Looking into school lunch boxes

Researchers at Deakin University want to talk to parents and caregivers of primary school aged children about packing school lunch boxes.

Honours student Kimberley Watson-Mackie’s research project is “School lunch boxes: are parents and caregivers under pressure?”

“The project aims to explore the experiences of lunchbox preparation by parents and caregivers in Victoria, and their adherence to the school policies,” Kimberley said. “This research will shed light on the lunchbox options of primary school aged children in low-income families, including any challenges in creating healthy lunchboxes.”  

Participation in the research involves an interview, lasting approximately 30 to 60 minutes, that is conducted either remotely or in person.

Parents and carers will be invited to talk about managing their child’s tastes, working with school policies, cost pressures and trying to make the lunchbox as healthy as possible.

Participants will receive a $20 voucher to thank them for their time.

If you receive the Parenting Payment or JobSeeker Payment, have children in primary school and would like to participate in an interview about the pressures associated with lunch boxes, contact the research team.

For more information, contact Dr Fiona McKay, phone 9251-7183 or email fiona.mckay@deakin.edu.au.

Fitness, fun and connection

A group of Northern Bay College’s Year 9 students will this year be the first in Geelong to participate in Blue Edge, the flagship program of Blue Light Victoria.

Blue Edge is based on the concept of local police members engaging with youth in positive ways. It uses a physical activity program to bring local police and students together twice-weekly.

State program co-ordinator Cathy Williams said the program includes 45-minute fitness sessions before school, where the police members are out of uniform and getting sweaty alongside the students. The fitness sessions also include team-building activities.

Following the session, the group has breakfast together where there are opportunities for the students to be mentored, learn life skills, goal setting, leadership and opportunities for them after the program – in work, social and sport settings.

Ms Williams said the program aligns well with the school’s SEED (Sports, Empowerment, Education and Development) program. She said Director of Sport Steven ‘Stoofa’ Lewry had played a key part in bringing Blue Edge to Geelong.

Acting Sergeant Shaun Johnson and Leading Senior Constable Alecia Spalding, from Corio Police, will be involved in the pilot.

Acting Sergeant Johnson, who is the co-ordinator, said he and the other officers who will be regulars are excited to be involved in the program, the first of its kind in Geelong.

“This is a way we can give back to the school,” he said. “It’s good for us to work with the kids and important for us to know the up-and-coming youth in the northern suburbs. They are the next generation of community leaders. They will be changing the face of the northern suburbs.”

Students Laura, Elmin and Josh were successful applicants and are looking forward to participating. All three are keen to develop their fitness and skills, have some fun and get to know their local police.

Students name the crane

Young Northern Bay College students have helped name the crane being used on the GMHBA rebuild site in the Geelong CBD.

The new building is rising out of a hole in the ground at the corner of Corio and Moorabool streets, where the large crane is rising high into the sky.

Kane Builders, Quintessential developers and GMHBA recognised that naming cranes is a great community initiative and invited Northern Bay College students to take on the task.

All of the college’s Prep and Kindergarten children across the five college campuses – all 170 of them – were given the opportunity to colour a drawing of the crane and then give it a name. All of the names were then sent off and a winner was chosen by a panel representing the three major stakeholders. 

The children don’t yet know who won the naming rights, but one day in September the lucky youngster will be invited to visit the site, look at the crane up close and have a picture taken with ‘their’ crane. The icing on the cake will be a prize for the College’s Family Learning Centre to say thank you for participating in the naming project.

Kindergarten tours go online

Bethany kindergartens, including Corio’s William Hovell Preschool, have a new way of helping families decide where to enrol their children next year.

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, Bethany planned to host tours across its kindergarten as part of its second annual Open Week. Bethany Open Week provides families with an opportunity to walk through kindergartens, talk with educators while viewing the indoor and outdoor learning environments.

BKS Executive Manager Anneliese Knell said Open Week had been a great opportunity for families to experience different kindergarten environments and meet the educator team before deciding on their child’s registration for the upcoming year.

“Kindergarten is an important year for children,” Ms Knell said. “At Bethany Kindergartens, we understand that each child develops and grows at their own pace and in their own way”. 

“Finding the right kindergarten for your child can be hard. It’s important to choose a kindergarten that will support your child’s individual needs and allow them to grow, learn and play.”

Bethany is now providing parents with a tour of all kindergartens through the use of short online videos. The videos allow children and families to view kindergartens remotely, at times convenient for them and in the comfort of their home.

Bethany offers short and long day sessions and provides both three and four-year-old kindergarten programs. To view the videos and register for a BKS Kindergarten, head to bethanykindergartens.org.au.

At William Hovell Preschool in Hendy Street, Corio, a new cubby house, deck and garden have been added to the outdoor area.

Educational Leader Sharron German said the kinder funded the project from money raised over the past few years. They have also recently purchase new shelving, lockers and tables for the indoor environment.

If families would like to speak to a staff member at William Hovell Preschool, they can call on 5275-4663.

The SEEDs are sprouting

The Northern Bay College SEED Program has celebrated a success year, with achievements in a range of sports.

SEED (Sports, Empowerment, Education and Development) was highlighted in Northerly Aspects when the program was first introduced in 2017. At the end of its second full year, the college is delighted with the outcomes.

Director of Sport Steven Lewry said College interschool sport achievements have been significant on the back of increased participation in all of the SEED programs and this always gives a sense of school pride and increases interest in sport from other students.

“During 2019 Northern Bay College teams won 12 Geelong-based competitions and a Western Metropolitan competition, which is a great improvement,” he said.

SEED allows students to experience quality coaching from experts across the range of sports including football, netball, softball, soccer, badminton and volleyball.

“In P-6, our school staff prepare the foundations of skills, then the Extended School Day Program has many activities with sports coaching for all age groups.  All Year 7 and 8 students have the SEED 7/8 Program, then in Years 9 and 10 SEED is an elective and enables students to look at pathways in sport, not just as players but in the amazing array of ancillary jobs associated with professional sport,” Mr Lewry said.

“One other noticeable influence has been in the relationships between students. The philosophy behind good participation in SEED is as simple as ABC – A is attendance, B is behaviour and C is character. We show the students the value of these attributes in school and the influence is noticeable.”

Recent student feedback indicated the program is having a positive impact. Student Kamran said: “During recesses students spend much more time playing sport and I have seen a great increase in girls doing sport. People seem happier too. I guess we have great school pride.”

Diamond appointment at NBC

Northern Bay College is starting the year with a new principal, Scott Diamond, who comes to the school from Surf Coast Secondary College.

“I am delighted to have been appointed as the Executive Principal of Northern Bay P-12 College and I am really looking forward to getting know the community,” Mr Diamond said.

“To me a school community is not just the students, their families and the staff within the five campuses. It is also the wider community of services, agencies, businesses and individuals providing partnerships and support to our college. I will undoubtedly take time familiarise myself with all five campuses, but know I have a great support team in leaders, teachers and education staff.

Mr Diamond said getting to know the students is at the top of the most exciting aspects of his new role and something he is looking forward to.

“My most recent position has been as founding Principal of Surf Coast Secondary College. The school has grown from the 120 students we began with in 2012 to just under 1000 students for 2020.

“This experience, along with my other professional experiences have helped me to believe that I am in a good position to provide supportive and strong hands-on leadership to and with the Northern Bay College community.

“With this in mind, I look forward to continuing the positive work that Fred Clarke established as the founding Principal of NBC and Scott Dellar fine-tuned in the last year.

“I am looking forward to the time ahead being rewarding for everyone at Northern Bay College in 2020 and the years to come. I will certainly be trying my utmost to help that to happen.”

New partnerships for learning

New partnerships in Corio and Norlane have expanded learning opportunities for participants at two established support programs. Cloverdale Community Centre has joined with Northern Futures and the Northern Bay College Family Centre to give their participants a new way of accessing Getting Ahead.

Getting Ahead aims to help participants establish where their lives are now, to better understand other forces outside their control and to build resources for their future. It is being run in three modules over 15 weeks, with the backing of the Department of Education, and started at Northern Futures in May .

Cloverdale Community Centre manager Liz Bonner said a unique feature of the partnership program is that Northern Futures has a specialist case worker also join in every session. “This means our facilitator can lead the learning part of the program and there is extra support on-the-spot for anyone needing it.”

“We’ve been encouraged by the commitment of everyone so far and we know that having case worker there just to support participants is making a difference,” Liz said. “It’s given us the confidence to develop new partnerships.”

The program is also about to begin with a group of young parents of Northern Bay College Family Centre, using the same format.

Building on support success

There have been exciting changes at Northern Bay College Family Centre, with the addition of a brand-new building to run its family support programs from.

The new facility arrived in February and has been situated to also create an inviting new entry to the nearby childcare and kindergarten spaces. Manager Helen O’Connor said the new building offers a family playroom, office space, areas for drop-in services to operate from and a large parent education room.

“This new facility is the final link in all of what we do,” Helen said. “It’s at the centre of our aim to have a place that’s calming and inviting, so that young parents can expand their experiences in a positive environment.”

The Family Centre supports young parents and families, with a focus on promoting the best possible start to a child’s first 1000 days. This covers from pregnancy to two years old, which are identified as the key stages of early family life.

As well as running its own playgroups and drop-in service, the centre hosts a Maternal Child Health drop-in service on the first Monday of the month (10am until noon) and outside agencies who conduct specialised groups and services.

Helen said partnerships with organisations such as Barwon Children Youth Family, Bethany, City of Greater Geelong and Rotary Club of Kardinia aim to support transitions for young parents.

Further partnerships are being explored that will provide new education opportunities for students under 25 years who may pregnant or parenting and returning to complete their studies as a new parent. This could include access to VCAL either online or at NBC, as well as supported pathways  from Learn Local to advanced training.

 “We have also welcomed Allison Rose, who is a youth worker for young parents,” Helen said. “Allison is supporting the young parents’ program and will be part of future education programs.”

The centre is on the Northern Bay College campus in Goldsworthy Road. For more information phone 5224-9791.

Students as community leaders

Year 6 students from Northern Bay College are stepping up to take on community leadership roles, as they tackle Victoria’s leading schools-based philanthropy initiative for children aged eight to 12.

Kids as Catalyst is run by Kids Thrive, a not-for-profit creative organisation for child voice, choice and agency. Students from the Wexford, Tallis, Hendy and Peacock campuses have identified a diverse range of issues and are actively working on projects related to cultural diversity, the environment, elders, animals, gender and all abilities.

Andrea Rieniets, Co-Creative Director and Lead Artist, Kids Thrive said: “Kids as Catalyst is a two-phase, 16-week social action program. Students identify issues in the Geelong community that matter to them and partner with relevant community groups to develop solutions and take action.”

 196 students from a broad range of cultural backgrounds and abilities are taking part. 

 “We also have 20 year 7 students who participated in this program in the past and have returned as mentors for the younger students,” Andrea said. “They’ve been incredible in their support and continue to put into practice the program values, such as gratitude, kindness, giving and volunteering.”

This is the second year Kids as Catalyst program is being delivered at the College. It is aligned with the Victorian Curriculum through Social Emotional Learning (SEL), Civics and Citizenship, Literacy, Numeracy, Economics and Critical Thinking. In 2017 the program received the VicHealth Improving Mental Wellbeing Award. 

For more information contact Angela Thiel-Paul – angela@kidsthrive.org.au.

New principal at NBC

Northern Bay College started the school year with an interim principal to guide it through a transition period following the retirement of Fred Clarke at the end of 2018.

Scott Dellar (pictured) is an Executive Principal appointed to set the platform for the future of the school. He has worked in schools for more than 35 years, in both country and metropolitan areas.

Mr Dellar said his experience so far, during Term 1, has been positive. “Great kids, a hard-working, passionate staff and a supportive community; an excellent platform for a fantastic future,” he said.

“I’m here to make a positive difference to students and the community, where the focus will be on learning, and I’m looking forward to working with groups and individuals to make this happen.”

An early initiative introduced by Mr Dellar is presentation of leadership blazers to 200 students across the college’s five campuses. They are part of a desire to show that leadership is valued and respected.

Mr Dellar said recognition of the leaders and opportunities to help them develop their skills will be celebrated across all campuses. He said the Northern Bay Challenge remains a priority to helping remove barriers for students after they leave school. Developing the college’s community partnerships, such as Deakin University, is also an important part of his role.