Home' Phillip Island and San Remo Advertiser : February 3, 2016 Edition Contents PAGE 10 - THE ADVERTISER, WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2016
BACK TO SCHOOL
BACK TO SCHOOL
Record number of
enrolments at Cowes
THE increasing growth
of the Island is being
seen in the number of
young children enrolled
at Cowes Primary School
For the first time in its
long history the school
has a total enrolment of
555 students across the
seven year levels.
This year sees 80 Prep
students arriving for the
first time last week.
They are being accom-
modated in four classes of
Two new teachers have
joined the staff this year.
Former student and
graduate teacher Tessa
Johnstone will take Grade
1 and talented musician
Simon Nolan is introduc-
ing a new music program
for all classes.
Two former teachers,
Tash Robinson and Sarah
Tyrrell, are returning and
will join Tony Hornsby in
the Year 6 level.
Total number of staff is
A feature at Cowes Pri-
mary School is its focus
on the development of the
In recent years a School
Wide Positive Behaviour
Program has been incor-
porated into the curricu-
lum, and with startling
Such is its success that
Cowes is considered a
leading school in this pro-
gram and is now mentor-
ing other schools in the
This program is de-
signed to teach students
the important life skills of
making, resilience and
It also reinforces good
behaviour and respect for
the school rules and core
An extension to this
program is the Gotcha Re-
“We call it Gotcha Re-
wards because it recog-
nises a child’s good
behaviour and attitude
by giving them a token
reward which they can
accumulate and redeem
for a special prize. These
rewards are part of the
school assembly held each
principal Sue Becker.
The use of technology is
an established part of the
daily learning program,
especially in the middle
and senior grades where
children have access to
iPads and laptops.
Academic focus this
year is consolidation of
the school’s strong literacy
A new spelling program
called Words Their Way is
being introduced in each
classroom which sees stu-
dents given a 20 minute
lesson each day on the
spelling of words.
There is also an empha-
sis on the development of
A recent study shows
a strong link between a
child’s command of lan-
guage and their academic
“Research shows that
the level of language a
child has at the start of
school is a predictor of
their academic perfor-
mance later on,” said Sue
“This is why we are
working heavily on our
literacy program so that
each child is given the best
opportunity to do well at
“It starts early in life and
we are making sure that
this flows down into the
early childhood years.
“We are now in a fortu-
nate position to do this
through our close links
with the Children’s Hub.”
This is the third year
that the primary school
and the early learning
centre have worked to-
gether in a partnership
model and are able to
extend such educational
programs across all age
As well as its academic
curriculum, Cowes Pri-
mary School has devel-
oped an extensive range
of sporting and cultural
activities for all students.
High on the list is its
swimming program that
operates at the school
pool in Terms 1 and 4.
Students engage in
a variety of sports and
challenges and compete
against other schools at
regional and state level,
under the direction of PE
teachers Didi Cuthbertson
and Nadine Newman.
The teaching of Japa-
nese will continue in the
LOTE program conducted
by teacher Alison How-
son; as well as weekly les-
sons in the library, art and
This year sees continua-
tion of the Shadowing and
Observation Program in
which teachers are able to
learn from each other, vis-
iting each other’s grades.
Part-time teacher Tash
across the school to give
teachers the release time
they require for this.
The start of the 2016
school year is an exciting
time for all at Cowes pri-
mary and in particular for
principal Sue Becker and
assistant principal Rod
Mckenzie who are looking
ahead to another produc-
tive and progressive year.
“We are delighted to wel-
come our new students
and families to Cowes
primary, and to see all of
our students returning to
school happy, enthusiastic
and excited for another
year of learning.
“Our aim is to continue
the strong reputation that
our school has developed
over the years in the way
in which our children
show care and compas-
sion to each other.
“We strive to achieve
this and consider this an
important aspect of their
education in being good
people and good citizens,”
These two young lads Ned Bermingham, left, and Hamish Brinkman, front
right, are following in their mother’s footsteps in starting school at Cowes pri-
mary. Ned’s mother Marnie, with little daughter Chloe, and Amie Brinkman,
right, are past students of the school and former classmates. They have now
renewed their friendship through their young sons, and with Amie and family
recently returning to the island to make it their home.
Pictured enjoying a glass of bubbly at Tears and
Cheers following their son’s first day at school
are Prep parents Craig and Rebecca Fairthorne
with parent helpers, at back, Jason Crestani,
Sam Ward and staff member Shellie Wood, left,
at Cowes primary School last Thursday morning.
Bringing the sounds of music to Cowes
A PASSION for music and a de-
sire to instil this interest into young
children has led talented musician
Simon Nolan to take up a position
at Cowes Primary School this year.
Simon has left the shores and
classroom of Ocean Grove, on the
Bellarine Peninsula, to come to
Cowes and set up a music program
across the school curriculum.
It is an opportunity that he found
too hard to resist and is one that
enables him to extend his creative
talents and wealth of experience.
As the specialist music teacher
Simon will be working with all
children, all grades and within the
whole school community.
“I have a strong passion to give
children the experience of being vo -
cal within the wider community,”
As well as the children’s weekly
lessons at school Simon is aiming
to give students the opportunity to
showcase their skills to others in
the community, in a variety of per-
formances throughout the year.
“I’m looking forward setting up
a program from scratch, getting to
know all the students and creating
a school band. This will be an on-
going project and will hopefully see
the students having the skills and
confidence to perform in public,”
After spending the past 10 years
as a music teacher, Simon is no
doubt as to its benefit to the devel-
opment of the young child.
“Music is very important to all
children as it gives them a creative
outlet and the chance to experience
curriculum outside of the class-
room. I aim to introduce them to
the world of music and to be in-
spired. It is something that every-
one can appreciate through life,”
His arrival is a timely inclusion
for Cowes Primary as this type of
program was high on the list of de-
velopments at the school.
“We wanted to introduce this type
of program into the school. We are
delighted to have Simon on board
and for him to impart his talents to
all our students,” said school prin-
cipal Sue Becker.
Simon’s experience comes from
a lifelong love of music. He is an
accomplished guitarist and has
performed in recent times in the
national touring band, Loon Lake.
He has also appeared at the Pyra-
mid Rock Music Festival and been
heard on Triple J.
Simon and his fiancée Kate and
small son Lenny have now set up
home on the island and are look-
ing forward to enjoying their new
lifestyle, and hopefully in riding the
“I am looking forward to a great
year ahead and in working with the
students, staff and in being a part of
the local community,” said Simon.
Simon Nolan (left) has taken up a position at Cowes Primary School
this year as music teacher. He is pictured with Tessa Johnson, a for-
mer pupil appointed as Grade One teacher for 2016 at te school, and
Cowes principal Sue Becker.
FIVE year old Angus Kennedy is the fourth generation of his
family to attend Cowes Primary School.
When Angus started in Prep at the school last Thursday, he was
following in the footsteps of his mother Lucy Kennedy, left, and
grandmother Margaret Spottiswood, right.
His great grandfather the late Jim Mackenzie also went to Cowes
primary, when it was a two -room building on the site where the
Cowes Cultural Centre currently stands; while his great grand-
mother Nance Mackenzie was educated at the Rhyll Hall.
When Margaret went to Cowes Primary, her junior years were
spent in the old two -room school in Thompson Avenue, before
she went “up” to the new school for Grades 3 to 6 in Settlement
In Lucy’s day, in the 1980s, the whole school was housed on the
Settlement Road site, and there were about 160 pupils
Last week, Angus became one of 553 pupils taught by 48 teach-
ers, in a state of the art facility which has been magnificently
redeveloped over the past 20 years.
Times have certainly changed, however; Angus and his class-
mates were evacuated on just day two of the new school year,
following a bomb threat.
Numbers soar at Children’s Hub
PHILLIP Island Early Learning Centre (PIELC) man-
ager Karen Treppo said that numbers have soared at
Hub in the past 12 months, with a fourth four year old
kinder group added this year.
Eighty eight four year olds will be accommodated in
2016 in the four groups, along with 44 three year olds
in two groups.
There are very few vacancies in the centre’s long day
care program, which has 52 places for children aged
There is now a waiting list for kindergarten places,
such is the high demand.
“Unfortunately all I can do is put their child’s name
on a waiting list, and hope that a position becomes
available to them at some stage,” Karen said, at the
same time urging parents to enrol their children when
they turn two, because of the very high demand.
PIELC has been successful with grant applications
over the year, which has enabled them to hire more
staff, and reduce the child/staff ration from 1:11 in
2015 to 2:11 in 2016.
Experienced kinder teachers, Lynne Hadley, Justine
McLaren and Denise Szutta will be joined by a new staff
member Andrea Blair Dempsey to take care of the four
year olds in their sessions (15 hours) each week, along
with assistants Jenny Graham, Brandon Fields, Rachel
Bennett and Gerry Schepemaker.
The close connection between The Hub and Cowes
Primary School is proving to be a bonus for both cen-
tres in the delivery of programs, variety of activities,
inclusion of staff and families and preparation of the
kinder kids for school.
As well as the established Transition Program that
operates during the last half of the year between kinder
and Prep, the connection is providing an opportunity
for teachers, families and children to be a part of an
early literacy focus.
On other occasions, the kinder kids receive visits
from specialist teachers for art, music and library ac-
“The beauty of this arrangement is that it is happen-
ing throughout the year and by the time our children
go to school they are very familiar with their new sur-
rounds,” Karen said.
The youngsters also have an active and exciting time
in the outdoor playground, with many of the toys and
equipment in the playground paid for through fund-
raising efforts of the families.
Parents are also on hand to assist on a roster basis.
Four generations at Cowes
Scout Canobio uses up plenty of energy making
shapes with Playdough, at the Cowes Children’s
Links Archive January 27, 2016 Edition February 10,2016 Edition Navigation Previous Page Next Page