Head of Primary

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.

Albert Einstein

Underlying all that we do in the Primary School is a firm belief in each of our students as capable, creative and curious beings who have great potential. Sir Ken Robinson, a leading thinker in education, reminds us of the extraordinary capacity humans have for imagination, creativity, collaboration, innovation and problem solving. It is our responsibility to provide an environment where these skills can be developed so that each student can reach their personal potential and flourish.

Research shows that girls who enjoy authentic, engaged, empowering relationships with adults, peers and mentors have lower levels of stress and higher levels of achievement. A strong community provides a sense of belonging and connectedness where every girl is known and valued, which is so important for student development. An environment such as this allows girls the opportunity to take risks with their learning to enable them to achieve and thrive.

Every Wednesday the Primary girls move into vertical House groups for ‘See, Think, Wonder.’ This is an uninterrupted, extended period of time which allows the girls time to think, ponder, examine, question and create. It is based on the visible thinking routines which aim to extend and promote deep thinking. Programs such as Kidpreneur, Design Thinking and STEM, an integrated approach to science, technology, engineering and mathematics, will equip our girls with the necessary skills and flexibility of mind which will be essential for the world beyond our gates.

This term our focus is on Loreto traditions and the values that underpin everything we do and who we are as Loreto people. It takes a village to raise a child and we have drawn on the wonderful resources we have in the Loreto community to teach the rich and wonderful history that is Loreto Normanhurst. Mrs Libby Parker, Director of Mission, spoke to the girls about Mary Ward and Mother Gonzaga Barry. She began her session talking about the beautiful Mary Ward sculpture and asked the girls what was in her hand? One of our Primary girls, put up her hand and said, ‘She is holding her ‘rosemary’ beads.’ A beautiful answer as we begin our Loreto learning.

Sr Frances Browne IBVM will be talking to us about her Loreto journey along with Ms  Curtis, Records Manager and Archivist, who will display Loreto memorabilia from years gone by. Ms McCullough, Spirituality and Liturgy Coordinator, will take the girls through an Ignatian Examen and we will visit the Bush Cemetery to listen to the stories about the nuns who are buried there, along with time for reflection. Ms Watkins will regale us with stories of her connection to Loreto and what it really means to be a Loreto woman.  Our term will end with project-based learning where the girls will work in House groups to present research and their understandings of various aspects of the Loreto story. The importance of our oral history and the retelling of the Loreto story is a continual reminder of the strong, independent and courageous women who went before us and a reminder to walk in their footsteps and follow their example.

The importance of teaching the Loreto values was highlighted last year when we learned from Sr Libby Rogerson IBVM that a baby was to be born to a Sudanese refugee who had been sleeping in a garage on a concrete floor. Sr Libby asked for our assistance and the outpouring of generosity from the girls and the wider community was immense. This authentic real world learning experience was the perfect vehicle to put into practice all that the girls had learned about our values. Happily, a bouncing baby girl was born, named Sandra Libby after the wonderful Loreto sister who had shown compassion and care when it was needed most.

At Loreto, we aim to develop in girls a strong sense of who they are and a willingness to make a unique contribution to the world. This is developed by having a well-rounded education, a strong faith, being part of a community and the opportunity to experience a wide range of challenging learning experiences.  As we continue to unpack the value of justice this year, we must remember to look for God in all things so that we can be seekers of truth and doers of justice.

 

Ms Maryanne Dwyer

Head of Primary