Code Like a Girl

It appears at St Catherine’s we have our very own Bletchley Park as the Year 4 girls begin to explore all aspects of coding. In its most basic form, coding is a set of instructions that when followed completes a set task. Coding is part of every aspect of our lives, from following a recipe to programming your very own game. Coding is a vital learning tool for students today.

The Year 4 girls introduction to coding, required great skill and perseverance as they explored the history of code, using ciphers to decode messages left around the Junior School. 4S were victorious over 4SB in a nail biting finish as the girls solved the clues in a time limit. To extend their thinking the girls used their coding skills to program Dash, a robot, around a labyrinth to collect QR codes. Precision was key, as the girls applied their classroom learning focus of angles and measurement to determine the turns and distances required to navigate Dash around the maze.

Over the coming weeks the girls will explore the data on each QR code to explore in depth the history of Coding from the first binary code, to the amazing work of Ada Lovelace. Coding is alive in Junior School.

Ms Alyssa Flint, Year 5F
100 Days of Prep

Prep is a magical year. It is always nice to have something to look forward to and since day 1, Prep E have been looking forward to celebrating our 100 days of learning. We have counted up to this day for 100 days.

It all started with a calendar and each day a magical number would be crossed off knowing that with each mark, we grew closer and closer to the big day.

We had lots to prepare, with a full week leading up to our celebrations. We learnt how to count by fives and tens to one hundred, bake cupcakes and ice them with the number 100, created streamers and pom poms for the day, made crowns/glasses, reflected back on our 100 days of learning through writing and most importantly we all acknowledged just how much we had learnt. “I love learning new sounds.” said Margaret Shao.

Mrs Melissa Dods, our creative music teacher, helped to write and choreograph a song with the Preps, which they practised in secret. “Quick Mrs Dods” they would exclaim. “Please close the music doors or people will hear us!”

The big day came and the Preps shone at assembly. Adorned with crowns/masks they took to the choir stands. Every single Prep student performed with great enthusiasm, despite the little butterflies that were a flutter in some tummies. We hope the audience enjoyed hearing and seeing some of our favourite aspects about Prep.

After receiving certificates from Mrs Moor, we returned to the classroom where Mrs Bourke had helped to set up a magic room filled with 100 day celebrations. The best activity was the 100 beads. Each student was provided with a chart to help make a pattern with 100 beads. “Look, Mrs Bourke”, said Teegan Gobel, “I have made a pattern counting by 5s”.  Anna made colourful patterns with yellow and pink. Each Prep student demonstrated great patience and determination to string the beads. “I did it!” smiled Zara Barr with the biggest smile. They also showed great restraint as we iced our cupcakes without licking their fingers. “Oh, they smell so yummy” said Genevieve Campbell.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this day as special as it was, especially the Preps. Happy 100 days of learning. I have enjoyed every day with Prep.

Miss Annie Taylor, Prep E


weExplore – Wellbeing Sessions in Year 1

What does Wellbeing look like in the Year 1 classroom?

Wellbeing occurs all the time in our classroom, whether it be reading a story, utilising the Smiling Mind app, or conducting lessons from our new program with Swinburne University’s Emotional Intelligence Research Unit, to deliver the Foundations of Emotional Intelligence Development Program.

‘Open minded portraits’ has been a recent Reading Response task. This activity allows us to ‘open up’ the character’s mind and write what they are thinking, the problems they are having or the questions they may have at any time in during the story. We can try to understand the character, their emotions, attitudes and motives by looking deeper into their minds. It allows us to empathise with the character by placing ourselves in their shoes. Below are a couple of responses after reading Jessica’s Box by Peter Carnavas.

“Did I just make a friend? I think so. I realised I don’t need to bring anything in my box to make a friend.”

Anabelle Ranchod

“I hope they like my toy bear. Maybe they will like me when I bring my toy bear. I cannot wait for tomorrow. I wonder what it will be like?”

Alie Belan

Recently, particularly after lunch, we spend five or so minutes listening to the Smiling Mind app. It can offer us a sense of calm before beginning our learning in the afternoon. Research has shown that this program can assist with many areas of our wellbeing. The girls totally immerse themselves in this program. They lay on their back, concentrating on every word that is spoken. Once the session is over, the girls appear calmer and ready for our afternoon session of learning.

The Emotional Intelligence Development Program has begun with an insight into emotions. Students are beginning to identify past experiences in which they had an emotional response. They are learning to label emotional feelings in relation to their own experiences and identify likely causes of a range of emotions. We often sit in a circle, forming discussions about our experiences and identifying the emotions we felt at the time. It is a safe environment where the girls have been able to open up and freely discuss experiences where they have felt guilty, jealous, proud, frustrated, sad, scare, nervous, surprised, worried or even embarrassed.

 “I felt worried when I broke something in the garden. I didn’t tell anyone because I was scared I would get into trouble. I then felt guilty not saying anything to Mum and Dad. But one day, they noticed it was broken and they were okay about it. I then felt relieved.”

Camilla Aberdeen

We have begun to talk about how we look, think and act when we feel different emotions. We have been learning to pay attention to the emotions of others and consider when and why another person might be feeling a certain emotion. This skill with support students in the development of empathy for others and help them to form and maintain positive friendships with their peers and other important people in their lives, such as family members. Practising being aware of our own emotions and the emotions of others is the key to developing this important skill.

Mrs Lola Ballis Year 1 teacher
Lunchtimes in Barbreck

With the building going up at a rapid pace, the playground space a little limited and the weather a bit grey there are always many options for lunchtime play in the Junior School. In just one lunch time you could find girls:

  • Enjoying some quiet time in the Library.
  • Learning to crochet (both teachers and students).
  • Taking part in Mrs Moor’s ‘Pop Up Programs’ which offer different things each day to different Year levels.
  • Creating with clay in the art room.
  • Being active on the playing field.
  • Enjoying the ELC playground.
Ms Catherine Samuel, Deputy Head of Junior School
Meeting the 2018 3-year old ELC students

Recently, we held a Morning Tea gathering in the School Café to welcome our incoming new students who will commence the 3-year old ELC program in 2018.

It was a busy, happy and very exciting morning. Parents had the first opportunity to meet other families with whom their own children will learn, play and socialise with in the new year in Campbell House.

The morning saw a number of people even swapping details to secure some play dates prior to the commencement of the new school year.

Several Year 6 students met the visitors at the front gate and escorted them to the Café for the function. Our visitors spoke very highly about the girls’ manners, maturity, conversations and the warm welcomes they received.

Five of our current Year 6 students, Coco Kudelka, Anise Imam, Chloe Nevins, Pia Wilson and Isla Forsyth who were students in the ELC, were hostesses at the function. The girls loved the experience and we thoroughly enjoyed having them join us!  It was a wonderful occasion and lovely to hear the girls speaking about their fabulous days of learning in the ELC.

Mrs Alana Moor, Head of ELC and Barbreck