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Early & Primary Years News

Neil White, Early/Primary Years Principal February 28, 2020
Early & Primary Years News

First of all, I would like to thank you for your positive feedback and support these past few weeks regarding the coronavirus, this is much appreciated. The safety and wellbeing of both the students and staff has been foremost in our minds when making decisions relating to the ongoing coronavirus situation.

I am mindful that we have communicated several messages over the past several weeks on a range of different issues. I would like to consolidate this into a summary below which will keep you up to date with the latest developments happenings in the Early and Primary Years divisions. 


Early & Primary Years Collaboratory Space

Earlier this month we launched our Early/Primary Years Collaboratory space, located on Level 1 of Block C. The Collaboratory Space has been created as part of our Early/Primary Years STEM programme. I would like to thank both Mr Darby (EY/PY STEM Coordinator) and Ms Chamila Rodrigo (Grade 4 Teaching Partner) who have both put in a huge amount of work over the past several months to create this wonderful teaching and learning space and program for all our students to access.

It is just the beginning and it will be exciting to see our students have the opportunity to use high-order thinking skills and support them in developing the skills necessary to research, design, produce and communicate solutions to real-world problems in the weeks and months ahead, in order to start preparing our younger students to solve the problems of the 21st Century and beyond. Our STEM programme is integrated within our PYP curriculum and not a stand-alone subject. 

If you require any further information about how we incorporate STEM into our curriculum then please do not hesitate to contact either Mr Darby (EY/PY STEM Coordinator) or Ms Lau (PYP Curriculum Coordinator). 


PYP Exhibition

Please note that the PYP Exhibition for our Grade 5 students will be taking place from 1st to 5th June 2020. The students are currently working with their class teachers on the initial planning phase of the exhibition and further details about the exhibition will be shared with Grade 5 parents from our Grade 5 teaching team in the coming weeks.


International Schools Assessment 

Earlier this month, students from Grades 3 through to Grade 5 sat the International Schools Assessment (ISA). The ISA assesses mathematical literacy, reading, writing using the internationally-endorsed frameworks from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). In general, the questions assess how well students can apply their mathematical, reading and writing skills to situations relating to real life in the 21st century. The ISA does not assess a particular curriculum, and it is not designed to address the full scope of the curriculum in mathematics, reading and writing for any school. It addresses as broad a range of key skills and understandings as is possible in a short, standardised test. The results for your child will be available on the iSAMS Parent Portal when they are received back to us from ISA in May 2020.

Should you have any further questions about ISAs please visit the website: https://www.acer.org/isa, contact your child’s homeroom teacher or Ms Lau (PYP Curriculum Coordinator) at e.lau@gwa.edu.sg


Camps 

After multiple discussions with our camp provider, colleagues in the GEMS head office and the directives received from both the Ministry Of Education and Health, we have taken the decision to cancel both the Grade 4 Camp to Pulau Ubin and the Grade 5 Camp to Bintan and as a result there will be no camp taking place this academic year due to the ongoing coronavirus situation.

Parents who have already paid for this camp will have the money refunded in full. The refund will take the form of a credit note which can be used for any future outstanding tuition balances for the next academic year 2020-2021. If a family is leaving our school at the end of this academic year then we will initiate a refund for the camp fees that have been paid.


Student-led-Conferences

We are pleased to announce our Student-led Conferences (SLC's) are to be held on Thursday, 26th March and Friday, 27th March 2020.

As an IB PYP school, we believe that students are directors and owners of their learning. Student-led conferences provide an opportunity for students to do this. SLC's are designed to celebrate your children’s learning. As student-led conferences are for some, a new format for sharing student progress and achievement.

The purpose of a student-led conference is to provide opportunities for children to reflect and report on their own learning to significant members of their family. During student-led conferences, it is your child who is the teacher. This is a precious time for him/her to reflect on their learning, to ask questions about their thinking and understandings and to appreciate their knowledge and experiences. Classroom teachers participate mainly as observers, supporting each child as/if needed.

There will be a short session where students will share their goals and reflections on their learning. Teachers will also be present at this stage. Parents will be asked to complete their reflections at this time too.

You will receive detailed communications outlining the Student-led conferences and online booking guide on Monday, 2 March 2020. 


Primary Years Musical

ECAs are back up and running. However, following the directives from the government, we are still to avoid large group gatherings.

We have a cast of 70 students, and given that we will be unable to rehearse as an ensemble, the Primary Years Musical Theatre stage production of the Seussical will be cancelled. As an alternative, we are offering students the option to be part of a movie/film version of the Seussical instead. 

While this experience will not be the same as being on stage, it will still give students the opportunity to perform what they have worked hard on for the last season if they wish to continue. Students will not be featured in all scenes, however, screen time will be guaranteed within the designated songs for each grade level, the opening and the finale.  

If you/your child decide that they no longer want to be part of the musical and would prefer to do something else for Season 3 ECA’s, we understand and respect their decision.  

 

Additional details:

  • Rehearsals will still run after school following the original schedule, however, each director will take a group of students so that there should be less than 30 students for the majority of the rehearsal each time:

- Here on Who (Gr 2&3 - 22 students + JoJo, Horton, Mr & Mrs Mayor)
- It's Possible (Gr 1 - 14 students + JoJo, CATS)
- Monkey Around/Chasing the Whos (G4&5 - 23 students + Wickershams, Kangaroos)

  • There will be some lunch rehearsals required with leads and specific scenes. 
  • Scheduled weekend rehearsals are to be confirmed. 
  • Filming should take place towards the end of April/beginning of May. The goal is to have the movie released on May 21st.
  • The same level of commitment and effort will be expected for all students continuing on with the production. Students who miss multiple rehearsals without an acceptable excuse may be asked to leave the production. 

Our goal is to ensure your children have a great Arts experience and we will endeavour to make this a quality film production. In order for this to be a success, we will need your help in various areas with costumes and general assistance with filming. Please do offer your time and support when the requests come. 

If you have any expertise or experience with filming, we would greatly appreciate your assistance. Please contact Ms Lau at e.lau@gwa.edu.sg directly as soon as possible. 


Teacher Recruitment for Academic Year 2020/2021

We are currently finalising the staff hiring for 2020/2021. There are two final positions to close out, once complete, I will share with the community an update of the new EY/PY staff that we have hired together with their respective biographies. Please note that amongst the new hires for August 2020, includes an additional EY/PY School Counsellor and EY/PY Learning Support teacher.


Parent Engagement Workshops

Due to the government directives regarding larger gatherings, we have had to cancel all parent engagement workshops during Quarter 3.

We will continue to monitor the situation and updates from both the Ministry of Education and Health and when it is appropriate to do so, we will reconvene with these workshops and notify parents accordingly via iSAMS


Student Reports and Parent Portal

Quarter 3 report cards will be published on Wednesday, 25 March 2020 by 4:00 pm on iSAMS and will be ready for viewing on the EY/PY parent portal.

Please allow me to remind, that we no longer use Managebac for our student academic report cards. iSAMS is our centralised platform for all school-related matters, such as attendance, student academic reports, parent communications and email correspondence with teachers. If you have any initial questions about your child’s report, kindly contact your child’s homeroom teacher directly.

For any related parent portal enquiries, please email to the Early/Primary Years Office at eypyoffice@gwa.edu.sg.


Upcoming Events (Quarter 3)

Please take note of some key events listed below for the remainder of Quarter 3:

  • February 28th: Teacher Professional Development Training Day (No school for students)
  • March 2nd: ECA Season 3 starts
  • March 16th-20th: Grade 4 Camp (CANCELLED)
  • March 25th: Quarter 3 Report Cards published on iSAMS Parent Portal
  • March 26-27th: EY/PY Student-led Conferences
  • March 27th: Last Day of Quarter 3
  • March 28th-April 13th: School Holiday



Neil White
Early/Primary Years Principal

 

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