At the end of last year, when I was in the midst of preparing my ‘Celebration of Learning’ speech, little did I think I would be writing a similar message again this year…the continuing obstacle, which ’shall not be named’, has again tried to create havoc in the lives of our Balmain community and beyond.
This year, as we are all so well aware, remote learning was a part of our lives for over a quarter of the school year, with certain restrictions still continuing to the end of Term 4, such as the inability to celebrate the way we normally would. It certainly hasn’t been easy, and not a simple walk in the (5km LGA) park, however, I personally choose to see the gifts that the pandemic has brought us.
The topsy-turvy world we have navigated through, and continue to do so this year, has been a positive experience...out of adversity, our students have developed such a variety of skills: resilience, patience, perseverance, independence, determination, problem-solving, time management, grit and, of course, using the Google Classroom platform. Our students have learnt to get along with siblings, spend more quality family time at home, as well as to learn new skills, such as cooking, gardening and learning new instruments. As they say, ‘practise makes perfect’ and, second time around, we have all seemingly quickly and easily slid back into the life of Google Classroom and Zoom! Our Kindergarten students have experienced remote learning for the very first time (and hopefully something that won’t need to happen again next year ?) and have also developed brand-new technological skills!
This time around, with the additional gift of the 5km restrictions, a number of our families got out to experience their ‘5km Slice of Heaven’, including myself. This is something that I know I have taken for granted in the past, yet it has been eye-opening to re-experience a love and wonder for nature again.
A ‘Celebration of Learning’ occurs before the actual (this time, digital) event. Achievement and success comes in all shapes and sizes, and sometimes is quite obvious – competing and winning at different levels, such as sport; learning to play an instrument and performing a solo and as a collective in the band in front of an audience; achieving exemplary results in tests and receiving awards; as well as standing at the front of lines and receiving weekly awards.
Sometimes, achievement is not always obvious, however, but happens very subtly – having the courage to ‘have a go’ at something new, being able to decode an unknown word, reading with more fluency, having that ‘aha!’ moment when the maths concept makes sense, learning how to make a friend, making less mistakes in spelling over time, working with others in a group…the list is endless.
After reading through and signing off on 361 Semester 2 reports recently, it quickly became apparent to me that there are currently 361 students at Balmain Public School, from Kindergarten to Year 6, who have all experienced individual successes and achievements this year. These reports are definitely all a celebration...hopefully you’ve taken the time to celebrate with your children.
They say that…“It takes a village to raise a child”…this African proverb certainly rings true at Balmain Public School; we have a fabulous community working together, to ensure the success of each and every member of our Balmain village.
Firstly, I'd like to acknowledge the hard work, dedication and passion of all of Balmain's teachers and staff, who ensure that the Department of Education’s goal of knowing, valuing and caring for each student, is undeniably upheld. Thank you to each and every one of you, who help make such a positive difference in our children's education.
The next special group of people is our P&C - your collective enthusiasm and dedication with fundraising for the benefit of all our children and school is truly commendable! Thank you so much for your ongoing support!
Together, we continue in partnership to deliver a quality education to each and every student at Balmain Public School - that all our students make a strong start in life and education - that all students are engaged and challenged and continue to learn - that all young people have a strong foundation in literacy and numeracy, as well as deep content knowledge - that all students are confident in their ability to learn, adapt and be responsible citizens - that all our students will be well-prepared for the future that lies ahead.
This year has certainly been unique and a moment in time to embrace and treasure...'a picture paints a thousand words', as they say...enjoy the highlight reel of '2021 - THE YEAR THAT WAS'...
Mrs Maria Lambos