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12 May 2021

A heart-warming affirmation

  • From the Head of Junior School South Plympton

Happy Mother's Day

A very special Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mothers, Grandmothers and Caregivers of our precious children at Emmaus Christian College. Mothers are a gift from God and our prayer is that the Lord would bless you abundantly both now and into the future. One of my favourite moments at Emmaus each year is witnessing the way children’s eyes light up after they have purchased a gift from the Mother’s Day stall. Children excitedly share their purchase with peers, peeping into bags to see what their friends bought for Mum. We hope you all felt blessed with your gifts on Sunday!

A sincere thanks to our Parent Rep community and their band of helpers for ensuring this wonderful opportunity was available for all F-6 children.

Year 1 Mother's Day Class with their special purchases

Parents and Grandparents Day

Another moment that touched my heart recently was watching our children rehearse for the parents and grandparents performance at Adelaide West Uniting Church during Week 11 last term. Australia is such a multicultural society and our College is blessed to reflect this rich diversity. Many of our students have a heritage from countries all over the world and this makes our community unique and special.

Staff were moved as they heard the children rehearse ‘We are One’; and then we teared up again as students prepared to bless their families, by closing with the song ‘The Blessing’. Your children touched our community in a very special way. Grandparents stopped to share the following comments with me as they left: ‘that was exquisite’, ‘I feel so incredibly blessed’, 'thank you for the way God shines through all of that’, ‘that was outstanding’, ‘when I go to these events it absolutely confirms that I am sending my child to the right school’… And that is just five of the many comments I received!

A sincere thank you to the many staff at Emmaus who teamed together to pull off this event at the end of very busy term. I cannot but help acknowledge the work of Mrs Nikki Meinel, without whose enthusiasm and talent, we could not share these events with you.

Grandparent's Performance 2021 Brooklyn Park Students

A heart-warming affirmation

In between memorable extra-curricular opportunities, we remain committed to providing the best academic learning environment possible. Part of this is about ensuring that as lifelong learners, teachers keep abreast of the latest research and development.

Last Thursday a team of Emmaus staff attended the second day of training with Dr Jared Cooney Horvath in Neuroscience - looking at how the brain learns. I was so inspired I sat down to write a summary for the front page of this newsletter. Alas, with notes totalling nearly 2500 words, I simply could not reduce it to 400! I am however keen to share the team was excited to hear strong affirmation of the importance of balance between explicit teaching and inquiry-based practices.

A DEFINITION OF LEARNING 1) students need knowledge/facts 2) students need to understand the context so they know how to apply skills 3) students need to adapt to the environment. Adaptability is the goal of all learning.

PRACTISE AND REPETITION: A key ingredient to learning is repetition. Expertise comes from practicing – over and over and over. (Spelling, reading, handwriting, times-tables… are just four of many in the Junior School that come to mind!)

THINKING is VERY POWERFUL. Our thinking drives our perception of everything. A growth mindset is exceptionally important.

Three Levels of Learning

  1. Surface Learning – is about direct and explicit teaching of knowledge and facts. Recall, define, identify, order, recognise…
  2. Deep Learning – is about thinking. It’s about playing with the facts. Skills such as classify, associate, summarise, restate, paraphrase,
    estimate, debate, question, criticise, deconstruct, contrast, test, explain, invent, evaluate…
  3. Transfer Learning – is about the transfer of learning into new contexts; adapting to the new environment.

As your children engage in extra-curricular activities and play based learning after hours, I encourage you to ponder the need for children to engage in deep learning. They need time to think and play in a context that does not always have a yes/no or right/wrong answer. Children need to be able to think and play around with the facts.

With every blessing,

Helen Vonow
Head of Junior School