# From the Principal's Office

Dear Parents,

Recently I had to drive my youngest daughter, who is in Year 7, to an early morning school start. It was, as usual, a rush to get out the door and on the road to be on time. Half way through the drive she suddenly lets out an, “Oh no!” Fearing a calamity, I ask what’s wrong. “I have left my phone at home!” No big deal, I thought, it’s not essential for school, you can do without it for one day. But her sudden change in demeanour told me otherwise. “What about my streaks?” she went on and became particularly agitated. Despite her protestations, I refused to turn around.

It struck me then that the lack of a phone for one day could have such a calamitous effect. How “essential” the device had become as part of her daily life. It also got me thinking how did it come to this so quickly. My daughter, being the youngest of three, had been given an “old” mobile in Year 4 as she had to walk home from school on her own. She was to use the phone in case of an “emergency”. She rarely used it. My wife and I thought a new iPhone would be a great Christmas present and going into secondary school, she would appreciate an upgrade. Leaving it behind for one day and her instantaneous reaction had shown me how quickly she has become so dependent on it as part of her daily, social life – and quite frankly, it shocked me.

Ten years ago if a parent ever asked me about screen time and how long children should use such devices each day I used to respond by saying that the child would be able to eventually strike the right balance. I don’t respond the same way today. As a parent, I have seen first-hand, through the experience of now having three children in secondary school, the all pervasiveness of social media and gaming and their all-consuming impact. I have witnessed a seemingly happy 13-year-old girl go into her room and emerge, some 30 minutes later, in a distressed or anxious mood brought on by accessing a social media platform. Or a 14-year-old boy who could fill a whole day running three different devices but struggle to spend 20 minutes doing some required reading for school.

It came to such a point that a couple of years ago I instigated at home an “hour without power”. Between the hours of 7pm and 8pm, Monday to Thursday everyone had to be off devices, even the TV, and out of bedrooms. You could imagine the uproar of enforcing such a draconian rule. It may have been a drastic solution but it was my attempt to arrest the dependence of our family on devices. The sad corollary of this rule was that I suddenly realised how dependant I was to be on some device being “on” and struggled just as much as the kids with the hour!

Sadly, three years down the track and with our busy lives and commitments – footy training, basketball training, dancing, part-time work, after school functions etc., there is often only one or two of us at home and the enforcement of the “hour without power” has petered out.  However, after witnessing my Year 7 daughter’s reaction to not having her iPhone on her for one day I seriously think a family “intervention” is required.

As parents of primary aged students, I think it is important that we start having control over screen time and access to social media and gaming. It is only recently that children’s access to a wide range of screen devices has dramatically increased. In Australia, the current recommendation is for no more than 2 hours of screen time per day for children. If we set rules and expectations, good habits are formed and it is much easier as parents to maintain some control over screen access now before our children move on to secondary school.

Teachers have been working hard to prepare the mid-year reports for each student.  These reports will be accessible via Compass in the last week of term. To ensure a progressive reporting process for parents, interviews will be conducted in week 2 of Term 3.  We feel this then provides regular information to parents each term.  Of course, parents wishing to discuss the mid-year report or any other aspect of the child’s school performance may contact their class teacher via the office to make an appointment at any time.

Interviews for Prep to Year 2 students will be held between the parents and the classroom teacher. Students in Years 3 to 6 will participate in 3-way interviews together with the parents and classroom teacher.

YEAR 5/6 OPEN MORNING – Tuesday 25 June
An invitation to all parents has been sent out via Compass to attend an Open Morning to find out more about the Year 5/6 program at GIPS on Tuesday 25 June.

The Open Morning will comprise:

  • 9:00am—9:30am: Presentation of 5/6 program in the library

  • 9:30am—10:10am: Visit each 5/6 classroom

  • 10:10am—10:30am: Coffee and plenary session

It would be great to see parents with students in Years 4 to Prep come to this morning session and find out more about the programs and opportunities available to our senior students. 

Yesterday evening we held our first Soiree for the year. Many instrumental music students and ensembles performed for their families and friends.  Some children were very new to their instruments and others very accomplished, but each did a wonderful job displaying their skills and preforming for an audience.

Thank you to our Instrumental teachers for their efforts in preparing the children and to our Performing Arts teacher, Rosey Arnold for organising this event.

Last week the Preps were visited by Firefighters to learn more about fire safety. They learnt in the event of a fire they need to call 000 and to “Get down low and go, go, go!” Students also inspected a fire truck and had an opportunity to use the fire hose.

We have been successful in an application for some of our students to take part in two programs - Little Scientists and Mini Mathematicians at the John Monash Science School. Starting next term and running over 4 half-day sessions, 4 students from Year 5 and 4 students from Year 4 will participate in these programs. This exciting opportunity allows them to interact with students from other schools, and be involved in experiments under laboratory conditions to build on their capacities as mathematicians and scientists.

Congratulations to Luke, Max, Abbey, Harry, Lucy and Ruby S, pictured below, who participated at the Regional Cross Country in Yarra Glen yesterday. It was a fantastic achievement to qualify for the event. The wet and cold conditions and highly competitive fields were a feature of the day and all our students should be proud of their efforts.

Lucy, 12-year-old girls, finished in 4th place and Abbey, 10-year-old girls, finished in 2nd place and both qualified for the State championships. An amazing achievement!


Students who display our school values: Achievement, Empathy, Respect, Resilience  and Honesty are recognised by being awarded with a Tea Pot ticket. At assembly on Friday the following students were drawn out of our tea pot and wil take part in a morning tea hosted by our Wellbeing team.

Melanie L - PG

Nathan G – 1A

Aviana – 1LG

Jordan H – 1C

Aiden N – 1LG

Annabelle L – 1C

Amelie V – 2B

Naomi M – 3T

Khloe F – 3T

Estelle M – 4S

Zack W – 4S

Ruby M – 4TJ

Oliver W – 4H

Chloe W 56G

Jade K – 56G

Kade E – 56G

Sean T – 56H

Oliver H – 56H

Just another reminder to check the lost property basket for items of school uniform. At the end of each term, we donate the unclaimed and un-named school uniforms in lost property to second hand uniform stall. At the moment the basket is overflowing!

Our bike shelter project has been listed as a finalist in the Leader Local Grants. We need your help! With enought votes we might win a grant to go towards this project. Please click here to vote. 

LAST DAY OF TERM 2 – Friday 28 June
A reminder that the last day of the term is on Friday 28 June. The SRC have organised a free dress day on this day. Students are being encouraged to bring a “gold coin donation” and all money raised will go to a very worthy cause – Cancer Council Victoria.

There will be an assembly at 1.50pm on this day and students will be dismissed at the earlier time of 2.30pm. The first day of Term 3 is Monday 15 July.

Wishing all families a restful holiday period.

Garry Collins