Primary Update – Term 1 Week 2

What a fantastic start it has been to the 2024 school year in the Primary! The first two weeks have seen plenty of smiles, laughter and engagement in learning as our students have settled into the routines of their new classrooms. Our staff have done an amazing job at preparing engaging classroom environments for our students to shine, and all of our students can be proud of the enthusiastic and positive way they have started off the 2024 school year!

This year the Primary section of the Newsletter will be back, focusing on upcoming events, sharing news and celebrating activities, events and achievements throughout Primary campuses.

Meet the New Staff

We have welcomed a number of new staff to the Primary school to commence the 2024 school year. Each of these staff members has already been a wonderful addition to our community and we look forward to them sharing their gifts and talents with our students as the year progresses.


  • Pre-Kindy Red – Miss Molly Rowbottam
  • 5 Green – Mr Joshua Houwen
  • 5 Red – Mrs Lauren O’Brien (Mon & Tues)
  • 6 Green – Mr Adam Read
  • Lavalla Art – Mrs Tamara Bastow
  • Lavalla Italian – Mrs Martina Cocco

Education Assistants:

  • Mrs Kate Berridge (Yr 3-6)
  • Mrs Julie Romano (Yr 1-2)
  • Miss Eliana Celisano (Kindy Green)
  • Miss Kate Wells (PP-6)
  • Mrs Danae Florias (Yr 1-2)

Primary Parent Information Night

The Primary Parent Information Night (Thursday 15 February at 5:00pm) is an important event in our Primary calendar each year, and a chance for all parents to meet their child’s classroom teacher. Our Primary Parent Information Night will be held in a new location in 2024, and structured in a new way.

This year, we will hold the event on the Marcellin Campus (Secondary) to allow all K-6 class presentations to occur at the same time and place, removing the need for parents to drive between campuses on this occasion.

The evening will commence in the Auditorium with a welcome by Principal Andrew Watson and myself. Following this, year level teachers will present back-to-back sessions (presenting the same information) to allow parents with more than 1 child to attend multiple classroom sessions. Following the teacher sessions, this year we are also offering some additional optional sessions for parents to attend on a range of relevant topics.

Please click here to access the flyer for this event, which contains important details, including session times and locations. I look forward to seeing all parents in attendance.

Student Medications

Thank you to those parents who have brought in any medication for their children (i.e. EpiPens, asthma puffers, etc.). If you are yet to do so, please drop off to the respective campus office as a matter of urgency.

Morning Procedures

A reminder that morning supervision at each campus begins at 8:20am. At Lavalla, any students that arrive prior to 8:20am will be required to sit down and wait until the duty teacher arrives, at which point they can move around with their friends. Given the space restrictions at Lavalla Campus this term, we ask for parent support in ensuring students arrive at school from 8:20am onwards.

Students will be supervised outside from 8:20am-8:35am, at which point the bell to enter the classroom will ring, and Mindful Mornings activities will begin for those at school.

Students are required to be at school in readiness for the 8:45am bell which indicates the official start of the school day.

Marian Morning Routine

A reminder to all parents that Marian Campus will open at the following times:

  • 8.20am              
    External gates will open for parents to access the Year 1 and 2 playground. Year 1 & 2 students only will be supervised by the duty teacher in this playground.

    Please note that the Pre-Kindy, Kindy, and Pre-Primary playground areas are locked and not supervised by a duty teacher. These students can play in the Year 1 & 2 playground but must be supervised by their parents. Parents who have been invited for a teacher meeting are asked to sign in through the front office.
  • 8.35am              
    The first bell will ring for Year 1 & 2 Mindful Mornings. All internal glass doors, as well as the Year 1 & 2 classroom doors, will be opened to allow students to head to their classroom and prepare themselves for the morning and participate in mindful activities. Please note, it is not compulsory that students attend Mindful Mornings.

    The Kindy and Pre-Primary gates will open at this time, for entry by Kindy and Pre- Primary students. As there is no teacher on duty at this time, we ask that students remain off any play equipment. All Pre-Kindy, Kindy and Pre-Primary students must have a parent with them until the classroom door opens at 8.45am.
  • 8.45am              
    The second bell will ring for formal learning to commence. Pre-Kindy, Kindy and Pre-Primary classroom doors will open. 

    In the afternoon, we ask that Year 1 & 2 parents wait to collect their children in the Courtyard / Undercover Area at the end of the day and refrain from waiting in the office and near the stairwells as this causes congestion and becomes a safety hazard for our staff and students. Pre-Kindy, Kindy and Pre-Primary parents are to head straight to the classrooms to collect their children.

We thank you for your cooperation!

Learning Support

Last year we rolled out several new programs supporting literacy development across the Primary school. Students from K-6 began using Promoting Literacy Development (PLD) for spelling and phonics learning. This is a differentiated, Structured Synthetic Phonics (SSP) program that is aligned with the most current research in teaching reading and spelling.

Along with this we further expanded our use of the MultiLit literacy intervention programs. In years 1 and 2 we use MiniLit Sage to teach basic letter sound knowledge and decoding skills. In years 3-6 students move onto MacqLit which focuses on phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.

Additionally, we began a small reading support group at Lavalla to focus on processing and comprehending texts. This is in addition to the classroom activities developing these skills.

We were very pleased to see positive results for all students who participated in these programs throughout the year.

As we settle into the new year, students will undergo a variety of assessments to determine the point of need for each student and help to determine grouping for support and extension groups for Semester One. All our support and extension programs will begin in Week 5, Term 1.

Catherine Young


Languages in the Primary – Italian and Japanese

Over the holiday period, the Primary Languages specialist offering has been reviewed and in 2024, Marian students in Pre-Primary-Year 2 will study Japanese, whilst students at Lavalla in Years 3-6 will continue to study Italian.

Learning a second language (language immersion) is a proven method that enriches all aspects of language learning and has many benefits, including the promotion of cultural understanding. Through offering Japanese and Italian in the Primary, we will continue to foster a deeper respect and understanding of two diverse cultures. This will provide our Primary students a sample of each language and culture, and leads into Year 7 where students elect to either study the Japanese or Italian Language as part of the Year 7 curriculum.

The teachers for these Languages in 2024 are:

  • Japanese: Sensei Kate O’Keefe
  • Italian: Signora Martina Cocco

Kiss N Ride – Lavalla Campus

As you will have learnt from my email to parents on Wednesday afternoon, our brand new Kiss N Ride lane has now opened and cars have adjusted nicely to our new system, which is a smooth and efficient way of dropping off and collecting your children.

To assist with making this Kiss N Ride lane as efficient as possible, we are introducing family name tags for your car, which we ask you to display clearly on your dashboard or sun visor during afternoon pick up. This will assist staff to locate your child(ren) and get them to the car as quickly as possible.

If you plan on utilising Kiss N Ride this year, and have not already done so, please complete this form so we can create a family name sign for you to display on your sun visor. These will be sent home with your child once created.

We ask that you follow the below process for the Kiss N Ride lane:

  • Before arriving at Kiss N Ride, ensure your family name tag is displayed clearly on your car dashboard (attached to sun visor is best).
  • Pull into the Kiss N Ride lane, drive up as far as you can go, pull onto the shoulder lane and stop.
  • The teacher on duty will call your family name over the megaphone, and your child will make their way along the footpath to your car.
  • Students must enter the car from the footpath side for safety reasons.
  • We ask that parents do not exit their vehicles whilst in the Kiss N Drive lane. Students should put their bag in the car and get inside independently.
  • Once your child is in the car, carefully pull out and exit the Kiss N Ride, allowing a new car to take the next space.

Please see diagram for our updated traffic flow. We encourage as many parents as possible to take advantage of this new lane as it opens.

For those parents that park at Lavalla, please be mindful of how far your car encroaches on the footpath, to ensure you are not obstructing footpaths and pedestrian areas.

Lavalla Campus Admin Building

There has been a slight delay to the opening of the new Lavalla Administration building, meaning that the Lavalla Front Office will continue to be located in the Auditorium Office for a little longer. We will advise all parents of the date the new Admin Block will be open once this is known. Your understanding is appreciated.

Homework Club – Lavalla Campus

Please be advised that due to the building works and space restrictions in the Lavalla Campus, Homework Club will not run this term. Homework Club will resume as normal in Term 2.

SHINE through Discovery

All learners need support, guidance, and opportunities to grow and develop. Students with a particular aptitude or talent in one or more domains require both support and challenge to reach their potential. At Newman College there is a three-tiered approach to support gifted and talented learners in the Primary years. All students are provided differentiated instruction in the classroom to suit their learning needs, some students are invited into the SHINE and the Discovery Maths programs, and others may be provided further individualised learning programs.

SHINE at Lavalla

This term our SHINE program will commence with Year 3s examining conspiracy theories, Year 4s learning about Antarctica and de-extinction, and our Year 5s and 6s will undertake the Future Problem-Solving competition. Year 6s will also learn about solar energy as they build their own solar cars.

Discovery Maths at Lavalla

The Discovery Maths program is designed for students who require further extension, acceleration or enrichment beyond the extension provided by class teachers. Students are invited into the Discovery Maths program at the start of the year, and the groupings may fluctuate throughout the year to ensure students’ needs are met. In Year 5 and 6 students in the Discovery Maths program will have the opportunity to engage in the Maths Olympiad competition, developing their problem-solving skills and lateral thinking strategies.

Academic Competitions at Lavalla

There are many other academic opportunities and competitions available to our primary students including: Ethics Olympiad, Scitech Challenge Day, Eureka Sleek Geek competition, Write a book in a day competition and Create a Picture Book. If anyone would like to learn more about an upcoming competition or express interest in a particular area, please email for more information or suggest a competition.

Lara Ognenis


Lavalla Swimming Carnival

Please letter from Mrs Richards regarding the upcoming Lavalla Swimming Carnival

Mr Ryan von Bergheim