Posts in category News

Have Your Say on Teaching Sport to Children

About 1 in 2 Australian children play sport or take part in some form of physical activity outside school at least once a week.

But according to the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) the participation of children in organised sport or physical activity is in decline.

That’s why the ASC is looking to refresh and refocus the teaching of sport to children in a way that contributes to their development and “aligns with the needs of children, families and schools”.

The ASC has prepared a discussion paper and survey they want parents, educators, coaches and sporting organisations to contribute to.

The paper proposes that “to increase sport’s relevance in schools and the community, sport and physical activity must be delivered in a way that enhances children’s development and physical literacy needs, complements the needs of schools and families, and contributes to education objectives.”

The discussion paper identifies four key areas for future development:

  • establish principles for teaching sport and physical activity to children through broad national consultation.
  • define competencies of those people teaching sport and physical activity to children.
  • support the sports sector in the recruitment, training and development of a newly defined delivery network.
  • co-develop a quality insights framework to monitor performance and support ongoing improvement.

According to the discussion paper, community feedback “will inform a draft plan that aims to assist sport to define, recruit, train and support a delivery network, which effectively teaches sport to children at home and within school and community environments”.

Feedback can be provided by completing the ASC’s online survey or by emailing responses to questions in the discussion paper to Yoursay@ausport.gov.au.

Feedback is due by 22 September 2017.

Discussion paper | Link

Survey | Link

Testing Times for Qld Year 12s

There are times during Year 12 when teens feel like they’re taking a major leap; their hearts in their mouths.

Today may feel like that for many of the 30,000 seniors sitting the annual Queensland Core Skills (QCS) Test.

As parents, it’s our job to support them during these big moments; to lift their confidence; be there to catch them if they fall and help them back on their feet to continue their life journey.

In a joint media statement the Queensland Independent Schools Parents Network and Independent Schools Queensland wished the Year 12s sitting the test well and urged them to approach the exams with confidence.

Queensland Independent Schools Parents Network Executive Officer Sue Kloeden said it was normal for students to feel exam jitters.

“Parents can help ease this anxiety by ensuring their children are well rested, drink plenty of water, have a good breakfast and take wholesome food to school to keep them nourished and alert over the exam period,” Ms Kloeden said.

“The tests are conducted over two days with students undertaking 3.5 hours of testing each day over two sessions. That’s 7 hours of intense concentration which can be tiring.”

Ms Kloeden encouraged parents to remind their children to keep the tests in perspective, remain calm and do their best.

“With only 12 weeks until the final day of Year 12, students are not only managing exams and assessment, but also big decisions about their future, so there’s a lot going on in their lives. The best thing parents can do is be a supportive, calming and comforting presence during this period.”

The QCS Test is developed and administered by the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA).

The QCAA has created a range of useful information for parents and students on the test.

Information for parents and carers | Link

Information for students | Link

Book Week 2017 | Costume Ideas, Good Reads & More

Photo and linked image by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Parents are busy people. So sometimes annual events like Children’s Book Week and its associated dress-up parades can sneak up on you.

Fear not. Unless your school has already held their parade, you still have this weekend (August 20 and 21) to arrange a costume.

Book Week 2017 runs from 19 – 26 August and this year’s theme is Escape to Everywhere.

Book Week Costume Ideas

If you need some inspiration for your child’s Book Week costume here are some great ideas from Pinterest.

You can also draw on the creativity of other parents.  Simply google: “book week 2017 parade costume” and select images. This brings up an array of children’s book character costumes.

Book Week parades occur in many schools, and are just one of the many ways schools celebrate Book Week and the joy of reading.

The Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) said libraries, schools and communities across the country will showcase Australian literature with creative book displays and engaging activities and events during the week.

Great Reads for Kids

The CBCA has also announced the winners of its Children’s Book of the Year Awards.

Chair of the CBCA National Board Professor Margot Hillel OAM praised the calibre of creativity and talent of Australia’s authors and illustrators.

“The 2017 winning and honour books demonstrate why our creators are so highly regarded around the world, with beautiful prose, delightful illustrations and fascinating topics that are sure to delight generations of readers,” Professor Hillel said.

This year more than 400 titles were entered into the awards, with the winners including a scientist, a street artist, a radio producer and a seven-time CBCA award winner.

According to Professor Hillel: “in our long association with children’s literature, we continue to see the benefits reading brings across all age groups, from developing early literacy, to building story-telling skills and helping older readers tackle real-world problems.”

 

Reading Your Child’s NAPLAN Report

National and state 2017 NAPLAN results have been released.

For parents whose children sat the tests in Years, 3, 5, 7 and 9 in May this year, this means that you should soon receive an individual report with your child’s results.

It’s important to remember that NAPLAN is a single point in time test which provides parents with a range of information about their child’s achievement and how they’re doing in comparison to their peers nationally.

The results shouldn’t be read on their own. They need to be viewed in conjunction with the very broad and comprehensive picture schools build up, through their own assessment and observations, of a child’s learning progress over time.

The Australian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (ACARA) has put together some useful information to help parents understand what the reports mean and how to read them.

What’s in the NAPLAN Student Report | Link 

How do I Read My Child’s Results? | Link 

Video Explainer of the Student Reports for Parents (1min 41) | Link

A chart depicting the common scale and showing the standards and applicable bands for each year level tested.  The chart shows that for Year 3, students who score at Band 1 are below the national minimum standard.  Students at Band 2 are at the national minimum standard and students from Bands 3 to 6 are above the national minimum standard. For Year 5, students who score at Band 3 are below the national minimum standard.  Students at Band 4 are at the national minimum standard and students from Bands 5 to 8 are above the national minimum standard. For Year 7, students who score at Band 4 are below the national minimum standard.  Students at Band 5 are at the national minimum standard and students from Bands 6 to 9 are above the national minimum standard. For Year 9, students who score at Band 4 are below the national minimum standard.  Students at Band 6 are at the national minimum standard and students from Bands 7 to 10 are above the national minimum standard.

If you have any concerns or questions about your child’s report, talk with your child’s teacher or school – they are in the best position to talk with you in more detail about your child’s growth and achievement at school.

The 2017 national NAPLAN data shows that while Queensland earned the distinction of being one of the most improved states over the past 10 years, it has also recorded the highest rates of students being withdrawn from the tests by their parents and carers.

Queensland Education Minister Kate Jones has flagged developing an information campaign to change parent perceptions about the test.

The Queensland Independent Schools Parents’ Network will keep parents updated on future developments.

 

 

Unseemly Side of the Internet: Pornography & What Parents Need to Know

It’s the unseemly side of the internet that worries many parents. The proliferation of images, people and information that can enter the family home through a screen.

Online pornography has been described as the “underbelly” of the internet and it’s a subject parents need to both understand and discuss openly and honestly with their children.

A recent Australian parliamentary inquiry into the potential harm children and young people are experiencing as a result of their exposure to online pornography is sobering reading.

According to the report of the Senate Standing Committee on Environment and Communications, young people who haven’t seen online pornography are an exception to what is becoming a new normal.

The report quoted one study that “found that 28 percent of 9 to 16-year-olds have seen sexual material online, though of particular concern is the indications that the percentage is 73 percent for 15 to 16-year-olds. Other research found that among 13 to 16-year-olds, 93 percent of males and 62 per cent of females had seen pornography online.”

More than 400 submissions were made to the inquiry with the committee’s report confirming that “many submissions expressed concern that pornography exposure is changing young people’s view on normal sexual practices and leads to greater risk-taking”.

The committee made a range of recommendations including commissioning dedicated research into the exposure of children and young people to online pornographic material. It also recommended that this research be used to inform the work of an expert panel on appropriate policy interventions.

In its response, the Australian Government supported three of the committee’s four recommendations.

In response, the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner has broadened its resources for parents.

In a recent blog on the issue, Children’s eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said the office wanted “to help parents understand the risks, learn how to speak with their children about these issues and help young people build resilience”.

A range of resources have been developed to provide parents with practical guidance on how to deal with their child’s or teen’s exposure to online pornography.

“While education and engagement with our children may serve as the initial frontline defence, there is no single solution to preventing children accessing harmful online content. Parents need to be vigilant in employing a range of protective strategies to prevent and minimise the risks and effects,” according to Ms Grant.

“While we cannot monitor our kid’s online use 24/7, we can speak to them about potential risks and help them to develop good cyber-judgement and resilience when they do come across inappropriate or concerning content,” she said.

“We also need to be in tune with what our kids are doing online and what apps and games they’re using. Open and honest discussions should be had early and often so that kids can be aware of the risks and to create an environment where our kids feel comfortable to open up to us about any issue they’re having online, whether it’s something they’ve seen or someone they’ve spoken to.”

Resources for parents | Webinar on cybersafety 

Resources for parents | Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner 

Resources for parents | Australian Federal Police ThinkYouKnow initiative

Resources for parents | Queensland Government

Must-watch for all Parents | Safeguarding Children Online

The sharing of intimate photos via mobile phones and other smart devices by young people – sexting – is now the subject of a parliamentary inquiry in Queensland.

But how much as a parent do you know about this teen behaviour and its social and legal implications? What do you know about the apps your child is using? Do you speak regularly with your child about acceptable online behaviour?

As a former police officer with 22 years experience, 16 as a detective in child exploitation, cyber safety expert Brett Lee is well placed to share eye-opening insights and powerful advice with parents about online safety. He now leads Internet Safe Education which specialises in training and presentations in cybersafety and bullying.

Mr Lee provided parents with important information, advice and practical tips during a recent webinar. If you missed it, you can download it here and listen when you have a moment.

“The biggest weapon that we have available to us as a parent is communication with our children.”

“The internet world will never be perfect. It will always be the case that our children are making the choices, but what we can do is educate them and we can provide a world for them whereby they have a reason to make the right choice themselves,” Mr Lee says.

He says parents have the right and responsibility to determine what apps or programs children can access in the online world, the same way they do in “the physical world”.

He shares five key principles in the webinar that he encourages parents to adopt because they play an influential role in reducing the risks of technology to “almost zero”.

 

 

 

 

Bookmark this August Parent Webinar

Parent Webinar | 10 August 2017 | Student Mental Health and Technology

How children use technology socially is a key topic of concern and discussion for parents today.

But how can families and educators harness the power of technology to help improve a child’s well-being and mental health?

Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, leading Australian psychologist in the areas of health psychology, bullying, parenting adolescents and adolescent mental health, will share how, using new and emerging technological tools, in this practical and powerful webinar. Dr Carr-Gregg will cover everything from assessing the child through to treatment, homework and ongoing support.

Dr Carr-Gregg is one of Australia’s highest profile psychologists and has authored numerous books on teen mental health for parents. He has been the Consultant Psychologist to the Victorian Secondary Schools Principal’s Association, Australian Boarding Staff Association, the Australian Ballet School, St Catherine’s and Melbourne Girls College, the Catholic Education Office, Lauriston Girls School, and The Australian Boarding Schools Association.

When: 10 August 2017, 7.45pm

Where: Parents do not need to register – just turn up on the night at: https://zoom.us/j/151476980

More information: http://www.isdcn.edu.au/Events/Pages/EventRegistration.aspx?NbnEventDateId=%7b92f7765d-f239-e711-8c1a-005056b8125b%7d

Being 14 – Learn What Your Daughter is Really Thinking

Imagine having access to the uncensored thoughts and feelings experienced by today’s 14-year-old girls. It would give parents a welcome insight into what’s really going on inside their minds and hearts when their own words and actions tell such a different story.

That is the gift accomplished Brisbane journalist and author Madonna King gives parents in her latest book,Being 14. Madonna interviewed 200 14-year-old girls across the country, talked to successful school principals, psychologists, CEOs, police, guidance officers and neuroscientists to lift the lid on the social, psychological and physical challenges 14-year-old girls face today. Link to the book.

The Queensland Independent Schools Parents Network asked Madonna to share her inspiration for the book and what she believes are some of the light-bulb moments and life gems it holds for parents.

Madonna is sharing insights from her book at several schools in south-east Queensland in the coming weeks. Call the schools for more details:

*St Rita’s College, Clayfield (May 9)      *Bulimba State School (May 12)      * Ipswich Girls’ Grammar School (May 18)
*St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School, Corinda (May 25)      *Bond University on the Gold Coast (June 7)      *Moreton Bay College, Manly West (June 8)

Why did you decide to write this book about this particular age in a girl’s life?

The only person who asks that question is someone who’s never had one! Parents often find this age challenging, and school leadership teams, knowing how difficult that Year 9 can be, have all sorts of strategies in place to assist girls go through this period. I learnt of its importance at a few events when school captains, a mum in her 40s and a grandmother all told me stories of the difficulties they had endured as a result of someone in their family turning that age.

What are the biggest take-aways for parents from your book?

Many things stand out, but a couple of them are:

  • Our daughters don’t believe we are really hearing what they are saying; they want us to listen without judgement and until they think we are, they are often taking their secrets elsewhere.
  • Our daughters think we are involved in their lives – from tuckshop to being their taxi service – and they want that – but that’s not engagement, which is what they prefer.
  • The way our teen sons and daughters relate now is presenting a real challenge. Respect seems an old-fashioned term, and in my humble opinion, we need to start teaching our sons how important it is to respect someone they like. Our daughters have to value respect too – more than the next dance!

What were the most surprising and valuable things you learnt from your interviews and research about girls at this age?

These girls are wonderful, articulate and opinionated. They want to right every wrong and volunteer for causes close to their heart – but they are also very confused and very vulnerable. Some of facts I learnt – as a parent – were these:

  • Seven in every 10 14-year-old girls get insufficient sleep. Often this is because of the number of extra-curricular activities, not just social media. They need nine hours minimum each night, and 30 minutes of missed sleep records a measurable IQ difference of up to 10 points.
  • Setting up false social media accounts, purporting to be another person, is now a common act of revenge when friends fall out. You’ll read how this is having dreadful consequences, as the victim logs on to find she has allegedly sent spiteful and abusive messages to her friends.
  • About one-third of teen girls – according to educators and police – will send a half-naked photograph of themselves to someone else. Being 14 explores the motivation behind girls doing this, but also explains why it is often the “good’’ student who falls foul of social media.
  • Frenetic home lives add to the obsession with social media. A girl, who has a disagreement with her friends, now comes home, into her room, where that argument will grow and continue into the night. More connected than ever, our teen girls can feel utterly alone. Some are sending more than 100 texts each night.
  • The ages of 12-25 are crucial in the brain’s development, with the part that provides teens with reasoning skills still developing over this period. In Being 14, science experts explain this is why your 14-year-old might appear disorganised.
  • An anxiety epidemic exists, with school refusal and self-harm, on the rise. In some cases, girls are seeking counselling because they failed to achieve A-grade marks or get into an extension class. Is this what we want from our daughters? And why have 14-year-olds made contact with Kids Helpline 22,000 times in the past four years?
  • We all worry about our teens having too many friends on social media, so think about this: a 14-year-old with 650 friends on one social media app could conceivably have 325,000 people able to contact her because of the number of followers each of her friends boasts.
  • Online porn is becoming a dominant “sex educator’’ for boys, and police and educators say this is impacting on how girls are treated, and how they see themselves. Being 14 talks to police about how they are handling this challenging new environment and educators explain what our teen girls need to know.

Should parents of teen boys read it? What would they learn?

I think it would be valuable for two reasons: firstly, this issue of the relationship between teen boys and girls needs to be addressed – at home and at school. But it might also be valuable to understand how the female friends of your teen son is feeling

When should parents read this book? The year before their daughter turns 14 or even earlier?

I suspect it varies with each family. But certainly, at school functions, parents of daughters aged 10 and up are coming along to school parent nights to hear the research.

Are you planning on writing a similar book for the parents of boys?

Funny you ask that. It’s a common question. This has been a huge task, so at the moment I’m not committing to anything!

How have parents responded to your book?

I’ve written seven books and never had this response! My favourite responses have come from parents – mainly mothers – who have taken the advice of a counsellor or a school principal in the book and it’s worked wonders. They’ve sent me an email to say thanks. A couple of 14-year-olds have also thanked me for articulating what they want their parents to know too. I’ve really appreciated that.

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Simply Chatting with Your Teen

The world’s most influential assessment of student achievement has reaffirmed the powerful influence parents can have on their teen’s satisfaction with life, motivation and educational achievement.

The OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is best known for measuring the academic achievements of the world’s 15-year-olds in mathematics, science and reading.

However, for the first time in 2015 it also surveyed 540,000 students in 72 participating countries and economies about a range of well-being issues including: their motivation to perform well in school; their relationships with their peers and teachers; their home life; and how they spend their time outside of school.

The survey findings were recently released by the OECD in a 530-page report, Students’ Well-Being: PISA 2015 Results.  

The impact parents can have on their child’s general well-being at school and how they perform academically emerged as a strong theme in the report.

According to OECD Chief of Staff Gabriela Ramos, “these findings show how teachers, schools and parents can make a real difference to children’s well-being. Together they can help young people develop a sense of control over their future and the resilience they need to be successful in life. There is no secret, you perform better if you feel valued, if you feel well treated, if you are given a hand to succeed!”

According to the findings, “students whose parents reported ‘spending time just talking to my child’, ‘eating the main meal with my child around a table’ or ‘discussing how well my child is doing at school’ regularly were between 22 percent and 39 percent more likely to report high levels of life satisfaction.

According to the OECD the academic impact of parent interest in and engagement with their child’s education is also significant.

“Students who spent time talking with their parents were two-thirds of a school year ahead in science learning, and even after accounting for socio-economic status, the advantage remains at one-third of a school year.”

Motivation is also a contributor to better results. According to the findings “students who are among the most motivated score the equivalent of more than one school year higher in PISA than the least-motivated students”.

But a fine balance needs to be maintained to ensure overzealous parents don’t go too far by turning their child’s motivation into anxiety or “an excessive fear of failure”.

According to OECD Director for Education and Skills Andreas Schleicher, “all in all a clear way to promote students’ well-being is for schools to encourage all parents to be more involved with their child’s school life. If parents and teachers establish relationships based on trust, schools can rely on parents as valuable partners in the cognitive and socio-emotional education of their students”.

Parents Do Their Homework Before Choosing a School

Queensland parents embarking on a fact-finding mission to select a future school for their child are invited to experience the culture and programs of independent schools first-hand at an Open Day or school tour.

Independent Schools Queensland Executive Director David Robertson urged parents to visit their local independent schools to see their campus facilities, meet their dedicated principals and teachers, and get that all important “feel” for the school.

“Queensland has a very diverse independent schooling sector comprised of schools that embrace different learning philosophies or faiths; boarding schools; mixed and single-sex schools; as well as specialist schools that cater specifically for children with disability, Indigenous students or disengaged students,” he said.

Mr Robertson said parents assessing schooling options placed a high value on the opinions of family and friends and school visits.

Almost six in 10 parents visit two or more schools before making a decision, according to ISQ’s What Parents Want survey*.

Many Queensland independent schools run specific Open Days, while others invite parents to drop in year round. Check with your local independent school on their parent welcome programs.

Queensland Independent Schools Parents Network Executive Officer Sue Kloeden said parents today had access to vast amounts of information on schools through individual school websites, the national My School website and a range of other online school guides.

“But nothing can replace the experience of visiting a school and meeting its principal, staff and students,” Ms Kloeden said.

“These personal experiences give parents a valuable insight into how a school fosters a child’s love of learning, keeps them engaged in school and supports them to achieve their best,” she said.

“It also gives parents the opportunity to ask questions about what matters most to them.”

Parents surveyed by ISQ nominated the following top five reasons why they chose an independent school:

  • the school helps prepare students to fulfil their potential in later life
  • good discipline
  • high quality teachers
  • the school fosters a responsible attitude to school work; and
  • teaching methods and or philosophy.

These reasons are highlighted in an ISQ Open Day video.

Ms Kloeden urged parents not to leave school selection until the last minute or they could be left disappointed.

According to ISQ’s survey, seven in 10 parents start assessing education options at least two years prior to their child starting school. Almost 30 percent of these parents said they started thinking about schools before their child’s birth or just after their child was born.

Parents can use the ISQ school locator tool to find an independent school in a particular area.

*Source: What Parents Want, an ISQ Survey, March 2015