Year 5 Camp
Our Bialik camp experience can be one of the most rewarding and unforgettable experiences in each student’s life.
Camp provides children with a community of caring mentors and teachers who provide experiential education that leads to self-respect and appreciation for life. All of the outcomes—friendships, independence, overcoming challenges, staying healthy and building character— prepare them for life skills down the road. In addition to great friendships and enduring memories, many important life skills are learned at camp.
Our camp pushed the students out of their comfort zone and exposed them to new activities and experiences that they may not be familiar with. They experienced a 250 metre giant swing, canoeing, kayaking, gorge walking, survival tasks, raft building, archery, and stand up paddleboarding, in addition to night activities with the Year 10 madrichim!
The sleeping in a tent experience was a highlight of this camp. The students had the opportunity to stargaze and see a night sky so different to the sky in a city environment. They were woken by the local kookaburras and smelled the clean fresh eucalyptus trees before having a hearty breakfast.
The camp experience developes social skills, teaches children to communicate, work together as part of a team, and be a leader. To help develop leadership skills, the students also fulfilled the responsibilities of setting up and cleaning after dinner, looking after their cabins and clothing while sharing resources.
I was so proud to see that every student took healthy risks, set personal goals, and realised their dreams. Their sense of achievement was evident by their enthusiastic smiles and the sound of their words, “I was scared at first, but I did it!”
Our camp experience provided the students with the core values of a strong, moral individual by teaching them about ethics, honesty, caring, respect and responsibility. Moreover, the camp experience helps to foster independence. I am happy to report that most of the students slept without any midnight alerts of being homesick! The camp provides a safe environment with caring teachers, mentors and peers who allow our children to quickly overcome their need for parental dependency for a few nights.
Our goal was to provide a memorable time for our students where creativity, adventure, thrills, smiles and plain old good times were the priority. Tick!!
Head of Primary School
Bialik in the Bush
‘Bialik In The Bush’ is our newest Primary initiative providing positive environmental and social educational outcomes for Year 3 students.
Embedding Indigenous culture and knowledge into outdoor learning enables students to gain an appreciation of the land and, in our Acknowledgment to Country, what it means to, ‘tread lightly.’
In this investigative and experiential space, the students will learn how natural and human processes cause changes to Earth’s surface and the importance of making informed choices. Students are using a range of scientific equipment to systematically collect, record, and evaluate data. Through a scientific lens, they are making many discoveries including the effects of temperature in nature, design investigations to show that heat is involved in changes of state, and use shadows to demonstrate their understanding of the relationship between the Earth, Moon and Sun.
Students will explore the ground surfaces and the Frog Bog to identify living mini-beasts such as invertebrates and their habitats as well as explore the skies to identify the birdlife that has reclaimed our Bialik environment.
Through digital technologies, students will share their learning with the Bialik community through blogs, videos, and podcasts. Stay tuned for their updates!
Growing research into animal-assisted therapies has seen an increase in the implementation of therapy animals, such as dogs, in the educational setting. This Year in our Primary school we not only welcomed 35 new students but we have adopted a wonderful dog and 2 rabbits.
In past few years Bialik has em’barked’ (excuse the pun) on 2 such programs namely ‘Dogs for Life’, a weekly program aimed at assisting our younger students to understand their social world through their relationship with the dogs and, over the past 12 months, Bialik College in association with Dogs For Life and La Trobe University, trained 3 dogs destined to go to returned service personnel in need of a therapy dog.
With these remarkably successful programs in place, Bialik students and staff have continued to experience the incredible benefits of animal therapy and have now adopted a permanent pooch into our Primary school.
Ryley is of the Lagotto Romagnolo breed. She is a past graduate of the Dogs for Life Program and is proudly owned by the Furman family (Teacher Emma – 4B). During the school day Ryley lives in our Primary school giving love and comfort to those who need a pat, a cuddle or a circuit breaker. She is part of our teaching team, assisting our students to develop responsibility, empathy and risk taking.
Ryley along with our 2 new rabbits, Blossom and Lilac, and our 6 friendly chickens are such welcome additions to our school and simply bring unconditional love to all.
Interacting with a friendly pet can help many physical and anxiety related issues. It can help reduce blood pressure and improve overall cardiovascular health. Pets can also release endorphins that produce a calming effect. This can help alleviate pain, reduce stress and improve your overall psychological state.
The presence of pets in a school setting has also been linked to improvements in school attendance, student confidence levels and increased motivation to participate in learning activities. Research tells us that pets can dramatically increase positive mood, ease social isolation and help children learn social skills and help young readers gain confidence.
So, next time on campus, come and meet our newest members of our ever growing community.
Head of Primary School
Last week our Primary School had Science Week as part of Digital Bialik.
Our annual Family Maths Games Evening is a highlight of the Primary school calendar. Thank you to our families and staff for their enthusiastic participation on 23 July as we held this event for the first time via Microsoft Teams. It was wonderful to see 60 of our Primary students and their families enjoying card games with a mathematical focus from home. The highlight of the evening was the game Boxed Cards which encouraged mental computation and strategy. All games from the evening can be accessed here to continue the learning at home.
A Message from Dan Sztrajt, Assistant Principal and Head of Jewish Life
On Tisha B’Av we commemorate much more than the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, we mourn a seismic shift in Jewish identity, a period in time so fraught with rapid change that it altered what it meant to be a Jew for the next 2000 years.
This period was foretold in Deuteronomy, “In the morning you will say, would that it were evening, and in the evening you will say, would that it were morning”. The Talmud, in Tractate Sotah 49A, explains this as a cursed time when each evening we yearn for the next morning to bring better news, but in fact each day brings progressively more troubling news, “because their situation is continuously worsening” (Sotah 49A). The Talmud recognises that the destruction of the Temples themselves were not the most troubling element, but rather the uncertainty of such rapid changes for the community.
This year we are confronted with a very real understanding of what it is like to live through a period of constantly evolving circumstances. We wonder each evening what the infection numbers will be the next morning and how these may impose a different regime of restrictions on us. We are anxious with this uncertainty because it seems that our ‘situation is continuously worsening’. Just like the destruction of the Temples, it is not the existence of Covid-19 that worries us, it is this perpetual flux of changing conditions.
The parallels are even more pronounced when we read Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar’s Talmudic commentary on the same verse which says “since the destruction of the Temple… the taste and aroma has been removed from fruit.” While this may have been meant as a metaphor, it is almost eerie to consider this as analogous to today’s Coronavirus symptoms. We too now long for the sweetness of being in the classroom together and enjoying each other’s company on the playground at lunchtimes.
Having said all of this, what can we learn from these similarities? Perhaps we are now more able to appreciate the tragedy of Tisha B’Av, not only as destruction, but as prolonged uncertainty. On the other hand, we know Judaism adapted to its new reality and would eventually thrive becoming the religion we are so familiar with today. Some would even say that this calamity ultimately lead to the establishment of Rabbinic Judaism, democratisation replaced centralised control by the social elite, and individual prayer substituted gruesome sacrifices. What better lesson could we take from Tisha B’Av than the knowledge that uncertainty eventually ends, and things do get better. When we are challenged, we grow. We find innovative solutions to what once seemed like unsolvable problems. We develop new appreciations for what is really important to us and in the process, make our lives even richer than before. If we are still here thriving 2000 years after the destruction of our Temple, we will surely be here thriving after Covid-19 too.
Term 3 may not be unfolding the way we imagined it would, but there are still so many things to look forward to. All the usual excitement, activities and learning will take place in a suitable format and all our students, whether on or off campus.
Welcome back to the Creche and Kinder students, as well as the Year 10-12 students, who will be enjoying ‘business as usual’ on campus. And welcome back to our Year 2-Year 9 students — once again there is an amazing Digital Bialik offering in store for you.
Here are some photos of our Kinder students enjoying the first day of Term 3.
The Junior String Orchestra, made up of students from Years 4-6, has been busy rehearsing in their individual Year levels over the last few months.
In the last week of Term 2, they came together for the first time to play as an orchestra and to hear how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together.
After working hard over the last three years to build up our string program, we can finally see and hear the potential we have, and it’s very exciting. We plan to enter the String Orchestra festival later this year.
Here are some fun photos from the Primary School’s airport adventure, which took place in the last week of Term 2.
The students showed their documents to Karen Friede – Customs Officer! Karen was assisted by her trusty Canine Customs Officer, Pluto.
Once inside, the group was addressed by a Pilot who is also a parent at the school. They learned about airport security and other aspects of flying the friendly skies.
On Friday afternoon, 15 May 2020, the Years 4/5 Learning Hub would have been buzzing with excitement, as our Year 5s were due to engage in a fascinating Manhigut (Primary leaders) session with Jared Cooney Horvath, our Neuroscientist in residence. Instead, we held a dynamite on-line session with Jared on Microsoft TEAMS.
The session was all about the brain’s plasticity. Neuroplasticity, or brain plasticity, refers to the brain’s ability to CHANGE throughout life. The human brain has the amazing ability to reorganize itself by forming new connections and pathways between brain cells. To demonstrate this, Jared gave our students fun tasks that illustrated to each and every student the plasticity of their own brain. Even though we were not physically together in the Learning Hub, the buzz and excitement were very much felt, ending the week of Digital Bialik learning on a high note.