School Updates

Tree planting leaves three generations on a high as they come together for Founders’ Day at The Anglican School Googong

By School Updates

While Canberrans were celebrating Canberra Day, just across the border students from The Anglican School Googong and their families were hard at work creating a new sanctuary to protect the vulnerable Glossy Black Cockatoo.

Together, they started planting trees on the highest hill overlooking the new Googong township. The hill, known as Nangi Pimble by its traditional Ngunawal landowners, provides a panoramic view across Googong and will be home to the town’s new water supply reservoirs.

Over the next four years, more than 3000 trees will be planted in a four hectare reserve that is being created to provide a passive recreation and educational space for the community and a salute to the area’s rich Aboriginal heritage.

The initial tree planting includes native species like the Drooping She-oak, the primary food source for the Glossy Black Cockatoo which is part of the school’s logo, and gum trees that will provide nesting habitat in the future.

The Denby Family was one of the first to pitch in as students from School rolled up their sleeves to help plant trees in celebration of the school’s annual Founders’ and Grandparents Day when they focus on their community.

Jacob (9) was in Year One when the school opened. This year he is part of the school’s first Year four class.

His parents Simon and Kathryn Denby and grandparents Reg and Norma Gee, from Watson, are regular volunteers at the school which is an important contributor with close ties to the new community.

“The school is inspirational,” Simon said. “The parents all want to be involved, not just for the good of their own child, but for the good of the school and the rest of the community.

“Even though it’s getting bigger all the time, the school still feels like a family – more like a close knit community of friends which is something you don’t often get in a bigger, more structured environment.”

The Denby family moved from their 250 acre farm at Bungendore so they could be more involved and juggle school activities with the pressure of two busy fulltime jobs.

After the tree planting, the Year 3 and 4 students joined the rest of the school community for fun, games and morning tea with visiting parents and grandparents, followed by a family picnic.

Excitement in Year 4 as the Band Program Kicks Off

By School Updates

Thursday morning was a buzz with excitement with our Year 4 students as they picked up their instruments for the first time as the Year 4 Band Program kicked off. In Year 4, every student is given the use of a school-owned orchestral instrument to study as part of the academic music program. For one of the three timetabled Music lessons a week, students will study their instrument in small groups with a specialist instrumental teacher. This does not come at any further cost to the parents for year 4 students, it is simply part of their music education at the School.

We hope that this year allows students and parents to have a taste of what it is to play an instrument in the hope that they will continue instrumental study in later years and join school ensembles as they are established.

Apart from the sheer joy we see on the faces of ours students as they make music, there are a range of benefits well beyond the music classroom. Learning music can help students’ self-confidence, self-discipline and team work. Music also helps students progress in other important areas such as numeracy and literacy. Music education classes at The Anglican School Googong use a musicianship-based approach to education, predominantly incorporating the methodology of Hungarian composer Zoltan Kodály. Kodály said that true musical literacy involves musical memory and the ability to ‘internally hear what you see and write what you hear’. This means that the musician needs to be able to do more than merely interpret the notation on their instrument. They must also be able to look at a piece of musical notation and hear it in their head without firstly needing to play it on an instrument and also be able to listen to a piece of music and notate it.

When a student can do all of this, they are truly musically literate. This idea of true musical literacy may be a new concept. Those who have had the privilege of learning an instrument may have been taught by interpreting the dots on the staff and associating each dot with a fingering to play. Slowly and with practise, proficiency on the instrument developed. However, many who learnt to interpret musical notation in this way struggle with being able to hear the notes on the page without having their instrument to play it for them and find it difficult to aurally dictate music.

Identifying symbols does not necessarily translate to having a true understanding of the language of music. Therefore, our goal is to encourage and educate our students to be truly musically literate, enhancing their musicianship skills, including their ability to create new music and perform with musical sensitivity.

For further information:

Music Education at The Anglican School Googong

If You Want to Accelerate Brain Development in Children, Teach them Music

A Thousand Thanks to a Thousand Fans

By School Updates

We’ve just reached 1000 likes for our Facebook page. Thank you to all our followers for your support. We launched our Facebook page in March 2014 and since then our school has been built and we welcomed our first students in January 2015.

Thank you for liking as well as commenting and questioning. We really love it when the conversation and excitement about what we are doing connects with you. Please share our Facebook page with your friends. Let’s get up to 2000 likes soon so we can spread the word about #GoogongLearning and #School22.

To our 65 students and their families – we have lots of friends who love seeing what you do!

John Barilaro Excellence in Education Award 2016

By School Updates

Margaret Hansen

Margaret has made an outstanding contribution to the performing arts at The Anglican School Googong since the school commenced in January 2015. In particular, as the music teacher, she has created a program for all students across the school which has developed their individual musical literacy. Her music classes are ones where there is always a plethora of activities in which the students become musicians.

Margaret’s goal is to encourage and educate the students to be truly musically literate, enhancing their musicianship skills, including their ability to create new music and perform with musical sensitivity. This is demonstrated on a daily basis in her music classes and across the school when you listen to the students sing. This singing may be in class, at assembly or in Chapel and is always a delight to hear.

In addition to her music classes Margaret has conducted the school choir which commenced this year and was highly successful at the National Eisteddfod where they received a gold award for their performances and as we saw on Sunday evening when the students led our school community in singing Christmas carols.

Margaret’s technical ability as a teacher, pianist and vocal teacher is outstanding. It is this obvious passion and technical capacity that makes her a truly outstanding educator and one whom we are delighted to have lead our music education program.

Authentic Assessment for Authentic Learning

By School Updates

Our Principal, Ian Hewitt and Junior School Teaching and Learning Coordinator, Claire Dalziel recently presented at the AIS ACT Celebrating Teaching and Learning event in Canberra. This event showcased many of the unique teaching and learning projects and programs which have occurred in AIS ACT member schools in 2016. The title of their presentation was Authentic Assessment for Authentic Learning. This provided all attendees with a snapshot of our approach to assess and provide feedback to our students and their families using our ‘learner profile’.

At our school, the teachers say to their students that we’re looking forward to getting you stuck and then helping them, as learners, to work out how to get ‘unstuck’. We are a school like no other in this region where:

  • Learning how to learn is essential
  • Where there are no bells and we have long learning sessions
  • Learning is in our vocabulary
  • We can say ‘learning in action, learning for real’
  • We can say ‘Googong learning, learning for life’

With authentic learning at the heart of our school, we use our learner profile to assist each student in their journey as learners. This approach, after just 2 years of the school opening, has received tremendous support and some fantastic comments from our peers.

Comments such as:

  • People need to hear this presentation
  • Inspiring and innovative
  • I love the language of learning and the use of this with the students
  • Social and emotional learning is great for ‘future’ students

Athletics Carnival 2016

By School Updates

Last week saw all of us travel into Wright Park Queanbeyan for our athletics carnival. It was a cool start to the day but with our 75m and 100m races first up we all warmed up quickly and the cheering certainly got us into the spirit for what was a great day.

Many of our parents joined us for the day and watched as we competed in javelin, shot put, discus and long jump over the course of the day. Competition was hard fought at times but there was a tremendous spirit of giving it your best shot.

Our day concluded with the 200m and 400m races which stretched many of the children as we finished what was a great day for all. Thanks to all of our students who competed and showed tremendous spirit and a big thank you to all of our parents who supported and cheered throughout the day.

Our Indonesian Dance Moves

By School Updates

We had a wonderful time with our friends Sophie, Arif and Rifa from the Australia Indonesia Youth Association ACT (AIYA ACT) who visited us last term. They explained to us about what it is like to live in Indonesia and also taught us some Indonesian dancing and singing. It was great to have them share their expertise about what is obviously a beautiful country who are only just ‘next door’!

Indonesians love to dance and sing. The dance we were taught is called ‘maumere’ (pronounced ‘mor-me-re’; roll the second ‘r’). This is a warm up dance which is used for exercise and group activities. We had great teachers but it was a bit tricky remembering the directions in the language Bahasa Indonesia (‘ke kiri’ – to the left and ‘ke kanan’ – to the right) as well as getting the dance moves right.

Book Week Adventures

By School Updates

What a great week we had during book week – a time to celebrate all that is great about reading. Our week started with The Great Book Swap. This is a fantastic way to celebrate reading locally, and raise much-needed funds to buy books for remote communities. All of our students brought in one of their favourite books to swap for someone else’s. The gold coin donation then went to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation to assist them fund books for remote indigenous communities.

We had many of students read to students from the Early Learning Centre each afternoon which was a delight to see. To see our beginning readers take these younger children under their wing and pass on that love of children reading is quite special. We also had our Year 1 – 3 students visit the Queanbeyan library for story time.

Our week concluded with a plethora of characters from many different children’s books was amazing. The creativity and imagination in many of these costumes made for great end to our celebration of books.

Archaeologist for a Day

By School Updates

Our Year 1 class spent the day on an archaeology dig in an area just south of our school near Montgomery Creek. We joined a team of archaeologists who are undertaking a study of a few sites to discover some of the earlier history of the Googong area.

As part of our Inquiry Learning, Year 1 has started looking at materials and their properties, what they’re used for and how they’re made: both natural and man-made. To further enhance our study into this we were ‘archaeologists for a day’ so we could use a new set of skills to understand who was here before us and what materials they used.

We learnt how to use our maths, science and art skills to dig our pits with the archaeologists and discover who may have been here from what they left behind. From just this small patch of land we could tell you a whole story from what we found. There were old saucepan handles, nails, iron and stones from a fireplace and even some old slate pencils in one of the pits.

From this selection of artefacts we learnt so much about what may have been here, perhaps even a small school with children our own age. What games did they play and what did they learn? What will archaeologists discover about us in 100 years?

Our Choir in Rehearsal

By School Updates

It was with delight that our choir parents joined us for our rehearsal on Thursday morning. We have been busily learning 3 pieces of music in preparation for the National Eisteddfod in September this year.

After just 8 weeks of rehearsal we are really enjoying the expert vocal training being provided by Mrs Hansen and have especially enjoyed singing Stuart Gillard’s composition of ‘Three Blind Mice’ which is featured in this short video clip.

Stuart Gillard is a wonderful Australian composer who composes mostly for junior school choirs like ours. It is wonderful to be singing his music which showcases our love of singing and is entertaining to listen to.

Our parents were amazed at the progress that our choir with Year 1 -3 students has made and we all look forward to hearing them perform at various times throughout the year.

Check out Stuart’s website for more details: