Barbreck Update – Her Voice is Important

One of my great joys of working in the all-girls environment is the opportunity for girls to grow in confidence when provided with the chance to initiate their own ideas. This is certainly a signal that our girls in Barbreck are growing in self-esteem, agency and have the belief that their voice is being heard and can make a difference.

Last year, I cherished meeting all of the current Year 6 girls in small group to hear and discuss their ideas for our School. They loved the idea of sharing their ideas and feeling their input was valued. It is important to me as well that the girls ‘find their voice’ and develop a belief that their ideas can be great ideas and can come to fruition. The conversations generated a number of fabulous conversations with two ideas we are now in the process of implementing.

The first idea is to have an area of the Barbreck grounds dedicated to quiet outdoor reading. To this end, we have ordered a number of outdoor beanbags for the girls. The area will be created above the Village Green, near the circular seating. We can’t wait to see girls enjoying the outdoors and reading their favourite books. You never know, we might see a Sharing Book Library’ established by the girls as well!

The second idea of creating an Outdoor Stage will come to fruition with the generous assistance of our Maintenance Staff. As expressed by the girls last year, they are keen to establish a location where they could perform plays, practise their speaking, singing and generally just ‘have fun’.  Located on the grass next to the Barbreck steps leading to the Selina Yao Auditorium, the plans include a 10-15 cm high timber stage approximately 2m x 2m. I can also see some classes adopting this space for acting out plays, public speaking and debating, and even an outdoor Assembly!

One initiative that arose from our conversations was the courage of one student, coupled with her desire, to play the piano at our Barbreck Assembly. This has now led to other girls stepping forward to do the same. At the past two Assemblies, we have been entertained by girls playing the piano to accompany the girls as they depart from Assembly. This initiative offers girls the opportunity to perform in front of a large audience and to showcase their talents. Understandably, performing in front of peers can be somewhat daunting but we know that the girls are very diligent and have rehearsed well for this performance. Everyone in the audience enjoys the performance and loves seeing their fellow School friends play.

Last week, Polly Moir in Year 6 ‘steeped up to the plate’ and introduced herself and announced the pieces she would be playing on the piano. They were: Blue Sky and Lihue Mountains.

Our younger girls listened courteously, paying great respect to what it would be like to play in front of an audience, appreciating Polly’s talent, effort and confidence.

Mia Buchler and Grace Mitsikas, also in Year 6, approached me with the idea of having a segment on Bullying as part of a future assembly speech. As leaders of the School, it was so pleasing to see Year 6 girls think of a segment that would be of benefit for all girls in Barbreck, and of course the idea was eagerly agreed to. Their initiative showed compassion and care for fellow school mates. Mia and Grace were encouraged to follow through with their idea and see it to its completion and are currently researching, writing and planning a presentation for Assembly this term. Congratulations Mia and Grace, we look forward to your segment.

Great ideas and initiatives are not limited by age; our girls are evidence of this. Ideas and thoughts define who we are, so as girls develop and begin to develop their own persona, it is important that we hear what they have to say, what they are interested in and allow them to spread their wings and develop and implement their ideas. It is through this process that they learn about themselves, understand what they feel strongly about and how they want to develop and grow as a person.

Out of School Hours Care

St Catherine’s School offers an Out of School Hours Care program to all ELC and Junior School families. The program is implemented by our provider ‘After the Bell’, and operates within the ELC building. Parents are reminded that if you need to use the Before School Care or After School Care service, registrations need to be made in advance with ‘After the Bell’. Please allow up to five business days for your registration to be processed before your child can begin attending the program. Registration is free. All families are encouraged to register so that you can use this service in the event that you are unable to pick up your child.

Before School Care – 7.00am to 8.45am

After School Care – 3.00pm to 6.00pm

Registrations can be completed via the ‘After the Bell’ website.

Please phone 9758 6744 for all enquiries.



Ms Karen McArdle, Head of Junior School