Senior School News
Term 1, Week 9, 2020
From the Dean of Junior School
Lunchtime Activities in Junior School
James Harrison - Dean of Junior School
Back in my day (a long, long time ago), when I came home from school, I dropped my bag, raided the fridge and then waved goodbye to Mum as I headed out to play with friends or ride my bike. Mum would simply shout, “Be home in time for dinner and be careful!” Looking back, I think my mother was just relieved that I was happy and active. Mum was always there in the afternoon so while she may have sent me off into the neighbourhood with warnings aplenty, I’m not sure how she would have felt if I had retreated to my room to play video games on my computer for two hours each afternoon (luckily for me, they didn’t arrive on the scene till about ten years later). In more recent times, with both parents working so much, and societal pressures to be the best parents we can be coming at us through mainstream and social media, there has been an increase in organised activities outside of school hours in order to keep our children engaged and entertained.
This has naturally raised the question: How much scheduling of a child’s time is too much?
In the last few years, the debate about the merits of enrichment versus the negative impact of overscheduling a child, has moved back and forth. In truth, everyone has an opinion, and those opinions vary greatly. For many, it is a situation borne out of necessity with both parents working longer hours. For others, it is to make sure their child has as many opportunities as possible as their peers so they don’t ‘fall behind’.
Where do you stand on the following questions?
- If your child starts off doing ballet or piano in Kindergarten, is it okay for them to give up on activities like these even if a great deal of time and money have been invested in them?
- If your child doesn’t want to do these activities anymore, do they have to choose ‘new’ activities to replace them so they are still engaged in something?
- Is it ever okay to just come home and play in an unstructured, child-controlled way?
In her 2014 Psychology Today blog, Marilyn Wedge PHD summarised the debate for and against the scheduling of activities for children. Alvin Rosenfeld, author of The Overscheduled Child, says “that there's nothing wrong with enrichment activities as long as parents make sure children have enough down time with no activities.”
Suniya Luthar, a psychology professor at Columbia, has done extensive studies on the role of extracurricular activities in children’s lives. She says, “It’s good for kids to be scheduled. It’s good for them to have musical activities, sports or other things organised and supervised by an adult. Outside activities make a child well-rounded. The problem comes, when parents overscrutinise their children’s performance in the activities, and they no longer become fun for the kid.”
Wedge goes on to quote Michael Thompson, a clinical psychologist and author of The Pressured Child, who raises an especially good point: “Is the motivation for the activity coming from the parent or from the child?”
All of this debate has informed Tara’s approach to cocurricular activities. In the 2021-2025 Tara Strategic Plan, under the pillar of The Tara Experience, one of our goals states: Tara offers outstanding cocurricular opportunities that foster development beyond the classroom and encourage positive student wellbeing.
We already have an extensive cocurricular program through the Tara Enrichment Centre (TEC). To further build on our cocurricular offering, lunchtime activity groups were introduced a number of years ago in the Junior School as an additional way of reaching every girl, appealing to her interests, and maximising her opportunities during the school day.
In late Term 1 this year, we surveyed all students in Year 2-6 about their experience and feelings towards playtime in general, and lunchtime clubs, in particular. A snapshot of the results appears below.
I enjoy play time at Tara
I like making up my own games to play with friends
I like being busy during play time by participating in a lunchtime club
I wish there were more lunchtime clubs offered
I am too busy at school and have no time to relax
Anecdotally, as educators, we know that within the school day, children need time to run around and relax. They also need time to socialise with peers, organise plans for what they will do during breaks and negotiate rules for games. Our challenge as your daughter’s teachers, is to allow space for her to do this. Author, Robert M Pirsig, famously said, “Boredom always precedes a period of great creativity.” Are we creating the right conditions for students to invent and create for themselves?
With this in mind, we have designed a lunchtime activity / enrichment program at Tara which:
• Covers a wide spectrum of physical, intellectual and spiritual domains
• Provides students with new experiences
• Is completely optional with the child deciding if she wants to attend
• Often allows students to refine / build upon existing skills
Our Term 3 program includes:
• Crusaders (Cru) where girls learn about Jesus
• Tournament of Minds
• Lego construction
• Jump Rope
Not every year level has an activity every term as we want to ensure there are opportunities for students to design their own experiences during break times. Some activities such as debating and band, run throughout the year and require a significant amount of work outside of the scheduled times. In all circumstances, we are always mindful of our strategic goal to offer outstanding cocurricular opportunities beyond the classroom. There is still more work to be done but we are confident that we have the balance right and that what we are offering is positively contributing to student wellbeing.
Service for Others: Hearts and Minds in Action
Imogen M - Year 11
At Dignity Dishes, we’ve been cooking and packaging nutritious meals for those experiencing homelessness and financial hardship with the assistance of Mrs Cropper and Mrs Napier. With their support, we’ve been able to cook over 350 meals, which is an incredible achievement!
As someone who really enjoys cooking, I have found Dignity Dishes such a delight to be a part of. It is a thoughtful and enjoyable initiative which my friends and I always look forward to attending fortnightly on Wednesday afternoons.
Supporting Dignity Dishes is a great way to enjoy quality time cooking with friends after a day at school, creating a feeling of fulfillment knowing that this program provides meals to those less fortunate. I’ve forged closer bonds with people I hadn’t talked to much previously, whilst cooking meals for people who are less advantaged. Dignity Dishes is a great opportunity to give back to the community and make a difference to the people around us, as well as providing an opportunity to develop new skills in the kitchen!
The school has enabled all students to be a part of this program - not just by cooking but through financial support as well. I’d like to encourage everyone to be involved with Dignity Dishes in any shape or form, as it’s been an excellent opportunity that I have really enjoyed.
From the Chief Financial Officer | Director of Operations
Commonwealth School Data Collection Notice
Please see the link below for the Commonwealth School Data Collection Notice.
Tara Aquatic Centre and Sports Precinct Update
The Tara Aquatic Centre and Sports Precinct is progressing well and is on-track to be ready for use early in 2023. Both the main pool and learn to swim pool are ready to be tiled, and construction has begun on the changerooms and office areas. The outdoor terraces have been poured, and we expect the roof over this space to be installed in the next month or so.
The new fitness centre and gymnasium foyer is also well underway, with the upper and lower floors, roof, external walls and windows now in place. The walkways leading down to the Sports Precinct are nearly completed, and landscaping work has begun in this area.
We are looking forward to sharing more updates with you in the coming months as we count down to the grand opening in 2023.
Junior School News
Vacation Care News
Week two of Vacation Care, 4-8 July, was NAIDOC week! In aiding our understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, we did daily group readings, which involved the ‘Welcome to country’, and books: ‘Somebody’s land’ and ‘Big Rain Coming’.
We got creative with our cooking by making bush tucker inspired Apple & Cinnamon damper, and white chocolate wattle seed cupcakes. Alongside working together to create the Aboriginal Flag, using our handprints! We painted respectfully with ochre and created Aboriginal Flag-Stained glassworks. We had an incredible time becoming more socially and culturally literate.
Tara Junior School STEM SMH
We were thrilled when invited by the SMH to republish our Junior School STEM article.
It is exciting to be able to share with such a wide audience!
‘Junior School STEM: get your daughter stacking.’ Published in the SMH Independent Schools Guide, Saturday 23 July.
The article was written by Tara’s wonderful Alyssa Longmuir our IT integrator, Wendy Abernethy our fabulous Dean of Learning ELC-6 and Ruth Adams our amazing Deputy Principal and Head of Junior School at Tara Anglican School for Girls.
More reasons why your daughter belongs at Tara.
Read all about it here
ELC to Year 2 Athletics and Cross Country Carnival
Mr Munn and Mrs Smiles - Junior School PDHPE
The final day of Term 2 saw girls in ELC, Kindergarten, Year 1 and Year 2 take to Mouleric Field for their annual Athletics Carnival. They enjoyed rotating around different running, jumping and throwing activities which they had been learning and practicing as part of their PE program. As their Cross Country Carnival was sadly postponed several times due to the rain we received in Term 1 and early Term 2, this longer distance race was also included on the day. It was wonderful to see our littlest athletes trying their hand at the range of activities on offer, confidently and enthusiastically. We warmly welcomed parents back on site for this carnival and they dressed to impress donning house-coloured sequined capes, balloons and streamers! Thank you to the leaders of our school, Year 6, who were marvellous encouragers and supporters on the day.
Years 3 to 6 Athletics Carnival
Following from the much postponed and then modified Cross Country Carnival, the rain held off (just) enough in Term 2 to hold our Junior School 3-6 Athletics Carnival on Monday, 20 June. The current Tara building project necessitated a new undertaking for Junior School: moving the Carnival off site to Barton Park, Parramatta.
At our new venue there was an excellent vibe, with the teachers and girls enthusiastic and bubbly. It was especially satisfying to finally have the presence of parents and friends back supporting the girls. Thank you to all who came. May your presence continue!
The conditions on the day allowed us to (almost) run the full program of track and field events. Only occasionally did the girls have to dodge boggy patches in some of the lanes on the 100m straight! All the girls did their utmost to participate and to run, throw, jump and to laugh to the best of their abilities. I think we all especially enjoyed the yummy sausage sandwich lunches provided!
Special congratulations go to the Sub-Junior Champion, Eloise; Sub-Junior Runner Up, Anneliese; Junior Champion, Ruby and Junior Runner Up, Ashleigh.
While circumstances allowed the Houses to sit together again, various issues had conspired to prevent all students from coming together to learn a new chant for this carnival. The House Leaders are just itching to get all their Houses back to their loudest and most inspirational for the upcoming Gymnastics carnival! Congratulations go to the girls in Crawford House, who just pipped Walker to gain most points on the day.
Thank you from the Junior PE staff to the Property, Catering and Sports departments and coaches and to all the Staff, parents and girls who made the Carnival such a wonderful day. We wish the selected Tara team of 25 all the best as they prepare to compete at IPSHA Athletics on Monday, 29 August.
Senior School News
Inquisitive minds Talented Workshop North-West Sydney Champions!
On Thursday 28 July, a team of Tara girls headed to the Inquisitive minds Talented Workshop!
Teon and Claire of Year 8 won first place in the first problem solving round and finished 5 minutes before any other team. Selina and Rebecca placed 3rd. There were approximately 70 teams involved in the workshop.
In the second round, all students needed to pick one team mate from another school. They worked through as many problems as possible in the time frame given. Orchid and her partner placed 1st, Claire and her team mate placed 3rd.
In the final round, an engineering competition was held. Each school needed to build a bridge, and make the widest spanning distance using wooden blocks. Tara placed 2nd with a span of 69.5cm, with the winning team beating them at the last minute with 74cm.
Great job girls!
Hannah at the International Science School
Hannah W - Year 11
In the recent July holidays, I was privileged to attend the International Science School (ISS) as a scholar. Though ISS is normally held on campus at the University of Sydney for two weeks, this year it was held online. Nevertheless, it was a jam-packed, entertaining and undoubtedly a very valuable experience.
The program started with the opening event, with the Governor of NSW, The Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC in attendance, alongside the President and Deputy President of the Physics Foundation. The theme of this year’s Science School was ‘looking forward’, and the Governor gave an inspiring speech about how science is not only the present, but also the way of the future. It greatly encouraged me, and indeed , every student present, to pursue my passion for science and seize opportunities in the STEM field. Similarly, Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Cathy Foley, highlighted the progress that has been made so far regarding women in STEM, as well as the value and depth of knowledge we can learn from the First Nation’s people – the first scientists of the world.
Over the next few days, there was an impressive line-up of lectures including Elaine Sadler, Blaise Aguera y Arcas, Jacinta Cleary, Anita Ho Baillie, Adrienne Fairhall, and Dr Karl Kruszelnicki.
The program also included two ethics lectures, and I left them with more questions than answers. However, I also left with a more nuanced, perceptive understanding of how the world is, and could be, viewed. Particularly, the theory of consequentialism vs non-consequentialism was explored and multiple views on morality were discussed.
One of the highlights of the program was a Q&A with Derek Muller (aka Veritasium!). A main takeaway was how science is ‘a lot of wandering about in the dark’ and more about the ‘why’ than the ‘what’. One of my favourite quotes is ‘If you never get to the point where you lose understanding, you are not working hard enough’. However, Derek Muller also added that science can also make good things possible – think animation, medicine and technology.
For our workshops, we made fake beef patties, investigated particles under the microscope, constructed a galvanic cell and investigated argumentative fallacies as a group. Interspersed were various socials including games night, movie nights, trivia and scavenger hunts. One of the most exciting opportunities was connecting with like-minded people all across Australia, and indeed across the world. It truly was an informative, rewarding and enlightening experience and I highly recommend all girls in Year 10 or Year 11 to apply as a scholar next year.
Lismore Library Book Drive
The Year 9 SRC are running the 'Lismore Library Book Drive', an event that will run from Week 3 until Week 8 of Term 3. Our aim for this initiative is to help rebuild Lismore library, by supplying them with books to help fill their library. Lismore library has suffered tremendously due to the recent floods in February 2022. As a result, all of their books have been destroyed! With the aim of 250 books, the Year 9 SRC plan to run a book drive where the books brought in will be transported to Lismore Library to help them rebuild.
We are hoping each and every student and staff member will contribute to this book drive.
The Year 9 SRC have been in contact with the owners of Lismore Library, and they are beyond grateful and excited to rebuild their local town library. Staff and students are bringing in their books and dropping them off at Student reception, and with every book being brought in, we are one step closer to rebuilding Lismore Library.
Tara Year 7 Trivia Night
Mila N - Community Prefect
The King's and Tara Trivia Night served to foster positive relationships between Year 7 King's and Tara students, following the Year 8 Trivia Night last term. The fun, entertaining, and collaborative evening took place at Tara on Friday, 22 July. By interacting in a supervised and respectful manner in several rounds of team trivia and games, students learned to build relationships that were beneficial and constructive, and further develop their communication and social skills. It was a great evening! Thank you to everyone who helped bring this event and initiative to life.
Eden W - Year 7
In the past terms of Year 7, we have been focusing on being kind friends and building strong relationships. On the Friday of Week 1, Year 7 from Tara and King’s gathered for a Trivia Night to get to know each other better! Organised by the Year 12 Leadership Teams from both schools, the session was full of engaging activities. We worked with our groups, which was a mix of Kings boys and Tara girls. There was a collaboration challenge that involved creating a ‘table decoration’ from balloons, as well as trivia quizzes that required communication. Through this unique experience, both us Tara girls and the King’s boys continue to grow positive connections whilst enjoying the fun, lively evening.
Evelyn D - Snowsports Captain
These winter holidays several Tara girls took the long drive down to the snow to enjoy a week in July filled with Tara spirit and lots of hot chocolates at Thredbo Mountain. Thirty six Tara students from ELC to Year 12 took on many opportunities whether it was trying skiing or snowboarding for the first time in Tara’s Development Squad made up of three very talented teams or spending the week training and preparing to race for Interschools Reginal Championships in several snowboarding races: Snowboard GS and Snowboard Cross or several ski races: Moguls, Alpine and Ski Cross.
Parents and friends got to enjoy a great night at the Tara Snowsports Dinner at Kosciusko Hotel where they met with other families and shared many of their stories on the snow. Such amazing skills were learnt in the Development Squad teams and we look forward to seeing which girls will give racing a try in future years.
So many of these girls have been given the opportunity to continue on to the next level and compete at State level in Perisher later this August. Some of Tara’s very proud team achievements include our Year 11 and 12 girls competing Division 1 Snowboard GS placing 1st, several Year 7 and 8 girls competing Division 3 placing 1st in their Alpine team and 3rd in their Ski Cross team.
Some outstanding individual results include Elaine, Year 12 who received 3rd place in Snowboard GS and Lexi, Year 8, who received 2nd place in Snowboard GS and 3rd place in Snowboard Cross. We can’t wait to see what these girls achieve at the State Championships.
This week would not have been possible without the amazing work of Ms Musto and Tara old girls Annie, Carla-Ann and Adele. It as been a great joy and privilege working with these girls as Snowsports Captain for 2022.
Year 8 Drama Day – A Day with Zeal
Wednesday, 20 July, Year 8 had a very exciting day with Zeal Theatre!
The girls spent the day watching one of Zeal Theatre’s acclaimed performances, ‘The Stones’ and participated in various drama workshops, creating and performing their own drama pieces. These workshops addressed fundamental drama and performance skills which can be applied across many subject areas.
Year 8 were a very engaged audience for the performance and active participants in the workshops. Thank you to Zeal Theatre for providing the girls with a very fun and meaningful day!
Here’s what some of the Year 8 students thought about the day:
"I thought the play was really entertaining. It engaged the audience and was really appropriate for our year group regarding the themes and language which contributed to the entertainment and engagement of it as well. The workshops were genuinely fun and the flexibility of it all really helped our group create scenes we actually wanted to create which made it fun as a whole. It was also very entertaining to watch. I would definitely recommend it for everyone." - Deborah
"I enjoyed participating in the activities. I really recommend this for others in the years to come." - Raelene
"I really liked the Drama Day. I thought that the performance in the morning was well done and intriguing. I liked the afternoon as well, I liked being separated into groups and doing drama related activities. I thought that it was really good how we were given the opportunity to get an experience of the Drama course and show our creativity." - Scarlett
"I loved the performance of ‘The Stones’! It was a very moving play and I thought it was excellent." - Leila
Future Problems Solving
On Friday 10 June, Tara’s Senior Future Problem Solving (FPS) Team, consisting of Brianna, Alisha, Carmen and Siya from Year 11, competed at the 2022 FPSPI International Conference. The event was hosted at the University of Massachusetts, however, many teams across the globe participated online if they were unable to attend in person.
The team participated in the Global Issues Problem Solving (GIPS) Competition last year, through numerous practice and qualifying rounds and then successfully progressed to the National Finals. These girls placed 2nd and then were invited to compete at the International Conference this year.
Siya P has kindly written on behalf of the team about the competition:
“Global Issues Problem Solving (GIPS), a part of Future Problem Solving (FPS), is a team competition where students answer some of the most important questions of the future. Teams work through a 6-step process to generate solutions to future issues such as human environmental impact, personalised medicine, and even wearable technology.
At the International Conference, we had to research and examine the effects of antibiotic resistance, which is when bacteria mutates to become resistant to the antibiotics that we use to treat them. Our team thoroughly enjoyed learning about this topic, as we prepared for the competition and we were even able to gain Mrs Crawford’s expert opinion on the matter.
On the day, we sat the 2-hour competition and ended just before midday. While finishing the 6-step process under the time limit was challenging, we were all happy with our hard work and being given the opportunity to compete amongst 57 teams across the world!”
Geography Trip to the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest
Palasha, Jemma and Kaitlyn - Year 10
In the holidays, a group of twenty six Tara girls got the amazing opportunity to go on a Geography trip and explore two unique world wonders; the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. We discovered, learned, and saw things words in a textbook simply could not fully capture. This was for many of us, a once in a lifetime opportunity to create everlasting memories.
We snorkelled in the Great Barrier Reef; the world's largest and most diverse coral reef system and one of the seven Wonders of the World, and the snapshot we saw showcases why. We also explored the Daintree, the oldest rainforest and the second most biodiverse place in the world.
At the start of the trip, we journeyed to Fitzroy Island where we visited the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre. Afterwards we went snorkelling in the inner reef where we got our first glimpse of the magical underworld beneath the seas. We saw a whole forest of beautiful earthy coloured coral, and many species of fish.
This continued when we ventured to the outer reef with a marine biologist. During the boat ride we were kept busy with facts about the reef and exciting new species that we would get to encounter. Once we arrived, we were not disappointed - the long boat ride was definitely worth it. We saw parrot fish, pineapple sea cucumbers, clownfish and even turtles. It was an incredible experience seeing the underwater sea creatures that inhabit the Great Barrier Reef .
As an introduction to the Daintree Rainforest, a scientist presented us with information on the geography and nature of the rainforest as well as how it played a vital role in its survival of 180 million years. We learnt how it houses the most endemic species of plants and animals in the world. Through the view of birds, we observed the beauty of the Daintree on the Skyrail ride. For many of us, it was the first time seeing this spectacular world wonder. Some girls visited the canopy crane to view the rainforest from above while others went to the Daintree Discovery Centre, walking through the rainforest where we really got to immerse ourselves in the beauty and spot magnificent creatures like a cassowary, an ancestor of dinosaurs.
To wrap up the trip, we were guided through Mossman Gorge by an Indigenous guide who provided us with knowledge passed on by natives who lived in this incredible place for thousands of years. We learnt many things about their culture, how they use plants for food and medicine and how they manage this environment. We even participated in a traditional cleansing smoke ceremony. Our education of the Indigenous community is important as it helps keep their culture alive.
On our last day, we took the time to give back to the Cairns community by creating sanitary service packs to be passed on to those that are less fortunate than us.
Overall, this trip greatly boosted our knowledge of the environment and surrounding ecosystems. We bonded so much as a group and created lifelong memories that we will never forget.
Congratulations on State Trial results at Gymnastics event
Tara Gymnastics gymnasts Amelia (Level 5) and Veronika (Level 6) competed at the Gymnastics NSW State Qualifier competition over the past weekend. They both performed exceptionally well. Huge congratulations to Veronika who placed 1st Overall in her Level and has now qualified to represent Tara Gymnastics at the Gymnastics NSW State Championships in late August.
Well done girls!
2022 Marcus Oldham Australian Interschool Championships NSW Representative
Congratulations to Year 11 student Rubie for being selected to represent NSW at the 2022 Marcus Oldham Australian Interschool Championships in the Secondary Show Horse and Secondary Combined Training 60cm on Gordon’s Broadacre.
This is a wonderful achievement!
Careers Newsletters - JobJump
All girls in Years 7-12 are encouraged to read this newsletter every week on the Canvas Careers page.
Careers Newsletter - 1 June 2023
For more information please contact Mr David Berridge via email - firstname.lastname@example.org