21 Dec

As the children have left the school grounds for the last time in the 2018 school year, it is a pleasure for me to reflect on recent weeks and the culmination of another school year at SPW.

We always know when the end of year is approaching when we begin the transition programs for children who are starting afresh in the following year. It is in this context that it was so delightful to see families and children at the special transition open morning some weeks ago as preschool aged children visited their new room in the Early Learning Centre to meet their new teacher and receive a balloon as they left the school grounds.

The following week, equally as delightful, was the opportunity to engage with families, many of whom we now know, who were participating in the transition morning for children starting Reception in 2019. Both events provide such reward for us educators when we understand that parents and caregivers have invested such faith and trust in us with the care and education of their children in partnership with parents.

Christmas Party Celebration

Christmas parties are a feature of the SPW experience and this year, again with the extraordinary support of our Parents and Friends Association, we were able to host a whole school sit-down lunch for children from Reception to Year 7, and then a Christmas brunch a few days later for children in the Early Learning Centre. This is an enormous undertaking but one that typifies the wonderful traditions and sense of community that we are able to capture here.

To see over 600 children seated in Baddams Hall, beautifully decorated, singing Christmas carols and enjoying a beautiful lunch with their respectful manners and good behaviours, is a sight I wish I could share with you all. Sadly, because of our crowded hall, our Year 7s were outside and whilst this would normally be a wonderful occasion for them, the wind was somewhat distracting.

The Nativity Play with Foundation children

Continuing the Christmas theme, another memorable event was two enactments of the Nativity; the first by our extraordinarily talented Reception children who performed twice with all children involved in the story of Christmas in our St Margaret’s Chapel to a full house, and then with our Chapel Choir children who performed both at St Peter’s Glenelg and in St Margaret’s Chapel, again with the story of Christmas.

These occasions are of such significance in our school community, and it was delightful to see the pleasure on the children’s faces as they sang and acted out this wonderful story.

Prize Giving celebrations

This year was the second year when our end of year formalities were divided between the Year 3 to 7 Prize Giving event in Baddams Hall, followed by the Year 7 Valedictory the following evening. Both of these events, under the leadership of Mr Simon Theel, Deputy Principal, were simply outstanding and a fantastic opportunity to not only acknowledge the achievements of our children from Years 3 to 6 in front of peers, but also for the Year 7s to celebrate a significant transitioning moment in their lives.

Whilst talking of the Year 7s, they again demonstrated what an outstanding group they were through their actions and behaviours during the last part of the school term, and it was certainly a joy to watch them celebrate the end of their Primary School. With over 33% of these young people receiving open entrance and scholarships to their high school, one can see why they were considered such a wonderful group of young people.

Thank you to our families, children and staff

At this time of the year I would like to pass on my thanks to the great majority of parents and caregivers who demonstrated such faith in the staff’s ability to best place children for classes in 2019. While this was again an exhaustive process for the staff involved, it was pleasing that the majority of parents accepted the placement as we had suggested; thank you for this faith in our decision making.

Finally I would like to thank the children of St Peter’s Woodlands for being such a joy to work with and the staff for their ongoing hard work and commitment to the ongoing education of our children. In thanking our staff I particularly want to farewell Ellen Dixon who is leaving to have her first child, Lauren Dutton who is leaving to take up a full-time appointment at Endeavour College, Paula Hanna who has been successful in gaining a leadership position as Assistant Head of Primary at Pedare Christian College Junior School, and Anne Allen who, after 29 years of exemplary service, is retiring from SPW -what an extraordinary commitment to this community.

May God’s blessings be with you at this wonderful time of the year.