is less disruption in September when our VCE students need the support of their teachers in the period leading up to their final assessments and allows us all this extended time when energies are flagging and winter ills are most prevalent.

I hope all families enjoy this time and look forward to all that is in store in Term 3.


April

A booklet outlining Preshil’s Strategic Plan – Towards 2023 was recently sent out to all families and in the first two weeks of the term we have hosted a series of Q and A sessions and an Information Night to ensure that our community and prospective parents have an opportunity to understand the major strands of this plan. We have been very happy with the positive response to our plans and invite anyone who has not received a booklet, or who would like to discuss the implications of the plan for their child, to contact me and to make a time to discuss it in detail. The Strategic Plan has now been published on the school website.

Already we are receiving much interest from people across the educational and the wider community who are pleased to see a clear restatement of our philosophy from the Nursery School to Year 12 and the alignment of our progressive ideals with the gradual introduction of the International Baccalaureate programs into the senior school.

An article in “The Age”, Wednesday 1 May, ‘New directions for top students‘ cites a state government discussion paper which warns about the “unhealthy focus” in VCE on university entrance scores which distorts education in the senior years. “The paper says the tendency to focus almost exclusively on the Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) means students try to maximise their VCE score, sometimes at the expense of enrolling in a wider range of subjects or pursuing a specialist area of interest.” It goes on to point out that this narrow focus is increasingly unnecessary “as universities increasingly look beyond a single entrance score in their admissions procedures.”

All of these issues were considered as Preshil formulated a clear vision for the school we want to offer our students into the future and we are confident that our thinking will be increasingly echoed by others who believe education is about so much more than a single score. Please take the time to consider these issues for your own child.

The Preshil Foundation is very enthusiastic in supporting the school to achieve our capital works objectives, to ensure that we have facilities which are appropriate and inspiring, as well preserving the beauty of our campuses. Already a number of fundraising projects are underway.

The 2013 Annual General Meeting of the Preshil Association was held in the Kevin Borland Hall on Wednesday 24 April. A small, but very engaged group of Association members attended and the Annual Report will be forwarded to the Victorian Registration and Qualification Authority.

At the Annual General Meeting two new members of Council were unanimously voted onto the Board. Trent Taylor and Andrew McMeekin are both parents at Preshil and they are to be commended for their willingness to contribute to the school in this major way. Eva Strasser, a long-standing member of the teaching staff at the Senior School, will join the Council as a teacher nominee.

Eva has also agreed to chair the Education Forum we have been planning for some time. The first gathering for this forum will take place in the Blackhall Kalimna Library on the evening of Wednesday 22 May. More details about the Forum, its format and topics for discussion will be published in the eBulletin over the next few weeks. Please let me know if you have ideas or want to discuss this proposal.

A special pleasure of my role as Principal at Preshil is hearing from parents about the appreciation they feel for the individuals who teach their children. Many parents report the change that takes place in their children and adolescents when they establish a rapport or are inspired by a particular teacher. I recently received this message :

“One of the most amazing things about Preshil (and I think there any many) is that at Preshil he is valued for his quirkiness, individuality, creativity and encouraged to expand on that and find the inner person that will take him from adolescence to manhood in, not only his academic learning, but also is his personal growth. It’s such a joy to watch and I am very proud of him.”

Preshil can feel very proud of our teachers.

March

On Sunday 24 February, the Preshil community gathered to honour and celebrate the remarkable contribution to education of Margaret E Lyttle, who turned 100 years old last November. It was an occasion of joy and humble pride as we all took the opportunity to consider the enduring achievements of our school, exemplified through the alumni, the children and older students, parents and teachers who performed for us so generously. Melbourne’s beautiful Recital Hall reflected back to us an image of who we have become; it felt very comfortable and appropriate, albeit exciting, to see our community settle in to these lovely surroundings. Preshil does not make a habit of high profile events so for many of us, delighted by the success of this event, we felt perhaps we should get out more!

A highlight for the school was to actually have Margaret in sufficiently robust health to attend the concert for some part of it. For many children and those new to the school it was a moment when myth and history come to life. The concert was an event to raise funds for the continuing care of Margaret Lyttle and for the curating of her archives, so please contact the school if you would like to contribute to the Margaret E Lyttle Foundation. The concert was preceded by this informative article in the local Boroondarra Review, you can read the article here. or download the full page one and page two titled ‘Marvelous Margaret’.

In “The Age” last Saturday there was an interview with Nicolette Fraillon, the Conductor of the Australian Ballet, a Preshil alumni who refers to the ‘hugely formative’ years she spent at “Preshil, the legendary independent school’. Nicolette has gone on to challenge so many assumptions and conventions of the classical music world in Australia and internationally, but still driven by her sheer love of music, which began as a tot. you can read the article ‘Lunch with Nicolette Fraillon’ here.

Pleasure in making music has been a constant thread in Preshil’s enduring commitment to creative expression. Music of all styles, without the deadening hierarchies and elitism which marginalises the musical passion of many children, is fostered to the highest levels, with many other levels of capacity and commitment along the way. Joy in the making and sharing is the bond.

It is impossible to over-estimate the value of singing, playing an instrument, being a part of a band in all human development and cultures. It seems that every day some new piece of research or evidence comes to light to show how beneficial music is _ – for babies in utero, for the development of a child’s brain, for enlarging children’s capacity for all other learning, such as language acquisition and mathematics, as well as the obvious connections with all other fields of artistic expression. Most recently there have been clear links established between lower blood pressure and musical expression.

Both Arlington and Blackhall Kalimna are about to host opportunities for all of our students to see and hear each one of our Instrumental Music teachers, and to consider the opportunities they can take up learning an instrument or playing in an ensemble at Preshil. All children should ‘have a go’ at a number of instruments. It may be the moment which fires their life defining passion, offers a pathway to an enriching hobby or simply makes child’s play of maths and language. Please let me know how Preshil can provide a wonderful musical experience for your child.

I have received a great response to the changes that have become evident at the senior school in the presentation of our buildings, our modest renovations and the improvements we have recently made to the administration and reception areas at Blackhall. It is certainly a pleasure to use these spaces and to be able to enjoy the peaceful outlook of the front lawn and the scale of the light-filled front rooms, where we can now welcome parents, guests and hold meetings and small functions.

The Cottage is now in full operation as a VCE study and common room – a great facility for our senior students where they have study and tutorial space upstairs and a lounge area and kitchen downstairs. We would like to expand this facility with an outside area, paved and shaded to provide further study and recreation space. If you would like to contribute to this project please let me know.

A number of individuals have generously offered to fund small projects to keep the impetus of this ongoing work and of course I am delighted to share with the Preshil community our plans and ideas to make the school welcoming, comfortable and a truly beautiful environment for our children and staff. We have a working bee coming up on Sunday 17 March, so please come along for an hour or two if you can.

Please let me know if you would like to be involved in our ongoing capital works program or feel that you would like to make a contribution to any aspect of the school.

Welcome 2013

 

Leave a Reply