Pigeon Post

2021 Volume 4 Issue 10 - FINAL

Acknowledgement of Country...

Enrolling now for Kindergarten 2022!

Go to our website...

From the Principal's Desk...

‘Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass but learning to dance in the rain’ - unknown

Learning to dance in the rain’ has been our unofficial motto at Balmain Public School this year!

Our amazingly resilient Balmain community - students, staff and parents/carers - has not allowed the obstacles any storm (including a  pandemic) has thrown at us to actually stop us from gracefully pirouetting through school life!

Our Kindergarten students have all experienced, navigated and twirled their way, seemingly seamlessly, through ‘Google Classroom’ and ‘Zooms’, for the first time ever!

Our Year 6 students and Graduation Committee have creatively shimmied with the perfect fundraising activity - the student-designed masks (modelled by Buddy Bear and myself in the photo below)...as well as bopping through Term 4 with clever, specially-themed weekly mufti days!

We’ve boogied back to face-to-face learning early in Term 4, in line with the NSW Department of Education’s current guidelines and many have even turned mask-wearing into a fashionable, fun accessory!

‘Learning to dance in the rain’ will naturally support us in continuing to elegantly waltz our way through school life, today and into the future!

Thank you to our Balmain Public School family - students, staff, parents and carers, P&C and extended community - we are so grateful for your ongoing support of all our students and incredible school!

To our Year 6 students and families that are leaving us, we'll miss you all and wish you the very best for the future!

Wishing everybody a safe and relaxing Christmas and New Year, filled with love, joy and great memories!

Never stop dancing through life! 

Maria Lambos - Principal

Don't miss out on this very special keepsake!

Farewell, Ms Parkes

Ms Jenny Parkes, long-time BPS staff and home-grown member of the greater Balmain community, will sadly be leaving us at the end of this year. Although Jenny went to Birchgrove PS, (we won't hold that against her), she has been such an advocate for our wonderful school!

Jenny is a truly passionate and dedicated teacher, ensuring she gives the best of herself to her students! From the time I started at BPS, I've known Jenny to fully immerse herself in always making the learning fun and engaging. This photo epitomises what she's all about, taken during home learning earlier this year, ensuring the connection with her class continued, with themed Zoom check-ins and the like.

Jenny has been fortunate to receive a service transfer to her children's local school and much closer to where she lives. Balmain's loss is definitely Canterbury's gain!

On behalf of the Balmain Public School community, we wish you the very best of luck at your new school! Farewell! Balmain will always have very fond memories of your time here!


As soon as a permanent position becomes vacant, such as in the case of Ms Parkes, there is a process involved, which includes declaring the position vacant and then DoE's Staffing/Human Resources filling it. 

Within the DoE, positions are filled in the following alternate manner, once approved through Staffing:

  • Merit Selection - the school forms a panel, including a parent representative, advertises and interviews for a successful candidate
  • Central Appointment - the DoE appoints a staff member, either a new Graduate or transfer from another school.

Our last vacant classroom position, which belonged to Mrs Sun, as she was the successful candidate for the Assistant Principal vacancy in Term 1, was filled via Merit Selection. Ms Rose Reedy was interviewed and was the successful candidate.

With Ms Parkes' newly-declared position, we were able to have some flexibility within the Central Appointment process, requesting a new graduate, via closed merit. It is always important to ensure that there is a good mix of early career teachers, as well as more experienced ones.

Our preference allowed for a panel to be formed - involving a staff and parent rep, as well as myself - and interviewing suitable graduates who applied.

The 10-day appeal period is officially over and we now have a new member of the Balmain Public School family, as of the beginning of the 2022 school year!

Welcome to Ms Katie Withers! We are looking forward to you joining the amazing 'Team Balmain' next year!

Welcome, Ms Katie Withers!

Hello Balmain parents, carers, staff and students! 

I am really looking forward to becoming part of the Balmain Public School community. I grew up in the Northern Territory and have been living in Sydney for the past 10 years, intermingled with a few 6-month stints abroad in Canada and Japan. My interests include cooking, hiking, snowboarding, camping, reading, pottery, bubble tea and birds! 

My teaching is underpinned by a belief that all students have the propensity to develop a love of learning. I endeavour to understand students' authentic interests and reflect them in the learning experiences I provide, in order to foster student curiosity and passion. I am looking forward to meeting you in the new year!

Year 6 Fundraising...

Thanks so much for supporting Year 6 again this week! A total of $583.85 was raised! A special shout-out to Stage 2 for their Muffin Stall! We really appreciate it!

A message from the Year 6 Organising Committee...


The Year 6’s have worked really hard this year in fundraising and, with the generosity of all of the students and their families at Balmain (via the donations for the dress up days, guessing competitions, icy poles, muffin stall etc), they have raised an incredible amount of money which contributed towards the Year 6 Gift to the School. This gift is to say thank you for all the support and love given to all students by the teachers, staff and volunteers over the period of their time at Balmain Public School. The gift that the students have provided to the school is to invest into Ms Pauline’s garden – this included weeding, making the garden look great, fill up the garden with dirt and ensure they are no bumps and that there is a firm base to build on, add in new plants, build the dirt pits to play in and the finishing touches to make the garden a beautiful and lovely place for all of the students, staff and teachers (and hopefully for the parents to visit at some stage in the near future) at Balmain Public School for the years to come.


Your tokens of appreciation, although so heartwarming and generous, especially during this time, are neither necessary, nor expected.

Staff are very appreciative of your generosity, however, as per the DoE's 'Gifts, Benefits and Hospitality Procedures', the token of appreciation must adhere to the following:

  • Value - up to $50 ONLY per student
  • NO cash or negotiable instruments such as cash vouchers, 'pre-paid cash' and 'EFTPOS' cards, Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), shares or money orders
  • Gift cards are acceptable as a gift of gratitude, as they are considered non-cash vouchers that must be used as specific retailers and cannot be converted to cash eg David Jones, Bunnings, Tara Dennis - a gift card cannot exceed $50 per student
  • Alcohol - MUST NOT exceed a value of $50

Donations of new toys are gratefully accepted for our Giving Assembly on Wednesday 15 December!

Connect with Balmain PS...Wonder what's goes on at our school? Follow us on Instagram for daily content, both through posts and stories...

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Keep up with what's happening @ Balmain Public School


IF YOU SEE A COLOURED CIRCLE AROUND OUR EMBLEM, DON'T FORGET TO TAP ON IT, FOR OUR LATEST STORY...you've got to get in quickly, as it disappears after 24 hours!


To see what else we've been up to this week, head over to @balmainps!

Important messages...

FROM THE OFFICE - Please ensure you ALWAYS write your child's FULL NAME and CLASS when emailing the school, or dropping items off. Thank you.

If and when you are picking your child/ren up early, please come to the office window on Eaton Street and "squeeze" Bill our duck. We will have the students brought down to the Office. Thanks.

Until further notice...

Until further notice:

  • Kiss & Drop - using both Gladstone Park & Eaton St gates, from 8:30am
  • Staggered pick-up - Gladstone Park gate & basketball court - ES1/S1 @ 2:50pm & S2/S3 @ 3pm

Your understanding and patience in this matter is much appreciated.

SkoolBag is our main comms @ Balmain PS...stay connected!

To ensure you receive all communication via SkoolBag, please have the app downloaded on your phone, with the notifications turned ON.

Although the school pushes out notifications via the app and email, there may be times when an important message may be missed as emails may sometimes not be checked regularly.

If you need assistance downloading the app, please see below?...

SkoolBag installation instructions

Current COVID-19 advice

All students are expected to be at school unless they are unwell. Do not attend school if unwell, even with mild symptoms.

  • If you have any COVID-19 symptoms you will be sent home and must not return to school unless you have either:
    • isolated for 10 days, when no medical certificate is available
    • a negative COVID-19 test result and are symptom free.

    Once you have received your negative COVID-19 test results, please send a copy to the school via email.



    Order through Flexischools...

    Monday 13 December - Year 6 Graduation

    *school-based event

    Tuesday 14 December - Celebration of Learning

    *school-based event

    Wednesday 15 December - Giving Assembly

    *school-based event

    Giving Assembly - accepting donations until Tuesday 14 December. Thanks so much in advance for your support!

    Wednesday 15 December - Reports go home

    **Please note: Following the guidelines from the NSW Department of Education, this Semester 2 report follows a simplified format to reflect on your child's learning on-site at school and via remote learning.**

    Thursday 16 December - Last Day of Term 4!

    2:45pm - Guard of Honour

    Dates for 2022...

    Friday 28 January - School Development Day 1


    Monday 31 January - School Development Day 2


    Tuesday 1 February - all students in Years 1-6 return!

    1-4 February - Kindergarten 'Taster Day' sessions

    *as per separate SkoolBag notification

    Monday 7 February - Kindergarten's (official) 1st Day!



    LEARN LIVE LEAD awards

    K Gentle - Mrs GoodridgeZara Sbeing an excellent student, who leads others by always following the 'Balmain Way'
    K Mellow - Mrs Mikhail BryantDorothy Wher hard efforts adding numbers
    1/2 Altruism - Ms CooperHenry Fmaking me laugh so hard with an excellent prank
    1/2 Compassion - Ms ChiangOliver Hhis consistently high level of care and effort in our Maths warm up slips
    1/2 Friendship - Ms FergusonHamish Oworking carefully and thoughtfully through his maths tasks
    1/2 Kind Kids - Ms KarstromSilas Rhis enthusiasm when writing and creating a picture book, using his imagination and exciting language
    3/4 Harmony - Ms CurryMillie Oalways so kind and caring to your peers and your teacher!
    3/4 Leopards - Ms JennettArabella Salways being a helpful, responsible class member
    3/4 Phoenix - Ms Parkes/Mrs BowmanCharlotte Rher fabulous portrayal of a puppy in the play, 'The Night Before Halloween'
    5/4 Rainbow - Ms ReedyBen Sa thoughtful and insightful SOLE presentation. Well done!
    5/6 Belong - Mr BaumannWill Midentifying and working towards positive goals to help him prepare for high school
    5/6 Calm - Mr Carlton nameFelisha Kbeing a caring and thoughtful to her fellow peers
    5/6 Poppies - Ms PitmanWenwen Zbeing a dedicated learner and a joy to teach
    5/6 Yin & Yang - Mrs SunSophia Tbeing a helpful and responsible member of our class
    K-2 STEAM - Ms BarcenillaGabriel R 1/2Chis high level engagement during STEAM this term!
    3-6 STEAM - Ms BarcenillaLogan P 5/6Bher determination and consistently positive attitude towards her learning in STEAM!
    K-2 Art - Mrs BowmanRayson M 1/2Fexcellent work and enthusiasm in the art room
    3-6 Art - Mrs BowmanBonnie D 3/4Hcreating a wonderful Christmas alpaca! Bravo!


    K Gentle - Mrs GoodridgeLane WBravery - showing perseverance and stepping up to a challenge
    K Mellow - Mrs Mikhail BryantOlivia McISelf-regulation - working hard to control her emotions
    1/2 Altruism - Ms CooperNate JTeamwork - responsibly helping us settle into our new space
    1/2 Compassion - Ms ChiangJack HPerseverance - staying motivated and focused in all activities despite it being almost the end of the year!
    1/2 Friendship - Ms FergusonAlec McEPerseverance - working hard towards achieving his goals!
    1/2 Kind Kids - Ms KarstromMargot BJoyfulness - believing in her ability and completing learning tasks with a happy smile
    3/4 Harmony - Ms CurryBrodie N-SHelpfulness - being a star as we pack up the room for the year
    3/4 Leopards - Ms JennettRose FTact - always engaging with her peers in a kind and respectful manner
    3/4 Phoenix - Ms Parkes/Mrs BowmanMilly HKindness - being supportive of her teacher in a tough moment
    5/4 Rainbow - Ms ReedyCleopatra McPFlexibility - adapting to change with a smile and a positive attitude.
    5/6 Belong - Mr BaumannMaxim PCreativity - his creative ideas in his latest shark tank project
    5/6 Calm - Mr CarltonKaito SPerseverance - applying the extra detail to his work to demonstrate his knowledge and understanding
    5/6 Poppies - Ms PitmanSean CGenerosity - being happy to share and contribute, and approaching life with a 'no-fuss' attitude
    5/6 Yin & Yang - Mrs SunKathy XKindness - bringing her warm and friendly attitude to school every day

    Positive Pete Winners!

    Thanks to Ms Karstrom, who organises the collection and distribution of the Gelatissimo ice-creams, as well as takes the fab photos!

    FROM YOUR P&C...

    Uniform Stall

    Under the current guidelines published by the Department of Education, the uniform stall will be operating via online ordering only.

    Exchanges and returns can be arranged by emailing the uniform stall volunteers: balmainpsuniforms@gmail.com

    Thank you!

    P&C end-of-year update – Bumper edition and farewells!

    Last night we held our final P&C meeting for 2021 and next week I’ll watch my newly minted 12-year-old graduate!

    It’s hard to believe that seven years has passed since we took Luca to the BPS Teddy Bears’ Picnic (part of orientation before Kindy).

    We waved Luca off on his first day of big school and he hasn’t looked back since! He’s loved his time at Balmain. In the years that followed, the one constant was the community he and we built around the school – a beautiful bunch of the best kind of friends, a village of parents ready to help whenever it was needed, many, many dinner parties and some drunken auctions(!), a book club and lots more. Our youngest, Sunny, also started Kindy here after spending his whole life before that chasing after the big kids in and around the school gates and Gladstone Park.

    I know all Stage Two and Three parents have their own version of this story. There’s something so magical about joining your local school and what a wonderful school we have! The best thing about Balmain and our school is the community and I hope everyone gets to experience what a normal year is like in 2022 (in so many ways!).

    What a year this has been. It’s certainly not what we envisioned at the beginning, as back then we thought we’d be hosting lots of events and having a normal year. It has been anything but.

    The extended lockdown was hard on everyone – our children, parents and teachers. It certainly made clear how important and valued our teachers are and last night I thanked Maria and all our teachers again for their incredible work throughout the whole year, but especially during that time. I certainly believe that they deserve to be paid more.

    I recently read an article about a shortfall of permanent teachers in public schools and asked Maria to talk to us about the situation in Balmain. Permanency is important for students as well as teachers themselves, and Maria explained what is being done to address the issue.

    Last night, we also heard some exciting updates about projects that we’ve been working on. The new solar panels should be installed by the time school starts next year and the outdoor toilet upgrades should be completed in the first quarter of 2022 as well. A huge thanks to everyone who has helped get those two things over the line, especially Victoria Lush, Paul Galpin and Brendan O’Brien.

    We had an update on our finances. Our current cash position is $93k which is down from the $111k at the last meeting. Key changes include underwriting the toilet upgrade by $34K and raising nearly $5.5k in donations for the HEPA air filters with more still coming through. Thank you for the huge support for that fundraiser.

    Maria informed us that she’s had more funds come through as part of the IT levy and received 15 new iPads for the school through the Department’s IT points program. We’ve asked Maria to advise us at the first meeting next year whether the school has enough IT equipment to get through 2022 (and subsequent years). If there isn’t enough, we’ll all need to work out how we can best support the school to get more.

    We were also updated on the 2022 Trivia Night which is scheduled for March.

    I want to thank everyone for supporting all the Year 6 fundraisers. They’ve had a tough couple of years but it’s been heartening to see how the school community has rallied around them. This is the first time in the school’s history that the Yr6 Celebration will be a free event so thank you for the support and thanks to the Year 6 parent committee for all their hard work.

    Finally, thank you to all our fabulous volunteers for helping us get through this year, and special thanks to our P&C Exec members Victoria Lush and Cliff Philipiah.

    Victoria and Cliff are year six parents who will be saying farewell to BPS next week but frankly it’s hard to imagine the school without them!

    Cliff has been an active school parent, volunteer and P&C member for over a decade. He’s organised many events and run countless BBQ’s. Cliff has always been happy to help and take on work to make the school a better place for his two beautiful girls.

    Victoria has also been a wonderful volunteer, committed school parent, P&C member and Eaton St committee member. In the last seven years she’s achieved so much for the school and organised the P&C Exec group. Our new solar panels will be installed soon thanks to her dedication and tireless work and there’s no one who has better taste in wine and cheese!

    It was also Victoria and Cliff who introduced the Giving Assembly at Balmain and they both hope this beautiful event stays on the school calendar. The rest of the Exec are keen to keep it on too as we are the only school on the peninsula who work with the Salvation Army in this way and we believe the message from the Giving Assembly is an important one to share with the children during the holiday season. This year’s Giving Ceremony is on next Wednesday. The children have been busy decorating their boxes so please send in a toy before then if you are able.

    If you see Cliff or Vic between now and the end of the year, please take a moment to say thanks - we couldn’t do what we do for the school without amazing volunteers like them.

    And if you see a teary parent or two at the school gates next week, chances are it will be a year six parent remembering their child’s own first day at BPS and marvelling at how fast it’s all gone. Give them a wave, before you know it, it will be your turn!

    Happy holidays! I hope you enjoy the break and find some sunshine. See you next year.

    The P&C Exec - Shehana (Luca in Year 6 & Sunny in Year 1), Gemma (George in Kindy & Joshua in Year 3), Cliff (Logan in Year 6), Paul (Jasper in Year 1) & Victoria (Harry in Year 6) 


    3/4 PHOENIX!!!!!

    What an amazing Term Four it has been in 3/4P! We returned to school with enthusiasm and set about immersing ourselves in classroom learning.

    We began with a foray into the exciting world of insect protein - trying cricket chips, whole crickets and even mealworms! Everyone was very brave!

    We discussed the global issue of deforestation in rainforests around the world, including in Indonesia.

    We solemnly marked Remembrance Day, reflecting on the lucky lives we lead, as a result of the people who have gone to war for Australia.

    We continued to work to master our times tables, inducting a handful of students into our 'Times Tables Hall of Fame'.

    We delved deeply into the dramatic world of scripts and readers theatre, writing and producing our own plays to critical acclaim!

    And we investigated the properties of 3D objects, such as pyramids and prisms.

    3D shapes are delicious!

    We spent this week packing up and moving rooms. It’s been an exciting and productive end to the year - only a few more days to go!


    Term 1 2022...