Ibis Flyer

Balnarring Primary School
27 February 2024

Welcome Back to Balnarring Primary School for 2024 to all our existing community members and our new families that have joined us in 2024! I hope this finds you all in high spirits and ready for another fantastic term at Balnarring Primary School. It brings me great joy to welcome everyone back after the holiday break. It was truly heartwarming to see the excitement and happiness radiating from everyone as families returned in the school grounds.

It is great to be back here at Balnarring Primary School after spending 2023 at Lyndhurst Primary School, a very different school with almost 1000 students. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching the excited faces of our students as they returned with enthusiasm and eagerness to their new classrooms. All the students I spoke with were super happy to be back at school which was so heartwarming to hear as we know happy children who come to school every day learn best!

Thank Yous

I would like to thank Phil O’Riley and Anne McDonald for stepping into the principal role in my absence. I would also like to thank and acknowledge the fantastic improvement works Anne and Krysha organised and implemented over 2023. They certainly didn’t just keep things cruising along, they worked tirelessly with passion and dedication to ensure all our improvement plans were realised. This has resulted in visible improvements around the school in teaching and learning and the school environment.  Our passionate and hard-working staff have embraced all the professional learning and fully embedded our Balnarring evidence-based approach to maths. The new approach develops students as mathematicians with a positive mindset who embrace ‘productive struggle.” They work their brains hard to solve problems creatively with a toolbox of mathematical strategies. Staff provide challenging mathematical experiences that encourage students to be intrinsically motivated who will; naturally experience the ‘feeling of exhilaration’ that comes from persevering to solve problems.

Buildings and Grounds

The buildings and grounds have been tidied and spruced up and look amazing! Our Foundation classrooms are bright and light vibrant learning spaces. The outdoor indigenous quiet place and edible garden are fabulous additions to our beautiful grounds. The roof being replaced means we don’t have anymore leaks in the main building and our ‘Shelter in Place’ Gym has also been updated to be compliant and looks great too. Our garden spaces were tidied up by our lovely parents and school community who joined the working bees and look fantastic. Sitting in my office, typing this newsletter, with my windows open, I heard a student say to another student, “Please don’t do that to our plants, that is not the ‘Balnarring Way’, we care for our environment at Balnarring. I love the ownership, voice and agency that our students display about our school and how they work together with staff and families to continue to make this a dynamic and exciting learning place.

Welcoming our new Foundation Students

A special warm welcome goes out to our newest members of the Balnarring family – our Foundation students! We are thrilled to have you join us on this educational journey, and we look forward to seeing you grow, learn, and thrive in the nurturing environment here at Balnarring Primary School.

2024 School Term Dates

Term 1: 29th January (Students start 31st January) to 28th March.

Term 2: 15th April to 28th June

Term 3: 15th July to 20th September

Term 4: 7th October to 20th December

2024 Curriculum Days

Term 1: Monday January 29th & Tuesday 31st January

Term 2: Monday 15th April

Term 3:  Friday 6th September

Term 4: Monday 21st October

Public Holidays

Australia Day:   26th January

Labour Day:   11th March

Good Friday: 29th March

Easter Saturday: 30th March

Easter Sunday:   31st March

Easter Monday: 1st April

ANZAC Day: 25th April

King’s Birthday: 10th June

AFL Grand Final Day 27th September

Melbourne Cup Day 5th November

Swimming Trials

As we dive into the new term, we have already hit the ground running with our swimming trials. It’s fantastic to see our students showcasing their skills and enthusiasm in the pool. We commend their dedication and effort, and we’re excited to see the progress they will make throughout the swimming program.

Thank You to Parents and Families

We would like to extend gratitude to all the parents and families who attended the “Getting to Know Students and Families” interviews on Wednesday. Your presence and active participation are invaluable in fostering strong connections between home and school. Together, we form a supportive learning community dedicated to the success and well-being of our students.

Whole School House Activities

Last Friday we had our first Activities day for 2024. These activities promote teamwork, collaboration, and friendly competition, fostering a sense of belonging and camaraderie among students across different year levels.

Buddies Program

This Friday will mark the commencement of our Buddies Program. This program pairs older students with younger ones, creating opportunities for mentorship, friendship, and peer support. It’s a wonderful initiative that promotes connection across the whole school, empathy, leadership, and a sense of responsibility among our students.

School Leaders

I would like to congratulate our school captains, Ruby, Daisy, Mackenzie and Reid for their confident and competent running of assembly. I met with them prior to the assembly and asked them how they were feeling, they all replied excited and told me they couldn’t wait. Their level of confidence and enthusiasm was very impressive. After assembly finished, they said they wanted it to keep going and do more! I am looking forward to working with them this year to continue to make our school the thriving and dynamic learning environment it is.

DET Information for Parents: Protecting Against Mosquito-Borne Diseases

Warm and wet weather can result in greater numbers of mosquitoes and increased risk of illnesses from mosquito bites. While the overall risk is low, some mosquitoes carry diseases that make people sick. The best protection against mosquito-borne illness is to avoid mosquito bites.

Families can protect against mosquito bites by:

  • covering up as much as possible with long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing
  • applying insect repellent that contains picaridin or DEET on exposed skin when leaving home.
  • limiting outdoor activity if lots of mosquitoes are active.

Families with any health concerns should see their doctor or phone NURSE-ON-CALL: 1300 606 024 (available 24 hours).


Japanese encephalitis virus is spread to humans through bites from infected mosquitoes and can cause a rare but potentially serious infection of the brain. Free Japanese encephalitis vaccines are available to protect Victorians at higher risk of the virus.

The Victorian Department of Health encourages eligible people who live or work in high-risk local government areas to get vaccinated.

For more information, including what is considered a high-risk area and eligibility for a free vaccine, refer to the Department of Health’s Japanese encephalitis webpage.

For more information on protecting against mosquito-borne diseases, families can refer to the following Better Health Channel pages:

Annual Privacy Reminder For Our School Community

Our school collects and uses student and parent personal information for standard school functions or where permitted by law, as stated in the Schools’ Privacy Policy and the Schools’ Privacy Collection Notice.

Our Photographing, Filming and Recording Students Policy Information – Balnarring Primary School (balnarringps.vic.edu.au), describes how we collect and use photographs, video and recordings of students. The policy also explains when parent consent is required and how it can be provided and withdrawn.

We ask parents to also review the guidance we provide on how we use Microsoft 365 safely at the school and what parents can do to further protect their child’s information. If after reviewing the guidance, you have any questions or concerns regarding your child using Microsoft 365 please contact the school.

For more information about privacy, refer to: Schools’ Privacy Policy — information for parents

Mobile Phones

A reminder that the Department of Education has in place a mobile phone ban that requires students who bring mobiles phones to school to have them switched off and securely put away during school hours. The department is requiring all schools to ensure this ban is in place and enforced from the start of the 2024 school year. The ban applies equally to all government schools right across the state. This helps ensure that school is a learning environment free from unnecessary distractions and disruptions.  By ensuring mobile phones are kept away at recess and lunch times, students can interact with each other face-to-face, without the distractions and social pressures that mobile phones can cause.

I ask for the support of all our families, staff and students in continuing to support the implementation of this policy in our school.

Further information

Emergencies: In the event of an emergency or if you need to immediately contact your child, I ask that families contact the school office who will pass on a message as required.

School mobile phone policy: A copy of our school’s local mobile phone policy, which implements the government’s mobile policy in line with our local context, is available here: Information – Balnarring Primary School (balnarringps.vic.edu.au).

Parent support: The Mobile phones in schools webpage provides links to resources for families to help them balance their children’s time using mobile phones.

If you have further questions, please contact the administration office.

In conclusion, let’s embrace the opportunities and challenges that this new term brings. With our collective efforts and unwavering support for one another, I am confident that we will continue to achieve great things here at Balnarring Primary School in 2024.

Kind regards

Nicky Walker


Calm start at Balnarring Primary School!

It has been wonderful seeing such incredibly happy kids, staff and parents since we began the year. It was such a smooth start with students quickly adjusting to the routines and expectations of school.

Our smallest school members, (Foundation students) are adjusting very well to being at school and finding their way around. They will begin to adapt to having the same recess and lunchtimes as the rest of the school and will be very well supported in doing so. I know that our older students are very keen to have them out in the yard with them too.

Thank You, Balnarring Storm!!

Our entire community are incredibly grateful for the donation of our new basketball ring. Once it was installed on the holidays there were numerous groups of community members shooting hoops and having so much fun.

For many years our students in grade Prep to 3 have been training on the bigger 10 foot rings. On game days however, they play using a lower 8 foot hoop system. Training on the correct sized hoop systems has allowed them to learn proper shooting techniques and significantly raises their confidence as we can actually make the shot.

Some grade 6 students, Sonny, Hayden and Eddie noticed that when everyone came back to school, they ALL wanted to use the ring. It was chaotic so they solved the problem by coming to me with a solution. They designed a roster to give everyone a turn and created two very simple rules.

* No slam dunking.

* You can’t hang off or pull on the net.

They then presented this to the students at assembly.

We are so grateful for Storm Basketball Club and their committee for their sponsorship. It is a dream come true for our students.

Dealing With Anxiety

New classroom, new friends, new teacher, new expectations. Such a lot of ‘new’ for our children. For some students these changes may be exciting, for others, they can be extremely challenging. Those feelings of fight flight or freeze can present themselves and can make children feel like they can’t or don’t want to do certain activities because it makes them very uncomfortable. Anxiety is something that we all experience to some degree in our lifetime. It’s how we manage it that is important. The following article was shared with our staff, and it was such a brilliantly written article that I thought it important to share with you. Some really great messages for us all.


Wellbeing Co-ordinator Appointed

We were very fortunate to be able to appoint Kim Milton as our Wellbeing Co-ordinator for this year. Kim has been working in the area of intervention over the past 2 years here at Balnarring and has helped many of our students and supported our teachers in developing their literacy skills. She will continue to manage this area as well.

After you have spoken with your child’s teacher about any issues of concern and you feel you need further information or investigation, Kim is your first port of call on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. I am available on a Monday and Friday to support you but please know that you can come to either of us to help you support your child at any time. Please email on the school email [email protected] or phone us and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Kim will be taking on the role of seeking funding for eligible students. She will be working closely with our Student Support Services to determine if your child may need an assessment or observation and support staff through Professional Learning.

She will also be leading our Wellbeing Team in developing programs and support systems for our students. This work is well under way and you may notice regular articles about “The Balnarring Way” in each newsletter from our Wellbeing team.

Kim is very excited about her new role and is already doing an extraordinary job.

Facilities Updates

I’m hoping as you walk past the junior school toilets, that you may have noticed that they no longer smell!! On the holidays, we had an epoxy floor installed which is fantastic in stopping the smell in the toilets. The toilets were also painted last week, all thanks to a grant that we received last year.

Hopefully, you may have also noticed that the hallway in the admin building has been painted and gives the whole place a fresh feel.

The portables where our Foundation students are, have also received an upgrade to freshen them up. Walls have been painted, new tvs installed, cupboards removed, pinboards added, blackboards covered, and eaves replaced.

Our incredible volunteer Chris Hackett has been busy lowering and painting bag hooks for the Foundations, replacing Perspex in the Wetlands, fixing a broken seat around the Friendship Tree and fixing some broken bookshelves. We are incredibly grateful for having such a wonderful community member support us.

Warm regards

Anne McDonald
Assistant Principal


English at Balnarring Primary School

By now, your child will have brought home their reading satchel and diary. Thank you for taking the time to listen to your child read each night and foster a love of literacy. The home-school partnership is vital to the success of our literacy program. Students with lots of support and encouragement from home consistently benefit from these efforts.

Staff began the year with an English Curriculum Day. We looked at the Science of Reading, which is a vast, interdisciplinary body of scientifically based research about reading and writing. This research has been conducted over the last five decades across the world. It explains how children learn to read and informs best practise teaching & learning. It is not a program or one size fits all approach. We revisited the ‘Big 6 of Reading’ (oral language, phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary & comprehension). Children need explicit instruction in each area to become proficient readers.

After that we investigated the  “Active View of Reading’ model. This is a helpful visual representation of how skilled reading is developed. The Active view includes the role active self-regulation and engagement have in learning to read. Research suggests that motivation & engagement predicts reading ability.

Finally we investigated best practice around classroom libraries and independent reading. Teachers then planned explicit lessons on choosing good fit books, organising classroom libraries, developing stamina & promoting a love of reading.

Last Friday, the Year 5/6 teachers and I attended the first of three Write to Read (W2R) professional learning sessions. W2R is a course designed for explicitly teaching spelling, writing and reading. W2R focuses on explicitly teaching children to read and write the English language codes; recognise them in words, blend the sounds they represent and apply rules when necessary. Most of our staff have undergone this learning and I’m sure you will hear your child talking about the ‘codes’ when reading and writing at home.

Have a great week,

Krysha Renison
Learning Specialist




Supervision before school commences at 8.30 am and after school until 3.30 pm.

There is no supervision on Student Free Days.

Wellbeing News

The ‘Balnarring Way’  is to
. Respect and care for self
. Respect and care for others
. Respect and care for the environment


As part of Balnarring’s wellbeing values– ‘The Balnarring Way’,  we will be bringing you regular updates of positive wellbeing initiatives that are happening around our school!

The Balnarring Way is the way our students become good learners and good citizens. Through the three pillars of Care and Respect for Ourselves, Others and the Environment, its values are embedded in everything that we do at Balnarring Primary School.

Recently when students have been asked what it is to be a good citizen, responses have included-

‘It means you care about stuff’

‘It means you’re a good person’

‘You help all the people’

‘They try and make a difference’

‘They make us feel good, not just what they say or what they do, its how they make us feel’.

Students have also been able to identify good citizens within our community; from our crossing guards, family members, through to their local sporting coach.

We encourage all families to have a chat to your children at home about how they can be a good learner and what it means

 to be a good citizen.



What activities are coming up?


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