This year we were successful in gaining a Language Grant to teach Auslan to our Grade 5/6 students. We were very fortunate to have Mrs McIlfatrick already on staff to be able to provide this wonderful experience to our students. In addition to working across the Grade 5-6 classes Mrs McIlfatrick also takes a 3-6 Signing choir.
Below is a summary prepared by Mrs McIlfatrick.
Auslan is short for Australian Sign Language and is the sign language of the Australian Deaf community. It is a natural language with its own structure and grammar and does not involve only mime as many may think. Although primarily used by Deaf people, it is also used to provide communication for people with Autism, Down Syndrome and other oral communication difficulties. Hearing people also gain from the many benefits of a visual language. Learning Auslan allows a range of people to feel connected to and involved in their community.
Students in the Pod 3 have been learning a variety of Auslan signs since the weekly, half an hour lessons started at the beginning of the year. The lessons are conducted in complete silence with children reading signs, facial expression, lips and notes on the board to help them learn and participate in a variety of sign games and activities. Students have learnt the Auslan signs for a variety of classroom items, different animals, feelings, the alphabet and numbers to 12. They have also learnt some greetings and question words and some curious students have started to put these together into signed sentences. I have been very impressed with the students’ silent enthusiasm for the language, as was Joy, a Deaf adult who visited in week 8 to check how we were going.
Signing Choir is another opportunity for students to learn Auslan. Between 15 – 20 students from Grade 3 – 6 also give up their recess on a Friday to learn how to sign songs. During Term 1 we learnt Advance Australia Fair and enjoyed leading the school in the assembly. This term we are learning ‘You’ve Got a Friend In Me’ the song from the Toy Story movie.
Once again I have been very impressed with the students' enthusiasm to learn a new language, they have picked it up very quickly.
Walk Safely To School Day
We had a fabulous turn out to our annual Walk Safely To School Day event with around 200 members of or school community involved. I met the group at the Basketball Stadium and it was great to see the big line of students, parents and grandparents walking alongside each other having a chat and a laugh. What a wonderful way to start the day!
Spotlight on our values – To Dream and To Believe
On May 12 George won the Tasmanian Inter School Novice Dressage Rider Championship on his horse Hobbes. He had to ride two dressage tests for a win based on the average scores.
When I spoke with George he told me that he had to do lots of practice before the event and make sure his horse was nice and clean. During the event the judges marked him on posture, movement, accuracy and how obedient Hobbes was going through the transitions. The test routine involved such things as canters, trots, circles, leg yields and centre lines.
This is a fantastic achievement by George as there are not many primary school riders in Tassie who are able to achieve this competition level. George will now go on to compete at National Inter Schools Championships in Sydney in the October school holidays.
We wish him all the best and look forward to hearing about how he performed. Well done George, you definitely embraced the challenge and worked hard to earn this wonderful achievement.
On Monday 20 May students from Kinder to Grade 2 participated in the Braveheart’s Ditto Adventure Show. The show focused on protective behaviours to keep students safe, which reinforced our STAR Rule – safety in play and learning. Hopefully your child may have come home and talked to you about some of the messages. To help you with your discussions I have included some of the big ideas covered:
The five basic principles we need to teach children between the ages of 3-8 are:
- To trust their feelings and to distinguish between ‘yes’ and ‘no’ feelings
- To say ‘no’ to adults if they feel unsafe or unsure
- That they own their bodies
- That nothing is so yucky that they can’t tell someone about it
- That if they feel unsafe or unsure to run and tell someone they trust
- ‘Yes Feelings’ - make you feel happy, excited and safe.
- ‘No Feelings’ - make you feel sad, scared, angry and unsafe. If you get ‘no feelings’ then run and tell someone you trust.
‘No Feelings’ warning signs:
- Fast breathing, butterflies in tummy, needing to go to toilet, wobbly legs and stuck feet.
- ‘My private parts belong to me so don’t touch’ (chest, between our legs, bottom and mouth).
- Good secrets are ok to keep and make you feel happy, excited and safe (e.g. a surprise birthday).
- Bad secrets make you feel sad, scared and unsafe – you need to run and tell someone.
In a Braveheart’s teacher professional learning I attended a few years ago they shared statistics which emphasised that we do need to be proactive to prevent sexual assault. One way of doing this is to discuss the above messages with our children so they can build a ‘tool kit’ to help them if they encounter an unsafe situation.
Some of the information shared included:
- 1 in 5 children are victims – this figure represents recorded cases only.
- In 95% of cases the offender is known to the child (e.g. Uncle, neighbour, friend, Grandparent).
- 60% of cases involve babies to 8 year old children.
- Cases are not restricted to socio-economic status, they occur across all backgrounds.
- Always believe children if they disclose information about sexual assault (e.g. touching private parts, watching/viewing inappropriate videos or pictures).
Mondays to Thursdays, from 8:50, if you walk by our library you will see older students reading with younger students. These older students are our Junior Literacy Leaders and we appreciate them giving up their own time to listen to students read and sometimes they even get to read picture books to a group of eager students. As the weather gets colder, the library is a great place to be before school, students don’t have to read to someone, they can just find a comfortable spot and read by themselves if they prefer.