During her time leading Junior School, Mrs Prandolini worked with great passion and dedication to create a community of confident and happy learners. She modelled and inspired high standards and was committed to ensuring that Lowther Hall remained a leader in teaching and nurturing its primary school students.

​Empathy is a highly valuable human quality but one which is not always straightforward for young people to develop. In Junior School this week at Together on Friday we will be exploring ways to practise seeing things from someone else’s perspective and considering another’s view. Developing the capacity for empathy is a shared responsibility of parents and staff and we appreciate everything that families do to assist girls to see various situations from the viewpoint of another, or to help them understand how another person might be feeling in a particular situation. One way in which we can assist young people to build their empathic skills is through assisting them to identify their own feelings so that they are better equipped to identify the feelings of others.

​Excitement is building in Senior School as the cast and crew of Beauty and the Beast make their final preparations for next week’s production. I hope that I will see many of you there! Similarly there is a buzz of anticipation in Junior School in the lead up to tomorrow’s Science Fair, which I am sure will be a highlight of the term. As each of these special opportunities takes place I am reminded of the dedication of the teachers who work tirelessly and with unrivalled passion to provide meaningful learning experiences for our girls, not simply in their classrooms, but through a range of wonderful additional programs.

This week I spoke to the Senior School girls about the use of good manners in their daily lives. Specifically I reminded them of the expectation that they (as a young person) give up a seat on public transport to an older person, a pregnant woman or a person with a disability.

​Sunday is Mother’s Day and this week we have the opportunity to celebrate at school with the Junior School and Senior School Mother’s Day Breakfasts and the Mother’s Day stall in Junior School. This is a time of year to pause and pay homage to our mothers, step-mothers, grandmothers, substitute mothers and all those women who have mothered us. When I reflect on the qualities of good mothers I think about: love – of the unconditional variety (reassuring when we mess things up); forgiveness – a willingness to always give us a second chance; honesty – a capacity to tell us the truth, even when it is hard to hear; encouragement – to give things a go and not to give up; selflessness – the capacity to put others first, and finally; industry and the demonstration of hard work (whether in paid employment or in the home).

Last Friday afforded girls in Senior School and Junior School the opportunity to stop and reflect on the meaning of ANZAC Day and to participate in formal ceremonies where wreaths were laid, information was shared and other traditions were observed. The School was also represented by members of the Prefect Body at the community service in Queens Park on Sunday. It remains important to us as a School to acknowledge the price of warfare and to pay our respects to those who have sacrificed life, health and safety in pursuit of passionately held beliefs. At our Casual Clothes Day tomorrow the girls will bring $4 which will contribute to our fundraising for the School in Bangladesh which we fully staff and run. Over the coming term, various student leaders will be helping the girls across Junior and Senior School to learn more about this important global connection. It will be wonderful to see our Junior School girls wearing the green and red of the Bangladesh flag tomorrow as part of the awareness raising campaign. A reminder that as of Monday next week, girls are expected to be wearing the winter uniform. Please check that the uniform fits appropriately, especially around the neck of the shirt. Skirt length is to be at the knee. High uniform standards are important in assisting girls to practise attention to detail, strong personal presentation and in demonstrating respect for their school. Your cooperation and support in reinforcing these messages is greatly appreciated.

Learning Conferences have provided excellent opportunities for parents and teachers (and for older year levels, students also) to come together to discuss the learning which has taken place so far this year.

​Welcome back to Term 2! In only 3 days so much has already happened: The Senior School Athletics Carnival, the first rehearsal of the Girls’ Voices of the Cathedral Choir, training for Term 2 Sports and lots of learning!

​There has been much cause for celebration at Lowther Hall this week with many of our Senior School Sport Teams playing in finals and having well deserved and hard fought wins to come home division, zone or overall champions in their Term 1 sports. All things Senior School tennis, indoor cricket, softball, swimming, diving, triathlon and rowing were celebrated and shared at the Years 7 to 12 Term 1 Sports Assembly yesterday where we were reminded of the many girls who have achieved their own, or contributed to a team’s, sporting success over the last 8 weeks. Last night at the Autumn Band Festival it was clear that there has been much productive rehearsal throughout the term and it was delightful to see some of our youngest brass, woodwind and percussion students take to the stage alongside our more experienced players. Well done to all!

Teaching What Matters Over the long weekend, I attended a conference led by a group of educators from the Harvard Faculty of Education and, in particular, enjoyed the keynote address given by “Project Zero” guru, David Perkins. In his lecture, Perkins reminded the audience about the “Expanding Universe of Education” and the challenge for schools and teachers to equip young people to be able to make a worthwhile contribution in a world that is increasingly knowledge rich, connected and fast paced. He challenged us to think about the learning that really matters. At Lowther Hall this is a question which we consider regularly. We are fortunate in Australia, to now have a national curriculum that, whilst overcrowded, is mostly concerned with relevant questions and which focusses on the acquisition of skills and dispositions. The units of work that are taught from our very youngest year levels all the way to Year 12, are framed around big ideas that we consider important for the girls to wrestle with and consider, and which we hope they will find transferable to the world beyond school. As well as the subject based curriculum, we are also conscious that we impart to the girls, a curriculum of values, attitudes and qualities which in many ways are the most important. Some of these are articulated in the Australian Curriculum as “personal and social capabilities” – including self-management, self-awareness, social management and social awareness. These are addressed through the Personal and Social Development classes as well as through pastoral time and assemblies. Encouraging each student to develop the Qualities of the Lowther Hall Girl, also assist her in the acquisition of intra and interpersonal skills. Running through all the learning of the girls’ learning experiences, should also be the development of their capacity to think critically and creatively. Creative thinking is something that parents can support at home through the provision of experiences that allow an imaginative response – such as a trip to the beach to build sandcastles, the creation of an original recipe or the posing of a household problem that requires a solution. Similarly, critical thinking can be supported by asking “why do you think that?” or “why do you think that happened?” I am confident that this term, our students have once again engaged in a great deal of “learning that matters” and I encourage you to continue to assist the girls to reflect on their learning as they move into the Easter break.