A Word from the Headmaster – Ross Featherston

Grit on the Tennis Court and in the Great South West

It was a pleasure to watch our Firsts Tennis team take on Haileybury last Saturday. The entire match was played as we like our sport played, with great competitiveness, excellent team spirit and a high level of sportsmanship on display from both sides. After an extremely close match, the result came down to the last rubber. Haileybury took the honours nine rubbers to seven, with the overall games count being Haileybury 112 to BGS 113. As I left the courts, I was impressed by this display of superb grit; in tough and hot conditions, both teams really ground it out.

I then spared a thought for the Year 9 boys, who were at the time about halfway through their Great South West Journey. This journey is the beginning of our new 9/10 B2M program. The boys are spread across the lower reaches of the Glenelg River (west of Portland), where they complete 250 kilometres of canoeing, hiking and bike riding over 12 days. I have no doubt the Year 9s, like our tennis players, have had to show grit at various times during their journey.

Professor Angela Duckworth is one of the world’s leading experts on grit. She defines grit as ‘passion and perseverance for long-term goals’. The development of character traits such as grit is part of the reason we encourage our boys to play sport, and why we send them into the outdoors for extended periods. They might not realise it just yet, but I am sure the tennis players and the Year 9s have become grittier as a result of their recent experiences.

Finally, as the world marks International Women’s Day today, I take my hat off to all the women in our BGS community. I would like to think that as a community, BGS can play its part in the IWD 2018 campaign theme of #Press for Progress.

Have a great week.


From the Head of Junior School – Peter Tellefson

I have been very impressed and most appreciative of the support of all parents from ELC to Year 6 at the commencement of the school year. It is important that we make the effort to form connections as well as maintain them.

The ‘three-cornered partnership’ between the School, parents and boys requires us to have the courage to step forward, make connections and be involved. There are plenty of opportunities: Parent Information Evenings, Parent Teacher Interviews, JPG events, Mathletics presentations, Year Level social gatherings, the Family Welcome Picnic, classroom/excursion support, sporting events … the list goes on. I encourage you to take these opportunities as they arise; our School will be a better place and your son’s learning will be enriched as a result.

Last Friday, all boys from Prep to Year 6 attended the School Officers’ Induction Service. As the Prep to Year 2 boys entered St Andrew’s Church for the first time, the Year 4 to 6 boys were there to guide them and model appropriate behaviours. We see the warmth, direction and care the older boys provide to the younger boys at various times throughout the year, and I always find this rewarding. Thank you to Father Lord, who led the Service, Hayley Blakiston and Borwick House Choir for leading the singing, and to the many family members of our School Officers, who supported their sons. We look forward to the leadership of our Year 6 boys throughout 2018.

Our Junior School Counsellor, Olivia Tims, works at Wilson House three days a week supporting staff, boys and parents. Olivia has vast experience working with primary-aged children in a school environment individually, in small-group settings, and as classes or year levels. Olivia meets with all new boys to assist them with their transition. The boys have shared some interesting insights and general impressions of BGS:

“If you get hurt in the playground, other boys are supportive, even if they’re not in your class.” (Year 5)

“There is less homework here than what we had in China.” (Year 3)

“I have always wanted to learn a strings instrument and now I can learn the violin for the first time.” (Year 5)

“BGS is very accepting of people from other countries.” (Year 4)

“There are lots of interesting books in library.” (Year 4)

“I have made friends very easily.” (Year 2)

“Teachers always give explanations and teach well.” (Year 6)

“If you’re out of the room or not listening, you have the success criteria written on the board, so you can just look up and see what you’re expected to do.” (Year 4)


Junior School Happenings and Reminders

– Congratulations to the following Year 6 boys, who will be appointed to leadership positions at tomorrow’s Assembly:

Art Monitors – Marcel Rose, Keegan Barnedt, Tomas Stewart, Gabriel Pozo

Library Monitors – Tom Field, Hugh Langdon, Alex Zheng, Alistair Liddle, Max Brownbill, Tom Kollmorgen, Lachie St Leger, Max Prassopoulos

Science Monitors – Sam Trainor, Matthew Dougan-Bath, Oskar Andersen, Hugo Fyfe, Noah Laurin

– There was a great sense of community at our Family Welcome Picnic last Friday evening. Thank you to Brigitte McGregor and the JPG Executive for their organisation, and to the volunteers who cooked the sausages with a smile.

– Best wishes to our Year 5 boys and staff who will be on camp next week. I look forward to spending time with the boys in the ‘wilds’ of Howqua on Thursday and Friday.

– I hope all families enjoy the extended holiday weekend.


Busy Little Bees in the Early Learning Centre

This week has flown by with our busy learners in the ELC. Our Buddy program is in full swing and we can see lovely bonds establishing among our boys and their ‘big buddies’. Whether the boys are working together on a project in their classroom, playing group games on the oval, exploring the Junior School, or just being boys in the outdoor playground, it certainly is a favourite experience each week. Please feel free to ask your son’s teacher his Buddy’s name if he has forgotten, so you can ask questions about their time together.

At the beginning of the week, we hosted our Term 1 Parent Teacher interviews. This provided teachers and parents with an opportunity to discuss how the boys have settled into their year, and give an initial reflection of their development thus far. We thank all parents for making the time to come and chat with their son’s teacher. If you were unable to make an appointment this week, please make sure you email his teacher to make a time next week.

If you are cleaning out your kitchen cupboards, don’t forget about us. We are in need of pots, pans, utensils and bowls for our outdoor program. Thank you in anticipation!

A reminder that if you would like to be a part of the ELC program, you are more than welcome to join in an activity. Just let us know and we will arrange everything. The boys love having parents and grandparents in the ELC, and we can guarantee it will be a special experience for you as well.

An invitation to Harmony Day was sent out on School Stream last week. We will celebrate on Thursday 22 March with a cultural dress-up day and performance. A shared morning tea will be hosted in the G. B. Robertson Hall (10–11am). All ELC families are welcome.

We would like to wish you a lovely long weekend, and look forward to seeing the boys on Tuesday. Oscar Xu is anticipating the long weekend with excitement!

Amelia Barrow
Director of the Early Learning Centre


Parenting Tip

Click here to view this week’s Parenting Tip: Secrets of managing boys’ behaviour



Teaching & Learning

Effective Learners wear many hats in 1 Heath

Term 1 Science

In Science, the Preps have been exploring sound. They now understand that sound comes from invisible sound waves that travel through the air. If there is no air, there are no sound waves, which is why there is no sound on the moon! The boys loved experimenting with vibrations by speaking into balloons and feeling the vibrations with their hands. Using various percussion instruments, they learned they could make sounds that are low or high, loud or soft. 

The Year 2 boys have been looking at growth and change through the biological unit, ‘Watch it Grow’.  The boys have been lucky enough to have a hands-on, shared experience of the life stages of an invertebrate animal (in our case, a mealworm). They have been investigating the growth of a mealworm under different temperature conditions. They have also been expanding their scientific vocabulary and have learned that experiments need to be ‘fair’ with only one ‘variable’.

The focus for boys in Year 3 has been heat as an energy source. They have learned that there are many heat sources at school and at home. The boys understand that heat can be produced in many ways and can move from one object to another. Each class conducted an investigation to compare the conductivity of different materials. Most recently, the boys learned that some materials (such as metal) absorb heat and they conducted an investigation with metal spoons and various heat producers.

Humans have always looked with wonder at the movement of celestial bodies in the sky. We have used its rhythms to define our days, months and years, and scientists have used observations to understand our place in space. Using globes and torches, the Year 5 boys have undertaken hands-on activities to explain observable movement of the Sun and Moon. They have represented their understanding of how the Earth orbits the Sun while rotating on its axis – which gives us seasons. At home, the boys supported their learning by conducting an investigation of the Sun’s movement across the sky and shared their results.


Year 4 Excursion – Murrundindi

In the Year 4 Classrooms, we are exploring Indigenous Australians. We have looked at historical timelines and examined the many different tribes that inhabited Australia before European settlement. The boys are collecting data and information from different sources, including Indigenous sites, paintings, maps, stories and historical records. The unit is allowing us to explore Australia’s past and develop a deeper understanding of the traditional owners and their customs.

Recently, we visited Murrindindi, the leader of the local Wurundjeri people, at Grant’s Picnic Ground in the Dandenong Ranges. Murrindindi spoke with the boys about his ancestors and the significance of the local area to him. He showed the boys many artefacts from his past and told stories from his tribe. He took us on a bush walk and explained the various uses for different native trees. Some of the boys were lucky enough to see lyrebirds hiding in the bush. Before we left, Murrindindi played his didgeridoo and threw some boomerangs between trees – catching them on their return!

Later this term, the boys will be presenting the work they have produced following their Dandenongs excursion at an expo for parents. Please keep an eye out for further details.