26 November 2015

Newsletter 20/2015


Dear Parents and Friends
The countdown is on now and Christmas is in the air! I hope you and your families are starting to feel the excitement (and not the stress!).
Just a reminder that if you believe you have knowledge pertinent to the placement of your child in 2016, directly relating to education, behavioural or social issues, that class teachers may not be aware of and that may impact on their class placement, please put this in writing and address it to me for consideration.  As always, please note that requests concerning specific teachers are not invited. Please have these to me by Monday 30th November.
Also, if there are any families who are moving and leaving Mentone Park in 2016, please contact the office so that we can factor this into our planning.  Likewise if you know of any families planning to enrol at MPPS in 2016 who have not yet done so, please encourage them to do so ASAP.

As we plan our grades for 2016, the discussion about composite classes often arises in the parent community.  There is a lot of research available regarding the positive impacts of multi-age classes, but surprisingly every year we have parents express concern about them.  I recently attended a seminar by Dr John Hattie, who is a "guru" in terms of what works in educating children, and he commented that in most classes - straight or not - there is generally 7 years of difference in the learning achievement levels of students.  Our approach to teaching and learning, through workshops, open-ended activities, small group and inquiry learning, means that students are working at the relevant level for their needs.  Regardless of the age of children in the classroom, learning occurs as a sequential set of skills and knowledge that develop at different times for children.  As an example, think about the age at which your children walked and talked - they did not all do it at the same time, as determined by their age.  Learning English and Maths, and all the other things we learn at school, is no different - it is not determined by age alone.

Please note that the first day of school in 2016 is Friday 29th January


On Thursday we held our final PFA meeting for 2015 at Seed Cafe in Mordialloc.  It was wonderful to see some new faces at the meeting.  Thank you to everyone who has supported PFA this year, and especially to Wendy Davis who has been terrific in her role as PFA President and Fundraising Coordinator.
The Prep 2016 children attended for our annual Tabloid Sports day today as well.  Unfortunately the weather was not ideal, but we made the most of it and held it inside.  Our wonderful grade 5s were terrific support for the day, explaining activities and supporting our new students in their transition to school.  Everyone enjoyed a sausage sizzle and icy pole at the end of the activities.  Thank you to the following parents and grandparents who came along to help with the lunch:
  • Wendy Davis
  • Jodi O’Sullivan
  • Eve Kelly
  • Milica Racunica
  • Vicki Limnios
  • Peter Dixon
  • Sue Curtis
  • Stacey Buchanan 

2016 Reminder: Tea & Tissues – Please put a note in your diary/calendar to bring a plate of food to welcome our new 2016 families on Day 1 (Friday 29th January) whilst they enjoy a cup of tea/coffee after leaving their prep child for the first time. Any helpers for this morning would also be appreciated.

Kendra Parker


Emotional Intelligence

When it comes to happiness and success in life, emotional intelligence (EQ) matters just as much as intellectual ability (IQ). Emotional intelligence helps you build stronger relationships, succeed at school or work, and achieve your academic, career and personal goals.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, use, understand, and manage emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathise with others, overcome challenges, and defuse conflict. Emotional intelligence impacts many different aspects of your daily life, such as the way you behave and the way you interact with others.

If you have high emotional intelligence you are able to recognise your own emotional state and the emotional states of others, and engage with people in a way that draws them to you. You can use this understanding of emotions to relate better to other people, form healthier relationships, achieve greater success and lead a more fulfilling life.

Emotional intelligence consists of 4 attributes:

  • Self-awareness – You recognise your own emotions and how they affect your thoughts and behavior, know your strengths and weaknesses, and have self-confidence.
  • Self-management (self-control & self-regulation) – You’re able to control impulsive feelings and behaviors, manage your emotions in healthy ways, take initiative, follow through on commitments, and adapt to changing circumstances.
  • Social awareness/empathy – You can understand the emotions, needs, and concerns of other people, pick up on emotional cues, feel comfortable socially, and recognise the power dynamics in a group or organisation.
  • Relationship management (social skills) – You know how to develop and maintain good relationships, communicate clearly, inspire and influence others, work well in a team, and manage conflict.

Why is emotional intelligence so important?

Making social skilling (which entails the understanding and control of behaviour) a key focus of home and school life can only assist every other area of a child’s development. It takes time to develop these skills and children learn them mainly through small but important lessons over many years. If we want our children of good character, we must immerse them in schools, homes and communities where the lessons about emotions and behaviour are repeated many times.

The important understandings that come with emotional intelligence will keep our children safe in times of crisis, conflict, confusion and pain. They will kick in to guide our children’s actions, words and thoughts in a way that is considerate of themselves and others. The more closely teachers, parents and communities work together on the development of emotional intelligence in our children, the better will be the results.

"Let us raise children to be considerate of themselves, others and the world in which they live, with sound reasons for the things they say and do... from all this, all else will follow" Wilson McCaskill, 2002

To read more about how you can nurture the development of emotional intelligence, here are some useful resources:

Children aren’t made of china (bringing teachers and parents together in the pursuit of emotional intelligence, considerate behaviour and a lasting sense of wellbeing) – Book by Wilson McCaskill 2002

Emotional Intelligence Website

Wilson McCaskill Website 


Congratulations to our students who received certificates celebrating academic achievements over the last two weeks! Well done and keep up the great work!

Alison Lough


There were some tragic events which occurred last week in Paris and other parts of the world that your children may have seen or heard about through the media or through others’ conversations. Children often worry and know more than we realise. Adults may assume that children are doing okay if they don’t talk or ask questions about what has happened. Sometimes they have questions they may not ask unless we provide the opportunity. The Department of Education and Training offer the following advice for parents:

Advice for Parents 

• It is wise for you to monitor your child’s exposure to television coverage, print media and social media.
• Some children and young people will want to talk about the tragic events and try to make sense of what they have both seen and heard.
• Other children will avoid any discussion around the events and will be reassured by routine and normality. 
• Remember the importance of routine, sleep, exercise and healthy eating.
There is a range of things you can do to assist your child during events such as this, including:
• Acknowledge that the event was distressing
• Reassure children that they are safe
• Look for signs of distress (e.g. some children/young people might be scared)
• Normalise responses - typical response will range from anger to general upset or sadness
• Maintain a normal routine - keeping the structure at home or at school in place
• Allow children to express feelings as they arise
• Telling stories about how people manage during difficult times can be helpful.
• Separate fact from fiction e.g. children may express fears about unrelated events.
• Plan relaxing activities before bed – talk your child through a gentle relaxation, this might include using soothing music and talking them through relaxing tension in their body or simply reading something to them that induces relaxation (i.e. a favourite book).
• Speak in hopeful terms – children and young people will often take their cues from their parents' reactions; if you are honest, calm, compassionate and open they will be much more able to trust that they will be okay.
• Always remember the value of doing something with children that they like to do such as playing, exercising, being outdoors - have a time during your day to share time with your child.



Congratulations to our 2016 Marine Ambassadors!

Hayley, Abbey P, Fiona M, Amy L and Declan have been selected to represent our school as Marine Ambassadors next year. Their learning begins next Wednesday with their first workshop - the Dolphin Swim! We look forward to hearing all about it.


Every year we collect gifts at Christmas time for families and children. We are now collecting new
toys for the children and food items for families. (Please check food items are in date) PLEASE place your donations under the Christmas tree near the office before Friday December the 11th.

Thank you for your support.


Here is the calendar of events for this term. It will be updated fortnightly.


Dear Grade 6 Parents
On behalf of your class reps, I would like to invite you to our last class dinner get together for the year, for some of you maybe your last at MPPS.
This will be a fairly relaxed and informal gathering at the new gourmet pizzeria in Highett. “MR HUMBLE”.

The year is fast rolling on and pretty soon graduation will be here. Come and reminisce the friendships and laughs of the past 7 years
Please join us from 7pm. We would love to have you there. (Dads of course welcome)

WHEN: Thursday 26th November

WHERE: 6 Railway Pde

TIME: 7pm

RSVPS APPRECIATED: To Cheryl Nancarrow (Aaron 6W)
 ellisoncheryl@hotmail.com or 0421 499 356.


Hi Families, my name is Jenny and I am the new parent Scholastic Book Club representative. I would like to say a big thank you to Kathryn Harvey for organising the book club over the last two years and I wish her all the best as her son graduates to high school life! We would like to show you the latest set of books purchased using points raised from your book club orders throughout the year. 20% of each order placed comes back to our school in the form of reward points! We then use these points to purchase items for the school. In collaboration with the teachers, we recently ordered $270 worth of books to use in the classrooms!!. Thanks to all for your support and I look forward to helping out with Book Club in 2016.
Jenny O.

It's hard to believe that we are almost at the end of Term 4 and we only have two more cooking weeks left for the year! The roster for the remainder of the term is:

27th – Prep to 2
4th – Grades 3 – 6
11th – clean up – all welcome (no lunch orders this week)

We will be open on Friday 11th December, Sports Day, for over the counter sales of frozen food and drinks only. This is also a clean up day so please feel free to drop in and lend a hand!
A massive thank you to everyone who has helped out in the cafe` this year but a special thanks goes to the volunteers who turn up every week, whether it's on a Friday or one of the other days. We have had a fantastic team this year and we couldn't run without your help.
Finally, we hope you all enjoy the festive season and the summer break ahead and look forward to seeing you all next year.
Many thanks
The Kids' Café Team


This week at before & after school care we have been playing lots of group games, as well as some serious games of Monopoly & Connect 4! We have also spent some time making tents and cubbies.
The School Holiday January 2016 program is shaping up to be really exciting! Please book in as soon as you can! We will be operating from the school hall for the 4 weeks January 4-28.
We hope you have a fantastic week!
Anicca and OSHC Team


The Department of Education & Early Childhood Development and Mentone Park Primary School do not endorse the products or services of any private advertiser. They accept no responsibility for accuracy of information contained in advertisements or claims made by them.


11 November 2015

Newsletter 19/2015


Dear Parents and Friends
The year is slipping by!  This week marks exactly half way though the term - "hump" week!  I am sure you are all like us and thinking of all the things we have to get done before Christmas.


Teachers have been busy conducting end of year assessments to prepare your child/ren's December reports.  This is a rigorous process which involves a myriad of assessment tools to arrive at the final AusVELS outcome.  For the key areas of Reading, Writing and Mathematics, teachers employ a process of "triangulation", whereby 3 pieces of evidence are used to decide on a student's final mark. Some of the assessment tools and evidence we use includes:

  • On-line Standardised testing (Maths and Reading)
  • Essential Assessment mathematics tests
  • Progressive Achievement Tasks - Maths and English - an Australian, nationally normed series of tests
  • Whole school writing task
  • Running Records and Bench-marking Systems (Reading)
  • Classroom work and teacher judgements
As you can see this is a very detailed assessment schedule and through the results of the standardised tests, combined with teacher expertise and knowledge of their students and the curriculum, your child's level of achievement is determined.  The reports you receive then provide you with your child's progress against the standard curriculum.  This year December Reports will be coming home on Tuesday 15th December.


As Principal it is my role to ensure the safety, security, health and wellbeing of all of our staff and students. At Mentone Park we are committed to ensuring that everyone is treated with respect, fairness and dignity. We expect all employees, students, parents and visitors in the school to act accordingly.  To support this, we have our school values and our Community Code of Conduct. In addition to these local policies, the Department of Education and Training has a Dignity and Respect Statement which provides that discrimination, harassment, bullying, violence and threatening behaviour in Victorian Government schools is unacceptable.  All employees, students, parents and visitors in the school are expected to act accordingly. 
Many people do not realise that schools are not public places.  It is at the discretion of the principal, as occupier of the premises, to permit or deny entrance onto school grounds.  
Our school values determine the way we interact with each other and all staff, students, parents and visitors are reminded to adhere to these values during all interactions.  
As parents I am sure you all appreciate that sometimes children have disagreements.  At Mentone Park we take an active role in helping students work through their disagreements in a restorative way, thereby not damaging relationships but repairing them - just as we do as adults!  If your child has an issue at school with their friends that manifests itself at school, we ask that you refer the situation to the school.  This way, we can ensure a supportive and fair resolution to problems for all children involved.  As I have said recently, there is always 3 sides to every story - yours, theirs and somewhere in the middle - the truth!  We work very hard, and take it very seriously, to get to the truth in all situations.  We thank all our parents who support us in the hard work we do to care for the wellbeing of all our students.


Planning for 2016 is well underway.  Every year we look at the needs of our school and our students and aim to construct the best learning conditions for all.  We always want what is best for our students and to create the optimal learning environment for them.  Keeping this in mind, we put a lot of effort into considering class configurations and size and allocating teachers.  Teachers use their very extensive knowledge of how your children learn and operate at school to also determine their class placements.  
If you believe you have knowledge pertinent to the placement of your child in 2016, directly relating to education, behavioural or social issues, that class teachers may not be aware of and that may impact on their class placement, please put this in writing and address it to me for consideration.  As always, please note that requests concerning specific teachers are not invited.

PFA Meeting agenda
Our next Parents and Friends' Association meeting is scheduled for Thursday 26th November, prior to the Prep 2016 Tabloid Sports morning.  We welcome all parents and friends to attend the meeting which will be held at Seed Café in Mordialloc at 9:30am.  Come along and hear about the work we are doing at MPPS and meet other parents.  Bring a friend or come as a group.  The agenda will include an update on the Education State, the Government's new policy and direction for education, as well as an update on the building works proposed for 2016 and the junior playground update, funded by your wonderful fundraising efforts this year.  Hope to see you all there!

Kendra Parker


RUDE, MEAN, BULLYING - What’s the difference?

Throughout the course of the year at Mentone Park, students are immersed in our many wellbeing initiatives – Bully Prevention, Bounce Back and Restorative Practices among others. These approaches are designed to make children feel safe, comfortable, supported and confident whilst at school, as well as giving them essential life skills to translate into their outside school lives.
There is a myriad of information, anecdotes and stories about bullying that surround us – in newspapers, social media, on the news and in general conversation. The majority of us can watch or read these articles and immediately relate to the examples of bullying that are discussed. Without doubt, many of the stories of bullying that are shared are horrifying and some are unspeakably cruel. Unfortunately, sometimes stories that are bandied around in the media are not always cases of bullying. Obviously, students who have caused any kind of hurt to another, be it physical or emotional, need to understand how their actions have affected the victim and work towards repairing that relationship (restorative practices).
Part of our role as parents and educators, is to determine the extent to which a situation is incidental (mean or rude), or if it is ongoing, deliberate and targeted (characteristics of bullying).   Bestselling children's author, Trudy Ludwig, talk about these distinguishing terms:
Rude = Inadvertently saying or doing something that hurts someone else.
From kids, rudeness might look more like burping in someone's face, jumping ahead in line, bragging about achieving the highest grade or even throwing a crushed up pile of leaves in someone's face. On their own, any of these behaviours could appear as elements of bullying, but when looked at in context, incidents of rudeness are usually spontaneous, unplanned inconsideration, based on thoughtlessness, poor manners or narcissism, but not meant to actually hurt someone.

Mean = Purposefully saying or doing something to hurt someone once (or maybe twice).
The main distinction between "rude" and "mean" behaviour has to do with intention; while rudeness is often unintentional, mean behaviour very much aims to hurt or depreciate someone. Kids are mean to each other when they criticise clothing, appearance, intelligence, coolness or just about anything else they can find to denigrate. Meanness also sounds like words spoken in anger -- impulsive cruelty that is often regretted in short order. Very often, mean behaviour in kids is motivated by angry feelings and/or the misguided goal of propping themselves up in comparison to the person they are putting down. Commonly, meanness in kids sounds an awful lot like:
• "Are you seriously wearing that sweater again? Didn't you just wear it, like, last week? Get a life."
• "You are so fat/ugly/stupid/gay."
• "I hate you!"
Make no mistake; mean behaviours can wound deeply and adults can make a huge difference in the lives of young people when they hold kids accountable for being mean. Yet, meanness is different from bullying in important ways that should be understood and differentiated when it comes to intervention.
Bullying = Intentionally aggressive behaviour, repeated over time, that involves an imbalance of power. 
Experts agree that bullying entails
 three key elements: an intent to harm, a power imbalance and repeated acts or threats of aggressive behaviours. Kids who bully say or do something intentionally hurtful to others and they keep doing it, with no sense of regret or remorse - even when targets of bullying show or express their hurt or tell the aggressors to stop.
Bullying may be physical, verbal, relational or carried out via technology:
Physical aggression was once the gold standard of bullying-- the "sticks and stones" that made adults in charge stand up and take notice. This kind of bullying includes hitting, punching, kicking, spitting, tripping, hair pulling, pushing and a range of other behaviours that involve physical aggression.
Verbal aggression is what our parents used to advise us to "just ignore." We now know that despite the old adage, words and threats can, indeed, hurt and can even cause profound, lasting harm.
Relational aggression is a form of bullying in which kids use their friendship - or the threat of taking their friendship away - to hurt someone. Social exclusion, shunning, hazing, and rumour spreading are all forms of this pervasive type of bullying that can be especially beguiling and crushing to kids.
Cyberbullying is a specific form of bullying that involves technology. Cyberbullying is wilful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, mobile phones, and other electronic devices. Notably, the likelihood of repeated harm is especially high with cyberbullying because electronic messages can be accessed by multiple parties, resulting in repeated exposure and repeated harm.

So, why is it so important to make the distinction between rude, mean and bullying?
Here's the thing; in our culture of 24/7 news cycles and social media, we have a better opportunity than ever before to bring attention to important issues. In the last few years, the issue of bullying has been broadcast like never before; millions of school children have been given a voice,  anti-bullying legislation has been set in place, and thousands of adults have been trained in important strategies to keep kids safe and dignified in schools and communities. These are significant achievements.

At the same time however, gratuitous references to bullying are creating a bit of a "boy who cried wolf" phenomena. In other words, if kids and parents improperly classify rudeness and mean behaviour as bullying - whether to simply make conversation or to bring attention to their short-term discomfort - we all run the risk of becoming so sick and tired of hearing the word that this actual life-and-death issue among young people loses its urgency as quickly as it rose to prominence.
It is important to distinguish between rude, mean and bullying so that parents, teachers and kids all know what to pay attention to and when to intervene. As we have heard too often in the news, a child's future may depend on a non-jaded adult's ability to discern between rudeness at the bus stop and life-altering bullying.
This information has been taken from the work of Signe Whitson, a licensed therapist, educator on bullying in the U.S. and author of three books including ‘Friendship and Other weapons: Group Activities to Help Young Girls Cope with Bullying’.
For more information about bullying and bully prevention, follow these links:




Congratulations to our students who received certificates celebrating academic achievements last week! Well done and keep up the great work!

Alison Lough


On the 11th of November at 9.30am, Grade 2 students walked to the Mentone RSL to represent Mentone Park PS at the Remembrance Day service. It was a beautiful 40 minute walk and when we arrived we sat in rows at the front waiting for the service to start.

We listened to Tony Wilson, vice-president of the RSL, who delivered the service and we listened to students from Kilbreda sing the National Anthem. Then we were invited to lay our poppies and school wreath before joining guests inside for refreshments. Then we all walked back to school, but of course saying a big THANK YOU before we left!!!

Anni, Kate and Anton

Grade 2



Here is the calendar of events for this term. It will be updated fortnightly.

Last week we taste tested a new muffin flavour – apple and cinnamon.  These were given a resounding thumbs up by those who tried them so we will be adding these to the menu from this week.  A big thank you to Eve Kelly (mum of Elyse in 3/4O and Abby in 2R) who has very kindly donated the muffin mix for these.  Eve has a business which specialises in all natural, healthy baking mixes (www.evesbetterbake.com.au). 
Please note that the muffins we will be selling in the Kids Café are NOT gluten free.
Also you will only be able to order freshly popped popcorn as our packaged popcorn is not available due to supplier shortage.

It’s hard to believe we only have 4 more cooking weeks left for the year! 
As always we’d love some extra help if you can spare the time.
The roster for the remainder of the term is:
13th – 2R& 5D
20th – 1/2U& 6W
27th – Prep to 2
4th – Grades 3 – 6
11th – clean up – all welcome
Many thanks
The Kids Café Team

Casual Dress Day

Friday 20th November

Gold Coin Donation

In support of the Grade 6 Graduation Activities


Dear Parents,
We hope you all had a great long weekend, we had a fantastic long weekend with smiles all round. This week at OSCH the children enjoyed their arts and crafts for Halloween. Making masks and everything scary; we even practised our famous dance moves for the school disco.
We have had fun playing house games. Music and movement chain tiggy were our favourites to play we have had so much to do in the last 2 weeks we are all smiling and laughing as we speak.
We hope your enjoying your week.
From the OSHC Team


The Department of Education & Early Childhood Development and Mentone Park Primary School do not endorse the products or services of any private advertiser. They accept no responsibility for accuracy of information contained in advertisements or claims made by them.