My Education Patch

A principal reflecting on life at St Brigid's Primary School

Senior Learning Community Expo – Weather

It was a pleasure to visit the Senior Learning Centre last Friday. Together with Miles, many parents, grandparents and students from the Middle and Junior Learning Communities I attended their Weather Expo and was delighted with the confidence of the students presenting their weather event.


It is important for students to be given opportunities to showcase their work. Parents are able to access digital displays of students work on their class blogs, however, it is important for students to be given the opportunity to showcase their work in person. In this way students are able to give the added touch to their presentations and demonstrations through articulating their learning with expression and confidence and relay to the visitors their investigations and understandings about their inquiry unit.  Being able to talk directly with people and receive many positive comments highlights to the students the significance of their work and creates motivation.


It is by doing that students learn the most. Being a teacher, I am inspired by the quote from Benjamin Franklin: “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” We aim to capture students’ interest and provoke meaningful thinking by presenting them with real-life problems or a phenomenon to investigate. In this way students apply themselves, engage in critical thinking and gather information to answer challenging and specific questions.


When a student is aware their work will be viewed by others they know that high standards are expected. Listening to their peers presenting their work and receiving positive feedback allows students to identify ways to improve their own work and social skills and it generates ideas for improvement in their own learning.



St. Brigid’s Vegetable Garden

Over the past months I have been discussing the possibility of developing a vegetable garden with our staff, the Student Representative Council members, our Student Leaders for Sustainability, School Board members and the parent community. Everyone has been very supportive of this initiative and a committee has been formed to see this plan come to fruition.

A concept plan has been produced and we envisage having a rustic fenced area that will cater for raised vegetable beds, a chicken coop, storage shed, citrus trees and possibly a bay tree which will also provide a wind break, composting and mulch area, a sheltered seating area and some flower beds. We will have access through a curved sensory path and vehicle and machinery access via a larger opening.


The idea for this vegetable garden came about as a way of helping our community. It is hoped that when the garden is producing healthy crops we will be able to supply ‘school grown’ vegetables and fruit to those in our Parish community who are in need.


In addition to the social justice initiative we also hope that this space becomes another opportunity for student learning, with classes visiting the space to learn about sustainable living, housing and feeding chickens, recycling, composting and worm farming, crop rotation and many more possible learning outcomes. Students will have the opportunity to visit during recess and lunch breaks and have an alternative option for play by spending time weeding, feeding and looking after the chickens and just enjoying the atmosphere of the abundant nature within this area.


Without the help of interested parents, grandparents and friends of St. Brigid’s this garden would only be a dream. It is with the support of our community that we are able to achieve such plans and I fully appreciate their time and effort to assist their school in this project.

Below is the Concept Plan for our Vegetable Garden

Vegetable Garden COMMUNITY GARDEN (3)


Andrew Chinn Workshops and Concert

St. Brigid’s School welcomed back Andrew Chinn, a musician best known for his Butterfly Music to hold workshops throughout the day with our students culminating in a concert for parents and friends in the evening. Andrew’s Christian music is used throughout schools and parishes for liturgies and Religious Education.


Andrew has a very positive way of interacting with the students and he has endeared himself to our community with the way he was able to engage all our students through his friendliness, humour and beautiful music. Miles was extremely pleased to have the best seat in the room. 


Thank you Andrew for a delightful day and we look forward to welcoming you back to St. Brigid’s in the future.



Andrew Chinn 4


Andrew Chinn 5

Andrew Chinn Concert

Andrew Chinn Concert 2

Andrews Chinn and Miles  Andrews Chinn Concert 3


The 2015 Stewardship Program

The 2015 Stewardship Program is underway in St. Michael’s Parish. It was a pleasure to speak to a group of parishioners last night to personally thank them for the contribution the parish has made to St. Brigid’s School.


I was pleased to be able to highlight how much we have grown in the last 5 years from open green fields to a growing vibrant community that has developed with over 280 students. Last Friday, April 24th 2015 we held the Blessing and Official Opening of Stage 2 of our Master Plan. This was a celebration of the effort everyone has made to carry out the vision and mission of Catholic Education for our community.


Without Fr. Peter’s foresight for the growth within the area St. Brigid’s would not have existed and huge sacrifice the parish has made to support the vision of building another new school within their parish boundaries is to be commended. St. Brigid’s is one of three schools of St. Michael’s Parish educating and offering the opportunity for everyone to come to know Jesus Christ.


Everyday I am thankful that I have been given the opportunity to lead this wonderful community and I look forward to our growth as a school and as part of a parish community that celebrates and shares the love of God with each other.


Blessing and Opening of Stage 2

The Blessing and Opening of Stage 2 of St. Brigid’s School took place on Friday, April 24th 2015.

It was a celebration of the further development of our school, which has grown into a wonderful vibrant community with over 280 students in the last five years.

We were very pleased to welcome the new Bishop of Sale, Bishop Patrick O’Regan together with the Very Reverend Peter Slater, our Parish Priest, Mrs. Maria Kirkwood, the Director of Catholic Education Sale, the Federal Member for La Trobe Mr. Jason Wood MP, and local Member of Parliament Mr. Brad Battin MP

I congratulate our student and parent community, staff and friends on the warmth and welcoming spirit we have here at our School. This is a feature that is always remarked upon by people who tour our school. They genuinely feel welcomed and sense the vibrant, engaging atmosphere that is present here.

Already we are working towards Stage 3 of our Master Plan to cater for the continual growth of our magnificent school.

St Brigid's Blessing and Opening Miles









Miles is joining in with the Choir

St. Brigid's just before the Blessing and Opening Miles

Miles is at front making sure everyone is ready

for the Blessing and Opening to begin

St. Brigid's Blessing and Opening 2015 from Jason Wood

  St. Brigid's Blessing and Opening 2015

St. Brigid's Jason Wood Opening 2015

St. Patrick’s Day

St. Brigid of Kildare is a patroness of Ireland and inspires us to care for the earth, and work for justice, equality and peace in our world. Our School’s values of Knowledge, Strength, Faith and Hospitality in our motto are all virtues St. Brigid expressed throughout her life.

Our senior students have been thinking of ways to raise money for Caritas during this Lenten Season for Project Compassion. Caritas is the International aid and development organisation of the Catholic Church in Australia. They provide much needed aid, emergency relief and support to the poorest people and they work tirelessly to ‘help people help themselves’ by providing long term development programs. Caritas is an organisation where all people are treated with respect and dignity regardless of this gender, ethnicity or religious beliefs. An easy way to raise money was to wear green for St. Patrick’s Day for a gold coin donation yesterday, March 17th.

Fiona from McAleer Dance School facilitated an Irish dancing presentation for our students. Several of our St. Brigid’s students learn Irish dancing with Fiona and she organised for these students along with former St. Brigid’s students in Year 7 to perform for us.

It was delightful to see the enthusiastic dancers and along with the sea of green, they filled the multipurpose room with an atmosphere of fun and merriment that is so in keeping with St. Patrick’s Day.

Thank you students and McAleer Dance School for this wonderful experience.

St. Brigid died on 1st February, 525AD. She was buried in Kildare but later in 835 , to protect her remains from Norse Invaders, her remains were moved from Kildare to be interred in the same grave that holds the remains of St. Patrick and St. Columba in grounds of the Cathedral in Downpatrick.


St Patrick's Day 15 3

St Patrick's Day 15 2

St Patrick's Day 15 1

Meet ‘Miles’

Miles is my companion and he will be travelling around the Learning Centres to see all the wonderful learning our students are engaged in.

Miles was present at our first SRC meeting today. With representatives from each class we discussed school rules, using sports equipment wisely and types of sports equipment we could have at recess and lunch times.

I put forward my idea of developing a vegetable garden with the hope that once it is up and running efficiently we will be able to supply organically grown vegetables to people in our Parish community. I envisage being able to supply home ‘school’ grown, wholesome fruit and vegetables to those in our parish who are struggling and going through some kind of hardship or the elderly.

As discussed with the SRC it would be a garden of many advantages to our school community. Firstly the social justice involved in working hard to assist others and trying to actively do something that will benefit those in need. Secondly it would enhance our school environment and provide a place for learning and outdoor lessons. It would also give the students additional areas to visit during the day and learn about important issues regarding sustainability, organic gardening, recycling, worm farming, crop rotation and self-sufficiency.

The mention of a chicken coop was well received by the students and I am sure they will enjoy telling their classmates about it and all the others things we discussed today

Miles popped into the photo of the members of the SRC today.

Miles popped into the photo of the members of the SRC today.   

Miles is very interested in our Vegetable Garden project

Miles is very interested in our Vegetable Garden project

School Camp

Our senior students in Years 5 and 6 enjoyed the adventures of camp this week. They will all have memories of the days spent climbing, canoeing, walking, getting dirty, spending time around the camp fire and most importantly spending time outdoors.

Camp provides students with another educational experience away from the routine of a regular school day. They learn to be more confident and able to talk to people who are not necessarily their closest friends. Living in an environment close to others and experiencing an active, challenging time together creates the ideal setting to form new friendships and get to know each better.

Each year our Year 4 students and Year 5/6 students attend Camp. Usually one year of the Year 5/6 is an outdoor adventure camp and other is a more instructional/educational based camp such as Sovereign Hill in Ballarat. This camp takes students back to times past in Australia history and supports the inquiry approach to learning. It provides the opportunities for students to be outdoors but is not as physically challenging as river crossings, flying foxes and abseiling.

From my experience of taking students on school camps over many years I have seen the way camps build students self confidence and self esteem and the independence that comes from making their own decisions in the safety of the camp environment. It gives the students an opportunity to be relaxed and gives them a greater appreciation of the wonders nature has to offer. 

Here are some of the photos I took while attending camp for the first two days.

I am always looking for new camp environments for our school camp. If you have any outdoor adventure camp suggestions in Victoria, particularly in the central or south eastern regions I would be happy if you would post your comments.

Ash Wednesday – Lent

Today is Ash Wednesday and we begin the Season of Lent. As a Catholic School Mass was celebrated today where we received Ashes on our foreheads as an outward sign of our humility and our willingness to journey with Christ to the Cross. The Ashes are a symbol of penance and repentance and are made from the blessed palms used in the Palm Sunday celebration of the previous year.

Growing up and still today in my own family, we observe the penitential Season of Lent with fasting, prayer and almsgivings. It is a time when we look inwardly at ourselves and turn to God for forgiveness for our wrongdoings.

The tradition of giving up of all sweet foods, especially chocolate, limiting our meal portions and not eating meat on a Friday for the period of Lent seemed to a young boy to be a very long time. We weren’t bitter or didn’t walk around as though life was tough we went through this time joyfully knowing that we were journeying with Christ and in our small way we were doing as Jesus did in the desert. Our Project Compassion box always sat in a prominent place in our house where we would go without to place donations in the box for people in need. We were encouraged to help others, pray and be attentive at Mass, listening to Scripture to be able to better understand the significance of this period on the Catholic calendar.

Hot Cross Buns were not eaten until Good Friday and Easter Eggs were never consumed before we attended Mass on Easter Sunday. The joy of cracking open the egg to find an empty hollow was so meaningful after listening to the Gospel and being a part of the celebration of the Resurrection. The significance was immense and we truly celebrated in the joy and freedom Jesus won for all of us.

Many people today ask what is the use of giving up something. I still feel today based on own upbringing that self-denial, going without, is an important part of our awareness of our dependence on God. This self-discipline allows time for reflection and contemplation of how we live our lives and what we could do better. We are able to celebrate in the triumph over hardships and difficult times through out trust in God and share that joy with others. Repentance for our actions is crucial for us to move forward and bring about peace in our lives. We must forgive those who have hurt us and show love for one another just as God has shown his generosity and forgiveness to us.

These traditions have been shared with my own family. We have much pleasure in bringing along our filled Project Compassion boxes to Mass to offer our donation to the most needy through Caritas and waiting until Good Friday to consume Hot Cross Buns and Easter Sunday to eat an Easter Egg. I have a grin to myself when I see Hot Cross Buns in supermarkets immediately after Christmas and the ‘Eat Fish for Lent’ slogan on their advertising.

I have shared only a small part of my tradition during Lent. I would love to hear of your traditions and how they have had an impact on your life today.

Welcome to the 2015 School Year

Welcome to a New Year of reflections that I hope you will enjoy throughout the year.

The 2015 School year has commenced with staff and students focused and ready to learn. The energy around the school is evident with happy faces and an enthusiasm to make friends and an eagerness to fit into the daily routines of school.

Teachers have worked hard over the school holidays to create vibrant learning spaces and provide a rich curriculum to engage students and motivate all to learn.

We will be holding a Bush Dance this Term as a way to welcome everyone back to school and to invite our new families and students, especially our Foundation students to be active participants in the life of St. Brigid’s. With the help of our Social and Fundraising Committee this will be a fantastic evening for everyone.

Our senior students will be off to camp shortly and I hope to visit and stay a night to experience the adventure with the students and their teachers. I am sure I will have some great photos to share upon my return.

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