Life In Our School
Languages (Prep to Year 4 Japanese)
Students in Prep to Year 4 learn Japanese in weekly classes where they are introduced to formal Hiragana reading and writing. Learning through song and rhyme to ask and answer questions in a foreign language, lessons are coupled with cultural studies and events of significance in Japan, as students work their way through their Primary School Language Passport.
Languages (Year 5/6 LOTE Options)
In Years Five and Six, students have the opportunity to select and study a language that may be the language option at the Secondary School. Students can choose from Japanese, German, French and Italian. The language is studied through a project based approach that requires vocabulary building, speaking and listening development, translation activities and cultural studies.
All students participate in weekly PE classes with our specialised PE teacher with a focus on fitness and skill development. Our older students participate in interschool competitions in all major sporting areas including football, netball, basketball, athletics, swimming and cross country. Opportunities to connect with local sporting organisations are promoted through clinics with local tennis clubs, basketball clubs and martial arts organisations.
We offer an intensive swimming program for Prep to Year Four students with our Year Five and Six students participating in either a beach swimming program or open water (lake) program with Life Saving Victoria in recognition of what they will likely encounter with their peer group in the coming years.
Performing Arts (Music)
All students participate in a Music based Performing Arts program where they explore concepts about Music including specialised language and begin to learn to formally read music through playing instruments such as recorders and drums.
Various music incursions and performances expose students to the potential of a career in Music and the power of The Arts to inspire and entertain.
Each alternate year we perform a whole school, dance based production choreographed by Sue Ellen Shook (the lead instructor of our Dance and Performance Academy) and all students across the school receive specialised dance tuition in preparation for this. Our Year Five and Six students also present a musical play.
A number of private companies offer instrumental music tuition through the school, including keyboard and guitar.
All students participate in a Visual Arts program each week based around key Art concepts. The specific skills and strategies taught in classes are utilised by students throughout all areas of their schooling. We regularly hold Art Shows to showcase the outstanding work of our students and to celebrate the value of The Arts.
The Enviro Centre was officially opened in 2009 as a place for students to learn about the natural world and how they can best help and promote the environment and animals. Students attend the Enviro Centre for regularly timed formal lessons and also on a duty rotation to care for the animals and plants.
Products from the Enviro Centre in the form of eggs, raw produce and also pickled produce are sold through the Office in a market stall arrangement at different times of the year to help make the centre run as cost neutral.
The Enviro Centre offers leadership opportunities and real world hands on applications for traditional school subjects such as Numeracy, Literacy and Science and is open for students to visit during some recess and lunchtimes.
Dance and Performance Academy
In 2012, based on the success and strength of our Whole School Productions, we applied to establish a Dance and Performance Academy specialisation stream and are now the only Primary School in Victoria to provide Dance as part of normal school life. Offering two streams, Live Dance (audition based stream) and Love Dance (participation stream) we secured the services of Sue Ellen Shook, an internationally experienced performer and choreographer as the Lead Instructor for our Academy.
Over the last few years our students have been invited to perform at the Life Ed Gala and at various community festivals and events. Click here to view photos.
Recess and Lunchtime
A number of years ago we made a change to our recess and lunchtime to allow us time for the game play components of the Play Is the Way program and also to decrease the amount of free play for students (with the last 20 mins of lunchtime always the time when students had difficulties). We also used this opportunity for change to make our first break from class lunchtime and encouraged students to eat their most wholesome food at this time and eat their snack in the afternoon at recess. Students are free to eat healthy snack foods at any time when they are hungry or feel they need a boost.
Our break times are now:
Lunch Eating Time | 11.30 -11.40
Lunchtime Recess | 11.40 – 12.20
Afternoon Recess | 2.00 – 2.30
We currently operate a Camping Program from Year 3 to Year 6.
Our Year 3 and 4s go to the Blue Light Camp at Maldon as an in camp for year 3 and on-road extension for year 4 of their Bike Ed program. They undertake the majority of the course here at school prior to the camp and then attend the camp as an on-road and track riding extension. This camp runs for 3 days and two nights. On the alternate year the Year 3 and 4s go to an outdoor education camp providing them with experiences working in groups, facing physical challenges.
Our Year 5s and Year 6s attend camp together, alternating between an outdoor adventure camp and a camp with a curriculum focus in the alternate year. All camping programs are reviewed regularly by School Council to ensure they continue to meet the needs of students and the curriculum.
Our formal Captaincy roles for Year 6 students are keenly contested by students each year at the end of Year 5. All nominees are required to make a formal speech about themselves and the leadership capabilities they feel they possess to their peers and the following year’s Year 5s.
Students then vote on who they feel would best represent and lead them the following year and this voting then informs the School Leadership team who make the final selections.
We instil in our older students that they are all leaders of our school community in the eyes of younger students and we formally recognise with Captaincy positions a limited number; a male and female in the roles of School Captains, School Vice Captains and House Captains for each of the four house teams.
All Year 6 students are invited to participate in the formal Junior Rotary Community Leadership Program which provides a structured program, outside of school hours, where students broaden their horizons of the world whilst working on personal development, community awareness and experiences of how they can positively impact on the lives of others.
Environmental Leaders of Ferntree Gully (ELFs)
Students in Years 5 and 6 who have a particular interest in the environment and working in the Enviro Centre or with the animals can apply for an ELF position. These positions of responsibility help maintain the upkeep of the Enviro Centre but also complete major projects and assist younger students.
Junior School Council
Our Junior School Council sits as a Sub Committee of our formal School Council and provides students with an opportunity to learn about the structure of a committee and how it functions as a representation of the people it serves.
Each class from Year 3-6 elects two students to represent them and present their ideas and concerns on their behalf in regular meetings. Our School Captains chair our Junior School Council with the support of a designated teacher, who represents and reports on their behalf to the Ferntree Gully North School Council.
Behaviour Educators (BEs)
Our Year 6 students, as leaders of the school, are given the opportunity to elect and become Behaviour Educators in their final year of school. This role involves assisting younger students in the yard to resolve minor disagreements independently, using the language and social/emotional skills learned through our Play Is The Way program. The BEs participate in several training sessions at the start of the year to prepare for this role and they also train on the job with yard duty teachers. (BEs were previously known as Peer Mediators)
Parents Association and Garden Club
Ferntree Gully North has a strong and supportive culture driven by the families who attend and support our school. We invite and encourage parent involvement in our school. This may be through helping and working in the classroom with the teachers or through work to support our Parents’ Association (Gully North Parents Association – GNPA) or by meeting socially and working amongst our Parent Garden Club.
Both of these groups offer a chance for new parents to feel connected to the school and meet other families in the local area. GNPA traditionally runs as the parent fundraising arm of the school.