Our campus is uniquely located in the Abbotsford Convent precinct in Melbourne’s inner east. We are immediately adjacent to the Collingwood Children’s Farm and nestled in a bend of the Yarra River.
24 February 2015
Poppy, Angel, Anneka, Rowan, Robin, Fiona, Jackie, Spiro, Jane
Denielle, Louisa, Matt Deeble, Mitta Hirsch, Tatiana
Fiona related various activities of the management committee and Teacher’s College to the meeting:
Several new teachers have joined the school in 2015 and are actively receiving the support of the teaching body.
The College is also benefiting from new teacher energy; there has been discussion concerning the introduction of a Boy’s Initiation rite for classes 8 and 9.
Primary Faculty Studies were looking at “Emotional literacy” and the writings of Patricia Sherwood.
Teacher’s College had been studying the Mikimaus lectures and discussing the Harvest Festival. A teacher’s Festival Group has formed, lead by Katina Kondos, looking at Festivals. This group produced the email that was circulated to Parents about the Pancake Day, Shrove Tuesday Festival, its meaning and significance for the community.
The Teacher’s College Conference this year considered “Transparency and Trust” and worked with Lisa Devine. Later the college will work with Lisa Remearo.
School Improvement Plan
The SIP is in its last stages of review and is due to be released by the end of first term. Administration has asked parents to complete permission forms concerning the use (or not) by Sophia Mundi of images of their children for marketing purposes. This is a requirement for privacy laws and an amended to school enrollment forms will now include a check box form to this end.
Class Carers handbook
PFA are keen to develop a Class Carers’ handbook. Fiona related that an old handbook existed that could be used as a starting point, and that she would endeavor to provide this to PFA asap. The Parents’ hand book, currently offline, is in the process of being reviewed and should hopefully be completed soon.
Thank you to the PFA and Jane for organizing the Welcome Evening for new families. A lovely, small but warm event to start the year and welcome our new families to the school.
Parent Buddies are a new initiative, arising out of the SIP Visioning Workshops, were we link an existing Sophia Mundi family with a new family so that they feel nurtured by the community and have an additional resource to go to with any questions they may have. We have had a few new families request buddies, and we are currently linking families together that have children in different year levels so to increase inter-connectedness.
Another initiative arising from the SIP Visioning Workshops, the Parents’ College is the coming together of the parent body where they can receive, rather than give to the community. Currently Thursday mornings after drop-off in the Cottage (aftercare room), this group is growing organically as parents drop in as busy schedules allow. Each week the meeting has identified its own topic for the following session, which is then gently lead by a nominated person.
The first session was on “Belonging,” Michael Kokinos led the second on“The Rubicon” and Brigette Kupfer will lead the following on “Compassion and Forgiveness – of yourself.” Matt Deeble has volunteered to administer the group. See here.
Redevelopment Project Courtyard
It was acknowledged that the redevelopment of the courtyard area has been an ongoing concern for primary parents for many years, but that with considerable willingness on behalf of the primary families, some funding allocation last year from the spring fair, it seems timely to develop a professional master plan for the entire courtyard area with all users in mind. To this end a working group was established last year lead by Poppy to bring this about.
It was agreed that a professional designer was required to fully develop the potential of the space and meet the needs of all users and their diverse needs. The courtyard area is used by primary classes and upper classes, parents, faculty and staff. The re-evolved space would need to encompass Play and Performance for classes 1-12, the social aspects of school – festivals, entertainment and gatherings as well as being the creative and inspiring ground for primary student play and the reflective and nurturing space for the rest of the community. It was very strongly felt by the working group that a landscape architect, in particular one with experience with children’s playgrounds/ schools should be engaged to develop the Plan.
Considerable expertise exists within the school and as well as a willingness to participate in the process to ensure the project is successful. Jacqui put forward Jeroen Hagendoorn’s, professional architect and parent of the school, offer of assistance in ensuring appropriate procedure and protocols are adopted for advancing the courtyard proposal and assistance in interviewing potential professional designers. Jeroen has also suggested to the Working Group and Management several potential Designers with the necessary skills set, who would also be sensitive to our requirements as a Steiner school. Fiona has also been in contact with some Designers put forward by the Working Group and known to the school to discuss their potential involvement. It is expected that she will be able to meet at school with all those interested parties prior to the selection of a Designer. As yet, no selection process had been definitively identified for engaging a Designer.
A Visioning Workshop has been scheduled in March where all interested parties, specifically parents and friends of the school, are encouraged to attend.
It was strongly felt, so that the collaborating visioning process might be kept to a tighter timeframe, that teachers and other staff who wanted to participate in the design process also attend this meeting.
Fiona related that teachers had been informed of this meeting and encouraged to attend.
In the interests of streamlining the process, it was suggested that:
- a professional person should be engaged prior to the Visioning Workshop in order to lead and develop the collaborated process and receive the ‘brief’ firsthand;
- all interested school parties who wish to contribute to the visioning process should be present at the Visioning Workshop;
- the Convent, as lessor, should be invited to join in the process, in the interest of cooperation and potential for early approval of the Plan, whether this be the Convent’s management or planning division
- Staged planning, that also prioritizes needs of the community;
- Solutions for stages that allow the community (parents and students) to undertake the volume of this work where appropriate.
It was not considered by those experienced with working with the Convent that involving them early in the design phase would be to our advantage, but that presenting the Plan for approval once it had been through its internal iterative process would be much easier to manage.
It was suggested that perhaps the Designer might themselves meet with a Convent representative early in the design process in order to exchange ideas and appreciate the leaseholder’s due sensitivities.
Sophia Mundi is 30 years old this year! We need to celebrate.
Discuss at our next meeting.
Slow Food Market Stall
The Slow Food Stall is falling short of community support, without which it will not be able to continue. The Stall is a valuable marketing tool for the school and could potentially be a good fundraising. This year half of the Stalls will be open to Classes to take up for their own fundraising efforts.
Concerning fundraising for school projects i.e. the Courtyard, Drama department, the PFA recognized that one off events are more willingly supported by our (time pressured) parents and the need to raise funds outside of the school community.
One sausage sizzle already booked by Class One to contribute to Courtyard funds! To be discussed at the next meeting.
Briefly introduced the need to involve classes in the running of activities, rather than rely on parents to support activities voluntarily.
It was recognized that this would place additional burden on Class Carers and that this needed to be done in a supported and sensitive manner. To be discussed at the next meeting.
How do we reach out to the Convent community and become a better neighbour?
Specifically, building relationships with other Covent tenants. To be discussed at the next meeting.
Another theme that rose from the SIP Visioning Workshop was a Sophia Mundi Students and Friends Association. How can we harness the potential and talent of Sophia Mundi past and future? To be discussed at the next meeting.
Lots to think about for our next meeting, bring all your good ideas.