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Celebrating Student Growth and Innovative Learning Approaches

As we approach the end of the 2023 academic year at Ivanhoe Girls’, it is a time to celebrate the individual growth, contributions and achievements of all our students and to acknowledge the progress that they have made academically, socially and emotionally throughout the year.

Sometimes it can be difficult to take a step back and identify our own strengths and areas of growth. I would encourage each of our students to take a valuable moment to reflect on this past year - What was your most cherished moment this year? Which activities ignited your passion? What are you most proud of?

Equally important, what challenges did you face along the way? It’s essential to understand that these challenges are not obstacles to be feared but rather integral stepping stones to personal growth. If you’ve had the opportunity to read Michelle Obama’s books, “Belonging” and “The Light that We Carry”, you may be familiar with the quote “Failure is an important part of your growth and developing resilience. Don’t be afraid to fail”. Certainly, words of wisdom we should all try and embrace as we continue to navigate our own personal journeys in 2024.

I always find this stage of Term 4 to be an exciting and memorable part of the academic year as we look forward to our engaging end-of-year programs. This is the time of the year when we collapse our usual academic timetable in the Senior School to enable us to offer a wide range of enriching and stimulating cross-curricular experiences extending all the way to the end of the term.

This year we have designed our end-of-year program to encompass a breadth of learning, community service, personal growth and team-building experiences and to authentically weave in our school values of bravery, curiosity, connectedness, kindness and vibrancy.

At the end of term, all Years 7 and 8 students will participate in a two-day “Spark” workshop, facilitated by Future Anything. This program, linked to the UN Sustainability goals, seeks to ignite curiosity and encourage students to be brave and vibrant in their actions. It provides an opportunity for our students to connect with complex real-world problems and develop solutions, instilling essential enterprise skills such as problem-solving, communication, adaptive mindset, creativity, and critical thinking.

Another important aspect of our Year 7 program this year is community service: speaking to our values of Connectedness and Kindness. Our Year 7 students are participating in a special Christmas-giving service initiative, in collaboration with Anglicare, which involves collecting toys and gifts for teenagers in foster care and those facing challenging circumstances. We hope that this is an invaluable opportunity for our students to contemplate the true meaning of Christmas and extend their compassion and generosity to those less fortunate.

In addition, we have a fun and engaging hands-on rocket-building STEM challenge planned for our Year 7s, that culminates in the students launching their rockets in Chelsworth Park and collecting and analysing their rocket’s trajectory data - a personal favourite activity of mine!

Our Year 8 Christmas giving service initiative this year is “Hampers of Hope”. This involves students thoughtfully assembling hampers, to be distributed by the Salvation Army, to members of the community experiencing homelessness this Christmas.

Year 8 students will also participate in a stimulating workshop titled "Exploring Science and Faith", looking at the intersection between science and religion and encouraging critical thinking and broadening perspectives.

Our Year 9 students are eagerly gearing up for their upcoming adventurous journey to either:

  • Waratah Bay – surfing and hiking between Sandy Point and Walkerville
  • Mitchell River Journey – white water rafting along the Mitchell River
  • Rail Trail – cycling between Bright to Wangaratta

Each of these programs provides participants with valuable and unique opportunities for experiential learning, personal development and the building of meaningful relationships.

Alongside the outdoor adventures, our Year 9 students will embark on a comprehensive Health program. This program covers important topics such as self-defence, sexual health and wellbeing. Additionally, they will engage in a series of “Careers in Focus” workshops centred on personal development and refining interview skills. We believe that these experiences will not only enrich our Year 9 students’ understanding of the world but also equip them with invaluable skills and knowledge for the future.

Our Year 10 students are in the exciting phase of preparing for their upcoming work experience as well as eagerly anticipating Australian Business Week and the METEC, driver ed program. These experiences are aimed at fostering essential skills for the future, offering invaluable glimpses into diverse career paths and the professional world as well as providing students the opportunity to apply classroom knowledge and skills in a real-world setting.

For our students studying Units 3 & 4 subjects in 2024, they are embarking on a tailored orientation program. This program is designed to lay a solid foundation for their VCE studies, ensuring that they are well-prepared and feel confident about their studies for next year.

Finally, I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to all our students for their learning journey this year. Here’s to the exciting adventures that await them in the years to come!

Dr Natalie Bunn
Director of Learning and Innovation