A Word from the Headmaster – Ross Featherston

Engaging mothers and fathers

Over this coming weekend, it will be a pleasure to host our first ‘Strong Mothers, Strong Sons’ two-day workshop led by internationally renowned psychologist Megan de Beyer. To have more than 40 BGS mums give up their weekend is a sure sign that our community is highly engaged in raising their boys to be good young men.

Later this term, we will be working with Dr Arne Rubenstein to launch the Rites of Passage program with the Year 10 boys and their fathers or significant male mentor. (Dr Ray Swann describes the program in a previous edition of the Crowther Thinking eNews.) Even if your son is not in Year 10, I would encourage you to watch this short video. Here, we invited a few of the families who participated in the 2017 pilot program to talk about their experiences. (When you watch this video, please bear in mind that the interviewees are talking about a program that occurred over a year ago.)

Have a great week.

From the Deputy Headmaster, Head of Junior School – Peter Tellefson

I love ‘escaping’ from my office to get in amongst our boys and see them in action – in the classroom, at music, competing in sports competitions, out on the playground or on camp. Last Thursday, the Headmaster and I visited the Year 3 boys in Healesville. It was great to see them having fun while participating in a variety of activities. Their particular highlight was clearly the giant flying fox known as the ‘super swooper’!

The JPG Family Fun Night on Friday 23 November (4.30–8.00pm) is our final fundraiser for the year. The night is always a highlight, with plenty of excitement and fun for the boys. As you would know from our email yesterday, we are seeking sponsorship support from families and businesses for this year’s event. Thank you to Nick Bulfin, Brigitte McGregor and the JPG for their excellent planning and preparation. At this stage, all that is required from you is to ensure the date is in your calendar and to order your children’s wristbands online.

At the end of the year, we say farewell and extend our best wishes to a number of staff members who are departing the Junior School. Tim Medlyn is relocating to the Mornington Peninsula, Sarah Marian is moving to Ocean Grove, Ben Ryan is returning home to Brisbane and Emily Beaton has resigned from her full-time role to spend more time with her family. We thank Tim, Sarah, Ben and Emily for their continued commitment to the boys in their care and wish them well for the future.


Junior School Happenings and Reminders

  • This morning was our final Prep 2019 Transition Morning. I appreciate the coordination from Samara Madden, Paul Strain and Jo Davies. We eagerly await the arrival of our Prep boys for next year.
  • The ELC4 to Year 2 Swimming Program will commence on Monday 19 November. All boys will participate in a session per day over the five days of the week. Prep to Year 2 boys may wear their PE uniform to and from School for the week. BGS bathers must be worn.
  • Our final Prep to Year 6 Parent/Teacher Discussions will take place on Monday 19 November (3.30–8.00pm) and Tuesday 20 November (3.30–6.00pm). Booking information has been emailed to parents this week.
  • The Junior Parents’ Group AGM is next Tuesday morning 13 November. I encourage parents to consider a formal role as a JPG Committee Member for 2019. Numerous positions will be vacated at the end of the year so your support is needed to ensure the JPG’s outstanding efforts are continued into next year.
  • Our last Ute Full of Food will be held tomorrow, Friday 9 November. It is our Christmas collection, so any little ‘Christmassy’ bit that could be included would add to the collection. Items suggested are small Christmas puddings, tins of ham, turkey or chicken, tins of vegetables, small packets of shortbread, small Christmas cakes, mince pies, sweets/lollies/chips/chocolate, cans of soft drink, small jars of coffee (50g), packets of tea bags (25), 500g packets of sugar, small cartons of long-life milk and all the usual non-perishable foods.

Student Achievements

Congratulations to the following boys from Years 3 to 6, who will be presented with Semester 2 Effort Cards at tomorrow’s Assembly in the G. B. Robertson Hall at 12.30pm.

Art – Lachlan Strahan, Ethan Davis, Ronnie Xu, Leonardo Grollo, Alex Jin, Ned Bailey

Chinese – Fletcher Brougham, Hamish Featherston, Jerry Mei, Ned Bailey, Hugh Langdon, Ken Lu, Hugo Fyfe, Aiden Retief

Japanese – Des McDonald, Ethan Davis, Alexander Rozentoul, John Hall, Kenneth Yeung

Science – Luke Ferdinands, John Hall, Jinheon Kim, Sam Fanning, Cooper Broun, Aidan Williams, Ethan Rowe

Year 3 Physical Education – Mitchell Carney, Max Thomson

Year 3 Religious Education – Jack Epstein, Max Henley


From the Director of the Early Learning Centre – Amelia Barrow

A short week is a busy week in the ELC

It was so lovely to see the boys arrive yesterday all refreshed and ready for the last five weeks of school. We hope you had a lovely long weekend and enjoyed Cup Day celebrations.

This week, we continue preparing the boys for their transitions, with the ELC4 boys heading over to Prep to learn about the exciting life of a ‘big boy’. It has also been wonderful to discuss with the boys their feelings about change and how we cope with worries or concerns. This has been supported by our understanding of mindful breathing and taking big deep breaths when our tummy is feeling worried or scared.

ELC4 Transition Statements will be sent home tomorrow for parents and boys to read through and complete. These are to be returned next week in time for Parent/Teacher Discussions on 13 and 14 November. (Bookings can be made through synportal.)

Our Christmas pageant rehearsals are in full swing, packed with energy and fun – and the boys don’t mind it, either! We are so proud of our ELC boys who performed last year as they lead the singing and acting to show everyone how it’s done. We can’t wait for our rehearsals to begin on the big stage, where the event will occur in just under 4 weeks! More information and invitations will be sent shortly.

A reminder that the ELC Parent Christmas Party is being held on Friday 30 November. Please ask your classroom representative for further details if required.


Teaching & Learning

Year 10/Year 5 Coaching Experience

This year, eighteen Year 10 students have volunteered to participate in our Year 10/Year 5 Coaching Experience.  Each participating Year 10 student will coach a boy from the end of Year 5 through to the end of Year 7 (Semester 1), guiding him as he develops leadership skills in Year 6, and then supporting him in his transition from the Junior School to the Secondary School.  These are some of our reflections near the beginning of the program:

On Tuesday morning, 18 Year 10 boys walked down to the Junior School to complete our first ‘get-to-know-you’ session with 18 boys who will become part of the 2019 Year 6 cohort. These boys had been hand-picked by their teachers, who believed that they would benefit from the guidance of an older boy in both academic and social situations.

We played games, which included rolling dice to determine a question we would ask to get to know the boy we were working with a little bit better.

The Junior School boys were interested in the lives of the older boys, and were curious to try and explain their experiences with school and the real world. (Wei-Yee Hall.)

I had to find an interest to connect to my buddy, and once I found that it was much easier to break the ice. (Ben Fisher)

It was important to find the interests of our boy and find common ground. This was important in order to establish a bond as well as some degree of trust, especially in the boys who appeared introverted and quiet.

It seemed that Junior School boys who have a unique interest or have something that they are proud of are more likely to be outgoing and extroverted whereas boys who don’t have this reassurance in opening up about their interests are more introverted and quiet. Our job as Coaches is to change that and to reassure the younger boys that everyone is different and that they should embrace their abilities and interests. (Maxim Christodoulou)

A common theme throughout all the Year 5 boys’ questions was the Secondary School and feelings varied from boy to boy.

My buddy is excited about some of the activities provided in the Urwin Centre, but he is nervous about the numerous interactions he will have with older boys, such as chapel, assembly etc. My aim is to try and change his view on the aspects that he is scared about as I don’t want those little nerves to become something more serious in the future. (Luke Marsden)

We are all looking forward to working with the boys as they move through their last year in the Junior School and guiding them in their transition to the Secondary School.

Luke Marsden and Maxim Christodoulou (Year 10)



Boating for Brains

This past week, David Gemmell, Head of Outdoor Education, gave up his long weekend to follow BGS parent Matthew Wood along the Murray River. Matthew joined 21 other people (plus support staff and families) to paddle 600km of the river in a dragon boat for a Guinness World Record attempt! But he isn’t doing it for a certificate – he is part of the Boating for Brains charity. And it isn’t only about spending a lot of time in a skinny boat paddling a long river; it is about raising funds to support the neurology department at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne.

The team has been camping along the route for the past five days – and surprised themselves by completing their journey a day early, on Wednesday afternoon at 6pm.

BGS is proud to support this cause through the supply of outdoor education equipment and staff resources not only because of the Wood family but because of the multiplied impact this charity fundraiser will have on families around Australia. We urge our awesome BGS community to join us in getting behind the Wood family and Boating for Brains, and we congratulate the team on their paddling success!
#boatingforbrains, #rchm, www.boatingforbrains.com.au

David Gemmell
Head of Outdoor Education


School Transitions

Visit the SchoolTV link for information on:

  • what parents can do to help their child transition to a new school
  • the anxieties children may experience when transitioning from junior to secondary school
  • the key signs your child is having problems transitioning
  • how should parents approach a child inclined to spend excessive time on homework.



Friends of Swimming – BBQ helpers required

When – Term 4 2018 and Term 1 2019

Any parents with boys participating in Swimming for their Summer Sport are invited to contact Karlie Jackett-Simpson or Phil Smith regarding involvement in the parent group, including the weekly Thursday morning BBQ’s for the boys after training. If you are interested in helping out and receiving further communications from the Friends of Swimming Group, please contact:

Karlie Jackett-Simpson: karlie_js@hotmail.com or 0412 797 604
Phil Smith: philip@holidayretreats.com.au


JPG News

Family Fun Night

Book your tickets to receive an exciting showbag together with the admission wristband.

Wristbands will also be available for purchase at the entrance on the day.


Second Hand Uniform Shop – We need you!

Our Second Hand Uniform Shop is run entirely by volunteers and our core group is leaving after years of great work. We need more volunteers for the remainder of 2018 and for 2019.

The money raised by the Shop is donated to the Parent Group and used to fund projects for the boys. Volunteering a great way to give back to our wonderful School – and we have fun, too!

If you can help or would like to find out more, please contact Tracey Oliver

The final days for donations/sales in 2018 are:

  • Tuesday 13 November, 2–4pm
  • Tuesday 27 November, 2–4pm